Facebook Ads; Examining the Main Elements

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Why Facebook advertising is worth the Investment

We know that Facebook is the largest social media platform on the web, we know that everyone and their Grandma has an account, and that many consumers, when searching for a product, service or brand will check out the Facebook page associated with that product, service or brand. It makes sense to be where our customers are and there is no denying that most people are on Facebook.

It also makes sense to advertise and promote our content on Facebook — our customers may be there, but we still need to help them find us and luckily it won’t break the bank to do so. Facebook Ads offer a plethora of DIY advertising options to suit any budget.

Research

Recently, research from Nielsen (US) suggests that Facebook advertising budgets reach a wider audience of millennial and Hispanic people than traditional TV advertising. The Nielsen study found that in a typical month, 12.2% of millennials can be reached on TV only (using the top 10 networks), vs. 14.2% who can only be reached on Facebook. Similarly, 16.3% of U.S. Hispanics can only be reached on TV vs. 17.5% only on Facebook, the study found.

If your ideal customer is in his or her late 40’s to mid 60’s fear not, this group makes up a large chunk of the Facebook user base and should not be discounted. In fact the 65+ age group has been the fastest growing demographic on Facebook in the last few years. If either of these fit your optimal demographic, you can find them on Facebook.

Ways to access Facebook Ads:

You can create and manage ads through two separate Facebook platforms; the Ads Manager and Power Editor. Both have excellent targeting and creative options, but Power Editor is the more advanced product. This is what the big advertisers use.

Power Editor runs on the Chrome web browser and offers more insight into audiences than the more basic, Facebook Ads Manager; however, it is a complicated system and might not be the best choice for advertisers just starting out on Facebook.

Ads Manager is a simplified version that gets updates regularly, usually after a new feature has been thoroughly tested and refined on Power Editor.

Know Facebook Ads Rules

At all times, Facebook holds the advertiser accountable and perhaps one of the most important rules to remember is the 20% text rule. This is important because if you don’t heed it your work will have been for naught as Facebook will not approve ads that feature too much text. This rule helps to ensure that people only see high-quality content on Facebook and Instagram. Luckily, they have a really handy, easy to use tool for checking the percentage of your ad covered in text.

Restricted material on Facebook covers content that promotes the sale of illegal drugs, tobacco products, weapons, adult content and unsafe supplements, “as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion”. Also — no “cat fishing” is permitted; landing pages must have ad copy promoting products or services that match what was promoted in the Facebook ad.

There are quite a few well laid out restrictions that are worth becoming familiar with if you plan to advertise on Facebook. See them here.

Designing a Facebook Ad Campaign

THE OBJECTIVE:
 Facebook provides advertisers with 10 Options when choosing an objective for their ad campaign.

Clicks to Website, choosing this objective will encourage people to click through to your website.
 • Website Conversion With this option, you need to have a Facebook conversion pixel on your website.
 • Page Post Engagement, this will help your boost your post visibility.
 • Page Likes is the option to pick if you want to attract more fans.
 • App Installs encourages downloads & installs of your app
 • App Engagement promotes your app.
 • Offer Claims promotes your Facebook offer.
 • Local Awareness will help you reach people near your business.
 • Event Responses is for when you want to promote your event.
 • Video Views will, you guessed it, help you achieve more video views.

As you can see, there are several campaign objectives to help you define your goals and create a campaign that is tailor-made to your needs. Start with the end in mind and choose your objective based on what you want to accomplish; for example if you want more people to read your blog you should promote your posts or your website directly. If you wanted to get more people signed up to your email list you would choose website clicks and direct them to a landing page designed to collect opt-ins. Local Awareness is a perfect choice for bricks and mortar stores that rely on foot traffic and in-person sales as it targets users based on their location.

THE TARGETING
 Targeting is probably the singular most important part of any advertising campaign and Facebook is well aware of this simple fact. Speaking of targeting, ad targeting options are available when you create a campaign from Power Editor, ad creation or directly from your business’s Facebook Page. There are many options when it comes to targeted audiences and you’ll do well to think about whom you want to reach and how you might connect with them.

Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to advertise to current customers by using your email list or data from your website. It’s very smart to target current customers as you know they already like you and by reaching them again, may possibly even refer you. It is far more expensive to Convert a new customer than it is to Reconnect with an existing one.

