February 23, 2021

How to Turn Cold Facebook Traffic into Red Hot Leads

by Bryan Johnston in Content, Professional0 Comments

Minute Read

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Kissmetrics blog, and some of the statistics have been updated.

Breaking news! Facebook is popular, with 2.8 billion monthly active users, and 1.84 billion daily active users.  

Admittedly, not the scoop of the year. How about this?

This just in! Facebook ads accounted for 98% of its revenue, and that amounted to $20.7 billion in just the last quarter of 2020.

You may have already known that, but the stats are impressive nonetheless:

So it’s a no-brainer, right? Easy-peasy. Get started today, and watch the dollars and cents come knocking at your door by tomorrow. It’s got the numbers, and it seems like everyone is doing it. 

Not so fast. There’s an art to this. 

An Important Service Reminder

The thing to remember about Facebook is that it’s cold traffic. Nearly two billion people are using it, but it’s not the same as, say, Google Adwords. There, someone navigates to the search engine, types in “cheap smartphones phoenix”, and is served up an appropriate ad with the organic results. That’s warm traffic.

We know their intention (in this case, they’re looking for an affordable smartphone in Phoenix, Arizona). Adwords and Facebook Ads are fundamentally different in this way.  

On the social media behemoth, we don’t know why they’re on the platform. They might be updating their status, looking at photos from friends and family, checking the news (36% of American adults “regularly” get their news there), or simply killing time. 

What they’re probably not doing is looking for new shoes, or a cloud accounting service, or designer sunglasses. That’s cold traffic. 

The good news? You can turn cold Facebook traffic into red hot leads if you use ads the right way. 

There are plenty of Facebook Ad tips and secrets posts out there for you to devour (design tips, testing secrets, and so forth). And you should. Instead, let’s focus on warming that cold traffic to the point of boiling, shall we?

Let’s do this. 

Step 1 – Start with Your Warmest Cold Traffic

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but hear me out. 

There are 2.8 billion active users on Facebook, but most of them are simply not interested in whatever it is you’re offering. That’s the harsh reality. 

But Facebook is a marketers dream, with unparalleled targeting abilities. Think about it: everyone who signs up voluntarily provides data about themselves, their interests, their demographics, their likes, the businesses and groups they follow, and much more. 

Begin by identifying your ideal customers. Create very detailed buyer personas so you understand everything about them. 

Next, zero in on them in your Facebook ad. You can target by location, age, gender, language, interests, behavior, and demographics. Be specific

A protein supplement for young men? Find them. Will every male between the age of 20-40 be responsive? Nope. But they’ll be much warmer than a 53-year old woman. 

Heat rating: room temperature. 

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Step 2 – The Awareness Game

According to the iconic marketing book Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz, there are five levels of awareness in the buyer’s journey.


You need to know exactly where your target falls on that spectrum, because it’ll influence the ad content you present. 

To use our protein supplement example, the targets already know that supplements exist and what they do, but they’ve probably never heard of yours

They need to be made “product aware” (your new supplement), and they need some incentive (discounts and deals) to give it a try and switch from whatever one they’re currently using. 

That’s what your ads need to provide them.

If, on the other hand, you were the first to create a protein supplement, you’d start at the “solution aware” stage and offer claims and proof instead.   

Heat rating: lukewarm.

Step 3 – Educate Above All Else

Consumers need to know more about your product or service before they hand over their cash. They need context. They need specific on who you are, what it does, why they need it, and what it’ll do for them. 

To do that, consider a series of ads that enlightens them one step at a time. Takes longer, sure, but you’ll see a better conversion rate overall.

FBA Wizard had a FB ad that took people to a landing page to sign up for a free trial. It was your basic “Here’s something. Get it” approach. Conversion rate? About 1%.

Not good enough. They switched to a 4-part video series delivered over four days to their “warmest” cold traffic that educated people on the product and its context incrementally. The result? They nearly tripled the CVR to 2.93%. 

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Educate first, pitch second. Woo them before you sell them. The traffic temperature is starting to rise. 

Heat rating: getting hot.

Step 4 – Target Reacquired 

How often do you see an ad for the first time, click, and purchase? Most people – and this is especially true for cold traffic – need to see something multiple times before they pull the trigger.

Enter retargeting

Using the Facebook pixel – a small snippet of code installed on your website – you can retarget people who have visited your blog, or landing page, or whatever. 

They check out your supplement product page without buying, for example, but then see an ad with additional details for the same product on Facebook and make the leap.

That’s the power of remarketing. In the FB Averts Manager, under Audience, click on Create New > Custom Audience > Website Traffic and fill in the details. 

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You can also opt to retarget individuals who have engaged with your Facebook content directly – such as your Page, your lead ads, your videos – under Audience > Create New > Custom Audience > Engagement on Facebook. 

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Between the two – your site and Facebook itself – your bases are covered. 

Heat rating: scalding. 

And that’s that. We slowly turned up the heat and made cold traffic a scalding hot lead by approaching Facebook ads intelligently and zeroing in. 

Too many marketers play the numbers game on Facebook, believing that with nearly two billion people on the platform, someone is bound to bite. 

They might. But isn’t your business worth more than “might”? Start with your warmest cold traffic (your ideal customers), identify their awareness stage (and create your ad accordingly), educate before you pitch them, and retarget as necessary. 

Cold to warm to warmer to red hot. That’s the right plan. Otherwise, you’re simply handing your money to Mark Zuckerberg (and I hear he’s doing “okay” financially).


Bryan Johnston

Former high school English lit & drama teacher. Current writer, stand-up comedian, & improv performer. A big switch? You betcha.

International expat for 12+ years with stops in Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai, & Guangzhou. Dad to a university sophomore, an eleven-month old charmer, & the two best doggos. Lover of funny things & people. Oh, and craft beer.

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