Facebook Ads : How to generate 25X more results with the Instant Experience feature

Episode 9

Facebook Ads : How to generate 25X more results with the Instant Experience feature

At J7 Media, we love doing new experimentations with our customers!

Recently, we tested with several clients the Instant Experience feature.

For people who are listening today, the Instant Experience is a micro landing Page native to Facebook that allows the end consumer to view all your products directly on the platform.

We hope you enjoy this episode!


(Antoine) My name is Antoine Gagné and I'm very happy that you joined us today for a new episode of Social Selling. 

At J7 Media, we love doing new experimentations with our customers. Recently, we tested with several clients the instant experience feature. For people who are listening today, the instant experience is a micro landing page native to Facebook that allows the end consumer to view all your products directly on the platform. 

Nate Ross, Senior Media Buyer at J7 Media, is with me today to discuss this topic. So, Nate, should all e-commerces try the instant experience for their company?

(Nate) Well, that's the exciting answer people are going to get towards the end part of this podcast. So, yeah, definitely, as you mentioned, we ran a pretty cool experiment with a pretty cool topic as well with instant experiences. Today, we're going to learn about the results that we got through these experiments, how people should start leveraging instant experiences in their own account, and see what kind of difficulties we had [and] how we can help people leverage this format for themselves.

So as you quickly mentioned, Facebook instant experiences, which used to be called Canvas in the past, is basically a full-screen landing page format native to Facebook. You can kind of see it as a full-screen destination to your ad within the Facebook platforms. So people stay on the platform and get this full-screen destination for their ad. When someone clicks on your ad, it quickly loads a full-screen instant experience where you can capture the complete attention of your audience.

Within this instant experience, people can watch engaging videos and photos. They can swipe through a product or image carousels. They can explore lifestyle images with tagged products as well. It's literally a fully customizable extension to your ad, which you can use to drive purchase intent after capturing someone's attention. Some of the key advantages that are associated with the instant experiences are that they're super easy to create. Facebook offers many different, easy to use templates. You can always customize your own as well. They're super fast loading.

So, apparently, Facebook tested it. They’re around fifteen times quicker to load than an externally hosted landing page, which can become a really strong advantage considering that a lot of people drop off between the moment when they click on an ad and the moment when the landing page is fully loaded.

And you can also adapt the experience to any business goal. Using instant storefronts to showcase products in a grid layout, you can use instant forms so people can easily share their contact information while on the instant experience. You can use instant storytelling, as they say...anything that's related to any business goal. Basically, you can build out the kind of landing page the way you want it, so it fits with your business goal.

However, there are a few things people should consider before adopting this format. First is, you can't purchase directly on the instant experience. That's for now. We spoke about it in a previous podcast. I think this may be changing soon enough. That would be really exciting as well. And second also, is that instant experiences are only optimized for mobile. So you can't reach any desktop users with this ad and landing page format. So it's strictly on mobile. 

And definitely, it's something that...As you pointed out, we're really strong on the testing; on different features, on the platform, setting up new ways to maybe improve our results. And when we started researching the key features and advantages of a native landing page format, we saw an opportunity to test its impact basically on two things.

The first one was the dropoff rate. As I just mentioned, there's a lot of people who drop off between the moment when they click on an ad and the moment when the actual landing page is fully loaded. So considering that the time of loading for this entire experience is 15 times quicker than a standard landing page, we wanted to see the impact on the dropout rate, but that was secondary.

The most important thing we wanted to test with this new format was, considering that most of our traffic is sent to external landing pages that we usually build on Unbounce (or we also send people directly on the website), we mainly wanted to know if leveraging these instant experiences would better qualify our traffic to convert. Will instant experiences create more engagement and more purchase content with our audience?

(Antoine) Because I think that's the big question, right? Most people who are advertising right now on Facebook, drive traffic to a website or a landing page. Now, the real question is, do you think that instant experiences could improve my results? Because instant experience is not a magic formula, right? It's just a way to amplify, maybe, the results that you already have. So that's the main thing that we really wanted to test. 

