There's no escaping the fact that Facebook has the audience numbers to make marketers drool:
- Daily active users - 1.13 billion
- Monthly active users - 1.71 billion
Advertising revenue for the platform hit $6.239 billion for the second quarter of 2016 - it's taken off in a big way.
And it gets better: Facebook advertising is easy to do, cost-effective, and boasts an average click-through rate of 0.98% in the U.S. and 1% globally.
While you still need to do your homework, set measurable goals, research your audience, and follow all image and copy best practices for ads in general, the potential is huge.
If you've never tried Facebook ads, it's time you did. Consider this your quickstart guide - your first campaign is six easy steps away.
Let's Get Started
From the Advertising on Facebook page, click on "Create an Advert" to jump to the Manager dashboard.
Step 1 - Select a Marketing Objective
Measurable goals and objectives are essential.
Facebook divides objectives into three broad categories:
Awareness - Boost a post, promote your page, reach people near your business, increase brand awareness
Consideration - Send people to your website, get people to install your app, raise attendance at an event, get video reviews, collect leads
Conversion - Increase website conversions, increase app engagement, get people to claim an offer, promote a product catalog
Quick tip: Tie your objective to your campaign goal. The choice here will determine your available options in the remaining steps.
Make your selection, give the campaign a name, and click continue. You're on your way.
Step 2 - Define Your Audience
This is where Facebook really shines. The platform is like one giant, ongoing focus group. People voluntarily input their likes, dislikes, background, and more.
Use your buyer personas to create your target - a well-defined audience is key.
Enter in the basics - location (by country, state/province, or city), age range, gender, and language.
Quick tip: When selecting a specific city, be sure to select "People who live in this location". Otherwise, FB includes tourists and recent visitors by default.
Zero in with the detailed targeting field near the bottom. You can go after certain demographics, interests, or behaviors. Start typing, and Facebook will make a few suggestions. Be specific. Who exactly is your ideal target?
You can also exclude people (such as those who've already liked your page), narrow your audience, or set a connection type (by either your Facebook Page, apps, or events).
Upload the email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook IDs, or app user IDs from your existing customers with Custom Audience.
Lookalike Audience lets you target people similar to your existing audience - it's a great opportunity to expand awareness of your brand.
The targeting capabilities are simply amazing. You can reach the right people for any campaign.
Step 3 - Select Your Placement
Ads can be placed on Facebook - in the feeds or right-hand column - on Instagram, or on the Audience Network. Note that all options aren't available for every objective.
Automatic Placements is the default. If you've done your homework and know that your target audience just doesn't use Instagram, select "Edit Placements" and exclude that platform.
You can further narrow your targeting by selecting "All device types", "Mobile only", or "Desktop only", as well as either "All mobile devices", "Only Android", or "Only iOS". If you're promoting an iPhone app, for example, you probably don't need it to go out to Android users.
Quick tip: Mobile advertising represented 84% of all Facebook ad revenue, and the platform had 967 million mobile-only users in Q2 2016. Don't exclude them.
Step 4 - How Much and For How Long
You can simply enter a daily minimum or a lifetime budget, and opt to run the campaign continuously or from a concrete start and stop date. Done.
Under Advanced Options, you can get a little more precise:
- Optimization for advert delivery - Facebook will always make a recommendation based on what you've told it.
- Bid amount - Automatic, or manual. How much is each action worth to you?
- When you are charged - You can pay per 1000 impressions (good when you just want it seen by as many eyes as possible), per click, per like, or per action (typically more expensive, but you only pay when someone actually converts).
- Advert scheduling - Run all the time, or only during certain hours and/or days.
If you have data, go ahead and tweak, otherwise, it's best to let Facebook do its thing.
Your bid amount is influenced by a lot: your objective, your audience, your budget, length of your campaign, and more.
Quick tip: Your ad quality score (relevance score and CTR) will influence your costs. Optimize to improve it, and your cost-per-click will be lower.
Facebook always gives a suggested bid, but you can adjust that amount. Go too low, however, and you risk losing out to other advertisers vying for the same audience.
Step 5 - Ad Format
You're given the choice or either Carousel (an ad with 2-10 scrollable images or videos), single image (you can use up to six different ones), single video, or slideshow.
The Carousel format is great if you want to showcase your product line, demonstrate something simple, or tell a story - some studies suggest it generates 10x more traffic than single image ads.
Will it do that for you? Perhaps. But choose the format that best fits your needs.
Step 6 - Get Creative
Your actual ad needs to look good (high quality visuals), be well written (active, persuasive language), and appeal to your chosen target. Do some keyword research to find the words and phrases that most resonate with them.
Consider segmenting your audience so you can create targeted ads that appeal to those smaller groups.
Quick tip: You'll see recommended specs on the right-hand side for images and videos. Follow them.
Upload, select from your Facebook library, or choose a free stock image depending on your chosen format. You can then crop, adjust, and give each a unique headline and link.
Enter the text for your ad, and preview for both the desktop and mobile versions on the right. Make sure it looks stunning.
When you're done, review and place your order. That's it.
Understand your goals, take the time to define your audience as precisely as possible, and rotate ads regularly to avoid ad fatigue. Keep it fresh and engaging.
Monitor your campaign from Ads Manager. You can check number of reach, results, and average cost per result, among other data points that you select from the "Column" dropdown menu.
Use the "Breakdown" options to see exactly who reacted to your ad, when, where, and on what device.
You can do a lot of cool stuff with Facebook ad reports.
Start small (try a $5/day campaign for a week). A/B test your ads. Monitor, tweak, and refine. Learn as you go. Check out the Facebook Pixel.
Be realistic, methodical, and proactive, and FB Ads will be profitable.
Images via MarketingCharts