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Facebook Ads 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Step Away from the Boost Post Button!

Facebook offers some of the best targeting options available in digital advertising. Learn the basics of how Facebook ads work and the right and wrong ways to go about advertising your business.

In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • Why your business should be using Facebook ads
  • What ad targeting options are available
  • Which Facebook ads are the most common, and what they mean
  • Which resources to consult to expand your knowledge

Speaker: Kathy Gray, Brand Engagement Strategist

Watch Time: 00:09:10

Download “How Do Facebook Ads Work? A Beginner’s Guide” slides on SlideShare.

[Video Transcript]

This is Kathy Gray, Social Media Marketing Strategist for Pole Position Marketing. Today, we’re going to be talking about Facebook ad basics. Let’s get started.

First, why should your business use Facebook ads? Facebook is ubiquitous in everyday life, and has the most active user base of all social networks. Seventy percent of Facebook users use the network on a daily basis, versus 36% of users who use Twitter daily. I believe much of this can be contributed to the rise in mobile adoption and Facebook mobile app usage. It’s becoming easier and easier to use the network.

Facebook advertising can be very precise. Want to target male cat lovers who recently visited Hartville, Ohio? You can do that. Facebook ads are also cost-effective. I took a look at all of our client ad accounts over the last six months. The average cost per 1,000 impressions was only $5.94. Our local little newspaper in Hartville, Ohio, who has a circulation of approximately 2,500 charges $15 per square column inch. So Facebook ads are even more cost-effective than our little, small town newspaper.

Let’s take a look at Facebook ad targeting options and ad types. The ad here is a great example of precise targeting. I grew up in the tiny village of Grand Rapids, Ohio. No one makes clothing for Grand Rapids, Ohio. They perfectly targeted this ad to Facebook users who had Grand Rapids, Ohio, listed as their hometown.

Facebook allows you to create saved audiences in Facebook Ads Manager. This should be your first step. You can use a combination of demographics and interests to target a precise audience. For a super-relevant audience, I recommend creating custom audiences. You can create a website custom audience, which will give you a tracking pixel to place on your website. This pixel will then track all visitors to your website, and match them to their Facebook user account.

You can then target your website visitors directly on Facebook. You can segment those website visitors further by how recently they visited your website, which pages or sections of your website they visited, and by demographics and interests. When you get precisely the audience you want, you can save that audience to use again and again.

You can also create a custom audience from your email list. Facebook will match the email addresses in your list to Facebook user accounts, and just like website visitors you can filter this audience by demographics and interests.

In addition to creating audiences from interests and demographics, you can also create lookalike audiences. You can create a lookalike audience from your website custom audience or email list custom audience. Facebook will then create an audience of the top 1% of Facebook users who are most like your website visitors or email list. This lookalike audience can then be filtered by demographics and interests. Again, you can then save that audience once you get it perfect the way you want it, and use it again and again.

You can also target your page Likes directly, or exclude them from your other audiences. Here is an example of advanced interest targeting. If we want to target male cat lovers who recently visited Hartville, we can filter Facebook users by those interested in the Cat Fanciers’ Association, or American Cat Fanciers’ Association. Take a look at magazines, other businesses, even your competitors, or associations that your target customers have an interest in. The more specific you can get, the more successful your ad will be.

Whatever you do, don’t use the Easy button. This is a common mistake many businesses make, because it is so easy. You click Boost Post, and then click on Friends of Page Likes or Page Likes, and that’s how I ended up receiving this very poorly targeted ad in my timeline. I live in Ohio. This ad is for a grand duplex in St. Louis. I have no plans to move to St. Louis, and I never will. They were way off. But I’m friends with someone who Likes his page, and he just wasted money by targeting friends of page Likes and not narrowing that group of people further. He could’ve taken friends of page Likes, and then narrowed it down within a 10-mile radius of that specific apartment or duplex.

If you’re not going to use the Easy button, what should you use? You have three different options. The first is Ads Manager. This is going to give you additional targeting capabilities over the Boost Post button. It gives you additional organizational capabilities. You can customize the names of your campaigns, ad sets, and ads, which will make organizing your Ads account even easier so that you can easily compare the effectiveness of each of your ads. This is perfect for the owner/operator.

If you use Ads Manager, it’s automatically tied to your personal Facebook account. This means that if you’re not the owner/operator and you have, let’s say your marketing manager create the Ads account for your business, it’s going to be tied to their personal Facebook account. Your credit card will be tied to their personal Facebook account. This is not a good situation. It gets very messy really quick. So the better option is to use Business Manager, unless you are that owner/operator who is never going to have anybody else handle your Facebook ads.

Business Manager is very easy to set up. You go to business.facebook.com. Through Business Manager, you can create an Ads account that is tied to your business page, not tied to any one person’s personal Facebook account. You can use Ads Manager through Business Manager, and you have the additional abilities of adding agency access to your Ads account. Again, your payments and reporting are tied to the business, and not to the personal profile. You can also set levels of accessibility for any employees or outside agencies working with you.

The next level is for the super-user, and you may want to just work up to this. This is Power Editor. It’s not as intuitive as Ads Manager. Again, you can use this through Business Manager. Power Editor gives you granular controls. There are shortcuts. There’s bulk ad import. But it’s not as intuitive. There are also a lot of times when Facebook will release a new Ads opportunity, and they will release it first in Power Editor, before adding it to Business Manager or Ads Manager. For example, right now, this past week Facebook introduced lead ads. These ads are only available in Power Editor right now. So if you’re not using Power Editor, you can’t create those types of ads.

Now, we’re going to take a look at the most common ad types businesses use, with this type being the most common, Boost Your Posts. This is essentially the same thing as the Boost Post button. However, you can get more detailed with your ad targeting. This ad objective takes a post you’ve published on your page and promotes it to the audience you create or select.

The next objective is to send people to your website, or it’s commonly referred to as website clicks. It looks very similar to a boosted post. However, the website click ad is an ad. It’s not a post that has been first published on your business page. So the only people who are going to see this are the people you are advertising to. Website click ads have a better conversion rate than boosted posts when sending people to your website. One feature the website click ad has that a boosted post doesn’t is the Call to Action button. You can choose from Shop Now, Book Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Download, Watch More, Contact Us, Apply Now, and Donate Now. Those buttons are what helps you get the additional clicks and conversions on your website.

The next objective is Facebook offers, or get people to claim your offer. Facebook offers can be a great way to encourage the immediate sale or increased foot traffic in a retail location through Facebook. You can outline the terms of your offer, set an expiration date, and even set the maximum number of offers that can be claimed. It can be anything you want. It can be dollar off. It can be a percentage. It’s all up to you and under your control what the offer is.

This is a very popular, but tricky ad option and one that you need to be really careful with. If building your fan base through ads, you need to do so in a highly targeted manner. You don’t want to be paying for fair-weather fans. Typically, we only recommend clients target website visitors that are filtered by demographics and interests, or their email list again filtered by demographics and interests. It’s better to have 100 high-quality fans, than 1,000 people who may never buy anything from your brand.

This was a really quick introduction to Facebook ads. Here are a few resources to learn more. The first three are resources from Facebook. First is how to create custom audiences. The second is Facebook ads tutorials, and included in that are some really great videos for getting you started. The third is the “Facebook Ads Guide,” which is going to give you detailed information on all of the ad objectives and ad types that we discussed, and all of the limitations on text and images for creating those ads. The last resource is my favorite Facebook ads blog. Jon Loomer shares fantastic information and advice that is always spot-on. He also does webinars and paid training courses, which are well worth the money.

Have questions or thoughts? Give me a shout. You can find me on Twitter @KAGray, or email me.