Facebook Lead Ads: The ultimate guide

Facebook Lead Ads Guide
 Driftrock is an official Facebook Marketing Partner helping businesses big and small like BMW, Heineken and Open university generate millions of leads.

Driftrock is an official Facebook Marketing Partner helping businesses big and small like BMW, Heineken and Open university generate millions of leads.

What you'll learn in this Facebook Lead Generation guide! 

  1. A step-by-step guide to creating best practice Facebook Lead Ads campaigns. 

  2. How to generate lower cost leads.

  3. How to increase Facebook lead ads lead quality.

  4. How to increase conversion rates of Facebook lead ads.

  5. How to ensure Facebook Lead Ads are GDPR compliant.

 
 

What are Facebook Lead Ads? 

In pretty much all the campaigns we've run with clients, we've seen at least a 50% reduction in cost per lead vs sending to a landing page with Facebook Lead Ads. 

As an early launch partner, we’ve seen lots of campaigns across multiple industries like Auto, Education and Real estate, and the results are pretty consistent. Lead Ads don’t work for every company doing lead gen, but in most cases the performance beats landing pages (as long as you follow best practice guidelines to keep lead quality high too - more on that later). 

How do FB Lead Ads work?

The FB Lead Ads user experience is designed to make it ultra-simple to fill out the form. The form fields pre-fill with profile data where possible, and the form itself loads instantly, because it’s part of the native application. 

Lead Ads are perfect for mobile users, which make up the bulk of people you will reach from your Facebook Ads campaigns. With a few taps of the thumb, you can submit your details. 

Check out the video below to see a Facebook Lead Ad in action! 

Facebook Lead Ads vs Landing Pages

95% of the time, Facebook Lead Ads will outperform landing pages, but there is a role for both formats. One thing to note is that unless you follow best practices (below), your lead quality from Lead Ads is likely to be lower than a landing page. 

If you use landing pages a lot for lead gen, you might want to read our detailed article on the differences between lead ads and landing pages.  

Lead Ads example video gif.gif
 
 

How much do Facebook Lead Ads cost? 

Facebook charges on a cost per impression basis, so your average cost per lead is your ad spend divided by the number of leads you generate. 

The average cost per lead you achieve will vary depending on lots of factors, but here are some things that might help you plan costs: 

  • Most of the time you can expect a 50% reduction in cost per lead from Lead Ads vs a Facebook campaign going to a lead form on a landing page.

  • Your industry will have a big affect on cost per lead. For example, an Automotive enquiry is typically ~$30-$45, while a newsletter subscriber for eCommerce could be less than $1 per lead.

  • Your offering and product make a big difference to the cost per lead. This is obvious, but a top of the funnel campaign strategy like “Download a free ebook” will have a lower CPL than a lower funnel lead like “Talk to our sales team”. You should experiment with both.

  • Each country you target will have a different cost per lead. For example Italy costs are generally 60% of what you see in the UK. You can model this using Facebook’s estimation tools, by changing the country targeting, and seeing how many leads are estimated.

 

How to create Facebook Lead Ads campaigns 

Choose the lead ads objective

Facebook Lead Ads are very flexible, with plenty of options for things like targeting, ad formats and form structure. You should play around with the experience for the campaign you are running, but here’s a quick guide to create your first Lead Ads campaign. 

1. Choose the Lead Generation Objective

Create a campaign, then choose 'Lead Generation' as an objective to get started. 

 

2. Define your Adset targeting and settings.

  • You can use all the usual targeting that you want. Lookalikes from previous leads or customers (if you have more than 500) tend to get the best performance.

  • Lead Ads also work on Instagram, so we recommend using ‘Automatic Placement’ to get the best price, with slowest Ad Decay.

  • For the Bid settings, ‘Lowest Cost’ tends to get the best performance.

  • Set a “bid cap” if your cost per lead target is above $30. This lets Facebook know you are happy to compete in more expensive auctions, because you can afford a higher CPL. Bid a few $ more than your target to maximise reach. For example, I’d bid $60 if my target was $50.

