Today you have to be creative when you’re running Facebook ads and these Facebook ad hacks will give you extra leverage for little effort.
I started doing Facebook ads in 2012, back when you could get crazy results for practically no money at all.
Cost per impressions have increased dramatically over the last 8 years.
The same audiences that I have been targeting have increased from $1 per impression to over $100, sometimes $150.
TBH, it sucks.
Every 1% increase in cost per result is a 1% decrease in return on investment for yourself and your customers.
If you’re still doing things the old way, that’s not going to fly.
So I’m sharing what I’ve discovered — wild Facebook advertising shortcuts.
Give any of these 7 Facebook ad hacks a try to clone mammoth results for yourself.
What’s a Facebook Ad Hack?
Before we launch into the hacks, let’s set some ground rules.
“What’s an ad hack?”
First, you won’t find platitudes along the lines of “test your headlines”.
I’m talking about crazy shortcuts that you can copy to great effect in your own campaigns.
Second, a common denominator of these Facebook ad hacks is that they require little effort and yield high impact if you can successfully clone these ideas.
7 Facebook Ad Hacks That Dramatically Increase ROI
- How to boost CTR by targeting UNRELATED interests
- How to drive traffic to sites that reward traffic with exposure
- How to get insane engagement by targeting OPPOSING audiences
- How to flip your budget to amplify remarketing audiences
- How to promote other people’s content in a way that improves your visibility
- How to automate lead qualification and follow-up in Messenger
- How to capture leads instantly with boosted posts
Some of the Facebook ad hacks here are better leveraged with MobileMonkey, a platform for automating messages in Facebook Messenger and the other chat and text apps your customers use.
Now on to the Facebook ad hacks countdown …
Facebook Ad Hack #7: Boost CTR by Targeting Unrelated Interests
This is one of the best Facebook ad examples you’ll find anywhere.
Take a look at this ad: “Life took me to England but I’ll always be an Arizona girl.”
People are flabbergasted, look at the comments.
This was surfaced to me via a bureau correspondent for CNN news for th eUK. She wrote to me asking how the heck the company had targeted her with this ad.
It’s nothing sinister. It’s merely the Inverted Unicorn Facebook Ad Targeting Method.
You know you can always target women, and you can target people who live in the UK.
Might also know that you can also target by behaviors, like recently moved.
Here’s where the Inverted Unicorn Ad Targeting Method comes in; superimposed local likes of high schools or restaurants or sports teams located in Arizona.
These likes don’t guarantee that they are from Arizona but it is highly correlated with people from Arizona.
This ad sparks the idea of digging deeper into creative audience targeting.
In general, it’s common to target related interests.
But think about what happens when you target unrelated interests.
Targeting related interests is intended to cast a net of people who like similar things as your product or service, and maybe further refining by job titles.
If you click the “suggestions” button when choosing your audience interest targeting, all the suggestions you’ll get will be related interests.
Crazy things happen when you go for unrelated interests.
For example you can target marketers who like Game of Thrones:
And now you know 2 things about this individual consuming the ad, which you can reflect in the ad creative.
What you get is remarkably higher engagement rate, comments, replies and lower costs.
Here’s one more example of the Inverted Unicorn Ad Targeting Method in action so you know it wasn’t a fluke.
I wrote an article about an experiment I ran that ended up showing that, at the time, it was really easy and cheap to propagate fake news.
When I wanted to promote the article I wrote, I knew I wanted to target “liberals” but I knew that would be too big an audience to reach with my $50 ad budget.
So I chose a random unrelated interest of Star Trek Deep Space Nine and reflected DS9 in the ad creative.
Did this Facebook ad hack work?
For just $50 I was able to reach 120K people, got 1.3K likes, along with 235 shares and 68 comments!
The Inverted Unicorn Ad Targeting Method is really effective at ratcheting up the cool factor and appeal of even the most boring products or services.
And you can use the Inverted Unicorn Ad Targeting Method to narrow your audience and therefore reduce the cost of a campaign when your budget isn’t big enough to realistically reach your whole audience.
