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by Mike Essex on 27th December 2013
Today I’m going to provide you with a top level overview of how Facebook advertising works, how to get started with a new account and some of my top tips on creating successful adverts.
So let’s get started:
You can access existing adverts and make new ones by clicking the “Adverts Manager” button to the left side of the Facebook Home page after you log in. Within here you get a top level view of all of your campaigns, each of which contains your adverts.
If you haven’t made any adverts yet then you can get started by clicking the green “Create An Advert” button. You will then be presented with the below suggestions and based on the options you choose you’ll get a different type of advert to create. These are broken down into adverts for your pages, website, app, events or offers you are running on Facebook.
Page Post Engagement: This advert allows you to increase the amount of times a specific post on your wall is seen. You can also choose for the advert to automatically update to your latest post so it is always changing. If you want to reach your fans on a more regular basis or have something specific you want many of them to see then this advert type is ideal.
Page Likes: If you want to increase the number of people who like your page then this is the ideal advert type. During my own tests I have found this generates very strong results for increasing page likes. You can add a photo and write specific content to try and encourage a click. I have also found faces work well in this space.
Clicks to Website: This option is designed when you want to promote a specific website or landing page. You can add up to six different images and Facebook will rotate them to find the best one. I have found a far better response if using Facebook to generate likes than views of a page, but it is certainly possible to sell products or generate a response this way.
Website Conversions: This option is the same as above, but with the option to add a “tracking pixel” to your website. Similar to AdWords, this is done by adding a piece of code (that you generate here) to the page people see after they complete the action. You will then receive reporting on how many people complete that action as a result of clicking or viewing your advert.
The design of this advert is the same as above.
App Installations: You can promote an app that is available for download via an app store with Facebook advertising. To do this you need to provide a link to the page on the app store and an image for the advert. You can then set the platform and type of connection required to make it easier for people to download it. This type of advert is then shown when people use Facebook with the same device.
If you have a Facebook app you can also access separate advertising options designed to increase engagement of the app.
Event Responses: To drive the number of people who attend or RSVP for an event, you can use Event Responses. You will first need to create an event and then you can connect this advert up to it. Facebook will then track the number of responses as a result of the advert which makes it easy to see which advert/s you should use in the future.
Offer Claims: If you sell products you can generate an offer on your Facebook page and then use an advert to promote this. You can set a headline and image to encourage people to look at the offer, as well as an expiry date, limit the number of times it can be used, the budget and a link for people to redeem it.
Sponsored Stories: This advert doesn’t appear in the list of options Facebook gives you, but it can be chosen after you start to make an advert. If you tick this box then you’ll get another advert created that is shown to the friends of people who interact with your page. It’s a great way to reach common groups of people and play on existing relationships to build your reach.
In the below video I take a look at nine further ways to improve Facebook adverts.
What makes Facebook a great advertising platform is that it allows you to target people via very specific criteria rather than on just a series of keywords. Below, I’ve compiled core pieces of criteria so you can better understand how to change each setting to your advantage.
News Feed vs Right Hand Side: One of the first things you are asked is whether you would like your adverts to show in the news feed or the right hand column. I would recommend using both and then comparing the data to see which works best for you.
News feed adverts (below left) take up a larger space and more people are aware of them; whilst right hand side adverts (below right) are more likely to be seen as commercial, which can help if people have a purchasing intent:
Location: If you only sell products in certain locations or you want to target a specific place with an offer you can choose to show adverts in specific countries, counties or within a certain radius of specific towns.
Age: This is a handy setting for B2B clients who would be unlikely to want to target anyone under the age of 21. It’s also useful if you want to bring in a different audience or target those who you know have converted in the past.
Gender: If you couple this setting with the “People” reports you can try and target more people of a specific gender to either create a more natural split or focus on a core audience. Alternatively you can choose “all” if you do not have a preference.
Interests: Facebook already includes thousands of interests that are tagged to people and you can browse these either by typing in a query here or working through pre-set categories. You won’t find every interest in here and if nothing comes up you can’t add it, but if you have specific criteria in mind that does come up, then it’s one of the best targeting options at your disposal. Try to keep the potential audience greater than 5,000 to ensure a good pool of candidates.
Connections: There are two things you can do here. The first is targeting people who are not connected to you already, or alternatively only targeting those who are connected to you. This lets you either try and get more from existing fans or only focus on getting in new likes. Alternatively you can target competitors and only advertise to people who like them, which is a good way to get new likes without additional target market research.
Interested In / Relationship Status: If your product is tied to dating or relationships then you can target people based on this criteria. For the majority of brands it’s recommended you target all people in these sections.
Languages: You can target adverts based on the language people have set, and if you do this it’s also recommended you create specific adverts for this language and target them accordingly.
Education: For B2B products it’s recommended you target secondary school or University graduates in this section. This section is also ideal if you have a very technical product that would require University level training. For B2C products you could target students with specific offers and products. Alternatively you can target everyone if this setting is not important to you.
Workplaces: If you are running recruitment adverts then this section can help you target specific people and it’s also great for B2B advertising. I recommend a minimum pool of 1,000 people for this to work well as sadly it can’t be optimised to target specific job titles, so if you want to reach a purchasing manager in one place, you’ll reach every other employee too (if they meet all the other criteria).
More Categories: There are many more demographic sections hidden in here that are often missed by advertisers. This section contains pre-set categories such as “has a Birthday within 1 week”, “parents of a 3 year old child” or “owns a smartphone” that you can load on to your adverts.
Campaign Settings: Within here you can determine the daily budget of your campaign and create a new campaign or add the advert in an existing campaign. I typically group these campaigns around similar criteria and then add multiple adverts into the campaign to test which ones perform best. You can also set a start date if you want to gain approval before you make the adverts live, and an end date for when they need to stop.
Bidding and Pricing: This section will show the type of optimisation you chose (e.g. “Optimise for Page likes” and the pricing, which will either be CPM (Cost per 1,000 views) or CPC (Cost per click). You can change this by clicking “Switch to Advanced Pricing”.
I hope that helps you get started with Facebook adverts and I’ll be taking a more in-depth look at some of these and other aspects of this channel in the future. If you have any questions please leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...