In the past, Google Adwords and Bing Ads were some of the best sources of traffic you could send to your website. They’re highly targeted, relatively easy on the budget, and can provide a high amount of traffic with nearly minimal effort.
However, as time has gone on, both Adwords and Bing Ads have gotten incredibly expensive, making them a huge risk for beginners and companies that are working with smaller profit margins than most other companies.
Facebook is the new heavy hitter in town, providing server-crippling amounts of traffic, great costs-per-click, and a fairly simple to use ad management interface. If you’ve never used Facebook Ads before, we’re going to help you get familiarized so you can start your first campaign by the time you finish reading this.
Facebook differs from other ad networks because the traffic is generally considered to be “cold”, whereas traffic coming from a search engine like Google or Bing is already going to be warmed up, and specifically searching for a solution to their problems.
On Facebook, you’re going to have to use “interruption marketing” or plan on interrupting your potential visitor while they’re scrolling through their news feed, grab their attention, and then get them to take action -- whatever that action may be.
Before you start setting up your first advertising campaign on Facebook’s network, you need to take a few “best practices” into account. Getting started on the right foot can dramatically help you lower the amount you’re spending per click and
Facebook Ads Best Practices
When you are advertising on Facebook, everything that you do revolves around two main goals: increasing your reach, while decreasing the amount you spend for every click or interaction on your advertisements.
Doing both at the same time is the holy grail for Facebook advertisers, and not always easy to do, but there are ways that you can increase your chances of reaching more people while spending less money to do it.
Understand The Ad Network
I’ve already touched on the fact that Facebook is different, but understanding the difference between their network and other networks like Google and Bing is critical for being able to turn cold visitors into warm subscribers, and paying customers.
Most times, Facebook visitors are not going to know who you are, or what your business actually does for them. That means your copywriting and ad creatives are required to get their attention, keep their attention, and then create a bridge for them from Facebook onto your website or landing page.
Interrupting people while they’re in the middle of scrolling down their news feed isn’t easy by any means, but it’s also not impossible. Many marketers have made millions of dollars from Facebook alone, so as long as you understand that you’re interrupting people and then attempting to make a connection with someone that may never heard of you before, your life is going to be a lot easier.
Determine Your Objectives Before You Start
What is your plan with the advertising campaign? Are you trying to go viral, and get free publicity? Are you trying to generate new email subscribers? Or are you going straight for the sale, looking to turn your advertisements directly into a return on your investment?
Depending on which objectives you have, the advertisements you create are going to need to be tightly focused towards your goals, or you run the risk of spending more money than you really need to be spending.
Rotate Through Your Ads Regularly
People, especially those on Facebook, have very short attention spans. If they keep seeing your advertisements over, and over, they’re likely to block them out and continue scrolling past them.
That’s why you need to have multiple different versions of your advertisements, so that you can continuously rotate through them. Whenever one stops being as effective, you can easily change it up to a new version and continue right where you left off.
Be Very Specific On Your Audience
The more you’re able to identify your audience, figure out exactly who you’re selling to, and then address the problems they’re having, the more conversions you’re going to be able to make while spending less money to do it.
Targeting on Facebook can get fairly overwhelming, so while you’re figuring out your target interests, always start small and then work your way up. It’s a lot better to have an audience of 100,000 that you know are interested in your offer than it is to have 10,000,000 people that may be less relevant for what you’re selling.
Before you get started, you’re going to need to create your account. A Facebook ads account is separate from your personal or business account, but still attached to them, so you won’t necessarily need a new account or email to start advertising.
Setting Up Your Facebook Ads Account
When you’re creating your advertising account, you are going to have to provide your billing information to Facebook, so that they can collect the money from the ads and clicks that you’ve generated.
First, you’ll need to browse over to your advertising account settings. You can set your account name, to help you easily identify it, which is extremely helpful when you happen to manage multiple accounts or have multiple people working for your company that will be managing the ads.
Fill in all of the information, making sure that everything is correct. Pay close attention to your timezone and currency, because once it is set you will not be able to change it again without creating a brand new account.
When you’ve entered in the billing information, click “Save Changes” and proceed to the next step.
