Facebook Call-to-Action Buttons: How To Use and Optimize

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In this post we’ll focus on Facebook posts (free and paid) and how to apply the Call to Action buttons and then how to optimize the posts for the best potential result when you’re boosting posts to a desired audience. We’ll also discuss other’s results so far in testing out these Call to Action buttons and what we can learn from them.

About Facebook's Call to Action Buttons

In February Facebook began allowing page owners and advertisers big and small to apply Call to Action buttons to posts (free and paid). These Call-to-Action buttons allow an extra click source for regular posts, mobile newsfeeds, and sidebar ads.

Important Detail To Note:

This can be 100% free to use! While researching best practices for these call-to-action buttons I came across many posts that gave the impression that they are for paying advertisers only, they’re not!

The reality of the situation is that you can apply Call to Action buttons to posts on your page and never pay a penny in advertising. In the steps below I’ll show you exactly how to set up posts with call to action buttons that go onto your page for free in addition to posts that you pay for to display to your target audience but never show up on your page, allowing you to create multiple versions for testing without annoying your current following.

Steps to Apply Facebook’s Call to Action Buttons:

To begin you'll need to login into Facebook and head over to the Facebook Ads Manager’s Power editor page: https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/powereditor/ Note: You’ll need to be on Chrome to use this utility, it’s the only supporting browser currently.

Now go to the “manage pages” section and select the page you want to work on.

Steps to setting up organic Facebook posts with Call-to-Action buttons

These following steps will help you set up Facebook posts with the Call-to-Action button that show up on your page and are seen by your current following.

Step 1 - Click “Create Post”

Step 2 - Enter in your post’s details

Step 3 - Select one of the 5 Call-to-Action buttons

Your options are: Shop Now, Learn More, Sign up, Book Now, Download. Choose whichever you believe is the most relevant to the content that you’re posting about.

Step 4 - Apply a custom image

Odds are, the image that Facebook grabs automatically for the post isn’t going to be the best possible option. Thankfully, they allow you to upload another image of your choosing in it’s place.

Step 5 - Change the checkbox to “This post will be published on the Page”

This step will be the difference between posts that appear on your page for free and the ones that appear on your target audience’s news feed as paid posts. Posts that are “used as an ad” will not be used in organic distribution, meaning they won’t show up on your fanpage. This will be important later when we’re testing the ad without posting the same message constantly on your page.

Step 6 - Click “Create Post”

Step 7 - Preview your unpublished Facebook post

Just click on your latest post and the post preview should pop up with the different options of how your post will look if you choose to display it in the other channels such as right column advertisement

Step 8 - Publish to your Facebook page.

You have the option of scheduling it for a later date if you’d like to create your weekly/monthly lot of posts all at once.

Setting up posts that will be advertisements

The difference in the steps for creating post advertisements vs. page posts is step #5. This time just keep the checkbox set to it’s default “This post will only be used as an ad” position.

Facebook's Advertising Rules

Now that you’re running an advertisement vs. a page post there are a few details and rules that you need to make sure you’re taking note of:

1. Facebook’s 20% text rule.

This means that you are only allowed to be using a maximum of 20% of the ad post’s image as text. The way this is calculated is in a grid pattern so you may need to either modify or select a new image. To find out more and test your image in Facebook’s grid tool, go here: https://www.facebook.com/help/468870969814641

As you can see, my original image was over the grid's 20% text limit. If I'm posting this as a regular post for the page, this isn't an issue. If I want to post it as an ad or boost my post though, I'll need to modify the image's text to fit within 20% of the grid. This is a convenient trick to circumvent the rules without loss of material or message.

2. There are some things you can’t advertise.

You’re allowed to have pages and talk about just about anything you want however you’re not always allowed to advertise about that topic/product. Those topics include: weapons, adult products, tobacco, drugs, gambling, subscription traps or spyware, etc. View the list and guidelines for Facebook ads here: https://www.facebook.com/ad_guidelines.php

Design your advertisement post to follow these guidelines and we’re on our way to optimizing the ads.

Optimizing your boosted/paid Facebook posts/ads:

Just like with any advertising, it’s all about scientific experimentation and analysis of the ad. It’s imperative that you are only testing one variable at a time. If you change multiple variables all at once you’ll get imbalanced results and not know which aspects increased or decreased clickthroughs and conversions.

Potential variables to change and test:

  • Which Call to Action button you selected
  • Post Text
  • Link Headline
  • Description
  • Related image
  • Targeted audience

The goal in changing out variables is to figure out what works and what doesn't. We all think we have the perfect one liner and that we know what the reader is interested in but only numbers can truely reaffirm our beliefs. Once you've perfected the ad to create an optimal cost per click and the audience is converting as planned, keep boosting until the numbers level out.

Other's results using Facebook's Call to Action buttons so far:

Currently there are only two easily accessable Facebook Call to Action tests published. Unfortunately they don't apply enough details to truly know how effective they are. For all we know, they only spent $100 in ad spend and never achieved anything close to a statistically relevant sample size.

Lonelybrand published results showing that with the content posted, "View Details" performed slightly better than "Shop now". The test shows a 13% increase in click throughs for the "View Details" button being applied to their post's pitch. This test however doesn't prove that it attracted people who were also eager to buy, it only shows that the click through rate increased.. Click through rates are only 1 of many measurements, conversions and ROI speak louder.

InsideFacebook also published their own study suggesting that for the pitch they had presented, the Call to Action buttons actually increased their cost per conversion. The original post produced a $40 cost per conversion while the "learn more" button being included produced a $44 cost per conversion and a $42 for the "Sign up" button being included. However, just like the other test, we don't know how many people actually saw this advertisement as well there seems to be a slight alteration between the tested posts in addition to the inclusion of the button.

Results conclusion: Test for yourself, we will be (and publishing results)! Take an ad you're currently wanting to run and create a few tests that change the button or remove/add it and share your results with us.

If you have any more questions about how Facebook Call to Action buttons work or you'd like to report your own results of ads with the buttons vs no button, please comment below.