Planning the perfect Facebook ad is quite time consuming. Some ads, like Valentine's Day promotions, are only good for a few weeks, while others could be good for quite a long time. You could boost a regular post or you could use Facebook Ads Manager to create an ad.
Facebook Ads Manager is designed to guide you through the creation of a new campaign, selecting an audience, and writing your ad. Ads Manager is best used when you don't go through the steps of uploading your existing customer list, creating an audience, following the 80/20 image rule, and boosting a post.
You can achieve the same results regardless if you use Ads Manager or if you boost one of the posts from your wall, so it doesn't matter which one you use. Ads Manager has a lot of advanced features, most notably are the campaign ROI tracking and retargeting. It's also important to note that ads created through Ads Manager do not appear as regular posts to your wall. This is really convenient when you create an evergreen ad that you'd like to use over and over again because it will not look like you are just trying to boost an old post from your wall. That said, when you are doing short term promotions for the current week, it does make sense to boost one of the published posts from your wall instead of using the complicated Ads Manager.
Ads Are Social
Regardless how you manage your ads on Facebook, you need to realize that Facebook is, first and foremost, a social network. Everything published to that network can be liked, shared, and commented on, even ads. Likes and comments accumulate over time, especially on the ads created through Ads Manager. Lots of likes and comments will really work in your favor with one of those evergreen ads that you use over and over again, but those same comments might also completely negate your ad.
Take a look at this ad from Front Jewelers:
The social statistics show "2.7K Likes 85 Comments 684 Shares," which is really good for any ad. Those statistics certainly would get my attention, and I'd be inclined to click the "Shop Now" button to check it out. From what I could tell, Front Jewelers has been reusing that same ad since December 2014, and as of this writing in February 2016 I still see it every once in a while.
It's a simple ad that makes its point while accumulating social engagements. However, those same social engagements are now working against them, and they are not paying attention.
The Ads Manager Gotcha!
The ads created through Ads Manager do not appear on your business page wall, which is good when you want to reuse an old ad. The drawback is that you can't easily see how many people are commenting on your ad. In my opinion, this is a huge pitfall of Ads Manager.
Here's a sample of many of the good comments I found on that ad:
This ad created a lot of interest with users tagging each other like you see above; certainly the mark of a successful ad.
On the other hand, I did find a few comments that represent missed customer service opportunities like these two:
Here you see someone commenting that they don't make a ring with Tiger's Eye. Front Jewelers certainly could have replied back with an alternative suggestion or even offered to custom make one. The second unanswered comment above shows someone asking if the sapphires are natural or lab created. Quick replies to both of these comments would show everyone that Front Jewelers is attentive. Leaving these comments unanswered shows that they are just pushing ads without engaging users.
Here are a couple of bad comments that I found:
Here you can see two different people complaining about the price. What that tells me is that they are targeting the wrong people with the ad. If I were them, I would have deactivated this ad as soon as they got those comments and recreated it with new targeting to exclude those with a lower income. Instead, they replied to one of the comments with a borderline sarcastic tone. I'd also like to point out that the only comment Front Jewelers chose to reply on had to do with pricing.
Continuing with the pricing and customer support issues, this is another bad comment that was lurking along with this ad:
This one is more than just a comment on the ad asking a question; it's more of a negative review of Front Jewelers. This potential customer wanted to buy a ring but their financing was declined. The person even called Front Jewelers 3 times and never received a return phone call. A comment like this will negate the effectiveness of the ad simply because everyone wants good customer service and will shy away from businesses that can't manage a simple thing like a return phone call or reply to a negative online review like this.
Monitoring Ad Comments
I can't fully blame Front Jewelers for not watching their ad and replying to these comments. The truth is that, Facebook makes is very difficult to monitor them, and even borderline impossible if you've hired an agency to manage ads for you. Since these ads do not appear in your Page's timeline, you can only access these comments if you have the permalink for the ad, except that finding the permalink is challenging even for the most seasoned users of Facebook Ads Manager. Here's how you do it:
1. Log into Ads Manager
2. Change your view
Click the button that says "All Campaigns" and change it to "All Ads" like you see here:
3. Click the ad
Click on the ad name you previously created. It appears on the top line of this view.
4. Click the ad preview button
A mockup of the ad will appear on the right side of the screen. Click the eyeball button above that mockup to see the true preview of your ad.
5. Click the link on the ad preview
You'll see the post permalink all the way at the bottom of your ad preview.
There's no other way to get to the permalink for your ads, which makes it very difficult to monitor that activity on those ads. The best suggestion I have is to bookmark this permalink and return back to it every day while your ads are running.
Facebook Ads Manager has plenty of features to make it worthwhile to use it, but you have to make the extra effort to monitor the comments and user engagements on all your ads. Unmonitored ads can quickly turn into negative reviews and examples of poor customer service.