Now, you’re going to need to enter in your credit card information. It’s advised to use more than one, so that your ads will not be placed on hold if Facebook has a problem when they try to bill your first credit card or bank account.
If you have multiple ad campaigns running and your billing info is declined or Facebook is unable to bill you, all of your campaigns will be stopped and you’ll be required to restart them each one, by one, which can create problems if you’re not highly organized.
To add your credit card information, you’ll want to click on “Payment Methods” and then choose either your Credit/Debit card, your Paypal account, or a Facebook ads coupon. Then, insert your credit card information as your primary billing source.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will not be able to delete your primary billing information, so you’ll want to make sure it’s an account that has funds readily available. If you need to remove it down the line, you’ll have to add in a new card and then set it as primary.
Also take note of how often you’re going to be billed. Facebook recently changed this to make it easier, allowing you to hold off until you reach a certain threshold before they begin collecting their money.
As your billing history begins to increase, your threshold will also increase. Starting out, you’ll be billed for every $25 that you spend in advertising. As your payments are processed, your threshold will automatically increase, until it reaches $750 total.
Understanding Different Ad Types
Depending on the objectives of your campaign, you’re going to want to use different types of ads.
Each ad type that Facebook offers gives you a very specific result, and if you mismatch your objective to the type of ad you’re using, they’re not going to be nearly as effective.
Traffic & Leads For Your Website
There are two main types of ads if you’re trying to generate traffic to your website, either to make sales or to collect their email information so you can follow up with them later: domain ads and page post links.
Domain ads are the most simple and straightforward type of ads.
Page Post Links are the most common types of ads, and one that most people reading this are going to be running. They’re perfect for promoting your external website, feature a large image, and a good amount of copy so you can actively target your potential visitors.
Sales & Leads For Your Product Or Service
For eCommerce stores, brands, and agencies with multiple different products and services, there are a few different types of ads you can run: Carousel ads, Dynamic Product Ads, and Lead Ads.
Carousel ads display multiple products in a row, making it easy for Facebook users to browse through your offerings without actually leaving the platform.
Dynamic product ads are similar to remarketing ads, and target users based on previous interactions with your website.
Lead ads are exactly as the name implies. You can keep visitors on Facebook while still collecting their email information, or allow them to fill out full forms so you can personally identify them later on.
Likes & Engagement For Your Page
Just about every ad type is capable of delivering more Likes to your page, but there are a few that are specifically catered to increasing the engagement on your business page: page likes, post photos, post videos, and post text.
Page likes is exactly as it sounds -- you’re paying every time someone clicks the “Like” button on your advertisement, adding them to the list of people that see your page posts.
Post photos, videos, and text are similar to page likes, but allow you to promote a specific photo, text post, or video from your business page, and only pay whenever people click the “Like” button.
Mobile Or Desktop App Installs
A lot of people reading this probably aren’t going to actually need to run Mobile or Desktop App Install based ads, but if you do happen to have an app that you want to promote, this type of ad is a great way to dramatically increase your number of installs.
Visitors To Your Store Or Event
If you’re promoting a special event, contest, or special marketing promotion for your eCommerce store, you may find yourself using the Events or Offers advertisements. They’re perfect for both digital and brick and mortar stores that are targeting very specific subsets of users, like local based users for instance.
Researching Your Target Market
Researching your target market is crucial to your success when you’re spending money on Facebook. It can be argued that you should spend more time figuring out who you’re going to be advertising to than you will on your actual advertisements themselves.
Finding Similar Interests
Unless you’re in a brand new industry, chances are that you have multiple different competitors who have already spent months or years building up their audience. Facebook allows you to closely target that specific audience.
Based on the pages and websites that people have “Liked” on Facebook, you’re able to generate a list of interests that you can use in your ad campaigns. By finding interests similar to your own website, you can safely assume that you’re targeting people who are in your warm market -- or are already looking for something like you’re offering.
In general, you want to start with the most closely related websites and pages first. Then, once you have a large market defined, you can begin branching out to other interests that may not be as specific as you would like to see, but could contain some of your target market inside of them.
Targeting on Facebook can get very, very in-depth, so when you’re just getting started, you’ll want to tightly narrow down the type of people you’re trying to target, to prevent overwhelming your budget while still allowing you to get a handle on how the ad platform works.