(Nate) Definitely, as you said, I think instant experiences – and we're going to see that in your conclusions as well – it's not a magic formula. Definitely not. You can really see it as a kind of extension to your ad. So your ad is a great way to engage with people to draw interest. And then the instant experience is a way to better educate people about your product, maybe showcase different complementary products. It's basically a really good way to push people further down the sales cycle while still staying on the platform as well.

So the way that we structured the experiment is basically, we took five clients, which all had B2C oriented products. So three of these clients sell clothes, one sells supplements (protein, vitamins, etcetera) and the last client sells heavy blankets. 

So we ran basically a standard campaign parallel with an instant experience top-of-funnel campaign. So both of these campaigns were meant for cold audiences and these two campaigns were showcasing the same products, promoting the same offers. The messaging was basically the same. Everything other than the destination for the traffic was pretty much the same. And all five of these clients as well were selling products that were mostly under two hundred dollars, so they're basically the same type of client.

(Antoine) And I think for the people who are listening today, that's very important. Just keep in mind, we're going to discuss this topic, I think, at the end of the podcast. But keep in mind, the price of your product here matters a lot. Remember, Nate mentioned it at the beginning of the podcast. Instant experiences is only on mobile. So remember, the price of your product matters a lot. Sorry Nate, you can continue. (laughs)

(Nate) Exactly. We were running two types of campaigns. Standard campaign [and] instant experience campaigns. Promoting the same products, offers, everything. So we tried that on five clients for about a month and a half. And I'm going to share quickly some of the results we got.

For Client A, for instance, we spent around $500 on the instant experience format. And after that period, the ROAS was sitting at 1.95 with a purchase conversion value of just below $1000. And for their standard campaign, which was oriented towards the same audience, promoting the same product and everything, the overall budget that was spent was a little under $2000 and after that whole period, the ROAS was 3.77. The purchase conversion value was above $6000. So for this first client, Client A, the experiment was pretty much a failure. There are probably many reasons for that, but it doesn't matter at that point. (both laugh)

Let's take a look at Client B, which was actually the first client with which we used the instant experience. And for that client, the results were the complete opposite. We were actually, I remember, after twenty-four hours of running the campaign with instant experiences, I remember having like 30 or 40 ROAS on that campaign. And we were just wondering, like, is there something wrong with the tracking or anything? But then it continued like that. The client was giving us feedback from his backend as well, and sales were coming in. So for that whole period we spent on the instant experience campaign a little over $1000 on cold audiences, and it generated a purchase conversion value of $20,000 for a ROAS of 23.45.

And for this same client [and] same period using a standard campaign, we spent above $4000, generated a purchase conversion value of about $4000 as well for a ROAS of a little under one. For that Client B, this was a definite success and we still use it to that day.

(Antoine) And the results are still strong now.

(Nate) Yeah, the results are still strong.

(Antoine) Yeah, it will not necessarily be a 40 ROAS for a cold audience for the rest of our lives, but still, the results are very strong. 

So it's weird, right, that this client, these results are like that? Because, you know, we mentioned that with the first client that we did, you know, the environment was quite the same. And then the results were not the same. So this one is really surprising. 

(Nate) Yeah, the difference between these two is actually really surprising because, as you mentioned, the environment is pretty much the same. We're addressing the same type of audience. Selling not exactly the same type of product, but it's got the same culture to it, if you want, [but] definitely talking to the same audience, the same value on average for the product. So this was really surprising for us that we ran this experiment with these two similar clients and that it was working so well for one of them and it was just a sharp failure for the other one. We're still actually working on the formula for Client A because I honestly can't believe that we can't find a way to optimize the entire experience to make it work better than it did.

But those were two clients that were selling clothes. And so if we look at Client C, which sells supplements, for the instant experience campaign, we spent $1000 during the period. After the end of this whole experiment, the ROAS for the instant experience campaign was 9.19 with a purchase conversion value at $9000. And for the standard campaign, the results were pretty much similar. So we're talking about a close to $3000 investment with a purchase conversion value of $26 and a ROAS of 9.25 compared to 9.19, [so] not even considerable. Basically, the results were pretty much exactly the same for this client.

