As a seemingly endless stream of users continues to sign up for Facebook, it’s no surprise why some of the world’s biggest companies are starting to significantly ramp up their ad spend on Zuckerberg’s ubiquitous social media platform.
Whether you’re a seasoned media buyer looking to experiment with social networks or a small business owner trying to generate in-store purchases, Facebook is quickly becoming the go-to platform for businesses of any scale to reach detailed target audiences and generate high levels of engagement.
Pick Your Marketing Objective
When you want to build a new ad on Facebook, you’ll first be asked to choose an objective for your marketing campaign. There’s a long list of choices—so whether you’re looking to get more likes on your Facebook page or increase online sales, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something that aligns with your overall goal.
For those of you looking to get users to take any action off of Facebook, it’s hard to go wrong with a basic Traffic campaign—my selection of choice for the rest of this post. Picking Traffic will allow you to specify a landing destination for your users and utilize Facebook’s extremely detailed targeting options to serve your ads.
You’ll also have the option to split test your ads by distributing your creative to different audiences and seeing what performs best where. Give the name of your campaign some context, perhaps your campaign goal and a descriptive title, as it can get quite difficult to navigate once your list of campaigns begins to grow.
Building a Custom Audience
After choosing a destination for your traffic, it’s time to build your first Audience. Building Audiences allows you to target specific users and drive the engagement of your ad sets. Assuming you haven’t already advertised on Facebook, skip the section about adding an existing custom audience and select the locations you’d like to target. It’s an always a good idea to go international, and Facebook allows you to take your reach abroad while still advertising in your language of choice.
If you’re trying to drive in-person store visits or increase the attendance of an event, use Locations to narrow your audience and reach the people closest to your business. But if your operations are predominantly online, don’t worry too much about getting specific with the locations of your target audience. That being said, using split tests to vary the locations of your target audiences at the individual level is a great way to find your most engaged customers and reduce your future ad spend.
It may seem somewhat insignificant, but it’s important to select an age range for your audience—and the more specific you can be, the better. If you’re advertising baby products, targeting people aged 20-40 will give you the best chance of reaching new mothers and fathers that just had a child. Don’t waste precious ad impressions on people that are too old or too young to be in the market for your product; think of those that are relevant to your business and try to keep it specific.
It’s finally time for Detailed Targeting—one of the main selling points of Facebook’s ad platform and the whole idea behind people-based marketing. This part of the Audience section allows you to pinpoint specific users based on various demographics, user behaviors, and interests. Essentially, this boils down to who your user is, what they like on Facebook, and how they interact with online content. It sounds complicated, but the process of narrowing down your audience based on their interests and behaviors is actually a lot more intuitive than you may think.
Figuring out what interests to target may seem daunting, but finding a highly engaged audience of anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 really isn’t as hard as it seems. When you’re first starting out, one of the easiest ways to find engaged users is to target the people who like your competitor’s Facebook pages. If you’re a software development agency, you can’t go wrong by targeting users that already show interest in other software development agencies on Facebook.
How interested your audience is ends up playing a massive role in how your ads are served and what the final cost of your campaign will be. If you’re paying for link clicks, your CPC can be reduced greatly depending on the engagement your ad receives. An ad with higher engagement and better CTR (click-through rate) will always cost less than one served to people with mismatched interests and demographics.
Depending on what you’re trying to advertise, it might be a good idea to manually determine the placement of your ads. Through Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger, Facebook gives you a plethora of customizable ways to serve up your ads exactly where and how you want. Keep in mind, ads on mobile devices tend to see overall higher engagement, so if you’re trying to get users to download your app, you may want to try directing your ad spend exclusively towards mobile devices.
Determining Your Budget and Schedule
Last but not least, it’s time to specify a daily budget and schedule for your ads. When you’re first starting out, don’t be afraid to set a daily budget as little as $5-$10; it doesn’t take much to get valuable insight from your metrics.
I’d recommend optimizing for link clicks (CPC) and selecting the option for a manual bid. Regardless of what amount you put in for the bid, it’s extremely unlikely that you’re going to see anything much higher than $1.As long as you’ve created an engaging ad, you’re more than likely going to see a CPC closer to $0.50.
It only takes a few minutes to get started advertising on Facebook. With social media continuing to see explosive growth among a diverse group of young audiences, it’s no surprise most digital marketers are starting to hone in on Facebook as their advertising platform of choice. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to develop a basic understanding of how to advertise on Facebook and why businesses are transitioning to people-based marketing.