You can currently target people by:
And even more. Listing them all out here would take days, and leave you overwhelmed. To get started, you’ll want to identify your most profitable type of customer, or avatar, and specifically target them with your advertisements.
When you’re building your ad sets, make sure to create one for every single interest, keeping them all separate so you can identify clear winners and remove the interests that may not work out the way you thought they were going to when you started.
To give you an example, let’s say you’re promoting a new Yoga studio and want to target people in your local area. You could set the specific area, ages ranged 18 to 65, that are female, married, are interested in physical fitness, and have also expressed interest in Yoga.
This would give you a huge list of potential customers in your local area, and would cost you substantially less than if you were using broader targeting, or didn’t drill down as deep into the interests of each person you wanted to bring into the studio.
Building Your First Ad Set
When you’ve identified who you want to target with your advertisements, you’re going to need to create your first campaign. To do this, you want to specifically identify the goals of the campaign, the types of ads you’re going to create, and how much money you’re willing to spend on the campaign.
To get started, head over to the Facebook Ads Manager, and then you’ll be greeted by a list of the different objectives for each campaign:
Whatever you do end up choosing, you’ll have to insert additional information about what you’re promoting. For this example, we’re going to be using a website URL for external goals. This is pretty straightforward, so choose based on what you want to accomplish.
Whenever you are promoting an external website, it’s strongly advised that you use Website Conversions instead of Clicks to Website. You should always be more interested in the end result: making a sale or collecting an email.
You’re also going to need to choose an ad image, and create some advert copy -- or text -- for the ad that you want to run. We’ll address each of those in the next two sections.
For now, you’ll need to choose where you want your advertisements displayed. For most people reading this, having them displayed directly in the newsfeed is the best strategy, but you’re able to choose from the news feed or the right hand side.
In general, mobile devices are not able to display advertisements in the right hand column, and can only view news feed ads. If your website is mobile friendly, take the safe route and choose to display them in the news feed.
Likewise, if your website is not mobile friendly, you need to make sure that you’re not putting your ads in front of mobile users, or trying to send mobile traffic to your website. You can remove mobile visitors from your target placements.
Writing Your Ad Copy
Your ad copy plays a crucial role in keeping your visitor’s attention, once the image has caused them to stop scrolling. There are three main areas that you’ll need to focus on while you’re writing your ad copy: the headline, the ad text, and the link description.
When you’re writing your headline, you need to keep in mind that this is your one chance to reach out to the visitor and let them know that your advertisement is specifically catered to their personal interests.
The text that you use, below the headline, will help you dig deeper into their interests, address a specific problem that they’re having, and then identify how your products or services are the solution to that problem.
Finally, the link description you use should be a direct call to action. It should tell visitors exactly what they need to do to proceed. You can never assume that visitors are going to automatically know to click the link in order to move forward.
Most popular link descriptions are a form of “Click here to…”, followed by the solution to the problem that they’re having. For instance, in our Yoga studio example, your link description could be “Click here to save 40% on your first class!”.
When you have your ad copy created, it’s time to start matching the copy up with relevant images that will help increase your conversion rates by stopping your visitors dead in their tracks when they’re scrolling through their news feed.
Choosing An Ad Creative
Your ad image is one of the most (if not THE most) important part of your advertisement.
The new Facebook Ads Editor allows you to choose up to six different images so you can gain immediate information, as far as which one performs the best.
You want to make sure you’re testing at a minimum of 2 to 3 different images, because some people respond better to different pictures than others will. For instance, some people may respond better to an orange background than a blue background, while men tend to respond more favorably to a picture of a woman than they do a picture of another guy.
In general, you’ve got 3 different options to choose from, when it comes to selecting a picture to use in your advertisement:
- Upload a picture from your computer.
- Use a picture that you have previously uploaded.
- Search the Shutterstock database for a picture.
Previously, the third option was unavailable, but it’s entry into the Ads Editor is huge and makes your life easy, when it comes to selecting the perfect photo for your ads. Shutterstock gives you access to millions of different pictures.
Once you have a few different pictures together, and a few different versions of your ad copy, you can save the ad itself. Then you’re going to want to build your landing pages based on the interests that you’ve targeted.
