Read Part 1: Facebook Advertising Basics
The Many Different Types of Facebook Ads
At first, it can be daunting to get started with Facebook Ads. There are about a dozen different types, each with its own specific objective and placement. Thankfully, the standard ads interface has been improved considerably, so now you just have to start with the question: “What am I promoting?”
Unless you've got an app, an event or amazing video content, I don't see why you should use any other objective besides the first four:
- Boost your posts – The grand daddy of Facebook Ads for Bloggers and Publishers. Since Facebook Organic Reach is way down, paid posts will be the go to weapon when it comes to engaging with your audience and growing your website traffic.
- Promote your page – You're building lists. Whether it's emails or Facebook fans, you want to have multiple avenues to spread your content through, without paying every time. Promote your page -> grow the number of fans -> get more free traffic.
- Send people to your website – You can use this for special sales pages or just direct people to your articles. Also, for better analysis within Google Analytics, always use Google's URL Builder to properly create a good trackable link. (see Prateek Agarwal's guide to this tool)
- Increase conversions on your website – Not only will you be increasing traffic to your website, but thanks to Facebook's Conversion Pixel, you'll be able to see actual Return On Investment. How much money you've spent and how expensive a conversion was.
If we're talking Desktop – you have ads in your Newsfeed and ads in your Right Hand Side. These last ones were quite tiny up until a few months ago and were largely ignored by users. Facebook retooled them and now you can only see 2 in your right hand side, but they really get your attention. Ads in your users' Newsfeed are much larger and have the added benefit of a Call To Action button.
Since mobile Facebook users have been growing in numbers (bringing in more than 62% of total ad revenues for the social network), it's definitely time to really focus on that Mobile Newsfeed placement. Couple that with a great ad, an interesting offer and a good responsive blog experience and you're starting to understand Facebook Ads.
Boost Posts vs Facebook Ads – What's The Difference?
Facebook really wants you to use the buttons and features that are most profitable to them. Then again, Google AdWords does a similar job with their “Below first page bid” warning.
Within Facebook there are now warnings, help windows and tooltips telling you all about promoting your page and boosting your posts. The problem is that hitting that blue Boost Post button doesn't give you the full picture of what's going on. You're missing out on important elements of the Facebook Ads microcosm, like Education, Relationship Status, Life Events, Connections, Type of optimization and advanced pricing features.
So while Boost Post is a good starting point, I can't really recommend it. Because of its limited feature set that's presented to you, you might get the impression (after your initial campaign ended) that Facebook Ads don't really work and you've wasted money. Targeting is crucial, because these types of ads are interactive and served to highly engaged users.
It might take a bit more time to learn and put into practice, but in the end the reward will be much greater. Take the time to understand all the features in the standard Facebook Ads interface and only use Boost Post as a last resort or if you really know what you're doing.
If you're just starting out, don't go overboard on the money you're spending. At first, Facebook will recommend a certain budget to reach a specific number of people. That isn't guaranteed, it's more of an estimate. Not only that, but hitting the Boost Post button will usually default the pricing to one that's not the lowest (not by far). It's going to be one in the middle, but still more than what you should be starting out with. Especially since you're using a tool for the first time and you don't know the impact it might have. Caution is necessary, otherwise your money could be spent on something without Return On Investment.
Custom Audiences – There's More Gold In Your Email List
We've mentioned Custom Audiences in the first part of this guide. Now we're using this space to give you actionable tips on getting the most out of this (often) overlooked feature within Facebook Ads.
- Target subscribers on their birthdays – If you do email marketing at all, you know that having more than just a simple email address of a subscriber is useful. Things like name, occupation, location, date of birth and interests allow you to craft a buyer persona to better service them. Once you have people's names, you can export custom lists and have ads showing only for people called David in your Custom Audience, for example. Hyper-personalized marketing, here we go!
- Show custom content to clients – Assuming you have something to sell on your website (course, ebook, premium subscription etc.), you should have a separate email list for your clients. Since open rates aren't always that great, having a custom audience made up of clients is always useful. Think in terms of cross-selling and up-selling. What about thanking them for their purchase? Or leading them to a custom landing page (with their own name), where they can refer their friends to your site?
- Exclude clients – When you're pushing to launch a new product or service, that you've already pre-sold to some customers, exclude them from your targeting. How would you like it after you bought a car, if you consistently saw ads around town about your specific car? Annoying for you, so try to minimize any kind of discomfort for visitors (especially for ones that pay you).
- Increase match percentage – Let's say you have a list of 1.000 email subscribers. Upload that list into Facebook ads to get a Custom Audience. You usually won't end up with 1.000 Facebook profiles in that list. That's because the email in your original email list has to match the person's email in their Facebook profile. One trick to increase this match percentage is to make the text on your email subscribe form from your website very casual. Avoid “Company Email”. Instead go for something like “Your best email”, “Your preferred email address” or (my favorite) “Your most used email”.
- Build Lookalike Audiences – An incredibly useful addition to Custom Audiences are Lookalike Audiences. Once you have your list of Facebook profiles (converted from your original email list), you can create a second list of similar profiles. Basically Facebook goes through people's profiles and analyzes what they have in common. Based on those specs, it finds similar profiles on the platform and gives you access to advertise to them. A good tip is to start very high in terms of similarity. Note that this means that your Lookalike Audience list won't be very large. Experiment with creating these for different countries.
If you have access to such amazing features and tools, why not use them to provide a great experience for your visitors and customers? The choice is yours.
Read Part 3: Facebook Remarketing