3. Design your ad creative 

  • Lead Ads now has lots of options for creative formats. 

  • Pick a format that suits your goal, but test multiple ideas to optimise your cost per lead.

  • You might want to try a Carousel format to educate the customer on the different offer, features or value propositions you have before they launch the form. We’ve seen this work for automotive when you are showcasing a few vehicles, or Real Estate showing a few areas or properties.

  • You could also use a video to educate the customer before they fill out the form. We’ve seen this work very well in education where the customer can get a feel for the course and what they will learn.

  • The Call To Action button that you choose will have a big impact. Learn more is soft, so will tend to get the highest click-through rate, however, other Call To Action’s like ‘Download’ are important for things like PDF downloads.

4. Create your Facebook Lead Form

When the customer clicks on the call to action button of the advert, it will open the Facebook Lead Form wizard. This form is pre-filled where possible from profile data to save the customer time. 

We’ll walk you through each option in the Lead Ad form;

Facebook lead ads high intent feature

High intent vs More Volume
You have the option to choose a High intent or More Volume option in the form. 

The High Intent form adds an extra review confirmation step to the form to make sure people understand what they are submitting. 
This is a great feature if you’re seeing low quality leads, but but it might be an idea to launch your first campaign without this step.

 

Intro
Although this is an optional step, we highly recommend adding it. It’s an important gate for ensuring people know why they are submitting their details. 

The Intro step increases lead quality, but also reduces the number of bounces from people not reading the first ad properly. People only spend a few seconds reading each post on the Newsfeed, so it’s a really important step to talk through what benefits they get from submitting your form. 

We usually use the bullets option, as it makes it ultra clear what benefits the customer gets in return. Think about how they might feel when they reach this step, and what would help them feel comfortable and excited about sharing data with you. 

 

What questions should you ask?

  • Contrary to what how you might optimise a landing page, we recommend optimising your lead quality by asking more questions than usual. Facebook’s algorithm seeks out people willing to fill out the longer form, so you don’t end up with a huge increase in CPL.

  • These extra questions can also be used to qualify the customer e.g ‘when are you looking to buy’ for auto, or ‘when are you looking to move’ for Real Estate with some multiple choice options in a dropdown. Later, you can use this to give customers a different experience based on their urgency.

  • Lead Ads are a great way to learn more about your customers. For example, you could ask them what benefits of your product they are most excited about learning more on, which could help you tailor your website or ad copy for future campaigns.

 

Privacy Policy

With Lead Ads you have lots of control over your disclaimer, consent opt-ins and you can link to your own Privacy Policy. 

  • Once you generate and export a lead, you are the Data Controller of those leads, regardless of any Data Processors you might use for a lead sync for example.

  • This means it’s critical you ask for all the correct consent that you need for things like GDPR. You can ask multiple constent questions with Lead Ads, so make sure you cover the use-cases that you need for the data you are collecting.

  • It’s also important to record the different consent that people give you in your CRM or Email System. A Lead Ads Sync to your CRM like Driftrock can do this for you automatically.

  • If you Control data from the EU, then you can read our guide to Facebook for GDPR for more ideas on staying compliant.

 

Thank You screen

The Thank You screen is an important part of any lead form. You have a highly engaged user at this point, so make the most of that attention, and help them take some next steps or get to know your offering better. 

  • The Thank You screen for Lead Ads gives you some options to help the customer along their journey.

  • Firstly, don’t forget to add some custom copy to keep them excited about the offering, when they can expect to hear from you, and what then next steps are.

  • The Call to Action button is where you can direct them to a next step too. Here are some ideas;

  • Someone downloading a PDF guide could click the link to download or view it immediately from a document viewer like Paperflite or DocSend.

    • A Real Estate lead looking for a property could be directed to your property listings so they can start browsing.

    • An Automotive Test Drive lead could be directed to an online brochure for that vehicle.

 

5. Setup your lead sync

With lead ads you can download a CSV of your leads, but this means you’d be responding daily (at best). 

