Let the Content Do the Marketing
Who is This For?
In this blog series I discuss one content strategy and five social media tactics for small budgets. See
- What Should I Post on Social Media
- Website with Blogs
- Posts That Link to Your Website
- Curate Content
In this blog I look at an interesting Facebook Page component called Instant Experiences and how we can use a Facebook IE to help us deliver quality content to our audience.
Online Tactic 05 – Facebook Instant Experiences
The data connection between Facebook and Instagram is a key efficiency for small businesses who want to advertise on both platforms but don’t have time to organically work both. Facebook’s Ads Manger lets you create ads that target and reach Instagram users also (even if you are not active Instagram).
If we market to millennials, Gen Xers and boomers then Facebook and Instagram still hold most of our audience. Although only half of American teens use Facebook, many are on Instagram and the user data is connected (Facebook owns Instagram).
Not only is our audience on Facebook and Instagram, statistics from 2019 show 68% of Americans spend 58 minutes per day with each visit lasting 10-12 minutes. Over 200 million users visit meaningful Facebook Groups and 66% of monthly Facebook users use it daily. Also, less fake accounts exist in 2019 since Facebook removed 583 million of them in early 2018.
What is a Facebook Instant Experience?
A Facebook Instant Experience is full-page experience like a website page but it lives on our Facebook Page. We create a Facebook Instant Experience from our Facebook Page or in Facebook Ads Manager.
Facebook launched Instant Experiences in 2016 and called them Canvas Ads. Since then, they have improved this feature to look more like a website page and renamed them Instant Experiences (because within the Facebook mobile app they load instantly). And, we now can use them in free organic posts, not just paid ads.
Viewers see a Facebook Instant Experience when they click on a Facebook post or ad that is linked to an Instant Experience. Although Instagram posts cannot link to an Instant Experience, Facebook ads that deliver to Instagram can link to your Instant Experience.
If you cannot create a landing page, but you want to get content out to your audience that is beyond what a Facebook or Instagram post can convey, then you could use a Facebook Instant Experience as your landing page. Let’s look at this and other advantages Facebook Instant Experiences offer:
- A Micro Landing Page: A Facebook Instant Experience displays full-screen and lets us combine images, video, slideshows, links and text. It looks very similar to a website page or blog. An Instant Experience gives us more space and tools than a simple post so we can communicate more completely. It is a way to provide value beyond a simple Facebook or Instagram post even if we don’t have a website or don’t have a website page with the content on which we want to focus.
- Loads Immediately so Reduces Drop-Off: Instant Experiences load immediately for mobile viewers using the Facebook app, so they help more people see our content quickly. External page load time results in some viewer drop-off more.
- Easy to Make: We can use one of Facebook’s Instant Experience templates or design a custom Instant Experience. Either method is faster and easier than website changes. And for some of us it is faster than crafting blog or LinkedIn article because it uses less text and more visuals.
- Test New Content: Facebook offers Page administrators data we can be used as anecdotal marketing research. This is valuable feedback for pennies compared to paying market research firm or ad agency. So, we can test multiple creative approaches for cheap before we even consider website revisions.
- Pixel Tracking of Viewers: Content marketing is a great way to build a custom audience that we can later retarget with more direct-selling. Facebook Instant Experiences allow us to embed Facebook and third-party pixels. Pixels are code that track who has interacted with the content. If we have the Facebook pixel on our website, we can re-target a website traffic custom audience with lead-generating ads or any other type of Facebook or Instagram ad.
- Free and Paid Versions: Instant Experiences live on your Facebook Page and are free. Once we publish an Instant Experience, we can then post it as a free Facebook page post.
- Low-Tech Interface: Even if you do not have time to create your own Instant Experiences, just knowing of the capability will empower you to hire a contractor or assign an employee to this task. It is not a highly technical task. Lots of online help exists in Facebook’s Ads Help Center.
Two Waysto Access or Create an Instant Experience (IE)
See Below and Further Help Here
Create IE From Your Facebook Page:
- To create an Instant Experience from your Facebook Page, log into Facebook and go to your Facebook Page on a PC.
