Simulated webinar

The Simplest Way to Use Facebook Ads for Your Webinar

Creating Facebook ads for your webinar can get overwhelming. Keep it simple.


Creating Facebook ads for your webinar is a pain.

I won’t say where in.

In fact, the title here is a little misleading; the simplest way is to hire someone else to do it for you. But until you can do that, try this: create a Facebook ad campaign that simply brings people to your webinar registration page.

That’s it.

Facebook advertising has so many options, it can get very complicated, very quickly. So this post isn’t about the way to create Facebook ads for your webinar. It’s about one way that’s relatively simple, doable for a solopreneur or small team, and effective. 

As your business grows and you put more time into studying Facebook advertising, you can get fancy with it.

For now, this tactic is a smart place to start.

Step 1: Ask Yourself Some Questions

Before we go any further, this post assumes that you have a Business Page on Facebook, and an Ad Account. If you don’t...take care of that, and come back. Otherwise, read on. 

Before you log on to Facebook, it’s important to get clear on a little background info.

The structure of Facebook advertising is like this: A “Campaign” is a group of “Ad Sets.” An “Ad Set” is a group of specific “Ads.” All of your ads and ad sets act in service to a specific marketing objective, which you’ll choose in your Facebook Ad Manager.  

Before you choose that objective, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Who will you target? This might take some research.
  2. What is the desired action you want the targets to take? 
  3. What message will (probably) get the target audience to take the desired action? For now, just sum this up in a sentence, and worry about the content details later.
  4. What are you willing to spend?

To use ourselves as an example, we’re a medium-sized up-and-coming webinar software company looking to bring potential users to a webinar about...y’know, webinars. So our answers might be:

  1. Independent coaches looking for better ways to market themselves
  2. Sign up for our webinar
  3. “Webinar marketing can be easy.”
  4. $50-$100 per day 

Your answers will be different. Take some time with this, because the more thought you put into it, the more effective your ads will be.

Step 2: Choose Your Campaign Marketing Objective

With your answers to the above questions in mind, it’s time to head to your Ad Manager. Facebook divides your possible campaign objectives into 3 categories that represent different stages of the marketing funnel:
Facebook Ad Stages
  1. Awareness: Just getting people to realize you exist. These campaigns help you build the audience you’ll target in the following stages.
  2. Consideration: Getting people to engage with your business by visiting your website, signing up for emails, following your Facebook page, etc.
  3. Conversion: Getting people to take a committed action, like making a purchase.

We usually run Traffic campaigns in the Consideration category to get webinar registrations. Here’s why:

While Awareness ads have their place (especially for new businesses without any following), there’s enough general awareness of WebinarNinja to aim further down the funnel. We're trying to induce a "Consideration" action (like visiting our registration page) that brings people a step closer to signing up. As for Conversion ads, those are better saved for re-targeting much "warmer" followers in order to get our money's worth. More on that in another post. 

Now, Lead Generation campaigns might seem like a great move— people give their email right then and there, right? What’s not to like? 

Well, here’s what’s not to like: Lead Generation ads simply collect the email address from the user's Facebook account, and keep the user on Facebook.

We believe that the best use of social media is to get people on your website or on your contact list — engaging with you, not the social network. Since our webinars have built-in landing pages, and our software includes built-in emails (and integrates with outside email software too), Facebook’s usefulness to us ends the moment someone:

  1.  Gets to our landing page

    Or
  2. Gives us their email address

In other words, we prefer to let Facebook bring people to us, and take it from there.

Also, we’ve found that the email addresses people use for their Facebook accounts (the ones a Lead Generation ad would automatically collect on our behalf) aren’t always the best ones to engage with going forward. The email account someone used to create their Facebook account in high school just isn’t one they tend to check often. We don’t just want the signup — we want to start a longer conversation.  

So, we use Traffic campaigns, with the goal of driving people to our registration page.

Note to those of you with newer businesses and low awareness: the steps are the same for creating an Awareness ad as they are for a Consideration ad, just with different content. Point being: read on regardless. 

You can always run an Awareness campaign, then use the results to retarget those newly aware people for a Consideration campaign.

Step 3: Choose Your Audience

This is the most complex part. 

Once you name the first Ad Set for this campaign, you have a ton of options that allow you to target the right audience. By “right,” we mean big enough to include a healthy number of potential registrants, but specific enough to ensure that they’re actually interested in your webinar — and all within your budget.

Facebook helpfully shows you a little ad-dometer (yes, I made that term up), which tells you whether the audience you’re creating is in the “Goldilocks Zone,” the sweet spot between too specific and too broad. 

Play with the options here. You can adjust for location (as in where people live or travel), age range, language, gender, and more. With a “buyer persona” in mind, you can adjust the demographics accordingly. 

But most importantly for your webinar, you can adjust the audience by behaviors (like having visited certain websites) and interests. Facebook has been mining data for years to figure out what people are into. As frightening as that is for privacy advocates, it’s incredibly useful when it’s time to create your audience.