Instead, make sure you use a lead ads sync to your CRM like Driftrock. We’ve made it incredibly simple to setup, and help make sure you never lose a lead. More on this in the next section!

6. Test everything before publishing! 

Make sure you check through your new campaign in detail before pushing the play button. For all our clients, we follow a rigorous testing process to make sure you don’t lose any leads: 

  • First publish a draft campaign to Facebook.

  • Check you Campaign, Ad Set and Ad settings again in detail.

  • Preview the ad in your Newsfeed

  • Go to one of your Ads, and click the preview button.

  • Choose the “Send to Facebook” link.

  • This sends a notification to your Facebook Account.

  • Click the notification to preview the ad on your Facebook mobile app or on desktop.

  • Run through the customer journey as if you were a customer and submit a lead.

  • Check your lead arrived in the CSV, and if you have a sync setup, that it came through to your CRM correctly.

7. Measure and track everything.

You can’t optimise what you don’t know. My general advice is to never launch a paid ads campaign where you can’t track conversions to an Ad or Keyword level. It gives you a huge competitive advantage knowing what works, what doesn’t, and how hard you can push the bids. 

  • Check your Lead Ads campaign stats regularly. You can simply add a few new columns to your campaign dashboard to get the right data, and save it as a Saved Report for later.

  • Make sure you stay on top of your campaign stats. You need ~5-10 leads per day at a minimum to get the algorithm to work properly (more on this later).

  • To learn more about your customers, track and analyse lead campaigns campaigns properly, you can connect your Lead Ads campaigns to Driftrock for free.

More on Lead Ads Measurement and Tracking in this section. 

 

Syncing Lead Ads to your CRM

The faster you respond to a lead, the higher the conversion rate. You get a 9X boost in conversion rates by responding in <5 minutes according to a study by MIT!

  • Facebook Lead Ads allow you to download a CSV of your leads, but this means that your time to follow up is going to be once a day at best if you manually process your leads.

  • A Facebook lead sync is critical for responding quickly. Even if your sales team will take a few hours or days to get in touch, a lead sync also allows you to send an automated response or drip email campaign to ensure the customer stays engaged after submitting the form.

Driftrock Facebook Lead Ads sync

The Driftrock Facebook lead sync makes it quick and simple to setup, while ensuring that your leads arrive in your CRM in real-time. 

We process millions of leads for companies like Honda, BMW and Heineken, so you know your leads will arrive safely and securely. 

How to setup a lead sync with Driftrock 

  1. Sign up to Driftrock and connect your Facebook ads account. 

  2. Choose the Facebook Page that you are running Lead Ads from, and grant Lead Ads sync permissions. 

  3. Driftrock will automatically pull all your leads.

  4. Create a customer segment for example ‘All Facebook leads’ or ‘Leads from campaign x’.

  5. Click the Segment, and navigate to the CRM Sync tab.

  6. Connect your CRM, add your mapping rules.

  7. Start syncing!

 

Tracking and measurement. 

It’s easy to take for granted how easy it is to measure the performance of digital marketing campaigns compared to media like radio, TV. Good measurement and tracking is not only essential for measuring your profitability but a massive competitive advantage over people who don’t measure properly. 

Here’s an example
Imagine two automotive dealerships selling the same BMW vehicle range. 

  • Dealer 1, has measured exactly how many leads and sales come from each Facebook Adset and campaign.

  • Dealer 2, knows that on average, leads across all models tend to be worth $30, but doesn’t have proper tracking in place.

Targeting audiences on Facebook are not equal. Some generate cheaper leads, some generate more sales. 

  • Dealer 2 looks at the blended cost per lead and leaves things the same to avoid losing money.

  • Dealer 1 spots that one Adset generates high quality leads, and so increases the cost per lead target for that Adset to $45.

Dealer 1 now competes in more auctions for the high quality audience than Dealer 2, so grows sales faster and steals sales off Dealer 2. 