Always keep in mind, that your advertisements should closely match the page that your visitor is going to land on when they click the ad. If there is a mismatch, your conversion rates are going to drop substantially.
Building Your Landing Pages
Building a proper landing page could require a course all in it’s own, so rather than dig too deep into the topic right now, I’ll give you an example of how to build a boilerplate landing page that will work to collect email addresses so you can follow up with the subscribers later on.
There is one rule that you need to follow when you’re building your landing pages: Keep It Simple, Silly.
Simple is always better. All you need is a relevant image, a headline, a subheadline, minimal text, and a form that allows you to collect an email address.
Keeping the pages simple also allows you more time to build a custom landing page for each different interest you create, making the advertisements highly relevant to the visitor that lands on them. Relevance increases your conversions and lowers your costs per click.
Keep your landing pages simple and straight to the point. The more text you have on the page, the more opportunities you’re giving your visitor to get turned off and click on the back button.
Starting Your Campaign
Once you’ve dug down and figured out similar interests to your own website, created your ad sets, set your targeting, chosen your creatives and created your ad copy, the time has come for you to actually start your campaign.
Before you do that, though, you’re going to need to choose how much you want to spend for each click, and how much you’re willing to spend for those clicks, on a daily basis. You can set budgets for each individual ad, each ad set (or group of ads), as well as the entire campaign. You can also choose the times you want to run the advertisements.
As a general rule, you can start with a budget of $100, and set a cost per click of $1.
As you begin collecting information, you can either raise or lower your cost per click, without necessarily worrying about blowing through your budget because of a bad metric or a signal that you missed somewhere while you were creating your campaign.
Managing Your Budget
As time goes on, you’re going to be collecting a large amount of information from your advertisements. Facebook will tell you how many people you’re reaching, how many people are clicking, how much you’re paying per click, which advertisements are performing better than others, and then you’ll have to take the information and make an educated guess on how to increase the performance of your campaign.
To start, you’ll want to always keep an eye on your actual cost per click. If your ads aren’t getting nearly as many views as you would like to see, you can increase your CPC and get them in front of more people.
Likewise, if you’re getting them in front of a large number of people and want to dial back the numbers, you can reduce your CPC. This will allow other advertisers a chance to get in on the traffic, and give you a break from the high daily budgets.
Ads that are not generating as many clicks as others can easily be cut, while ads that are performing better can have their bids increased so they’re put in front of more people and you’re able to receive higher engagement for the same amount of money.
While you’re running your campaign, make sure you’re keeping an eye on how profitable your campaign is, overall. If you’re spending $100 per day on Facebook, but you’re only generating $50 per day on your website, you need to make some major adjustments or you’re going to have a hard time becoming profitable.
There are quite a few different ways you can do that, but those are all for another time and another place. The purpose of this guide is to give you a quick-start into the land of advertising on Facebook’s ad platform, and tapping into the massive number of people that are waiting to see your ads, offers, products, and services.
There are, however, some quick tips, tricks, and shortcuts that you can use to make your campaigns more profitable out of the gate, and make sure that you’re not blowing through your budget while you’re building your first campaign.
Tips, Tricks, & Shortcuts
While there are no real shortcuts to finding success when you’re advertising on Facebook, there are a few things that you should always keep in mind. Finding success comes down to how well you’re able to test and adapt to the data that Facebook is delivering.
Boost Organic Reach
The real power from Facebook Ads comes when your traffic actually starts sharing, liking, and commenting on your ads. It happens more often than you would imagine, especially when you have put work into the creative side of your ads, making sure they appeal to a wide, but targeted audience.
Depending on the type of campaign you run, you could receive tons of traffic for free, rather than having to pay on a Cost Per Click basis. That means you could potentially reach thousands, or tens of thousands of extra people that may not have been in your target market or interests when you started.
Turn Followers Into Advocates
On top of getting people to like and share your advertisements, you can also turn them into avid followers and then into brand advocates. By getting your creatives right, you can stay at the front of people’s minds, make them recommend you even when your ads aren’t currently in front of them.
