Advertising on Facebook is a great way to generate leads and drive traffic, however the rationale behind it is different from other channels such as Google AdWords, as users are on a different state of mind when they are on Facebook than when they are searching for information in Google. In fact, when using a Search Engine users are seeking for information based on keywords, and thus and ad containing those keywords would certainly grab their attention. When using Facebook instead, users are trying to socialize and be entertained – they are not seeking actively for data or information, and thus the strategy behind an ad is totally different.
The problem here is, many people with experience in PPC and SEM try to apply the same principles to Facebook advertising….which is wrong. Advertising campaigns through Facebook require to consider a few “rules” to follow in order to have a successful campaign.
STEP 1 – Define the purpose of the campaign
This is certainly the most neglected step. However, prior to doing anything, you need to know what is that you want to achieve with the campaign (this is what in the industry terms is called “define conversions”) Do you want people clicking on your ad to visit your website? Like your page? Subscribe to a newsletter through a Facebook app? Like one of your posts?
Once you know the purpose of the campaign, Facebook gives you a range of options as shown in the next image.
- Search by URL: Use this if you want users to land on a page outside Facebook, like a subscription form your business website.
- Search by Destination ID: This option allows you to link to any element inside Facebook, such as posts and events. Simply select it and type the ID number, which is a very long number located within the URL of the post you want to promote.
- Pages and Places: Shows a list of all the pages you administer. If you select this option, you could decide to promote your Page, or simply one of the latest posts contained in it (remember photos and videos on your Timeline are considered posts)
STEP 2 – Design your ad
If you decide to promote an external URL or your Page – but not a specific post – you will be able to choose an image and include some text for your ad. If you prefer to promote a specific post instead, then the image and text will be taken automatically from that post – including the number of likes, comments and shares (as shown in the image to the right)
When designing your own ad, keep in mind to select and image and text that would grab the user’s attention: remember that your ad will be displayed next to others ads, sometimes with similar offerings! A few tips to consider are:
- Do not use images that are already overused on the internet. In the past weeks I’ve seen the guy in the ad on the right appearing in as many as 5 campaigns from different companies!
- Do not use images that you do not own: you could get into legal trouble and have your ad removed or even worst: have your Facebook Page cancelled!
- Did I say to include images that are appealing? Recently the ad on the right has been showing on my Facebook. Did they really think an image of a middle-aged couple (surrounded by a red aura – I wonder why they included that) would grab my attention? Well, they certainly did, although it was for the wrong reasons…
STEP 3 – Choose your Audience
This step is probably the most important, as it will tell Facebook who will be seeing your ad. Showing the ad to the wrong audience will return into a total waste of money (and this is where many of the criticisms about Facebook advertising start). Choose the right audience and you could see your results boost exponentially!
Basic targeting can be: geographic, age and gender based; but you could also target your audience based on their likes and interests. This is extremely useful so spend some time thinking about what your ideal audience likes to do.
Finally, you can also choose who, from the people falling within the segments previously selected, will be able to see your ad. You could decide to target:
- Only people NOT following your page
- Only people following your page
- Only people following another specific page (e.g.: one of your competitors)
- People whose friends are connected to a specific page
- A combination of all of the above
- And of course….anyone!
Be aware that as you go through all this targeting process, Facebook will calculate and show on the right side of the screen the potential users that would see your ad. Change some settings and you’ll notice how the audience total reach figure changes too.
STEP 4 – Promotion Type
There are basically two type of promotions on Facebook:
- “Click on my advert or sponsored story” – commonly known as Cost Per Click (CPC) – where you pay for EACH person clicking on your ad, so it is very important to include a clear message of what the user will obtain after clicking. It is also important to connect your ad to whatever you have defined as a conversion, so if for example you want users to subscribe to a newsletter, then your ad should link directly to the page containing the subscription form, and not to your website’s homepage.
- “Like My Page” -commonly known as Cost Per Mille (CPM) – where you will be paying for every impressions, that is: for every time that your ad shows into someone’s browser – regardless if they click on the ad or not.
Last step is about the money you are willing to invest in your campaign. If you selected the CPC option in the previous step, then here you’ll be able to select what is the maximum bid for your ads to show. And this is where the concept of competition becomes interesting, as the probability of your ad showing to the audience you have selected will depend on:
- The amount of campaigns targeting the same audience
- The maximum bid for each of them.
The problem is…you don’t know this information! So, if you have a low bid but there is nobody targeting your same audience, quite probably your ad will show in the first positions. However, if you have a strong bid (high CPC) but there are lots of campaigns targeting the same audience, only the ones with the highest bids will have their ads displayed. Having a big CPC will surely guarantee to have your ad shown, however this would also mean higher campaign costs.
And this is where a new concept arrives: your total campaign budget. Facebook lets you choose between two options: daily budget or lifetime campaign budget. On each of these options, Facebook will optimize your ad to be shown only until the maximum budget is reached. Here’s your chance to increase your bid controlling your total expenditure.
And that is pretty much it! Just remember: if you do not have experience, it is always better to start with smaller campaigns and experiment different alternatives until you know exactly how the process works.
Have you ever run any online advertising campaign? (Facebook or other) What were the results?