In reality, on Facebook you are competing not just with your direct competitors, but anyone looking to reach that audience. If you can’t maximise your bids to the true value of the audience, your Facebook campaigns won’t scale. 

How to measure and track your Lead Ads campaigns

The great thing about lead gen is that it’s possible to track campaign, adset and ad performance right the way through to a sale by attaching the marketing source info to each lead. Lead submissions tend to occur in the same session rather than 2 weeks later like eCommerce. 

This means that later you can total up the high quality leads or sales for each campaign, adset or ad to see what works best with a good degree of accuracy. 

We’ve made this incredibly easy at Driftrock with our free lead tracking and analysis tools. Simply signup and connect your Facebook Ads account to get started. It’s free, and is going to save you lots of time! 

 

How to decrease the cost per lead from Lead Ads.

We’ve run countless Facebook Lead Ads campaigns with our clients. Here are some of the secrets we’ve learnt for reducing cost per lead!

  • Optimise the algorithm - The algorithm needs data to optimise things. Ensure you have enough daily budget for 10+ actions (leads) in a 24 hour period. Facebook uses a rolling 24 hour or 7 day window of data to optimise the audience you reach, so the more data the better.

  • Budget tricks - If your budget doesn’t stretch far enough to get 10+ leads, try either acquiring leads higher up the funnel so that you have more actions per day, or shortening the start and end dates time of your campaign (therefore squeezing your budget into fewer days). You don’t necessarily have to run ads the whole month!

  • Use Engagement Audiences - Setup Engagement Audiences for people who have dropped off the form. It boosts volume ~40%! Life gets in the way when you’re filling out forms, so give people the chance to start again.

  • Creative - Once you get the algorithm to function properly with enough data, everything is about creative from there. Large audiences, and lots of compelling creative tend to get the best performance. Add ~3 ads to each Adset to give the algorithm something to work with.

  • Creative types - The Lead Ads call to action works with lots of formats. You can try some short videos, carousels or a combination of the two. You can even generate leads as a call to action for Canvas formats now (although it would be a secondary objective).

  • Creative rotation - Over time, pause the worst performing ad, and replace it with a new creative. As customers get bored of the same ad creative, this ensures it stays fresh. Tell more of the story or tell it from a different angle each time.

  • Campaign history - Try not to create new campaigns or Adsets to keep the history with ad rotation instead. This only works if you’re getting good performance already of course.

How to increase lead quality from Facebook Lead Ads

If you acquire the wrong leads, you’re wasting time for your sales team, and the time of the people who connect with you. 

When we talk about increasing lead quality, we’re not just talking lead qualification and filtering, we’re talking about increasing the percentage of leads that are high quality. 

In short, don’t just throw low quality leads in the bin, but instead optimise your campaigns to find people you know you can service.

Why optimise for lead quality? 

We can’t understate how important optimising for lead quality is. It’s the difference between a successful lead gen campaign, and an unprofitable one. 

It’s critical you measure campaigns, Adsets and ads through to sales to measure ROI. 

If not sales, then at least optimise to a quality lead rather than all leads with some simple lead qualification scoring or segments. 

Take this example:

  • You might have two Ad Sets live.

  • You have a budget of $1000 per Adset.

  • Adset A gets you CPLs of $50, and Adset B $75.

  • Adset A converts at 20% and Adset B, 45%.

  • You make $200 per sale.

  • So your Return on Ad Spend to sales is

  • 0.8 (a loss) with Adset A

  • 1.2 (profit) with Adset B

How to increase lead ads quality

Here’s a few top tips from working with our clients, across lots of industries:

1. Offer a true value exchange
In return for the customer sharing their details, create compelling content that adds real value to them or their business.

2. Add a welcome message
Facebook Lead Ads have the ability to add a welcome message to the form. This gives you a valuable chance to educate and explain why they should complete the form. 

3. Ask more questions
Don’t be afraid to ask more questions than you might with a web form. Quality is higher, and the algorithms find more people, likely to fill out your form, so CPL doesn’t increase too much. 