Lookalike Audiences is an option available once you’ve created a custom audience. A Lookalike audience is curated by Facebook based on your Custom Audience. It is a list of people likely to relate to your message.

If you don’t create custom audiences you still have a lot of options for refining your ad target. You can target people based on gender, location, age, job status, family status, interests, behaviours and connections. An example of this would be if you owned a Toyota car dealership (nice right?). You might target users who live within a certain radius from you, who make a certain amount per year, who have expressed interest in the Toyota brand or have previously bought a Toyota.

The key will be to find a balance between targeting too broadly thus reaching people who are ill-suited to your message and being too specific which will severely limit the number of people who fit the criteria for being shown your ad.

THE PIXELS
 Conversion Pixels are little pieces of code from the Facebook toolbox that will allow you to track website conversions from Facebook ads so you know which are most effective. The optimize tool will also help you show your content to more people likely to click through to your website.

Pixels are a blog post of their own but they are not as overwhelming as they may first appear. It is simply a matter of following the directions here.

THE BUDGET
 The wonderful thing about Facebook Ads is that you can spend as little or as much as you want to spend. You can choose a daily budget with a set start and end time, or leave running indefinitely. You can also choose a lifetime budget that allows you decide how much you want to spend in total and the Facebook Ads system will then work to spread that daily spend as evenly as possible. You can start quite low, as little as $1 — $5 a day but for better results you will want to spend more daily over a shorter period of time.

When you go to place an ad or boost a post, you will notice that Facebook automatically suggests a budget for you, ie: reach 350–500 people near you for $26… This suggested amount usually displays in Bold and be aware that you DO NOT have to accept their recommended amount — it’s not your only option! You can change this number at any time simply by highlighting it with your mouse and entering your desired amount. Yes, the potential reach will change depending on the amount selected and you can also increase the amount and potential reach in the same fashion.

THE LENGTH OF YOUR CAMPAIGN
 You can run a Facebook ads campaign for as long as you like. You can set your ads to run continuously or to run from a beginning to an end date. There is also an option to schedule your ads so that they will only be shown during certain times or on certain days, for example if you want to reach a demographic who only logs into Facebook on the weekends or in their “prime-time” slots.

BE MINDFUL OF AD ATROPHY
 The term Ad Atrophy is something we use in-house to identify ads that have gone stale ie: an ad that has simply been shown too many times and as a result is now underperforming. Remember, your ad campaign will continually show to your selected audience until it reaches the specified end date. During this time, Facebook will show the ad to as many people as possible within your defined target demographic.

For example, if a user sees an ad once in their news feed, it’s fine right? Yes, ads can be really annoying at times but if that person only sees the ad once or twice, it’s probably not going to be a big deal. Adversely, what do you suppose would happen if they continued to see that same ad 7–8 times in their newsfeed? This is ad atrophy.

It is important to be aware of how long an ad has been running as the last thing we want to do is alienate or annoy our intended audience. This brings to the table the importance of running multiple creatives and A/B testing of ads.

In general — and audience dependent — you may find that shorter ad runs work better.

THE CREATIVE
 Your ad creative is the most important aspect, this is what your audience sees and the imagery and message must be compelling enough to produce the action that you desire.

Ensure that the images you use are high quality and that you own the rights to their use. If you don’t have any images that you would like to use Facebook offers complimentary stock images from Shutter Stock so you can easily find what you’re looking for. You can select a single image or a series of images for your ad, and video is available too.

The recommended image size is 1200 x 444 pixels; this resolution will show up best on screen.

One of my favourite things about Facebook Ads is the freedom to experiment; With 6 ads per ad set I can see which ads are performing best and create more like those or kill off any ads that are underperforming.

Each ad set allows you, the advertiser to create up to 6 ads. The text fields will be the same throughout the ad set (although you can later go in and edit individual ads once from the facebook Ads Manager) and you are limited by how many characters you can use so use them wisely.

The text in your ad is limited to 30 characters and should be a description of what you are advertising. The headline should clearly explain what or who your ad is about, you can use the name of your page if that performs better, but you can also write “World Class Service” for your restaurant’s campaign or “Run Better” when advertising your running clinic. You can edit the headline in the Text field under Advanced Options.