Just remember there are a lot of kooky ad targeting strategies to try out there.
Facebook Ad Hack #6: Send Traffic to Sites That Reward Traffic with Enhanced Exposure
This next hack I like to call the Facebook Web Traffic Bomb.
So there’s a quick hack that can get you a spot on the NY Times Bestseller List. Know what it is?
Buy a bunch of your own books! Next thing you know you appear on the list and people who see the list say:
“Hey, there’s a new book on the list. Let’s check it out.”
And then they buy the book and around and around we go.
Sites like Medium and Reddit are the internet’s equivalent of the NYT Best Seller List.
I’m going to share with you how it’s possible to generate millions of views for your content on platforms like Medium.
I’m one of the top authors on Medium (just behind people like Hillary Clinton and the founder of Twitter) and my content generates a half a million views a month:
How do I do it?
With the Web Traffic Bomb.
You see, it’s kind of the opposite of the Inverted Unicorn Ad Targeting Method where instead we’re just buying traffic, I don’t care about where this traffic comes from, as long as it’s cheap.
And it does drive real traffic to these aggregator sites:
This sends a signal to these sites that these pages are getting a lot of traffic, which sends a signal to the algorithms that they should circulate this content more in the news feeds, in emails to subscribers, and featured lists.
Facebook Ad Hack #5: Target Polarized Audiences to Accelerate Engagement
This next one I call the Russian Ad Targeting Method, and I don’t want you destroying elections of meddling with society.
But nevertheless they did make some interesting discoveries that I will share for research purposes.
If you’ve ever wondered if Fake News is a real thing, you’re not alone. So I decided to try it out myself and see if I could create a fake news site.
I called it Citizens News Nexus and set it up on a new domain and used the CNN logo upside down.
I copied an article off of one of the fake news websites and targeted it to people who were biased toward the position of the story.
Within minutes of hitting the “promote” button, my notifications lit up like a Christmas tree.
For my $50 budget I ended up with 2000 website clicks, 27 shares, 20 comments and 30 new likes for my fake news Facebook page.
Where it gets really clever and one of the key innovations of this Facebook ad hack is that the Russians also introduced the idea of not only targeting people who strongly agree but also targeting the ideological opposite of the spectrum.
So I tested this hypothesis out too.
This story is a little divisive:
Working moms raise more successful daughters and empathetic sons according to a Harvard Study.
This is a real story, I didn’t make it up. And most stay-at-home moms might object to this label, pointing out that people who raise children are doing the hardest job in the world.
I have two kids. Trust me.
So for this experiment I targeted people who were very likely to agree with this position, such as Mommy CEOs, people who would jump on this story because it validates their life choices.
I also targeted people who were likely to disagree with the article, like stay-at-home mommies.
Because Facebook’s systems are based on the number of comments and comment replies, it generated an unusually vigorous, lively discussion in the comments that led to the outcome of 65K views, 10.7K likes, 1.5K shares, 390 comments.
Up to now we’ve been talking about crazy traffic bombs and generating mad traffic to your website.
So what’s the point?
How are we going to convert this traffic into real valuable business outcomes.
We’re at that point now where we’re going to convert these mad hits into leads and sales.
This starts with embracing a remarketing only strategy.
Facebook Ad Hack #4: Convert 100% of Facebook Ad Budget to Remarketing Campaigns
As ad prices have gotten higher, you need to cut the budget somewhere.
I would advocate for eliminating your non-remarketing ad spend.
There’s a huge difference between remarketing and non-remarketing ads.
If you take the same ad copy, the same ad targeting, the same ad bids and run it against a remarketing audience vs. a non-remarketing one, what you’ll find is that the people who have heard of you before with pre-existing brand affinity (the remarketing audience) are 2X-3X more likely to click and 2X-3X more likely to convert.
The single biggest discriminating factor of whether or not someone is going to convert into a sale or not is actually whether they’ve heard of you or not.
