By now, with more than 1.65 billion people on Facebook, almost anyone can handle the basics, like posting a caption with a photo or link. Facebook advertising might sound easy because it involves those same skills—but it also takes much more.
To advertise your business on Facebook, you’ll need an image and copy compelling enough to stop people mid-scroll. You’ll need to define an audience, using user criteria as general as age and as specific as trendy moms or expats from Bangladesh (seriously).
You’ll need to identify the objective of the ad—like increasing awareness, raising event attendance, or driving website clicks—and determine how much you’re willing to pay to meet those goals. And once you’re up and running with a campaign, ad set and ad, you’ll need to study a dashboard with dozens of metrics in an attempt to answer: Did it work?
For small business marketers, understanding Facebook ads can be overwhelming—and more important than ever before. The content you post on your company’s Facebook page is becoming less and less visible as Facebook continues to change its algorithm to focus on friends and family. Your next customers are among those 1.65 billion users—but to reach them, you’ll probably have to pay.
We rounded up five articles to help you understand and optimize your Facebook ads.
Staff members at AdEspresso have studied a lot of Facebook ads in their day—at least 37,259, to be exact. The company, which provides a tool for managing Facebook ads, analyzed the text, headline and News Feed link description of those ads, looking for qualities like sentiment, calls-to-action, and links. Their findings speak to Facebook ad best practices, like keeping headlines short (five words is the median) and linking ads to a specific landing page, not your homepage.
In theory, you could aim your Facebook ads at 37-year-old women who live within five miles of your business, have preschool-aged kids, use a Yahoo email address, drive a BMW, like waterskiing, and have a wedding anniversary within the month. (We recommend going a bit broader).
The point is: Facebook targeting can be so specific and powerful that it’s also overwhelming. This post from Social Media Examiner explains targeting options and strategies for building your Facebook ad audience, using targeting examples for several different industries.
Words are always important, if we do say so ourselves. But that’s especially the case with Facebook ads, in which marketers get very few words to describe what they do in a click-worthy way. (Use text on more than 20 percent of your ad image, and Facebook will warn you about low engagement—or even shut down your ad entirely). These tips for writing Facebook ads include writing for different audiences, ensuring your copy matches the visual, and doing A/B testing to determine the copy that resonated best with your audience.
You’ve got an ad image, the copy, and your target audience, but that’s still not enough to run an effective Facebook ad. You also need to strategically organize those elements into campaigns, ad sets, and ads that allow you to track and compare the effectiveness of different advertising strategies. In this post, Digital Marketer walks you through an example that explains how to structure a Facebook ad campaign.
Checking the analytics on your first Facebook ad is exciting at first. “Look, people are clicking my ad! It’s working!” you think.
Then you remember that of course people are clicking—you’re paying Facebook to make that happen. So how do you know if an ad is effective? Facebook advertising expert Claire Pelletreau explains the four stats that don’t matter (like clicks) and 14 that do—like cost per 1,000 impressions, click-through rate and cost per click (or CPM, CTR and CPC, if you speak advertising).