Facebook Ads 101

Posted by | April 17, 2015 | Social media tips | No Comments
Facebook ads

Posting on your Facebook page regularly used to be an effective way to get the word out about your business. As a social network with over a billion users worldwide, most of your potential customers are already there. But as more businesses began to use the site for marketing efforts, it became increasingly challenging to ensure your posts were even seen by your own followers.

One of the best ways to increase exposure and engagement is to run Facebook ads. Yes, it’s unpleasant to have to pay to be seen on a free website, but these ads are not only inexpensive, but often highly effective and very measurable. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in trying or improving your Facebook ads to drive awareness of your products or services.

Types of Facebook ads

Facebook ads used to just come in two forms: sponsored posts and sidebar ads. Lucky for you, Facebook ads are now are now more advanced, with many customizable options based on your specific marketing goals.

When you create a Facebook ad, you start by choosing your objective. Are you trying to boost your number of Facebook fans so more people will see your ongoing updates? Are you trying to send more people to your new landing page to boost conversions? Consider your goals carefully to make sure the ad is most effective.

Facebook currently offers these options as ad objectives:

  • Boost your posts (increases engagement by giving more visibility to posts from your Facebook page)
  • Promote your page (increases likes of your page)
  • Send people to your website (drives website visits)
  • Increase conversions on your website (encourages specific actions, like signing up for an email newsletter)
  • Get installs of your app (drives people to store where your app can be bought)
  • Increase engagement in your app (drives more people to use your mobile or Facebook app)
  • Reach people near your business (promote yourself to locals)
  • Raise attendance at your event (promote your event to get more event responses and boost attendance)
  • Get people to claim your offer (promote timely deals and discounts in your store)
  • Get video views (boost views of your brand’s videos)

Once you select your objective, the ad tool walks you through every step of building your ad. In other words, it’s easy enough that anyone can do it.

Targeting Facebook ads

One of the greatest perks of Facebook ads is the audience can be highly targeted. At a high level, you can designate gender, location, age and languages. Marketers love that you can also target by interests people indicate on their on Facebook profiles. Selling a high-quality dog food? Make sure the ad is targeted to people who like dogs and animal welfare. Promoting a local ballet concert? Go for users with interests in ballet, dance and performance art.

Another huge perk is you can target by behavior. You can target who have donated to specific causes recently, narrow down by professions, select audience based on travel behavior or even look for people with certain spending habits, among other traits. Play around with these tools to see all the options that are available and have some fun! There are also more advanced targeted techniques available to those interested in getting creative.

The ability to get this specific for advertising or marketing tactics is very rare. However, there’s a balance to achieve; if your criteria is too broad, your ad is likely to not get much interest, but if it’s too narrow, not enough people have the chance to see it. Fortunately, Facebook now has an “Audience Definition” tool on the right sidebar that helps you see if your targeting is too broad, too specific or just right.

Pricing of Facebook ads

The price of a Facebook ad starts at only $5, and you can actually move the needle spending that little on ads per week. You can set a budget either on a daily basis or as a total amount for the duration of the ad campaign (you set the start and end dates). The more you budget, the more people it reaches. As you indicate your budget, Facebook’s ad tool shows you the estimated daily reach for that amount.

You can also choose what you prefer to optimize for. Options vary depending on the objective; for example, for the video views objective, you choose whether you want Facebook to optimize your ad budget for video views or reach.

It’s possible to change your budget at any time, so don’t worry about getting it perfect—you’re not stuck with the price you start with if it doesn’t work for you.

Tracking and experimenting

Facebook ads are highly trackable. The Ad Manager tool allows you to view performance metrics such as impressions, clicks and other key data to see how many people are viewing and engaging with your ads. If an ad isn’t performing well, you can end it early or make changes to the content or imagery to see if something else works better.

Another major benefit of Facebook ads is you can run multiple ad campaigns at once to test what works best. Consider running several ads on a low budget for a few days with different variables. For example, you could test the same ad copy but with two very different images to see which converts better. Or you could run the exact same ad but target it to a very different audience to determine responds better. The options are nearly endless, and it’s very simple to tweak an ad or end it early, so experiment your little heart out!

Optimizing content

Facebook users read these ads quickly, and you have only seconds (and a few sentences) to capture their attention. To improve your chances of success, make your message clear and easy to understand. Don’t try to be clever, as that can cause confusion and lose someone who’s reading quickly or not familiar with your business. Ask yourself when writing it: would someone who has never heard of my business be able to understand this?

Conversational questions can also perform well. Target the pain points of your target audience. Using questions like “Tired of overpaying for child care?” or “Need help with your tax bill?” often work better than general statements.

Most importantly, include a call to action directing the reader toward the specific action you want them to take. This could be clicking like, signing up for your newsletter or taking advantage of the offer. By telling them what you want them to do, it’s easier for them to follow through.

Need help making sense of Facebook ads or developing the perfect ad copy? Message Sprout is here to help!

Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee

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