That said, you don’t necessarily — or only —  want to target people who are interested in your webinar topic. 

I’m going to say that again.

You don’t always want to choose an audience that’s interested in your webinar topic, at least not in every ad set. 

Why? Because that’s putting yourself in direct competition with people who offer similar products and services. This lowers the number of registrations, and raises the cost per registration. It’s just not smart, lean startup thinking. 

You have to be different, because you’re an independent, a small business owner —  not McWalmazon. You have to be a little craftier. 

Take us for example:

Life would be easier if WebinarNinja could just advertise to people interested in webinar software. But that would put us up against the McWalmazons of our own industry, the massive conferencing companies like Zoom and GoTo who also happen to offer webinar software (as an afterthought, really, but that’s another blog post ). 

And it would put us up against their massive advertising budgets. They’ll outspend us every time...for now *narrows eyes, rubs hands together*

More importantly, we have a much more specific focus than just “webinars.”

Facebook Audience Interests

We cater specifically to coaches, trainers, and other independents trying to build authority and make sales by offering educational value — and who don’t want to deal with a bunch of annoying tech stuff.

We need to find them

So instead of choosing “webinar software” as an interest, we choose “marketing strategy,” then narrow it down to people who are also interested in “coaching.”

It can get really complex, so make a point of keeping it simple:

  1. Don’t include too many interests in any one Ad Set. When there’s too many variables, you can’t tell which interest actually helped and which didn’t. Get it down to one or two per Ad Set.
  2. Use the Audience Insights tool to study what interests align with your product or service. For example, people interested in life coaching may also follow certain inspirational or motivational pages that coaches can target.
  3. If you have a decent Facebook following, Use the Analytics tool, under your Ads Manager Tools Menu. There, you can see all kinds of useful information, like what kind of content your followers like, what days and times they’re most active, and where they are geographically. You can then create “look-alike” audiences that share their characteristics.
  4. Run different Ad Sets for different audiences. For example:
    1. A set for people who visited relevant websites or pages
    2. A set for people who engaged with a previous Awareness campaign
    3. A set based on one narrow interest criteria, e.g. Marketing + Coaching

Next, you choose the placement of your Ad Set. This refers to “where” your ads will show up, e.g. in the Facebook News Feed or on Instagram Stories. 

There are a lot of options. I recommend choosing “Automatic Placement,” checking back after a few days to see which placements got the best response, then manually editing placements to double down on what worked best.

Step 4: Create the Ad (Finally!)

Here’s the fun part: actually creating the Facebook ad for your webinar. 

For this post, we’ll stick with the “Single Image or Video” option. This can be a video or still image. Use the same, or similar, visuals on your Facebook ads that you use on your own registration page.  If your ad’s look is different from your reg page’s look, it can create a sense of discordance and distrust. 

(Trust me, tiny subconscious blockers like that can turn a likely registration into a simple page visit.)

Facebook can automatically try different visuals, and find the ones that work best. For example, videos may perform better than still images depending on the placement. Upload several, and see what performs. Then, add your Primary Text, Headline, and Description. 

A few notes on the text:

  1. The Primary Text needs to start with a scroll-stopper. Think of how quickly we scroll through social media, especially when we’re scrolling past Facebook ads. What makes us stop? It’s gotta be dramatic, short, and quickly summarize the promise of the webinar — “Stop dieting forever.” “Increase sales this month.” Or in our case, “Make webinars easy.” 
  2. White space helps. I like to start with my short scroll-stopper, then skip a line before giving more detail, then close with a call to action:

    Make webinars easy.

    This live workshop shows you exactly how to create, promote, and host a webinar that converts — all without breaking a sweat.

    Sign up today!

  3. Make the headline the title of your webinar (or a shortened version thereof), and the official CTA (Call to Action) button clear and simple: “Register Here” or “Learn More.” The CTA button should link right to your registration page. 

If you have the option of using a Facebook pixel to help track the performance of your ads, do so. For our Webinar Ninjas: Pro, Plus, and Power plans include Facebook pixels with a Facebook ad tracking integration that’s very easy to use. You can check that out here.

Once you’re happy with your ad, put it out there, and track its performance.

Step 5: Analyze & Optimize

After a few days go by, check the stats and make any necessary adjustments.

Facebook has a wonderful tool to help you do that, Breakdown.

You can learn a lot from the Breakdown numbers. You can see which placements worked best, which demographics engaged most, and more. As always, double down on what works, and discard what doesn’t.

Above all, be open-minded. The difference between great marketers and so-so ones is the willingness to have your assumptions shattered. Facebook might reveal that people into fitness coaching are also into...I dunno, early 90’s R&B or 18th-century Czech Impressionism (which I freely admit to just having made up). 

The point is, trust the data, even when it surprises you. If you do, each round of ads will work better than the last, and your webinar registration numbers will reflect that. 

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