Many small business owners use Facebook Business Pages to connect directly with customers. But Facebook isn’t just for posts, shares and likes. Facebook Ads give small businesses the power to target ads to potential customers among Facebook’s 1.71 billion users.
1. What are Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads are “advertisements that can appear in users’ News Feeds on both desktop and mobile and also in the right column of Facebook on desktop. Their content is targeted based on the users’ behavior on Facebook,” said Emily Kent, marketing manager at LyncServe.
Facebook determines the best audience to target with ads based on pages that people like, links they click on, their demographic information and their location.
Watch this video to see how Facebook Ads work:
2. Do Facebook Ads Generate Leads and Sales?
When done right, Facebook Ads are “extremely effective” for generating leads and sales, said Cassandra Schwartz, marketing and communications manager for social marketing and analytics firm Rival IQ.
“If you properly target your Facebook Ads, serve up relevant content, and make it easy for the customer, you’ll find success,” Schwartz advised.
Manta Marketing Pro Tamara Sykes agreed. “If you are targeting the right people, you will be effective in generating leads.”
“With Facebook, you have control over who is going to see your ad. They’re effective because you have that control,” added Sykes. “And, on Facebook, you have 1.71 billion people at your fingertips.”
3. What Should Your Goals Be with Your Facebook Ads?
“You want to use Facebook Ads as a way to get people who are interested in your product to start engaging with you,” said Sykes.
Once a Facebook user likes your page and begins interacting with your company on Facebook —leaving reviews, liking posts or commenting—you’d then want to use ads that get them to visit your website.
4. What Are The Different Types of Facebook Ads?
Facebook offers different types of ads for different marketing objectives. From your Facebook for Business account, enter the Ads Manager dashboard. What you’ll see is a collection of different marketing objectives organized under three different stages in customer decision-making: the awareness stage, the consideration stage and the conversion phase, where they actually make a purchase!
Decide which of the following describes the end goal of your Facebook advertising, and choose which ads option best suits your needs and budget:
People becoming aware of their purchase options:
- Boost your posts (raise likes and comments on your posts)
- Promote your page (get more people to like your page)
- Reach people near your business
- Increase brand awareness
People considering where to make a purchase:
- Send people to your website
- Get installs of your app
- Raise attendance at your event
- Get video views
- Collect leads for your business
People ready to make a purchase:
- Increase conversions on your website
- Increase engagement in your app
- Get people to claim your offer
- Promote a product catalog
“Within that, you can also have different placements, within Facebook’s News Feed, on the desktop side rail, on the mobile app, on Instagram, and on their Audience Network of different apps,” said Tom Cameron, president of digital ad agency Digital Pudding.
Watch this video to learn more about different types of Facebook Ads:
5. Which Businesses Do Best Using Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads can work well for nearly every type of small business, said Sykes.
“Facebook gives you access to 1.71 billion people–people of every age, of different walks of life, from different places. Why wouldn’t you tap into this audience as a business owner?”
But just having access to that many social media users doesn’t guarantee success. You must know which of those users are likely to be interested in your products or services, Sykes added. “As a business owner, you need to know who is your audience. That’s the golden ticket.”
6. How Does a Small Businesses Determine Which People to Target with Facebook Ads?
Know your customer—this is the cardinal rule of Facebook Ad targeting. To figure out your target customers, ask yourself these questions, advised Cameron:
- What am I selling?
- Who will buy it?
- What is my customer profile?
- What unique attributes do my customers have?
“Then browse all the different targeting categories Facebook offers advertisers and piece it together,” said Cameron. How accurate you are in targeting the right customers will determine how successful your ads are, he added.
Targeting options can be set around a seemingly endless combination of data available on Facebook users, including:
- job title
- consumer profile
- operating system
- insurance status
- credit history
“If you can get a targeted, niche audience and serve them a message that’s relevant to their interests, you can be very successful,” said Cameron.
For example, one of Cameron’s clients, a shuttle service, is advertising a party bus route from Long Island to MetLife Stadium targeted towards New York Jets fans. “We’re selling out every weekend spending just $15 a day on ads.”
Should You Target a Big Audience or a Small Audience?
“Businesses should focus on a happy medium when deciding the scope of their targeting,” advised Schwartz.
The larger the audience, the more competition you’ll have, she warned. “Too large of an audience, and you won’t get enough traction or engagement as your ad will not be shown enough.”
“If you target too narrow of a market however, you can miss out on potential leads in the spillover of you target market,” she added.
The best course is to ask yourself the following questions and target accordingly, recommended Schwartz:
- Is your product or service limited to a location? Focus on geographical targets first.
- Is your product or service only appealing to a certain age bracket? Focus on age demographics first.
Can Your Company Afford Facebook Ads on a Small Marketing Budget?
Businesses with small advertising budgets should stick with boosting their posts or promoting their pages to increase the number of interactions, recommended Sykes.
You can spend as little as $5 to get more engagement with these ads. Facebook allows you to set a per-day ad budget or set a lifetime budget, which means your ad runs until that set budget is reached.
Watch this Facebook video to see how much Facebook Ads cost:
9. How are Facebook Ad Prices Determined?
When you create an ad campaign on Facebook, you “enter into what is essentially a worldwide auction. You compete for space with hundreds of thousands of other advertisers,” said Kent.
