Each marketing channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Each one appeals to different consumers and has different effects for each industry. With the right strategy and a little trial-and-error, anyone can get positive results with Facebook ads.

If you need a crash course in Facebook Ads, who better to learn from than an agency owner who manages them for clients every day? Digital marketing agency founder Krystal Hobbs joined us for a webinar about how to get started with Facebook Ads with some great advice for beginners. Watch the webinar for more!

Why use Facebook Ads?

It may seem daunting to have to get started with Facebook ads now, having to compete with every other page out there. You may be surprised to learn that there are 60 million pages on Facebook and only 7 million ad accounts, so there is so much potential for you to tap into. Still, why should you consider using Facebook ads instead of putting your time, effort, and budget into another advertising channel?

Anyone who works with social media knows the pain of fighting against the algorithm. Putting money into promoting your posts takes away that pain because it guarantees post reach instead of hoping for good organic reach.

This isn’t to knock organic reach. Your audience and their engagement are valuable but sometimes you want to reach people who aren’t your same ol’ followers. By targeting your ads, you can put your content in front of people who would be interested in what you have to offer but don’t already follow your page. You can’t market to people if you don’t have their attention and this is a great way to get a lot more attention.

Facebook gives page admins a lot of great methods and metrics for measuring their marketing efforts but paid ads provide a whole lot more. You can break performance down very specifically and learn so much about what works, what doesn’t, and who it works on.

Campaign Structure

Each Facebook ad campaign is made up of three parts. At the campaign level, you choose your objective, which is the action you want people to take when they see your ads. Facebook has three objective categories:

  • Awareness: Generate interest in your content or your product
  • Consideration: Make the audience interested in searching for more details about your business
  • Conversion: Get the audience to purchase your product or service

Pro Tip: Map your campaign out visually in order to get a good understanding of your sales funnel:

Set Your Goals & Objectives

Like all marketing initiatives, the first step is to define your objectives. Facebook wants your advertising efforts to be as effective as possible and will ask you what your objectives are so that your ads’ audiences and placements are tailored to get the results you want. Each objective relates to a different stage in a customer’s buying process.

Each objective has subcategories:

  • Awareness
    • Brand awareness
    • Reach
  • Consideration
    • Traffic
    • Engagement
    • App Installs
    • Video views
    • Lead generation
    • Messages
  • Conversion
    • Conversions
    • Catalogue sales
    • Store visits

If you have a new business and you want to make more people aware of it, then you should focus on awareness and reach. If you want to promote your business to potential local customers and/or increase physical sales, then you should focus on conversions and store visits.

Conversion campaigns work a lot like other ads but they require a bit more effort to set up. You have to have a landing page on your website ready to send people to. It’s often worthwhile since they give you a lot more data that you can use to adjust your campaigns. 

Message campaigns are a great way to open a dialogue with your potential customers. People will often ask questions in a Facebook message that they feel aren’t worth calling about. This one-on-one communication creates more of a relationship between you & the customer and it’s easier to perform customer service or sales in a private message than in post comments.

Lead generation campaigns eliminate the need for a landing page and collect information directly from customers’ Facebook profiles. These types of campaigns are easy for you to set up and reduces friction for a customer to share their info with you. The only problem with its ease of use is that you may get a lot of people signing up that turn out to be poor quality leads. It’s also important to know that you will need a privacy policy on your website to use lead ads.

Pro tip: Boost Post is the ‘easy button’ of advertising. It will automatically show the post to people who are most likely to engage with it. For clicks, conversions, or messages, use an ad campaign.

It’s important to know that Facebook needs at least 50 actions per week to properly optimize your ads, so choose your type of campaign accordingly. If you have a small business and don’t expect to get that many leads (for instance), pick a different goal & ad type.

Target Your Audiences

It would be a waste of money to broadcast your ads to anyone and everyone, so the next step is to select your target audience. Targeting is where the power of Facebook advertising lies. Facebook knows a lot about each of its users and you can take advantage of that data by choosing to only show your ads to people who are interested in what you’re selling.

  • Core audiences: manual selection of the audience based on your set criteria
  • Custom audiences: upload your contact lists to discover an existing audience
  • Lookalike audiences: find people similar to an existing target audience

Core audiences allow you to find consumers based on demographics, locations, interests, genders, and even behaviours. By hyper-targeting your audiences in this way, you can give your ads the best chance of converting. This is most effective if you have customer personas established.