And then Client D, which is the client that sells heavy blankets. Again, pretty similar results. We spent $1400 on the instant experience campaign, generated $15, 700 in sales for a ROAS of 11.35, compared to a spend of $1600, and a purchase conversion value of $23,000 for a ROAS of 14.35 on the standard campaign. So again, pretty similar results.

And then for the fifth client, so Client E, we spent on the instant experience campaigns $4000 and generated $37,000 in sales, for a ROAS of about 9. For the standard campaign, we invested close to $3000 for a purchase conversion value of a little under $19,000 for a ROAS of 6.86. So for that fifth client, again, a pretty clear success. And this is something that we really adopted for that client. It works amazingly on cold audiences.

So let me just conclude by kind of restating the results that we got, but just in an aggregate way. For the standard campaigns, for that whole period, for the five clients together, we invested $13, 300, generated a revenue of $77,000 for a ROAS of approximately 5.85. And for the instant experience campaigns, we invested a little over $8000, generated a purchase conversion value of a total of $84,000 for a ROAS of a little over 10.

So if you really break it down granularly, definitely there were differences between the clients that we tested. Two of these clients had considerable successes, the other clients, had kind of negligible data, if you want. And [...] one was a considerable failure. We're still trying to figure that one out. But I would say that overall there was a definite sense of success, especially considering that we were on cold audiences. 

(Antoine) Of course.

(Nate) And it definitely showed that it was pretty strong towards cold audiences in a way. It's a better way to capture your audience's interest and educate them about your product. And even though it's exclusive to mobile, I think that most people are going to get interested in the product on mobile. A lot of people are also going to convert on mobile. And considering that this is the kind of product under $200, I think it was a great fit for them and it definitely showed a strong, strong result on cold audiences, I would say.

(Antoine) Of course. And one thing that I think people need to remember here is it's very important to look at the conversion path of your customers. Because, as Nate mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, everything with an instant experience campaign is done through mobile. And through Facebook ads, through your website, or whatever platform you're using, you are able to see if people are buying your products through desktop or through mobile. And if you see that most of your customers can see an ad on Facebook on their news feed, click on the ad and then buy the products right after on their cell phone, clearly, there is potential for you to implement the instant experience into your account. 

Now, on the other hand, if you're selling a product for $3000 and you realize that most of your purchases have been through desktop, maybe the instant experience will not be the best thing for you because of the conversion path of your client. I don't know, maybe they will see an ad on Facebook through their cell phone, but they might need to go on their desktop at night to shop again, making sure the purchase is right. And then you generate this transaction with the client.

So, I think for the people who are listening today, before jumping into this instant experience feature, go do your homework. Look at the conversion paths of your customers, because the five clients that you showed us today, Nate, the price point was quite low. The products that they were selling were not that expensive. Most of them, we did our homework. People were buying through mobile. And then it just made sense. It just made sense to test it.

(Nate) Yeah, absolutely. I think you brought up two great points. One is to do your homework. Go see if people actually buy your product through mobile. And second, consider the nature of your product as well. I think it's definitely a great fit for quick buys, but if you're selling something at a price point of like a thousand dollars, it's probably not the best way to build confidence with your audience. You'd rather send them on your website where they can access a lot more information, maybe the reviews, stuff like that.

But if you're selling stuff that people don't need to consider for so long, you can definitely use that experience. It's a great way to promote a single collection. That's really one of the main things that I saw with that last point I spoke about. We were basically using the instant experience as a way to present a new collection. So we have like this new collection for summer. We were showcasing all the products, promoting the best sellers. You can basically present a great variety of different products on your instant experience. So it's just a great way for people to catch the general vibe of your collection, for instance. [You] can always use it to also promote a single product and use different types of pictures, [a] carousel, different videos to showcase that single product as well. 

