Social media marketing is tricky, because no one actually goes on social media looking to buy anything.
We’ve likened it before to being at a party; everyone’s just there to be distracted, be entertained, rant a little, catch up with their people, have fun. No one wants to hear your sales pitch. It’s not like paid search marketing, where you specifically target people who are searching for what you have to offer. But we have seen social media marketing be extremely effective, so long as it’s done correctly. Because it is where people hang out for significant amounts of time out of their day, and if you can reach them with the right message, you can entice them to take the next step and learn more about what it is you’re selling.
It’s delicate, though (as Taylor Swift would say), which is why it’s important to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to every aspect of advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
So today we’re talking about Facebook lead forms and whether or not it’s better to direct users to your own Facebook landing page. You’ve put in a lot of effort to get the user’s attention; you don’t want to turn away a possible lead because you don’t know the best way to capture their information. Think of it like a critical move in a Jenga game; the whole tower could come crashing down if you don’t confidently make the right move here.
First, what’s the difference?
Facebook lead form ads look just like normal ads, but when a user clicks, they are taken to a form that opens up inside of Facebook. Users don’t have to leave the page or the app. The form is pre-filled with specific information that Facebook pulls from their profile. When they click submit, they become a lead, and return to their normal scrolling.
The alternative to this is to create Facebook ads that direct users to your own landing page. This will be a page you create specifically for the ads that you’re running (not one of your regular web pages). When users click your ad, they will travel to this landing page to fill out the form. This is the traditional way of acquiring leads from your social media marketing efforts.
Pros and cons?
Weighing the pros and cons of a Facebook lead form and a Facebook landing page is kind of like weighing the pros and cons of creating your own ice cream sundae vs picking the pre-made ones.
Pros of landing pages – When you use your own landing page, like making your own sundae, you control everything and you can make it exactly like you want it. You have complete control over the look, feel, and functionality of the experience. You can design the landing page and form to be whatever you want, and also make it consistent with your website branding and messaging. You’re not limited when it comes to content – you can include videos, infographics, pictures, more text, etc. And the form you use can also be whatever you want. You choose all of the fields. (Moreover, when you send someone to a landing page, you can add them to your remarketing lists as a website visitor.)
Cons of landing pages – While building your own sundae by adding cherries and nuts and mixing flavors is super fun, though, and may result in a more fulfilling experience, it takes more time and more effort. Landing pages are like that. Loading times can dissuade a user from sticking around. It’s more effort for you, because you have to build the page, but it’s also more time and effort for the user, as they have to fill out the form themselves (remember, Facebook lead forms fill it out for you). So if you’re smart, you’ll use fewer fields, but this sometimes narrows your options for collecting data.
Pros of lead forms – Like a pre-made sundae, Facebook lead forms are quick and easy. They have almost 20 different pre-populated fields, and they take out the middleman. We live in an instant gratification age, and especially for mobile users, these ad forms right within the app make it super easy to convert. You don’t have to work on designing anything; you just run them and let them get you results.
Cons of lead forms – However, you can’t customize these lead ads. One of the biggest downsides to these ads is that you will likely end up with many lower quality leads because the process is quick and easy….it’s a catch-22. If someone took the time to get to your landing page, they’re probably more qualified than someone who just filled out a form while scrolling. Note that according to a survey taken by CNBC, people are afraid to give Facebook their data, and they’re actually more distrustful about Facebook than the NSA. Facebook paranoia is pretty high, which may also impact whether or not users would rather fill out a form on your website than give their information to Facebook.
So which is better?
Facebook lead form ads might get you more leads when it comes to volume, but landing pages will likely get you more qualified leads.
WordStream and AdEspresso both ran experiments with lead forms and landing pages. WordStream found that lead forms were more effective at converting clicks to leads, but landing pages generated quality leads at a lower cost. AdEspresso found that lead form ads won mobile campaigns, and landing pages won desktop. They also found that landing pages performed only slightly better from a cost-per-lead perspective.
If you want to know which one is better for your specific business and campaign types, as Chris Goward would say, “You should test that!” Running a controlled AB test is always the best way to determine what really works for your business and what ad format you should choose. Set up two campaigns, or two different ads, and track the source to see which one performs better depending on your business goal.
Confused about lead form ads or looking to implement them in your campaigns? Want to design better landing pages and get more qualified leads? Have you seen either Facebook lead forms or Facebook landing pages perform better? Tell us in the comments or send us a message!
Empirical360 is a Google Premier Partner, a PPC agency who loves helping businesses of all types and sizes grow. We’ve managed over $15,000,000 in ad spend! While Google and Bing advertising is our specialty, we also excel at website & landing page design, social media marketing, content creation, and conversion rate optimization. We do it all because it’s all connected, and we know what it takes to make your business succeed in the ways that matter.
If you’re interested in working with us, contact us to set up an initial consult!