What the heck is “social proof”?
In its most simplistic terms, “social proof” refers to the idea that customers allow their purchase decisions to be influenced by the demonstrated actions of others. In other words, if people see other people buying or endorsing a product… they’ll want that product too. This concept is also known as the “science of persuasion”.
For the purposes of this post, we’re going to be talking about “social proof” in the context of Facebook ads. Imagine an audience is exposed two Facebook ads for the exact same product. One ad has no interactions whatsoever on it. Not a single like, not a single comment, not a single share. The other ad, however (again, for the same product… and taking it to the extreme, let’s say using the exact same creative) has 1,292 likes, 340 shares and 410 comments.
The “social proof” theory posits that, in most cases, the ad with the “social proof” will perform better in terms of conversions. This is because, when other users see the positive activity on the ad, they will be assured of two things:
- The product itself must be fairly good, as lots of people like the ad; and
- If other cool people like it, perhaps they should like it too
So… based on the above, it makes sense that we might want to ensure our ads are showing as much “social proof” as possible.
Why social proof often doesn’t work on Facebook
Facebook as an ad platform is amazing. The ability to split audiences in granular levels is amazing, and often people will create multiple ad sets for their different audiences. For example, my audience stacking approach tends to look something like:
- Cold Audiences (Interest-based targeting; demographic targeting; lookalike targeting)
- Warm Audiences (Facebook Page Engagers + Friends of Fans; Website Visitors; Product Page Viewers; Custom Audiences such as email subscribers, past purchasers etc)
- Hot Audiences (Add to Cart excluding purchasers; Initiate Form completion; Multiple Product Views)
In a later post, I might dive into my approach to “audience stacking”, but for now let’s just assume that based on the above grouping, my “warm audience” is split up into 4 different ad sets, but for each of them I want the audience to see the same ad creative.
Now, if I was to create my ads in the “usual” way, what I would be doing in copying and pasting the same ad copy, uploading the same image and using the same call to action into each of the different 4 ad sets. Realistically speaking, the 4 audiences are all seeing the exact same ad, aren’t they?
Well, not quite, actually… and this is the problem with the default way of setting up ads in Facebook. Facebook is serving 4 identical versions of the ad, but they’re still 4 different versions. Can you see the issue here? Even though the ads look exactly the same, with 4 different versions, that means that we’re diluting our potential “social proof” on the ad. By that I mean the “engagements” (likes, shares etc) on the “Website Visitors” ad set only show on that particular ad; the engagements on the “Custom Audiences” ad set will only show on that particular ad; and so on.
However, what if I was to tell you there was a way to use the exact same ad (and therefore aggregate your social proof) across all your ad sets? So, instead of each audience only seeing 10 likes on an ad, for example, each audience would see 40 engagements (thereby bolstering the social proof of your ads and increasing the perceived “popularity” of the item)?
Or, let’s take another scenario. Let’s say your business operates in extreme seasonalities, and you might want to run the same ad each year for only 2 months of the year. Some advertisers might create the ad all over again each year, but by doing this you “lose” the social proof of the previous years’ ad. However, an alternative method would be to “reuse” the exact same ad the following year, meaning that each year you add further engagements to your ad, strengthening the social proof each season?
There’s a simple way to do this, but often advertisers don’t take advantage of this feature. And it all has to do with a simple thing… your ad ID.
Ok, enough teasing the point. How do we aggregate engagements onto a single ad across multiple ad sets then?
Right… here’s a practical example. Continuing our scenario above, I have 4 ad sets for my “Warm Audience” that I want to show the same ad too. Our first step would be to create our ideal ad in our first ad set. Make sure this ad is exactly the way you want it, because it’s going to appear to all 4 ad set audiences.
Once you’ve created the ad as you usually do within Business Manager, you’re then going to “preview” it.
- Make sure the ad you want to copy is selected in the checkbox
- Click “Edit”
- This will bring up the usual edit screen. From here, click the “Preview” button (if you don’t know what that looks like, see the screenshot below)
- Then click on “Facebook post with comments”
- This will take you to a page with a URL that looks something like https://www.facebook.com/12345678910/posts/10987654321
- Copy the last set of numbers in the URL (so, in our example, the number “10987654321”)
Voila… this is your ad ID. Now that you have this, you’re going to use this across all your other ad sets. Here’s how:
- Go to the next of your ad sets that you want to use the ad in.
- You’re going to create a new ad in the ad set as per usual, but when you get to the creative section, select “Use Existing Post”. Note that “Create Ad” is highlighted by default, and the “Use Existing Post” option isn’t all that obvious, if you aren’t paying attention.
- Once that’s selected, you’re then going to click on the “Enter Post ID” option
- Paste the Facebook ID you copied in the previous step and press “Submit”.
- That’s it… you’re now using the exact same ad in the new ad set, and all social proof will be aggregated across all ad sets.
- Now do this across all remaining ad sets where you want the ad to appear.
You are now using the same ad ID across multiple ad sets, meaning the social proof will be aggregated.
Now as users from any audience react to your ads, all other users in all other ad sets will see those reactions.
It’s worth noting: this isn’t “cheating”; it’s not making your products seem more popular than they actually are. All the reactions, likes, comments and shares on your ad are from actual people. However, what we’re doing by employing this tactic is not cheating ourselves out of displaying the product’s true popularity by splitting up the social reactions into different ads.
So… are you ready to supercharge your Facebook ads with social proof? Let me know how you go in the comments!
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