Should You Do Outbound Advertising on Facebook?

‘Outbound advertising’ or ‘prospecting’ is the type of advertising you do when you are trying to reach a new audience with your ads.

This is a crucial thing to do for any company looking to grow, but these days you don’t have many choices for doing this online, it really boils down to two platforms: Google and Facebook.

While Facebook has incredible reach, and audience targeting capabilities, there are a few things to consider before launching a campaign:

1. Can you reach your audience?

Most smaller companies are going to have a very defined customer base. For one of our clients, Quimbee, this is current law students. For Rentec Direct it’s property managers and landlords with 10 or more units under management.

When setting up your Facebook campaign, you need to input all of the targeting parameters telling Facebook which users you want to serve ads to.

There are many ways to do this, including interest targeting (targeting users based on their page likes, profile etc.) lookalike audiences, demographics and more.

facebook interests .png

While all of these seem to make perfect sense on the surface, there is more to it:

  • Interest targeting is not always accurate.

  • Lookalike audiences are great, but they still are limited by what information Facebook has on its users.

  • Demographic targeting is often too broad for most advertisers and doesn’t lead to any real results.

  • Behavioral targeting is better suited for larger advertisers with a product that appeals to a broad audience.

2. Do you have the right creative?

Consider that the people you are reaching have never heard of your brand before. This is your first impression.

Your creative needs to:

  • Communicate quickly and effectively what your product is and why someone might need it

  • Capture their attention enough to drive them to your site so you can continue marketing to them from there

This is even more challenging given people’s short attention spans these days. On the plus side, it is easy to test creative quickly on Facebook, but you're going to need to spend some budget to do so.

3. Are you set up to continue to marketing to the new audience?

Assume that the audience needs to hear from you again before they convert/register/buy.

You should have methods in place to continue to speak to this audience.

Typically advertisers will follow up via:

  • Social platform likes/follows

  • Email/newsletters

  • Direct outreach from a sales person (if you capture their contact information on the first visit)

  • Paid remarketing via Google, Facebook etc.

4. Are there better ways to bring new customers to your website?

Search should be the foundation of any advertiser's digital marketing.

Since people are already searching for something, and are therefore in-market, these are the people you want to reach. Many software and SaaS companies have been built entirely on search traffic.


Anyone with a Facebook account can use the audience insights tool to research their opportunity before launching a single ad.

The tool will allow you to determine if you can reach your target audience, and also understand the size of that audience.

Another way to really narrow down your targeting is by using boolean logic:


By doing this, you will have a much smaller but more relevant audience that is more likely to respond to your message.

If you're interested in learning more about this, feel free to reach out to me at andrew@levelup-digital.com.  

4 Facebook Ad Strategies for Software & SaaS Companies

Facebook is a great place for software and SaaS companies to target their exact audience on a personal level. This level of precise targeting is what is getting Facebook in trouble, but as of right now nothing has changed with the ability to target this way, only with some of the data and insights you have access to.

This level of targeting is available through a free Facebook Ad account to anyone, you just need to know the right way of setting it up.

Here are few ways you can use Facebook ads to bring in new customers and keep the ones you already have:

1. Prospect using 1% lookalike audiences:

Facebook "lookalike audiences" are new audiences that Facebook creates based on a current audience that you have already aggregated.

This could be a list of people that are already customers of your product or if you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website, an audience of your website visitors.

By exporting a list of your current customers from your CRM and loading this to Facebook, you can select the top 1% of users on Facebook that most closely match the users who are on your list.

The tricky thing in marketing to this new audience, is having the right message. The people on the lookalike list are more than likely hearing about your product for the first time, and it’s going to take more than one ad to get them to convert. One highly effective way is to create ads from a popular posts on your website’s blog to bring them to your website for the first time.

The better the quality of the people on the list the more effective your lookalike audience will be. If you have the data, use a source audience of your highest value customers as the seed audience for the lookalike.

2. Retain current customers:

When customers stop using your platform, the more likely they are to churn.

Allocate a small amount of your marketing budget to target current customers to keep them engaged. Provide updates on new features, blog posts, or personality pieces.

Your ads will likely cost less because they will have high engagement. Depending on the size of your audience, a budget of $5-$10 a day might be enough to cover your bases here.

3. Drive traffic to landing pages:

Driving prospects off of Facebook to a landing page is a solid strategy for turning prospects into leads and sending them directly into your CRM.