4. Optimise targeting and creative
Make sure you can track the number of quality leads or sales from each Campaign, Adset and Ad. You’ll find different targeting has a big impact on lead quality. You can do this quickly and easily with Driftrock track and analyze. 

5. Educate first
We found that a customer who has watched a brand video first, then filled out a form second converts better downstream than a cold lead. This can be done with with Facebook Video View Engagement Audiences, then retargeting these with Lead Ads.

6. Give multiple options
Give the customer multiple options like; “I’d like a quote”, or “I’m just looking for more info” offer some insight into the stage they are in the lifecycle to that you can serve them better. It also helps people understand the context for the form. 

7. Try Facebook Lead Ads High Intent form option
The Lead Ads high intent forms feature asks for confirmation and review before they submit the form. 

We don’t recommend using this feature from the start, but if you are getting a healthy cost per lead, but are struggling with quality, it’s worth giving it a try. 


How to optimise campaigns for quality leads

We’re all familiar with lead qualification criteria, but we’re going to focus on how to increase the percentage of people who match our quality criteria. 

The goal is to understand which Campaigns, Adsets and Ads perform the best for cost per qualified lead so that we can optimise our campaigns. 

If you add the campaign, adset and ad names to your lead submissions then you can crunch the numbers in a spreadsheet to discover the performance of each campaign. 

  1. Filter all the leads that you deem high quality (perhaps based on what they answer in the form).

  2. Use a pivot table to count all the quality leads from each campaign, adset and ad.

  3. Optimise your campaigns accordingly.

You can automatically create high quality lead segmentation in Driftrock, and view these as conversions using automatic Offline Conversions sync back to Facebook.

 

How to increase conversion rate of Lead Ads

Now you’ve worked hard to acquire all these high quality leads, its all about converting to purchase or beyond.

We’re not going to talk sales strategy, but instead, how we extend the marketing funnel help nurture customers through to sale. 

In this section, we’ll cover our playbook for converting more leads. 

Segmentation and Customer Journeys

You have a huge amount of data at your fingertips with your lead gen campaigns, that you can put to use right away to increase lead conversion. 

Every question you ask is a potential opportunity to segment and score your leads. For example, for automotive clients we always recommend adding “When are you looking to buy”. 

It’s a simple question that allows us to create segments of customers who are ‘in-market’ now to buy a car vs people planning to. 

We can therefore plan and communicate with each of these segments in different ways to increase conversion rates and response times. 

Find some wall space in your office, and start mapping out all the key customer segments you have into journeys. This allows you to start planning how you communicate to each, depending on the stage they are at in the funnel. 


Planning the 'Next best action'

Now you’ve mapped out your segments and customer journeys, it’s time to start planning how best to communicate with people at each stage. 

Respond quickly
Remember that the faster you respond, the higher the conversion rate. In an MIT study they found that responding in the first hour increases conversion 7X. You can go much faster than autoresponders too!

Prioritise intent
If someone is urgently trying to buy your product, put them top of the list. As opposed to someone that is just browsing. Know when to give them space.

Lead Nurturing using Facebook Custom Audiences

Although I’m sure you have an email nurturing program in place for your leads, this only covers half the story. 

  • Consider that 1 in 4 minutes on mobile are spent on Facebook & Instagram, so nurturing your leads on social is critical to maximise your chance for conversion.

  • In fact, our clients usually see a 50%+ boost in conversion, and 3X increase in Reach of their email campaigns when extending to social platforms.

  • Driftrock can be used to sync your segments back into social ads platforms, from your email system or CRM, where you can advertise new messages to them.

You don’t necessarily need Driftrock to give this a try to start with. Simply download a CSV snapshot of a customer segment, and try advertising to the segment alongside your email campaign. 

Facebook Lead Ads tools

Take your Facebook Lead Ads campaigns to the next level with Driftrock's tools. 

  eCornell reduced cost per lead 57% using Facebook Lead Ads with Driftrock lead sync.

eCornell reduced cost per lead 57% using Facebook Lead Ads with Driftrock lead sync.

