Many of our clients at webFEAT Complete come to us having little or no experience using social media as a marketing tool. This is why we’ve begun offering social media management as an add-on component to our webFEAT Complete package (which also includes website design, hosting, and SEO). It’s no surprise that many small business owners have yet to fully adopt social media as a method for business-growth. There are a staggering number of competing options; it’s a rapidly evolving set of technologies, and experts still cannot agree on exactly how to measure the return on their investment in social media. Where most can agree, though, is Facebook ads. Because of Facebook’s continual changes to how news feeds display content, a brand page can now only count on 16% of its followers to see any given post. Enter paid content. Brian Carter put it this way on Moz earlier this year:
If you just spend $1 per day on Facebook ads, you will get in front of 4,000 people that wouldn’t have seen you otherwise. If you are doing that and your competitors aren’t, you win the awareness game in your niche… [And] If you can’t spare $30 a month, you shouldn’t be in business.
The various ways and benefits of using Facebook advertising continues to expand and improve each year, and now more than ever paid Facebook content (ad’s and what used to be referred to as “sponsored stories”) is designed to appear even more seamlessly within users’ news feeds. Currently with 15 different ways to advertise on Facebook, a healthy online advertising strategy will utilize a number of these options, depending on your goals.
There are two primary ways in which Facebook has revolutionized the ad game:
Facebook Ads Unrivaled Targeting Capabilities
The days of age/sex/location are over. When Facebook first introduced its advertising options, few realized just how impactful the social media giant would be on how audiences can be targeted. Using what some refer to as a psychographic approach, Facebook uses the massive amounts of data its users provide (advertently or inadvertently) on their pages to organize them into hyper-specific category webs. Now, Facebook can target an ad based on a collection of criteria like interests, proclivities, religion, workplace, industry, relationship status, parental status, hobbies, empathies, political leanings, and tastes, to name a few of the more general parameters.
Facebook has even stepped up their game recently by initiating testing for “Lookalike audiences.” These lists will consist of Facebook users who currently have not Liked your page, but are similar in demographics and psychographics to your current audience. This is a huge tool for expanding your reach.
So, want to target single women, between the ages of 25-32, who live in an urban area (or, a specific metropolitan area), do yoga on a weekly basis, only purchase organic groceries, work an office job, and voted for Obama in the last election? Facebook can do that for you. Or, rather, Facebook gives you the power to do so.
You Set Your Budget
The pricing structure for Facebook ads can be a bit confusing, but that’s only because it’s so customizable to your needs. Basically, much like Google AdWords, Facebook will allow you to set a daily or a lifetime budget amount to spend on the ads you set up, and you also have the option to pay per click (cost-per-click, or CPC) or per 1,000 impressions (cost-per-mille, or CPM). The amount that you pay will never exceed what you set as your daily/lifetime budget, and Facebook also promises no additional fees. Also like AdWords, one’s daily and/or lifetime budgets are used to determine which ads get placed, where, and when.
Facebook’s unrivaled targeting capabilities come into play in pricing because you can also optimize your ads (for an added cost, anyway). Facebook recommends – and we at webFEAT complete agree – that paying for impressions (rather than clicks) usually results in more meaningful engagement, because impression-seeking ads are better optimized for an audience more likely to take the action you want (Like, subscribe, etc.). Depending on your goals, the cost-per-click option might be better, but a general rule of thumb is working toward optimization and taking advantage of Facebook’s targeting data.
The best part? Facebook ads lead the pack in terms of awareness ROI, costing a small fraction of print and TV for the same number of impressions:
Here’s a quick run-down of the most popular types of Facebook ads:
1: “Page Like” Ad
Perfect for building a following and community on Facebook, a Page Like ad is exactly what it sounds like – an ad that prompts an audience to like your brand page. Use this ad when you’re trying to increase the number of Facebook users who like your page. Doing this will increase the number of people who are more likely to see and engage the content you post to Facebook. The best Page Like ads are visually appealing – that is, they use a high-quality, impactful image – and will very succinctly (in less than 100 characters, ideally) explain why your audience should like your page.
2: “Page Post” Ad
A Page Post ad is just like a post your brand page might otherwise create – an engaging photo, entertaining video, or informative status update – but, because it’s an ad, it is strategically placed in front of the audience you wish to target – a spot in users’ news feeds you would not have reached otherwise. Study after study has shown the powervisual content wields over text-based posts, which is why it’s no surprise that Page Post Photo ads are the most popular type of Facebook ad to use. No Facebook ad campaign is complete without a Page Post ad component.
3: Offer Ad
Currently, this kind of ad is intended for brick-and-mortar small businesses who are looking to increase foot traffic to their store-front. Clicking on the ad allows users to redeem a coupon or some other sort of offer that can then be redeemed in-store. Some online-only businesses have found ways to make this work for them, however.
4: Event Ad
It comes as no surprise that these ads are meant to promote an upcoming event your brand is hosting or sponsoring. Because the life-span of an ad like this is, by default, limited (once the event is over, it’s over), these types of ads should be used strategically and sparingly, to ensure a return on the monetary investment.
Want to know more how Facebook ads can drive your online business? Give us a shout! Also, you can check out this further reading we’ve found helpful:
Changes Coming to Facebook Ads (Inside Facebook)
5 Ways to Run Effective Facebook Ads (Small Biz Trends)
Why Every Business Should Spend At Least $1 per Day on Facebook Ads (Moz)
Facebook’s Ad Help Center (Facebook)
Also published on Medium.