If you’re able to leave a lasting impression on your audience, and lower your costs per click or per view enough that you can continue spending on the advertisements and still turn a profit, you’re going to take over your market while your competitors are left wondering which end is up.
By taking over the market and staying in front of your audience more often than your competitors, you are going to be seen as the de-facto leader in your industry. This is the power of the Facebook advertising platform.
Content Is Cheaper Than Lead Generation
With other ad networks, you may want to send the click directly to your landing page. On Facebook, however, this is going to increase your cost per click. There are other ways to reduce the amount you spend on each click.
Instead of sending the visitor directly to a landing page and asking them to submit their email information or make a purchase, consider sending them to a page that’s loaded down with content, instead.
Whenever you’re able to keep the visitors attention longer, and make sure that your ads are highly targeted to people who will be interested in what you’re offering, your relevancy score will increase and your costs per click will decrease.
That means your ads are going to be shown to more people (your relevancy) and that you’re also going to get more clicks for the same budget that you would be using if you were still trying to send them straight to an email collection form.
Get Creative With Your Targeting
Your targeting determines your overall reach, and how relevant your advertisements are to the people that are seeing them. It only makes sense that you’re constantly testing new target markets and audiences to see if your advertisements resonate with them.
When you are testing out new targeting and interests, though, you’re going to want to always start small. Set yourself a strict budget of, say, $50, so that you can collect enough data to see if the interests are actually relevant to what you’re offering, but not so big that you completely drain your budget.
While you’re surfing the internet or Facebook, always be on the lookout for new interests that you may be able to target with your advertisements, and then test your existing creatives while also working through new creatives that may be more relevant. The results will surprise you.
Pay A Designer, If You Have To
Not all of us are graphic designers or copywriters, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re finding yourself having problems gaining traction with your ad campaigns, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional and let them handle it for you.
The last thing you want to do is blow through a large portion of your budget, trying to figure out exactly what is going on, only to realize that you may be in over your head and still end up needing to hire a professional anyways.
The images that you use, coupled with the copywriting on the advertisement itself will determine more of your success on Facebook than any other metric. Sometimes, your audience will resonate with a specific color on the background of the image, while other times it may be the headline that grabbed their attention.
Having multiple different versions of each advertisement, graphic, headline, and ad copywriting is essential, and may be something that you find out is best left up to the professionals. The money you spend hiring them to do it can easily be made back up in a winning ad campaign, whereas learning to do it yourself costs you both time, and money.
Test, Test, Test. Then Test Some More.
The testing never ends with Facebook ads. You’re always going to be evolving, changing, tweaking, figuring out new angles, new interests, and making sure that your existing ads are still performing. There’s no way around it, honestly.
If you embrace the testing process, though, and keep a level head about yourself, you can use the huge network to your advantage. By keeping your testing budgets on the smaller side, you can test more often and find new winners without costing yourself a ton of money in the process.
When you stop testing, you can expect your ads to stop working as well, and for your competitors to catch up and start receiving your fair share of traffic. Your costs per click are going to increase, your relevancy will decrease, and you will find yourself spending more of your budget on less clicks -- and less revenue.
Capitalize On The Traffic You’re Receiving
Make sure that you’re personally collecting as much information about the traffic that you pay Facebook for, in the event that Facebook happens to decide your advertisements are against their Terms of Service. It happens more often than you think, and you may never realize that you’re in violation of the rules until it’s too late.
The best way to do this is by collecting email addresses and obtaining permission to follow up with your new subscribers later on. When you own the list of email subscribers, you’ll never have to worry about Facebook disabling your account, because you’ll have your customer’s information at the ready.
Making good money with Facebook ads is easy whenever you put the time in up front to figure out exactly who you’re going to be advertising to, and then constantly testing and tweaking your audience, the ads themselves, and adjusting your budgets to make sure you’re getting in front of more people every day.
When you get your campaign dialed in, you can expect to see healthy profits and more new customers than most other advertising networks are able to deliver to you.
If you find yourself having questions about advertising on Facebook, getting in touch with a designer, or finding a high quality copywriter or ad manager that can help you tap into the massive amount of traffic that Facebook can deliver, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
We’re here to help you in every area of your business, and have years of experience behind us to help ensure you get the highest level of service and the best results possible.