So if you think of your advertising efforts, maybe you’re converting 3-5% of clicks. If you zoom in on those converting clicks, 70% of those converting clicks will be from remarketing audiences.
Flipping this around, 90% of your ad spend generates 30% of the positive outcomes.
So given the high cost of advertising, you should eliminate the non-remarketing campaigns entirely.
That way you can get ads that have very high click-through rates, cutting your CPCs and increasing your conversion rates.
The problem with this strategy is that it’s like playing football with only the defense and no offense.
The problem with remarketing only is that by definition you’re only targeting people who are familiar with your brand and who have heard of you, so you’re forgetting the whole part of marketing around demand generation.
The solution to this conundrum is to expand the size of your audiences by engaging in the previous crazy traffic hacks that allows you to expand your audience that is familiar with your brand and has brand affinity, and allows you to remarket to more people who have heard of you.
Currently, I think people spend 90% of their ad budget on generic interest targeting. Maybe 10% of the budget goes to remarketing.
I suggest flipping that around.
Divert some of the untargeted generic ad spend to kooky PR stunts and content marketing projects that will generate a lot of brand affinity.
Then focus your Facebook advertising efforts on converting people who have heard of you in the past.
This is how marketing works:
- Step 1: You have to form some type of awareness. They have to have heard of you or your company. They won’t necessarily buy from you right away.
- Step 2: They’ll form some sort of bias. They’ll be positively inclined to receive your messages in the future.
- Step 3: Later when the need arises to buy something from you or your company they’ll do a search or navigate directly to your website.
Facebook Ad Hack #3: Reciprocal Remarketing – How to Promote Other People’s Stuff to Benefit Your Own
Here’s another way to expand your cookie pool via a paid version of influencer marketing.
You might have heard of Neil Patel. He and I have a similar sort of audience of growth hackers, but we’re not competitive in our offerings.
So we had an idea. Instead of me spending money on Facebook ads and him spending money on Facebook ads, we could swap — I promote his content and he promotes mine.
This doubles the size of our cookie pools by agreeing to cooperate and spread the message of our respective products and services to our respective audiences.
You might have done partner email list swaps before. This is the advertising equivalent of that.
Facebook Ad Hack #2: Use the Messages Objective to Get Instant Lead Capture, Automatic Qualification and Nurture
So far we’ve talked about top of the funnel, driving mad hits to your site and converting generic interest into specific interest into remarketing.
There’s one more piece of the equation and that’s the ad format.
You’ve probably run traffic campaigns, engagement campaigns and conversions campaigns.
But the ad objective I’m most excited about is a way to do mobile advertising on Facebook with incredible engagement and interactivity.
That’s messages campaigns:
If you’ve never heard of this before, it looks like a regular ad but when you click on that button, instead of navigating to a website it navigates to a messaging session.
Messaging sessions have very high engagement. You can run surveys, sign people up for events, do drip campaigns like automated follow-ups and nurture.
You can send them down different marketing funnels, like asking “are you an agency or an in-house marketer?”
Then depending on how they answer, instead of assuming that they’re going to be interested in one offer, I figure out a critical discriminating aspect of their identity and then send them down different marketing funnels.
For example, the follow-up message can be an agency webinar if they self-declare as an agency marketer.
All of the best practices you’re familiar with in conventional CRO have an equivalent in messaging.
For example, we know the principle of reciprocity or reflection — finding out more about the reader’s identity and reflecting that back in the follow-up conversation.
Another principle is reciprocal concessions. You can ask your reader, “I’ve got a chat marketing course for $199. What do you think?”
99% of people will hit the button “That’s too expensive”, and that’s OK.
You can follow up and say, “You’re right, how would you like it for 95% off?”
It’s kind of like where your kid comes up to you and asks, “can I have a ping pong table?” You’re like “no way!” Later they come up to you and ask “can I have a cookie?” You’re like, “Uh, OK.”
None of these tools are available in Facebook Ad Manager so what people do is use a third-party chatbot provider like MobileMonkey to automate the follow-up to Facebook Ad clicks.
