A Guide to Facebook Advertising

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Facebook is the world’s largest voluntary, non-religious organization in the world.  To not be a part of Facebook is almost akin to not knowing that the internet exists. While Facebook is thought to be a social media platform, originally meant to connect Harvard students—and then later—everyone else, businesses have flocked to its wide-spread influence and reach that other methods (and other social media avenues) only dream about.  If you’ve wondered how your business can take advantage of Facebook’s advertising methods, read on.

Why Use Facebook Advertising for Your Business?

As we mentioned, Facebook is huge.  If that hasn’t fully convinced you, then consider that Facebook logs and categorizes incredibly detailed information about its users, their groups, businesses, social trends, and a whole host of other data.  As a tool to facilitate their business model, Facebook allows you to advertise your business according to this data, which includes:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Relationship Status
  • Education
  • Events people are attending
  • Connections to Specific Users
  • Interests
  • Fans of Business Pages

And many, many other useful variables.  If you’ve read our article on defining your target market, you’ll see that this data can focus your marketing strategies and focus on specific demographics.  Got a product for 18 – 24 year-olds living in Wagga Wagga?  Want to market your new service towards the fans of your competitor’s business page?  Facebook can help make your marketing more efficient by displaying ads and showing specific content towards that isolated demographic.  Best of all, Facebook understands your business’ budget, so they only allow you to be charged for legitimate ad traffic, not scammers.

Goals

As a business owner using Facebook, be aware that you can gain new customers either directly or indirectly through various methods.

The first method, which most people associate as being integral to Facebook, is getting “likes” for your Facebook page.  When someone chooses to like your page, your content and posts will appear on their newsfeed.  If you’d like to “boost” a particular post or your content to your existing fans or those who aren’t, you can pay Facebook to increase the reach.  If the post is shared among other users or commented on by a wide range of people, this increases the boosted post’s “edge rank” (see “Edge Rank Explained” below) and its reach grows organically.

Facebook’s advertising scheme also allows for businesses to send traffic to your website or specific pages, such as product pages.  Alternatively, Facebook offers you the ability to create subpages within your Facebook page that contains the same information.  This is a cheaper option, as it keeps consumers on Facebook (benefiting them and lowering their bounce rate) while simultaneously conveying the essence of your advertisements and not making consumers suspicious by being taken offsite.

“Edge Rank” Explained

It is a common misconception of Facebook that every one of your friends and fans can see your content every time you post.  Because of the enormous amount of content posted and shared, most user’s newsfeeds would be too cluttered.

Instead, Facebook uses something called “edge rank,” which tailors content towards those who interact with your content (by clicking on, liking, sharing, reposting, commenting on, etc.).  The more times the post is interacted with, the wider the reach of the post and the more often your content will appear on the newsfeeds of those fans.  In fact, according to the latest statistics, only 16% of your fans actually see content that you normally post without advertisement.

How to Set Up a Facebook Ads Account for Business

Facebook is a continuously changing enterprise that seeks to integrate new forms of commerce and advertising into its model.  For a comprehensive list of what’s available, explore Facebook’s own detailed and current explanation of their services here (www.facebook.com/business/products/ads/ad-targeting/).  However, despite their evolving processes, their general format is the same.

If you haven’t already, create a Facebook page for your business.  This guide (www.marketinggum.com/types-of-facebook-pages-for-business/) explains the finer points of each of the business page options that you can create.  Pay particular notice to each of the intended uses and marketing strategies—getting this part correct is crucial to avoid wasting time and money on ineffective ads.

After you’ve set up your page, click on the upper-right hand corner button, then select the “Manage Ads” option to be taken to the Facebook Ads dashboard.  From the dashboard, you’ll see a wide variety of data and options.  For the purpose of this article, click on the “Create Ad” button.

Objectives

On the next page, you’ll be given a list of ten objectives available for your business.  They include:

  • Boost your posts
  • Promote your Page
  • Send people to your website
  • Increase conversions on your website
  • Get installs of your app
  • Increase engagement in your app
  • Reach people near your business
  • Raise attendance at your event
  • Get people to claim your offer
  • Get video views

As you can see, there’s a number of options beyond just getting more likes for your page.  As a business new to Facebook, experimentation and assessing the effectiveness of each method is key to finding the best option for your business.  For our practical purposes, let’s say you have created your own website beforehand and wish to send customers there to purchase your products.  For this, click on “Send people to your website”.

Select Your Audience

After entering in your URL, a menu appears that allows you to select your audience.  The default audience is determined by a number of factors (your location, your industry, etc.), but you can tailor your marketing to specific demographics by the drop-down menus indicated.  These include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (U.S. Only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

Each of these also has their own menu of further specificity, so take a generous amount of time to assess the reach of your target market and select from each field accordingly.  Facebook realises that this information can be confusing, so they have numerous pages to demystify the process (www.facebook.com/business/help/170456843145568) if you need supplemental help.

Set Your Budget

After you’ve determined what your prospective audience that you will be marketing towards is, now you must set your budget.  There’s a few options initially, including budget (“Daily” and “Lifetime”) and schedule (running continuously, or setting start and end times).  Beneath those, there’s “Show Advanced Options,” which, when clicked, shows even more options to optimise your ad.  This includes whether or not you would like to bid on your objective (“send people to your website”), click, or page impressions.  Choosing between these options will alter how your advertisement is displayed and how much it ultimately costs.  Facebook’s help page to understand each of these options is can be found here.

Creating Your Ad

Now that you’ve determined your objective, your audience, and your budget, it’s time to create your ad.  The first option you’ll see is to choose between “a single image or video in your ads” or “multiple images in one ad.”  The choice is up to you, but again, if you need clarification, check out Facebook’s help page.

Facebook will automatically import images related to your ad from images you’ve uploaded to your page, but if you’d like to change them, follow the uploading form to add new media.  The recommended criteria is listed here.

At this point, if you had chosen a different option for your objectives, such as “boost your posts”, you’d be presented with a different menu, but for our purposes, the format is relatively simple.   Refine your posting text, which is essentially your ad copy (Facebook recommends 90 characters), then determine if your image needs to be changed or cropped.  Below that, there’s the Headline (there’s a limit to 40 characters), a Description (20 character limit), and your Destination URL (where you’ll enter in your web address).  There’s also an option to select a Call-to-Action button if you see fit.

Below that, you’ll find more Advanced Options, including a See More URL (and alternative URL for related content) and URL Tags.  Both of these are beyond the scope of this article, but you can see how extensive Facebook’s advertising can be.

Ad Preview

On the right, you’ll see four different ways your ad will be displayed:

  • Desktop News Feed
  • Mobile News Feed
  • Desktop Right Column
  • Audience Network

Each of these has an option to be removed by clicking on “Remove” to limit the scope of your ads.  Again, you’ll need to experiment with this to see what approach your business needs, so the choice is up to you.  Finally, after reviewing how your ad is displayed across each medium, click on “Review Order” to review the parameters of your Facebook Ad.  After checking to see if everything is correct, click “Place Order” to place your order.

Congratulations!  Your First Ad.

And that’s it!  Your ad is now live and will be displayed on Facebook according to your parameters.  Of course, we’re just scraping the surface of what is possible for Facebook’s advertising scheme.  We’ve skipped over a number of features, but by using this method, we’ve been able to throw our business into the largest advertising network in the world.

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