Take the time — Spending an extra 10–15 minutes on the Creative can reap huge dividends to the overall campaign.

THE NEWSFEED
 There are three places where your ad will be shown; the Newsfeed, the Right-hand column on a desktop and in the Mobile feed. You can preview each of these before submitting your ad set to Facebook’s review committee (generally a 15-min turnaround). You can also choose to omit one if it doesn’t fit your needs.

For example, we’ve found that some fans respond negatively to ads placed directly into their personal newsfeed but will respond more favourably to those ads displayed in the right-hand column. While definitely not always the case, it seems that some users consider their main newsfeed a very personal, curated item (sacrosanct even) and do not react well to “disruptive” ad placements.

Interestingly, the right-hand column is an area simply considered by many “the place ads go” and generally these ads are accepted without reproach. You may however, see less click throughs here than in the main Newsfeed but we have found for some clients the actual conversion rate is often higher. Ultimately, ad ROI is measured in the conversion, lead or sale and every campaign and every business will differ so experimentation with A/B testing is definitely warranted here.

INCLUDING INSTAGRAM
 Possibly one of the most exciting new developments with Facebook Ads is the ability to create Instagram ads from the Power Editor. This feature is rolling out slowly and is not yet available everywhere, to find out if you can create Instagram ads log into the Power Editor > select Manage Ads from the top left hand of the screen > Create New then hover over the Click to Website option until you see a drop-down menu. If you see the words “New Create ads for Instagram” then you know you have this option available to you, if not, be sure to check back regularly.

THE ROI — ANALYTICS & REPORTING
 To see how well your ad is performing go to the facebook Ads Manager and click All Campaigns. To see a specific ad or ad set, click its name in the list to bring up a report. From here you’ll be able to see the ads’ performance — how many people have seen it, how often they see it, if they took any action after seeing it and how much each impression, Like or click is costing you. Ad performance metrics are updated in real-time so you’ll be able to export the most up to date data when analyzing your results. The true beauty of Social Media ROI.

A key metric that is sometimes overlooked is the Relevance Score. This number between 1–10 is an estimate of how well your targeted audience is responding to your ad. When your ad’s score is high, it’s more likely to be shown to your audience than other ads. You also pay less to reach more of your target audience. A score of 10 means that your ad is highly relevant while a score of 1 means that it is not very relevant.

This feature will help you refine your ad until it is performing at an optimal level. If your ad score is low you can consider editing the copy, changing the imagery or refreshing the campaign completely, particularly if this is a campaign that has been running for some time.

IN CONCLUSION

Rent or Own ?
 
Remember that Facebook, for all its pros is still only a rented platform. You do not own your business page, nor any other social media profile so it is vital that your advertising strategy focus on getting your fans converted over to an owned platform such as your Blog, Website or Newsletter.

While it’s highly unlikely that a social media goliath like Facebook will fold any time soon, always be aware that if they did, you would not only lose that uber-popular rented community but along with it would go all of your Followers or Fans to boot! So the sooner you can get your fans converted into an owned product — your digital bricks and mortar if you will, the better. Remember, you never want to be solely dependent on any third party platform, plugin or App.

So Are Facebook Ads worth it?
 
In a nutshell, Facebook Ads are well worth the investment — whatever you determine that to be — but you will get more bang for your buck if you utilize the tools at your disposal. Having clearly defined goals and targeted audiences will improve your campaign’s performance as will using high-quality images with a compelling message. Every business will have a differing audience and your Insights will provide some great intel as to who that audience is before you get started.

Facebook for Business is now a Pay to Play model and as a result, for many the only way to acquire new fans is to advertise. This lengthy post is what happens when we get two highly talented MAC5 marketers together on a project, we hope you found some value here and most of all enjoyed the read!

~ Mark Collins | Mark is the Founder & maestro behind MAC5 with almost 25 years experience in Digital Marketing. Connect with him on Twitter @MAC5WebDesign or via Email

~ Gill Polard | Gill is MAC5’s Sr. Community Manager and a Digital Communications Specialist. She can be found on Instagram at @gill_polard or via Email

*Featured image courtesy Benzinga


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