With more and more social media platforms becoming ‘pay to play’, it’s estimated that only around 6% of your audience on Facebook will actually see your organic posts. That means if you have a page following of 10,000 people, only 600 of those could see your post if you don’t pay to reach a bigger audience.

Fear not though, just because you’re a small business on a shoestring budget, doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the power of paid ads to promote your competition. We’ve worked with all businesses great and small and have collected 10 top tips to help you stretch your Facebook ads marketing budget for competitions further.

1. Set up your Facebook (and Google) pixels.

If you don’t already have your Facebook/Instagram and Google remarketing pixels set up on your website, you’re missing a huge opportunity to recapture warm leads who are already familiar with your brand at a fraction of the cost it would take to convert a colder audience.

Facebook has an easy to follow guide for setting up your pixel here and Google has a lengthier guide for setting up their pixel (or tag) here.

2. Ensure you have Google Analytics set up and working on your site.

I can’t emphasise enough how incredible Google Analytics is.

It’s a totally free tool that gives you priceless insights into the people visiting your website and showing interest in your products or services.

When it comes to running Facebook ads for competitions, the Audience > Interests tab in Google Analytics is going to be your best friend not only as a source of inspiration for audiences to target with your ads, but as a confirmation that you’re actually attracting the right people with your ads by checking your demographic information in the Audience tab.

3. Create a Facebook audience for your competition page visitors.

You should already know how important having a landing page for your competition is in general, but when it comes to running Facebook ads for a competition, it’s crucial to keeping your costs down.

Once you have your pixel set up, create an audience of people who have visited your competition page URL – for example yourcompany.com/win-a-prize. This will collect data about everyone who has specifically visited your competition page and will come in handy for our next step…

4. Create a Facebook audience for your entrants.

It’s good competition practice to redirect competition entrants to a thank you page after they have entered your competition – for example yourcompany.com/win-a-prize-thanks.

You can then create an audience in your Facebook ads account, collecting people who have visited this specific URL, allowing you to exclude them from future ads promoting your competition and bring your costs down by not preaching to the already converted…

5. Remarket your competition to non-entrants.

By following steps 3 and 4 above, you will now have the foundations to remarket your competition to those that have seen your competition, but not yet entered.

What do I mean by that?

Those that visited your competition page (e.g. yourcompany.com/win-a-prize) will be added to your competition page audience and those that visited your thank you page (e.g. yourcompany.com/win-a-prize-thanks) will be added to a separate audience.

With Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool, you can create and show a competition ad to those that are in your landing page visitor audience and then exclude those that are in your thank you page audience.

This means only those that saw your landing page but didn’t enter, will see this ad.

As they are already familiar with your brand and your competition, they should be much cheaper to convert into entrants than cold audiences who have not seen your competition already.

6. Keep your targeting tight.

Keep your ads really carefully and tightly targeted to your ideal entrant.

Let’s say your ideal client is a gym junkie. He’s young, single and commutes by train every day to his inner city job. You’re not going to target outer-suburbs heavily populated with families, but are more likely to target suburbs with train stations or bus links to the city with a high number of unit blocks. This is where your ideal client is more likely to be found.

Keeping your targeting for your competition ads on Facebook very tight to your demographic, means less money wasted putting your ad in front of people who are less likely to convert.

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7. Keep your audiences separate.

It’s tempting to lump everyone into one big, all-inclusive audience when it comes to running Facebook ads for competitions.

Yes, it may save you money by running fewer ads, but it also means you get less data on which specific audiences are responding to your ads and converting into competition entrants.

Keeping your audiences – especially experimental ones – separate, means you can keep an eye on your cost per conversion and turn off adsets and audiences that are not performing as well as others, keeping your overall competition ad costs down.

8. Test at least 2 different images and 2 different texts.

The best way to maximise your ad budget for your competition is to A/B test different creatives to ensure maximum engagement and conversion.

You’ll need to test at least two different images against each other and two different variations of your text/caption against each other.

The easiest way is to test the same text paired with two different images first, then once you have your winning image (the image with the most entries/conversions) pair that with two different versions of your text/caption to see which one attracts more entries.

Test your images against each other first, then two different captions both with the winning image.

Yes, it will cost more initially to test multiple versions of the same ad, but once you have your verdict, combine your winning image with your winning text, safe in the knowledge that your combination will have the best chance at converting entries.

TIP: look through your past posts for your best-performing images and captions and use those to create a couple of versions of your ad for testing.

9. Set up your ads as conversion ads.

When setting up the Facebook ads for your competition, choose ‘Conversions’ as your objective.

If you followed step 4, above, then you will have a handy thank you page and audience in Facebook Ads Manager that you can use as your conversion event.

By opting to run your competition ads with a conversion objective, Facebook will optimise performance, reach and audiences to increase the number of conversions – or entries into your competition.

10. Budget at least $5 a day per ad, per audience.

One of the most common questions we’re asked is how much you should budget for Facebook ads for a competition.

On the one hand it’s kind of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question because you could test hundreds of different versions of your ad creative against thousands of possible audiences…

On the other hand it’s a simple formula:

($5 x number of ad creatives) x ($5 x number of audiences) = estimated daily ad budget.

You then multiply your daily ad budget by the number of days your competition is running.

If you follow our advice from step 8, you will have four initial ads to start with (two text x two images) so you’re looking at at least $20 a day for the first few days for one audience. If you want to test three different audiences, it’ll be $20 a day times three audiences, so $60 a day for the first few days.

This may seem like a lot, but if you’re able to bring down your cost per conversion through testing different creatives and audiences, once you have your winning creatives and audiences, you can turn off the poor performers and know with certainty you’re running the most effective, highest converting ads for your competition.

Running ads to promote your competition doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. The above tips are tried and tested and designed to help you reduce the cost of running competition ads whilst at the same time maximise the number of entries – or conversions – your ads receive.

Want to get nerdy with us about Facebook ads? In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re really passionate about competitions, so if you have any questions about Facebook ads for competitions, have a tip we’ve missed that you’d like to share, or just ask us anything about competitions… you can call us, email us or book in a totally free chat with us to nerd out about all things competitions.

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