Facebook & Instagram Lead Ads sync

Our clients typically see a 50% reduction in cost per acquisition with when activating and syncing Facebook Lead Ads.

  • Realtime sync.

  • Back up pull every 10 minutes to ensure you never miss a lead.

  • SLA available for Enterprise clients.

  • ISO27001 Certification for Information Security.

  • Store logs of lead form consent for GDPR compliance.

  • Downstream conversion tracking to track ads through to offline sales.

  • Push upstream and downstream conversion events back to Facebook Offline Conversions for optimization.

The Driftrock team handle all the technical work for you, and can build custom API integrations if required.  


Facebook Custom Audience Sync

Automatically sync your customer data to Facebook Custom Audiences for Lookalikes, extending your email strategy to Facebook and keeping exclusion audiences fresh. 

  • Automatically sync Custom Audiences every 3 hours.

  • Sync multiple customer data sources like your CRM, EMS, Shopping platform, DMS or database.

  • Segment your customers using the Driftrock Segmentation interface.

  • Quickly create campaigns for each audience in the Driftrock platform.

  • Nurture your leads through the funnel.

The Driftrock team handle all the technical work for you, and can build custom API integrations if required.  

  Spoke London increase conversion rate of their list 56% using Driftrock audience automation.

Spoke London increase conversion rate of their list 56% using Driftrock audience automation.


  Heineken measured online Instagram ads through to offline sales using Driftrock downstream tracking.

Heineken measured online Instagram ads through to offline sales using Driftrock downstream tracking.

Facebook Offline Conversions Sync

Automatically sync conversions from your CRM, Call Center, EPOS till or email system back to Facebook Offline Conversions to better optimize your campaigns for sales. 

  • Realtime sync as conversions happen.

  • No need to provide conversion event streams, Driftrock automatically builds these from your database.

  • Push upstream signals like lead quality back to Facebook as well as sales.

  • Match to Facebook using customer records or Facebook lead IDs.

  • Personal information (PII) free version is available for Facebook Lead Ads advertisers.

  • ISO27001 Certification for Information Security.

  • SLA available for Enterprise clients.


Local, personalised campaigns at scale

If you run campaigns across multiple locations it's incredibly time consuming to scale. With Driftrock you can store a library of all you local stores and deploy hundreds or thousands of personalised campaigns for each store. 

  • Personalise local campaigns based on Page ID, targeting locations, ad copy, images, Custom Audience ID's, budgets and many more variables.

  • Build out hundreds of campaigns or single campaigns with hundreds of Adsets.

  • Works for any Facebook Ads Objective.

Strategic and product support from our expert Ad Solutions team, or we can manage it for you. 

  HPS increased MINI service bookings 2.5X using Driftrock local campaign deployment for the dealer network.

HPS increased MINI service bookings 2.5X using Driftrock local campaign deployment for the dealer network.


  BMW delivered leads with higher intent whilst decreasing cost per lead 32%.

BMW delivered leads with higher intent whilst decreasing cost per lead 32%.

Lead ads with Store Locator

Driftrock can enable Facebook Lead Ads with Store Locator to help customers book local services. 

  • Automatically update the location database for each store from your API.

  • Driftrock handles all the technical work.

  • Works seamlessly with Driftrock Lead Ads Sync, and helps send the right leads to the right location.

  BMW increased ad engagement by 1/3rd by targeting xDrive 4X4 ads when it was raining or snowing.

BMW increased ad engagement by 1/3rd by targeting xDrive 4X4 ads when it was raining or snowing.

Facebook Weather Triggered Ads

Activate, accelerate or rotate Facebook & Instagram ads based on the weather to deliver ads at the perfect moment. 

  • Trigger based on weather conditions, temperature or humidity.

  • Weather data for every town and city in the world.

  • Quickly setup campaigns using our ad management tool for each weather region (optional).

Support from our expert Ad Solutions team on your weather query rules.