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Darryl Harvey

Helping Small and Medium Businesses Achieve Their Full Marketing Potential | Digital Marketing Expert

How To Leverage Cognitive Biases With Facebook Ads

My last article discussed the cognitive biases SMEs need to know.In this article, you’ll learn how to tactically set up a marketing strategy, with those biases in mind, that builds a credible brand whilst improving results using Facebook ads.

Building A Cost-Effective Cold Audience

Meta delivers your ads to the people in your target audience who will most likely complete the objective you are optimising for.When targeting your audience and assessing their interests, leveraging an engagement campaign with content allows you to introduce your brand to your ideal audience based on their expressed interest and action. This consideration objective gives you the opportunity to establish biases such as authority, social proof and credibility through content for pennies per engagement because you’re keeping people on the platform for longer (which the platform wants and will reward you for doing) whilst creating a retargetable audience 365 days from the time they interacted with your brand.

How it works

You’re putting content in front of your prospecting audience with either no call to action or a soft call to action. This stage of the ad strategy is a conversation starter. At this stage of the buyers’ journey, the goal is to imbue your prospecting audience with the ideal bias, expectations and belief about your product or service before pitching with conversion campaigns.You can use either photo or video creative. However, if possible, use video as it allows you to communicate your message in a way that a static image can not. Ideally, you want to put together engaging creative that manages the biggest belief and objections about your product or service before introducing a direct response. There is no limit to the number of creatives you can produce as it is budget-dependent. However, as an SME, it is suggested to put together at least 3 – 5 different creatives to start. For example, let’s say you’re a protein powder company. Here are some reasons why people would consider buying protein powder:
  • It helps to build muscle and repair tissue.
  • Easy to get your daily protein intake without cooking time-consuming meals
  • How to make a tasty protein-packed snack
  • Whey protein vs vegan protein – which one is for you
  • How to make a delicious protein-filled smoothie in less than 60 seconds

Time to build your remarketing list

Now that you’ve introduced your brand to your cold audience, it’s time to retarget them based on their expressed interest. Using Facebook’s Audiences feature, you can put people into a list using the following options ‘People who currently like or follow your Page, Everyone who engaged with your Page, Anyone who visited your page, People who engaged with any post or ad, People who clicked any call-to-action button. Depending on the audience you want to build, clicking on ”Include more people” can combine these features if one isn’t enough.


Now that you’ve strategically put content in front of your audience based on their expressed interest, it’s time to target them with a direct response to maximise conversions. Suppose you are dealing with a small budget. In that case, you’ll want to create at least three different angles to give you some variations and increase the probability of a successful campaign by gathering data, optimising top-performing ads, and considering turning off underperforming ads.

Considerations at each stage of the funnel:

Top-of-Funnel ConsiderationsThe aim at the top of the funnel is to connect with the prospecting audience by focusing on engagement. This can be achieved through educational content to invoke actions such as clicks, comments and page visits.Suppose you are unsure what content to create. Taking our fictitious protein powder company from earlier, you can go on Google and type in the search bar protein powder, where you will see the auto-suggest populate based on the volume of search queries such as protein powder for weight loss, protein for weight gain, protein powder for women, protein powder recipes, protein powder recipes.Also, you can review and use the top-performing post from your page. In ad manager, you can build on the existing engagement by choosing existing posts to drive more interaction and stack social proof.Middle-of-Funnel ConsiderationsAt the middle of the funnel, the goal is to encourage actions that result in lead generation or qualifying a buyer. When you want to generate leads, use downloadable offers such as free PDFs, e-books, and discount codes when signing up. When qualifying a buyer, introduce offers at low prices such as a paid PDF, e-book or mini video training.Let’s say you’re a BMX influencer looking to generate leads. You can offer a PDF teaching the top 5 BMX tricks for beginners. Facebook has a built-in lead generation form which auto-populates with the prospects’ information without the need to leave their platform.Bottom-of-Funnel ConsiderationsAt the bottom of the funnel, entice your audience to take action that will result in a major conversion such as a purchase through social proof, credibility, authority and urgency into your creative and use copy to reinforce the message. This can be achieved through customer reviews and testimonials coupled with limited-time offers, top-selling products or upsells from previously purchased customers.Let’s take the same BMX influencer, but this time they are targeting prospects in the after-market, which are people who already own a BMX. They want to qualify buyers, so they put together a mini video training of the top tricks every BMX owner needs to master and decided to charge £5.99 for the training. They have successfully qualified a buyer where they can continue to ascend them up their funnel.


You can build a cost-effective and credible brand by leveraging cognitive biases that manage expectations and beliefs before pitching. By putting content in front of your prospecting audience, you’re keeping people on the platform for longer, which the platform wants, whilst building a retargetable list based on their expressed interest. So when you run direct response, you lower the friction to purchase because expectations have been managed in advance.