“Facebook can’t always fulfill every advertising request; therefore, the highest bidders get the most impressions,” said Kent.
The bid you place will be based on either a click, 1,000 impressions or a conversion.
In general Facebook Ads bidding works like this, according to Cameron:
- You select the audience you want—the more targeted, the better.
- Facebook tells you how many people are in that audience.
- You set a daily budget that will reach X number of people in a day. Your daily budget can be as little as $5 a day.
- You press play and watch the ads work.
“Facebook will then serve your ad to as many people as it can for your daily
budget, usually the least targeted people within your targeted segment,” said Cameron.
10. Do You Have to Bid on Facebook Ads?
You can bid on your ads, or you can let Facebook bid on keywords and targeted users for you, explained Betsy McLeod, the social media team lead at digital marketing firm Blue Corona.
“There are two options: manual or automatic. With manual, you can set your own bids. With automatic, Facebook selects the best price for the biggest bang for your buck,” explained McLeod.
11. How Do You Set Up a Facebook Ads Account?
Setting up your Facebook Ads account is simple, said Kent. To set up your account:
- Click the down arrow in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page.
- Click “Create Ad” in the drop-down menu.
- Facebook will prompt you to create a Facebook Ads account.
This account will house all your different campaigns and provide an overview of each campaign your business is running.
12. Can You Manage Ads From Your Facebook Business Page?
Facebook Ad Manager is the interactive dashboard you’ll use to create and track all of your Facebook campaigns. “Boosted posts, however, can be created right from your business page News Feed,” Kent said.
She provided a step-by-step walk through for boosting posts:
- When you publish a new post from your Facebook business page, a blue button that says “boost post” will appear beneath your post.
- Click on this.
- Ad Manager will pop up, which allows you to set your budget and audience for the boosted post.
13. Can You Manage Facebook Ads from Your Smartphone?
Yes. Use the Facebook Ads Manager app to run Facebook campaigns from your smartphone:
Download for iPhone: http://apple.co/1xyHnSm
Download for Android: http://bit.ly/1LBzuFE
You should continue using the Facebook Pages app to manage your business page. If you haven’t used it yet, this is a great way to receive notifications when one of your Facebook followers interacts with your business.
Download for iPhone: http://apple.co/IV6OL5
Download for Android: http://bit.ly/1hHRUGG
14. What Should You Include in Your Facebook Ad?
“Creating an advertisement for Facebook involves six elements if the advertisement is going to appear in the preferable News Feed section,” said Bob Bentz, president of Purplegator digital marketing agency.
In his book Relevance Raises Response, Bentz describes the six elements of a Facebook Ad:
- Company Name. Use the same name that you use on your Facebook business page. Your name will appear in bold text, followed by the word “sponsored,” which Facebook places to identify the advertising message.
- Post Text. You’ll have roughly 155 characters to get your message across when you build your ad in Facebook Ad Manager.
- Picture. “The image takes up the majority of the space, so make it work,” advised Bentz. “If you sell cooling systems, for instance, it is usually better to use happy and attractive people, dogs, and children enjoying the cool air on a hot day than a picture of a boring air conditioner.”
- Headline. Ad headlines are bold and 25 characters or less. “Use it wisely,” advised Bentz. “One does not have a lot to work with in the headline.”
- Link Description. Use this description to let people viewing your ad know what they will get when they tap through to the link you include. “This the last chance for a selling message,” wrote Bentz.
- Link. The tap-through link to your small business website.
15. Should You Use Photos or Videos in Facebook Ads?
Images, graphics and short videos can show your potential customers more about your business than text alone. But deciding to use images, videos or just plain text will depend entirely on what works best for the message you’re trying to convey.
16. What Kind of Images Should You Use in Facebook Ads?
Facebook provides you with guidelines to follow when adding images or videos to your ads, said Cameron. “Use any photo or video above 1,200 pixels by 628 pixels for best effect.”
“Facebook has access to free stock images which…can give you an air of respectability for your ads, even if you don’t personally have great photos to use,” he said.
17. Are There Guidelines for Video Ads on Facebook?
Facebook recommends uploading videos in MP4 or MOV format, but supports a number of other video formats. These are the basic technical requirements for Facebook ad videos:
Length: 120 minutes maximum
File Size: Up to 4 GB maximum
Frames: 30 fps maximum
18. What are Facebook Pixels?
Have you ever visited a website, then been surprised to see an ad for that same company pop up the next time you log onto Facebook? That’s no accident. That’s retargeting. Facebook uses “pixels” to track visits to advertisers’ websites.
“Pixels are pieces of code that you can embed into the backend of your website,” explained Schwartz.
When someone visits your website, a Facebook pixel allows Facebook to track those people. Then, when those people who have visited your website log into Facebook, they’re retargeted with a Facebook Ad that reminds them of your company, your products and services.
19. What are Facebook Lookalike Audiences?
You can use information about the people who like your Facebook posts to find potential customers among Facebook’s 1.71 billion users.
To create a lookalike audience, Facebook “takes your existing ‘like’ database and creates a profile of other similar people from it, to which you can advertise your services,” said Cameron.