Facebook is the largest social network and the second most used website after Google. With ~ 1.4 billion users each month. A huge amount of information is collected from users by Facebook every day to make adverts as relevant as possible. It is an excellent platform for small businesses to market themselves with. This guide will take you step by step through all the features that can be used when launching an advert on Facebook with advice on how they can help you save money and make a more effective campaign.
This guide has four sections:
Types of Ads – A list of what advert choices you have
Audience Acquisition – In depth of how different demographics can benefit different business types and situations
Budget Allocation – Will you benefit more from pay per 1000 views or pay per click
Advert Design – Best practices for all businesses
Types of Ads
As a small business it is generally better to get followers on Facebook instead of going for the hard sell and directing people to your website. If somebody likes what you are doing enough to follow you then if they ever need the product or service you are offering you are likely to be the first person they go to. Generally people won’t follow a business if they don’t think they will have later use for it.
Facebook is very flexible and has a lot of choice on what groups you want to target with what types of adverts. You have a choice of 9 options when creating an advert. Most people choose one of the first 3 choices: to boost your post, promote your page or send people to your website. Certain business types really benefit from some of the less usual choices.
Boost your posts
Boosting your post means that people who aren’t your friends have a chance to see the statuses that you have written. You can include a website link, image or video meaning that you have chances of picking up more followers which gives you a larger audience, or sending people straight to your website.
Promote your page
Promoting your page creates a new post which links to your page instead of giving you the choice of where you want to link to. If you are a new user and need to get followers this can be a good choice. Generally it is better to boost your post because you can include a link to some good content on your website. If the content is good people usually will like your page.
Send people to your website
Sending people to your website allows more options on where your advert appears. You can place your advert on the right hand column of peoples news feed, on specifically mobile phone news feeds or on partners mobile apps.
Increase website conversion
You can measure website conversion from Facebook and then buy a product or sign up to a newsletter. This requires you modifying your web page and then setting up a goal. If you run an E-store it is well worth modifying your advert for conversions over time. Facebook gives lots of useful data that you can use to tweak existing adverts.
Get app installs
For app developers this would be the usual choice. It allows you to link mobile users to your app store and then track how many downloads you have got and how much you have earned from this. Like the other options you can target specific interests and mobile platforms.
Increase app engagement
Like with your website you can tweak your app engagement ads over time to see what works best with the information that Facebook collects.
Raise event attendance
Promote an event you are putting on. This is good for promoters or businesses that do educational talks. Make sure you write a strong description of the events you are putting on if you are targeting people who don’t follow you.
Get people to claim your offer
You can make limited time offers available only to Facebook users to encourage sales. This is very useful if you run an online store. If you present your adverts correctly people will like your page to get future offers and can massively increase your sale conversion rate.
Get video views
If you video blog or have a great video advert for your business this can be a good choice. Again you can target the users you think you are most relevant to and if they like your video they will probably like your page.
Facebook Audience Targeting
The audience demographic targeting that Facebook allows for is what makes it so useful as a marketing tool for small business. People put their whole lives up on Facebook so you can really identify who your perfect client would be. For small businesses this allows for very specific audience targeting which means you can get high conversion rates with a reasonably low budget. In simple terms if you tweak your adverts enough you can generate a lot of business cheaply with Facebook ads.
If you are a local business rather than an online entity you can target your local area. Facebook lets you select people by town/city, borough, county, country or even post code. Targeting ads to your local post code or borough and then aiming your advert at mobile users is particularly useful for cafes and restaurants.
When you start a campaign it is a good idea to start with a small age group and then expand on it. This allows you to identify what ages are engaging most with your adverts. You can then optimise the age group you are targeting to get the best value for money.
Gender is another useful tool on a tight budget. Often one gender will engage noticeably more with an advert than another. If you notice a large difference in gender conversion rates you can aim your adverts towards this group.
In the UK language is only really useful for businesses such as English language schools targeting anybody who doesn’t speak English.
As well as the main ones there are certain other demographics useful for some businesses. It is worth seeing if there is any information on the internet about which of these might be useful for your specific field.
Relationships: You can target people in relationships if you are for example a marriage councilor.
Education: If you sell stationary it can be advantageous to target people in education and business.
Work: You can choose from job title, specific employers and industries. This is useful for the advertising industry and employment agencies.
Ethnic identity: This is another demographic which can be useful if you are on a tight budget. It can be worth checking if any ethnic groups are engaging noticeably more with your ads.
Parents: Any business that is aimed at young children like toy manufacturers and kids clothes are good for targeting both parents and children. It is usually better to target school supplies at parents rather than children.
Life events and generation: These are only particularly useful for very niche businesses. Life events is too big a field to cover so look through the options and see if any are relevant to you. Generation is better dictated specifically by age.
Politics: This is currently US only but will probably eventually be launched in the UK. This is another field that may potentially be useful for people on tight budgets, as well as political campaigns.
You can target people’s interests to narrow down the group that you have already created. Interests includes pages people like as well as the information they put in about themselves when they sign up. It is worth checking the size of the group of people with specific interests in what you do or related fields. You can get suggestions based on what you have been posting and who has already been engaging with you.
Facebook collects data on peoples behavior. These are quite specific and only very useful for people on a tight budget. For marketeers like myself you can target small businesses. Game companies can target ‘gamers’ and what operating system people use. You can also target what sort of phone people use if you are an app developer. It is best to exclude most of these behaviors when you are setting your advert up then using them to tweak your existing adverts to see if they make your ads better value for money.
You can target people who already like your page or people who don’t already like your page. If you are running a special offer you may find it more cost effective to only target people connected to you, although special offers are a good way of getting more followers. If your main goal is to get followers so you can soft sell to people later for free it obviously go for people not connected to you.
Facebook ads are particularly flexible when it comes to budget allocation. The default option is to set a daily budget and let Facebook manage these options for you. The advanced options give you more flexibility so you can try different ways of paying for advert appearance and see what works best for you .The main options being.
Pay per click on your advert: If somebody visits your page, visits your website, visits the app store, watches your video or goes to your event page you are charged a set amount. You can either set this yourself or let Facebook optimise it for you. This is good because it gives you a clear idea of how many people will engage with your advert each day.
Pay per thousand impressions: If you pay a set amount per thousand views of your advert you run the risk of having no clicks at all. If you have a very successful advert this can be more cost effective though. If your goal is to get people
to your website and you have already ran an advert and found that you are rapidly running through your budget it can be worth testing out PPM.
The type of advert you are running changes what design you are using. All industries and advert types are different so this last section is fairly short.
- Make your advert visual so that it stands out
- Keep your advert text fairly short
- Try out a few different designs and see what works well
- Have a strong call to action
- Each time you modify your audience modify the design of your advert to what you think will suit them best
- Look at what other people are doing for inspiration
As you build your audience don’t forget to keep them engaged by writing a few posts every week which aren’t at all sales related. This reminds your followers you are there better than paid advertising, and over time when you have enough followers you may find that you are getting enough work you don’t need to pay for advertising. Until then a well thought out facebook advert can reach a lot of people for a fairly small amount of money compared to other advertising media.