By using a landing page (not a page on your website) designed entirely around capturing their contact information, you reduce the chance of them losing interest and leaving your site.

Once you have captured their contact information, make sure to follow up with them immediately.

4. Remarket to free trial cancellers:

Not everyone who doesn’t go from free-trial to paid subscriber is a lost opportunity.

They might have gone on vacation or had a busy few weeks at work. If they do lapse and aren’t automatically set up for a paid account you should encourage them to sign up.

Setup a custom audience to reach them again with a specific creative about their free-trial ending.

This might have to be a manual process depending on what CRM you use. Zapier offers the ability to sync  many CRM's with Facebook custom audiences, however some companies will find themselves having to this manually.


These are just a few ways you can use Facebook to market your software or SaaS company. And there are so many more…

the key to Facebook ads is having the right audience targeting and message match. This way you can speak to your prospects and customers depending on who they are and where they are at.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions!


Understanding Attribution

Attribution in the digital marketing world is about how you tie results to your digital marketing efforts.

Today’s customer buying journey is complicated “like a sightseeing tour with stops, exploration, and discussion along the way—all moments when you need to convince people to pick your brand and stick with it instead of switching to a competitor.”*

Instead of search, click, browse, buy… the journey of a someone interested in a product might go something like this:

  1. Searches on Google for ‘top-rated project management software’

  2. Clicks on a paid search ad

  3. Browses the website, reading the homepage, features, and pricing pages

  4. Opens another browser tab, does another Google search to compare the platform against competitors

  5. Ends up on YouTube, watching a video review about the platform

  6. Gets distracted by a friend on Instagram, abandons the initial search

  7. Several days later is retargeted by the project management software company on Facebook and signs up for a free trial

And while the great thing about digital marketing, is that you can set up conversion tracking and directly measure the results of campaigns… this long and complicated buying process makes the results of a campaign difficult to measure and attribute success accurately.

Advertisers many years ago were not able to do this so simply and directly, and this is part of the appeal of digital marketing. Marketing directors and execs are more than happy to move budget from traditional media like TV and radio, to online channels where the promise of measurable results await.

Sounds awesome, what is the problem then?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as you think. There are inherent flaws in the how we measure, and what we are able to measure. And it may be helpful to know that every organization, large and small are dealing with attribution challenges in their marketing.

Here are a few key issues with measurability and attribution:

1. Digital ad platforms don’t communicate with each other

If you are running campaigns on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn at the same time, you will get campaign reporting from each of these platforms. But none of these platforms will communicate with each other so you end up with your data in dreaded ‘silos’.

This means if LinkedIn tells you that you got 50 conversions, and Facebook tells you that you got 50 conversions - you may only have gotten 50 real conversions and not 100. Or you may have gotten 75, 53, or 92...

Without knowing exactly who converted, and what marketing they were exposed to at every step, you can’t truly understand the effectiveness of each channel.

2. Trackability issues

The simple fact is that you won’t be able to track all of the results of your campaigns. There are several reasons for this:

  • Private browsing:

    • Private Browsing protects private information and blocks websites from tracking behavior. It also prevents the ability to remarket to someone.

  • Cookie deletion:

    • Cookies are a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user's computer by the user's web browser while the user is browsing. Cookies often get deleted by users and in some cases don’t get accepted by the browser in the first place.

  • Organic search data encryption:

    • Google protects its users by encrypting all of their organic search data and not sharing it with anyone. While this makes it more difficult to track and optimize organic search efforts, you can still get most of this data if you are running paid search campaigns.

  • Device and browser switching:

    • People tend to have more than one device that they access the web on (laptop, desktop computer, mobile phone, e-reader etc.)

    • That creates difficulty in measuring the impact of a user seeing an ad on one device and converting on another.

  • Conversions that happen outside of the measurement window:

    • Some conversions can happen several months later. This will be especially true for purchases that have a long consideration period.


  • Accept that at least for now, you won’t be able to measure everything and that is OK! Focus on running the best campaigns possible, and use what you can measure from the platform data to optimize.

  • Deeply understand your target audience, so that you can target them accurately.

  • Use AdWords quality score and Facebook relevance score to perfect your target audience/message match.

  • Look at your overall results from your sales tracking tool - how are sales performing this year compared to last year?

  • If you can afford it, deploy measurement platforms like Attribution App, or Convertro that give you the ability to track and de-duplicate your marketing efforts across channels (note that event these platforms won’t be able to track everything).

*source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/experience-design/customer-journey-mapping/