And one of the things I'd be really interested in learning is the effect that it can have on lead generation as well. That's not something we have tried as of now, but definitely, I'd be curious to see the kind of results we can get from using instant experience in a lead generation context. Because you can add a form directly in that instant experience, but also educate the audience about what your service is, [and] what your offer is, at the same time. So instead of using, for instance, a form directly on Facebook with just a single ad, you can just capture the audience interest with the ad and then educate them on the inside experience [and] add a form right there. I'd be curious to see the conversion rate that you could get from using this.

So yeah, our test definitely had its limits. We were only talking about e-commerce with pretty low-value products. But yeah, I think overall it was a great discovery. I think there's definitely room for us to optimize in many different ways and to creatively use instant experiences in other ways as well. And if I may, as well, add that throughout this whole experiment, we definitely did optimize some of our ads and instant experiences.

And make sure, I would say, that the ad that you use to capture the attention before you bring people on the instant experience is a video ad. And then on the instant experience, make sure that landing page  – I was about to call it a landing page, [but] it's really an instant experience, it's a native landing page on Facebook – make sure it features a fixed image with a bit of a video or a GIF as well. And also mainly a carousel so people can browse different products or different angles of a single product as well. So using these three elements together, I think brought us the best success in terms of designing and optimizing the experience.

But, yeah, I think it's – if I go back to what you previously said on the podcast – it's definitely not a magic formula, but people should consider it and test it. With some of our clients, we had so much success with it that it's now something we definitely use in our account structure and I don't think we'll stop using it for a long time.

(Antoine) You know, there are a lot of ways to scale a Facebook advertising account. We’re seeing it every single day. It’s not easy, right? For people who are listening today, [if] they're running ads for a company or maybe they are a freelancer or an agency, it's not easy to bring an account to 1k a day to 10k a day or 20k a day. It's not something that everybody can do, right? And sometimes at some point, we realize that to get there, we need to bring more velocity.

We need to bring more velocity to our account; bring in more funnels, bring in new offers. We have a lot of new things that we need to add to the account just to make sure we're able to get to this scale. And keeping that in mind, I think bringing an instant experience to your account can be a way to bring more velocity to your account. That's one of the ways I see it right now, with the client that I'm working with.

At the same time, if you already have something working well, you can take the same offer, take literally the same messages, keep the campaign, but then create the same campaign with an instant experience. Then maybe you'll be able to amplify your results as well, increase your spend. And I'm pretty sure that the results will be good. So don't see it as a magic formula yet. See it as a feature to amplify the results that you already have. Instant experiences will not fix your offer problems.It will not fix your messaging problems. It will actually just amplify the results that you already have.

(Nate) Yeah, absolutely. Great point. I'm totally with you on that. I think it's a great add-on to add to your account structure. It brings velocity for sure. It's a great tool for all audiences and I think big brands use it massively. Every ad that I see from Nike is always an instant experience. So if these big players are leveraging it, then there's definitely a reason for that. So yeah, I think definitely it's worth a shot and if you find success with it,  it'll be a new tool that you can use on your account. 

(Antoine) Yeah, definitely. Okay, Nate. So anything else that you think could benefit the audience before I let you go?

(Nate) No, I think I think it's a great conclusion to the podcast.

(Antoine) And maybe, you know, sometime soon we'll do another podcast for instant experience, but now, as you mentioned it, for a lead generation client. That could be an interesting topic as well.

(Nate) Yeah. And hopefully, we can do a new podcast on instant experiences with purchases available on the instant experience as well.

(Antoine) Oh, yeah! Because it’s coming. It’s coming. We discussed that a couple of weeks ago. People at some point will be able to buy directly on Facebook and then that's where having an instant experience will make a lot of sense. So, yeah, definitely. I think it's coming.

(Nate) Hopefully!

(Antoine) Okay, thanks, Nate! And for people who are listening today, thank you for being with us, and see you soon for a new episode of Social Selling.