Here’s an example of how the ad works in real life.
The ad is on the left is for the Facebook Advertising Summit that MobileMonkey hosted.
When someone clicks on the “Send Message” button, they go to Messenger where the MobileMonkey Facebook bot starts a conversation, as you can see in the screen recording below.
MobileMonkey powers a chatbot that follows up from a Facebook Ad that sends to viewer to a Messenger experience. Qualify leads and send relevant offers at a fraction of the cost of other Facebook Ads with a Facebook bot and Facebook ads.
The chatbot takes the visitors information and after qualifying them and learning about them, the chatbot sends them to the landing page with the right features and benefits to convert them.
Using this tactic I’ve been generating CPAs in the $3-$5 range, as opposed to regular ads where I usually pay $300 per lead.
After someone clicks on that ad, they immediately become a Messenger contact in your database. You have their contact information and the ability to do push notifications for a limited time.
Using that information you can do audience segmentation based on conversational criteria, such as people who self-declared themselves as an agency marketer.
You can segment them to drip campaigns to remarket to them, or wrap them up into a Facebook custom audience to send them a custom ad on Instagram.
This is a high-level view of the differences in approaches:
Typically on Facebook you pay for a click on an ad and you get a visitor to a website and 3%-5% of them convert.
With messaging, they click on the ad, you get messaging permissions right away. You then ask them a bunch of questions to learn who they are and what they want and like, so you can send them to the most relevant offer and landing page that’s going to resonate with them based on their self-declared information.
Even if they don’t convert, you have messaging permissions so you can continue to send them messages and to remarket to them.
Facebook Ad Hack #1: Add Comment Guards on Boosted Posts to Capture Leads
This final hack is the Boosted Post with Comment Guard.
This allows you to turn your Facebook commenters into leads.
Here’s an example:
This is one of those crazy riddles that get tons of comments and engagement:
The battle of English and Maths
1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river. Every elephant aw 2 monkeys going toward the river. Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.
How many animals are going toward the river?
Guess and I will send you the answer in Messenger.
The great thing about all the comments on this post is that they generate organic reach because of the engagement.
It’s really simple to set up a Comment Guard in MobileMonkey. You just write the response to send, set up a frequency cap, and designate which post to apply this to.
Here’s an example from a real estate agent:
Unicorn Realty just sold this house. Can you guess how much we sold it for?
We’ll send you the answer and the latest market assessment in Messenger.
This is a more interesting way to engage with customers in a more interactive way.
Send slide decks, PDF files, videos, coupon codes and more via Facebook Post comment guards and private message in Messenger.
The future of Facebook is private messaging. Zuckerberg said so himself.
Messaging has ridiculously high engagement rates.
People overwhelmingly prefer messaging over email communications.
And all the messaging platforms like Android, WhatsApp and Apple are releasing APIs in the coming year.
Top Facebook Ad Hacks of All Time
Thanks for coming along with me on this epic adventure from donkeyland to unicornland and the top Facebook ad hacks:
- Inverted Unicorn Ad Targeting hack
- Website Traffic Bomb Hack
- Russian Ad Targeting Hack
- The Remarketing Hack
- Reciprocal Remarketing Hack
- Messaging Ad Hack for Instant Lead Capture
- Boosted Post Comment Guard for Insane Engagement
We talked about the inverted unicorn and the traffic bomb and the Russian ad hacks for top of the funnel stuff.
We talked about remarketing and reciprocal remarketing for converting that interest.
And we talked about new ad formats and messaging for closing the deal.
If you’ve used any of these ad hacks, I’d love to hear how it worked for you.
Got an innovative new Facebook ad strategy of your own, let me know.
Important Next Steps
- Create a free Facebook Messenger bot today with the new Free Forever MobileMonkey Stay Connected special edition.
- Talk and learn about chatbots with other enthusiasts. Join MobileMonkey Island, a Facebook group of over 35k marketers and entrepreneurs that are ready to support you.
- Advance your marketing performance with Chatbot University, a free chatbot tutorial and training area for chat marketers.