Custom audiences allow you to upload your contact lists of existing customers, or even old ones that you want to re-engage with. This is an easy way to blend your physical activity with your online presence and develop an improved relationship with your audience.

Lookalike audiences include people that you haven’t engaged with in the past but they meet the criteria of your ideal audience based on comparisons to your existing customers.

Pro Tip: Post Engagement campaigns are a great way to create warm audiences; people who have interacted with your post that you can re-target with other ads.

Placements

When you’re advertising with Facebook, you aren’t restricted to Facebook itself. You can also display ads on other Facebook-owned properties like Instagram & Messenger and within other mobile apps via the Facebook Audience Network. You don’t have to pick the placements for every ad. It all depends on who you want to target and the type of ad it is.

Specify Your Budgets

Once you’ve decided on your advertising budget, you have to decide how to allocate it. You can choose for Facebook to charge you based on the overall amount you spend or the cost of each result you get from the ads.

The success and the cost of your ads depend on ad auctions and how your ad performs towards your target audience and their interests. Facebook uses ad auctions to determine the best ad to show to a person at any given time. The winning ad maximizes value for both the consumer and the business.

Facebook allows you to set limits so that you don’t exceed your budget while still giving them the freedom to place your ads as strategically as possible.

Choose the Right Format

Every campaign message is best told using a different format. One message might be perfect for a graphic while the next might work best as a video. Facebook ads can take any form, each of which will help achieve different objectives and resonate with different audiences.

  • Photo: Use the power of images to tell your story
  • Video: Find engagement with the right use of image, sound, and motion
  • Carousel: Add more than one image or video in one ad
  • Slideshow: Create a series of lightweight video ads without the cost or the time of video ads. This is a quick and affordable way to create video-like ads
  • Collection: Showcase your products by telling a story in an easy and immersive way
  • Canvas: Aim for a full-screen, fast-loading experience that is designed for mobile
  • Lead ads: Use this format to make lead generation easier
  • Dynamic ads: Find the ideal target audience for your products in a sophisticated, automated way
  • Link ads: Bring more people to your website

When it comes to writing copy to accompany your visual media, make sure that it’s compelling and gives people all of the information they need. They may not be willing to click the follow a link to a landing page if you didn’t already hook their interest. Similarly, make sure that the text “above the fold” is really compelling. Again, people will be less likely to click See more… and continue reading if you didn’t hook them right from the top.

Measure Performance & Adjust

Once your ad campaign is submitted and approved, you’ll start being able to see insights about how they’re performing. You should give it 3-5 days to get accurate data since the time of day can affect how your ad is being shown and received.

You can analyze the data for overall ad sets or for individual ads (where one campaign may have had a variety of different ads). Clicking on ‘view charts’ will give you further insights into the ad’s performance, whether it met your objectives, the demographics that it reached, and its placement.

What’s useful is that the metrics will be relevant to your ad’s objective. For example, an ad aimed at generating awareness is not measured by the same metrics as an ad focusing on increasing app installs. By presenting you with the most relevant data, you can confirm that your budget was well spent and you’re able to track the most relevant metrics for your campaign.

Once you have this data, you can use it to adapt your strategy and your individual ads or campaigns. You don’t have to wait until the end of the campaign to do this. If you see that your ad is performing really poorly after a few days, you can make changes and try again. Small changes in an ad graphic, a headline, or the body of a post can make a world of difference.

Pro Tip: To test variations of an ad, change one element at a time and give it a few days before changing another. Start with imagery because that’s what will (or won’t) grab people’s attention.

Conclusion

With more than two billion monthly active users available for targeting, it’s no surprise that more brands are diving into Facebook’s advertising and discovering the different ways they can benefit from them. There’s a reason that you see ads from small, local businesses and large, international corporations. Even with a small budget, those local businesses can make a big impact if their ads are targeted well.

It’s important to keep in mind that Facebook’s popularity doesn’t guarantee your ad’s success. Its numerous advertising options can make it harder to pick the right one if you don’t know exactly what you want to achieve. Stay focused on your key objectives and adjust according to your audience’s behaviour.

Focus on what’s important to your company and your campaign goals, and use the right format for delivering that campaign’s message. If you’re still new to Facebook advertising, you can start with a small budget to test the available options until you feel more comfortable rolling your ads out on a larger scale.

If you’re looking to learn more, watch our webinar with Krystal Hobbs. If you’re ready to get started with your own Facebook Ads campaigns, download our Facebook Ads planning worksheet.