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How to test and run Kickstarter Facebook ads for your board game campaign

Running Kickstarter Facebook ads can be an important part of your strategy to bring awareness to your project.

But you can also spend a lot of money and not get the results you want.

I’ve spent hundreds, maybe even thousands on various Facebook ads over the years for different projects, so I want to share with you what I have learned.

Today I’m going to walk you through:

  1. How to set up your account
  2. Creating your first ad
  3. Budgeting for ads
  4. What to test
  5. Things to watch out for

How to set up your account

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up a Facebook business account by going to business.facebook.com/create and selecting “Create Account”. Then, follow the prompts to complete your account setup.

Next, you’ll want to set up a Facebook Pixel. This will allow you to track activity such as who visited a page or bought your product. Assign your pixels to your pages of interest based on actions your potential customers will take, like buying a game or signing up for your email list.

Creating your first ad

The first thing you’ll need to know is that Facebook ads are structured in 3 layers.

  1. Campaign
  2. Ad Set
  3. Ad

The campaign is the high-level objective (example: Awesome Game on Kickstarter), the ad set is the audience for your ad (Kickstarter fans), and your ad is the actual advertisement that people will see.

So, when you make your first ad, you’ll start by creating a campaign and choosing an objective. This objective should be based on what you are trying to accomplish. You may be looking to get traffic (sending people to your website), or even better, lead generation (getting people to sign up for your email list). Later on, if you are trying to get people to make an actual purchase, you’ll want to look at using conversions as your objective.

You can now name your campaign and move on to your ad set.

You may name your ad set now or wait until you have set all your criteria and have a specific target audience you can identify, which will make it easier to identify later.

If you have a Facebook page, you can assign it here. Set your daily budget, which can be as little as a couple of dollars or less, along with your starting date (which can be as soon as you hit “publish” on your ad).

Next, is the fun part – figuring out your audience.

Facebook captures a LOT of data on its users. You can identify the audience who you want to see your ad by location, age, language, gender, and interests. When looking at interests, try to narrow this down as best as you can to the audience who would like your game. If you go too broad (like “games”), you won’t be targeting your main audience well.

Facebook will show you how big your potential audience is, and you can adjust this as necessary. You can even save this audience for later use.

Next up, you will create your actual ad.

You’ll be able to name your ad, placement options (including Instagram), choose images or videos, text for the ad, links, and assign that Facebook pixel you created earlier to track events.

You want to have one clear call to action (CTA). I would recommend guiding viewers of your ad to your landing page to sign up with their email. This is more effective than simply sending them to your Kickstarter promo page where they can sign up to be notified or to join a Facebook group, because once you have their email address, you can interact with them easier and also ask them to do these things afterwards (which is not possible if they only sign up for Kickstarter notifications).

Once you’re all done, you can save and publish your ad.

Budgeting for ads

If possible, it can be helpful to run your ad for 2-4 weeks before your campaign launches. This will allow you to collect email addresses and build up some excitement before you launch, as you want to get your project funded quickly and maintain that momentum.

This can be done for as little as a couple of dollars a day, depending on how much you have in your budget for advertising.

You’ll want to increase this on the first 2 days of your campaign to give it even more exposure. At this point, you should have your ad updated to direct people to your live Kickstarter page and have tracking set up for your campaign with a link created specifically within Kickstarter to track where the referral was coming from. Make sure this is used as the link in your ads so that you know how many sales are being generated as a result of your ad.

If your campaign doesn’t fund within the first 2 days, I suggest pausing your ads, unless you’re really close to funding, in which case you may want to run them a bit longer.

If you do fund within 48 hours, you can continue to run ads so long as you have a good return on investment (ROI). This will depend on your game, but as a general rule of thumb, know what you are willing to spend on advertising for each game purchased.

For example, you may be willing to spend $5 on ads for every $50 game you sell. If you remain below this threshold, continue. If you go much above this, consider pausing your ads.

What to test

If you have the budget for this, I recommend doing some testing to maximize your ads. The best way to do this is to create one campaign, then make a copy of this campaign, and change one thing in this new campaign. You can repeat this multiple times if you want to test 2-4 different versions at once.

Set the campaign budget to be the same for each campaign (even at a couple of dollars a day each) and run these for at least 2 days. Then compare the results. Keep running whichever campaign is doing better and pause the others.

You can test at multiple levels. This is a good order to use for running your tests:

  1. Audience
  2. Image/Video
  3. Headline
  4. Copy (text of your ad)

So, that means making your initial ad, then making a copy of the campaign using a different audience but keeping everything else the same. Run these campaigns for 2-4 different audiences and keep the one that is performing best (lowest cost per lead – the cost of getting one person to sign up to your list).

Then, copy the winning campaign and make versions with different images or videos, and keep the best performing campaign.

Repeat this with your headline, which is the first line people will read in your ad, and then again for your copy, which is the text of your ad. Keep the copy short and intriguing, enticing people to find out more about your game.

Then, whatever ad is performing best will be the one you continue to run. If you were splitting your budget between different versions you were testing, you can now put all your budget into this one.

Things to watch out for

Facebook won’t allow you to track sales made on Kickstarter, as you don’t own the site and can’t apply a pixel here. But once your campaign is live, you can capture people who clicked on a link from your ad that will direct them there. Then on Kickstarter, you can see how many people who clicked that ad bought your game based on the custom referral link you set up. This will give you a good idea of the money spent on ads vs. revenue for your game so that you can adjust or pause your ads accordingly.

Beware vanity metrics. Sure, it’s great to see that a lot of people viewed your ad or even clicked on a link. But did they sign up for your email list? Did they buy your game? These are the important metrics, and you’ll want to be sure your pixels, custom Kickstarter links, and settings reflect this.

If your game isn’t funding, it’s tempting to throw more money at ads to get more backers. However, this approach usually fails. You can’t rescue a game that people don’t want to back by spending more on advertising. Cut your losses and determine whether it is possible to fund or if you need to consider a re-launch at a later date.

Facebook ads are not mandatory for a successful campaign, but they can be helpful, as they let you target ads to your specific audience, test different versions, and spend very little compared to the alternatives. Just make sure to stick to your budget and monitor your ads, adjusting where necessary.

Next week we’ll look at how to add stretch goals to your campaign that give it a higher perceived value.

Do you have any questions about running Kickstarter Facebook ads?

Please let me know by leaving a comment.

Want to know how to launch your game on Kickstarter and keep your campaign running smoothly? Download my free Kickstarter Checklist now!

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