- Go to “Publishing Tools” on the top menu of your Facebook Page (click “more” if you don’t see it).
- Select “Instant Experience (Canvas)” from the left column. Scroll down if you don’t see it. Once there you will see any prior Instant Experiences you or any other page admin created prior (whether you created it in Facebook Ads Manager or from your Facebook Page).
- Click the blue Create button in the top right corner to begin creating a new Instant Experience.
- Use the help button to link to how-to help.
- Duplicate an Instant Experience if you want to revise (no editing once published).
- As of 2019, Instant Experience templates are only available via Ads Manager.
- To create a regular free page post with the Instant Experience you’ve created, copy the URL and paste it into your Facebook Page post. It will automatically generate a post preview that may use the first visual displayed in the Instant Experience. Type your post comments and then publish your post. It will create a Facebook Page post that links to your Instant Experience.
Create IE From Facebook Ads Manager:
- When creating a Facebook Ad (not a sponsored post but creating a new ad) you have two ways to create a Facebook Instant Experience. You can create it from your Facebook Page (see above), or you can create it in Ads Manager during the ad creation process.
- Look for the option to “add an Instant Experience” when creating a Facebook Ad.
3. Facebook’s Ads Manager has Instant Experience Templates
4. Use Facebook Business Manager on a PC (not a mobile device) to access the most options, including Instant Experience templates.
5. Each Instant Experience has its own URL once published.
6. If you do not see the Instant Experience option in Ads Manager, then you may be working with an ad that was created from a sponsored post (no IE allowed with these types of ads). Or, you may be creating an ad within a campaign objective that does not allow Instant Experiences. See Facebook’s “Instant Experience Objectives” for help on what ad objectives are allowed.
Although Facebook Instant Experiences are much easier than creating a website and they offer interesting advantages (especially if you don’t have a website), there are always tradeoffs.
- Must Create on PC: To create an Instant Experience (IE) requires a PC, not a mobile device.
- Learning Curve: Make a few test versions before you plan a serious use for your IE. Not difficult but play with it first.
- Cannot Edit Once Published: As of 2019 you can revise and save as you create an IE, but once you click “finish” you cannot edit the IE. To revise, “duplicate” it and revise the duplicate version. Your page’s IE library is not viewable to the public. It’s just an organization concern for page admins.
- Full Advantage is with Paid Ad Version: The audience-targeting tools and the ability to make an Instagram post that links to an IE is available only paid ads. You can make a free Facebook post that links to your IE.
- Templates only in Ads Manager: If you create an IE directly from your Facebook Page, you will not have the templates to choose from. The templates are only available in Ads Manager (possibly even Facebook Business Manager.
- Online Help Often Shows Ads Manager Creation Only: When googling “how-to” most examples show this from Ads Manager. See above where I give steps for how to create IEs from your Facebook Page for free.
- Online Help Often Uses Old Name of Canvas Ads: – The prior name of Facebook Canvas can confuse. Help pages like What is Facebook Canvas and Tips for Creating Amazing Facebook Canvas Ads can get you started once you know Canvas Ad is the old name for Instant Experience and the steps are usually the same.
- Online Help Shows Ad Agency Level Creative: Do not let the ridiculously fancy content used in the examples intimidate you! You can get inspired and use whatever content you have now. Then, you can plan content for the future – especially the concept of creating more images and video that work in a square or vertical format as well as other criteria you’ll discover as you create your first few IEs.
- Fast-Loading Designed for Mobile Only: Most social media users are on smart phones. But, since we’ve discussed how these can be used as regular page posts, this is to clarify that the fifteen-times faster than standard mobile web load time is specifically for mobile device app users. Still, PC viewers can see your IE if you create a page post with it.
Facebook Instant Experiences can help people who have a Facebook Page, but no website, implement a content marketing strategy. Even those of us who have our own website can use Instant Experiences to test new content and possibly reduce viewer drop-off. So, even though there are some downsides, Facebook Instant Experiences are a very useful tool for many small businesses.
For more social media posting tactics and the overall small business content strategy, see: