Engaging Readers Through Facebook Part 3: Facebook Ads

Facebook is the largest social media website on the planet. Billions of users from around the world enjoy the features that the site offers. All those people use Facebook to stay in touch with their friends, engage their customers, buy and sell products and services, post funny cat videos, and even raise money for charities, just to name a few.

As an advertising platform, Facebook is a goldmine for people who need to target a specific audience. There is no other medium that can give you the results that Facebook’s advertising program can. The options available to advertisers is what makes Facebook marketing so great. There are separate parts of your account that give you the means to make your own ads or create short explainer videos. You also have the power to set a demographic with thousands of niche-specific guidelines and save it as a group. You can create many diverse groups for different ads, products, and services. And, the advertising itself is cheap. The least you can spend is just one dollar a day to reach people.

It doesn’t stop there, though. There is so much more to explore with Facebook ads.

What are Facebook Ads?

There are a few types of ads that you can run on Facebook. You can decide to either ‘boost a post’, which is making an advertisement out of a post on your timeline, or you create a specific post for a sale, an event, or just promoting your business. You can choose where your ads are seen with a few different options.

The most popular ads you’ll see are the ones that show up in your timeline. In between posts, there will be ads that look exactly like the other posts, so that it catches the user’s eye when they scroll over it.

Another type of ad that you have the option to create is one that people see in their messages. On mobile devices, Facebook uses a separate app called Facebook Messenger that users must download in order to see and send messages through Facebook. Putting ads on the Messenger app is excellent because people see them within their messages. Using these types of ads, along with a larger campaign on Facebook proper, will result in a high click-through rate, ROI you can be proud of, and even user marketing where they share the ad with their friends and family, or tag someone within that ad. In the Messenger app, people can send ads that they see to their friends as a message, so you essentially get free marketing.

Other types of ads show up on the side of the website where you see more personalized ads that are in a vertical strip form. These types of ads, along with Facebook Messenger ads, are great for people who want to put out a simple, yet catchy message that the right people are guaranteed to see and interact with.

Facebook also uses an intuitive ad system that personalizes the ads a user sees by using the information it gathers from the user’s previous search history. A user can search something on Facebook, or elsewhere, like Google and Amazon, and it can see that data to display ads that are relevant to the user. This type of system enhances the overall user/ad experience by essentially giving them what they want to see. The user also has the opportunity to further personalize their experience by hiding ads and telling Facebook that it is no longer relevant, or they have already engaged with the company in some way.

Understanding Analytics

Your Facebook account comes with a tab in the administration menu that gives you all the analytical data you need to create more ads, edit the ones you have, and to change certain parts of your demographic information. Understanding the data is extremely easy for anyone. There aren’t any super-confusing charts and graphs you need an expert for. The numbers are right there for you. You’ll see how many people saw your ad, clicked your ad, shared it, liked it, commented on it, etc. It’ll give you an easy-to-read breakdown of how well it is doing. There aren’t really metrics that you can compare your ads with in order to get a full definition of your ad’s success, but you can compare the metrics of people reached and your goals.

Understanding Demographics

Facebook ads have a very in-depth demographic settings feature that you won’t find in other online advertising platforms. Facebook uses all the data it collects from public profiles to give you the option to target those people. The basic settings you can change are age, gender, location, etc. Pinpointing Your Target Audience You can target specific people by their interests, careers, hobbies, groups, and virtually anything else everyone lists on their Facebook profile. You can use keywords to target people who like bicycles, or sewing, or politics. What is great about pinpointing an audience is that when you search for a hobby you want to include in your list of people to target, Facebook will give you suggestions that are similar to what you are targeting. If you are targeting marketing agencies, you won’t have to input every type of marketing under careers, or every sort of interest in marketing. You can simply input the word ‘marketing’ and everything relevant will come up for you so you can get as specific as you want. It’ll tell you exactly how many people you are targeting based on your demographic settings.

Graphics

Facebook has rules about what type of graphics you can post in an ad. Short videos and images without a lot of text are fine, along with Gif images. It is a good idea to use a video if you want to display text in the graphics. Facebook will sometimes disapprove an ad that has a graphic with too much text.

Recently, Facebook has included a feature that allows you to make short videos that you can post in groups and on your timeline, but you can also use them in ads. These short videos are super easy to make and allow you to put out a simple message that people will react to. The feature is free, so you should at least try it out before you go making some images to post in your ads.

Calls to Action

In your ad, you’ll have the option to select a specific call to action, which includes a button at the bottom of the ad for people to click on. In the beginning of your ad-making experience on Facebook, they will prompt you to answer what your ad is for. You’ll have the option to select answers like, to get more website visitors, to get messages and post reactions, to get likes and comments, or page promotion. Of course, there are many other possibilities, but most will result in you putting up a link for people to follow, which falls under the option for getting more website visitors.

You’ll decide what the button says, and where it links to, and you can put your own link in it. You can also just have it link to a part of your Facebook page.

When to Post, Budget, and How Long to Run Your Facebook Ads

Every ad is different. Some ads are specific to a holiday or an event. Some are made to be more long-term for brand awareness. Your budget is whatever your company can afford. It is a promising idea to run A/B testing for new ads, so that you know which ads people will like better before you throw more money into it. That being said, for newer ads that haven’t yet proven themselves, you’ll want to run them for at least two weeks. Running a test ad for a month is ideal. Set your target audience as you would normally but set your budget to spending only a few dollars a day, which should reach a few thousand people a day. Play with the demographic information with the same ad to compare the metrics. Whichever gives you the better ROI, then go with that one.

Facebook ads won’t work like you want them to unless you run them for at least two weeks. People have to see something an average of 5-6 times before they even give it a thought. So, time is the biggest factor.

Knowing when to post your ads will only be relevant to what kind of ad it is. Obviously, Christmas is going to be a wonderful time to post holiday sales and things like that. When people get their taxes back in the spring is also an appropriate time to post sales.

Now You Can Advertise on Facebook

There isn’t much to advertising on the world’s largest social media platform. They have made it incredibly easy to make ads and to get something back from them. If you really want to get more knowledge into successful advertising on Facebook, there are always big companies and influencers who will gladly give you what they know. Sometimes, it is free, but most of the time, it isn’t. Be wary of people trying to sell you ‘how-to’ information. The same info is likely somewhere else on the internet for free. Make sure that you are researching only authoritative sites that are credible.