As of September 2017, Facebook has 2.07 billion active users with around 1.75 billion mobile users. These two numbers alone are enough to make Facebook a must-consider option for any sensible and practical entrepreneur, advertiser, or marketing seeking to engage with their target audiences. Yet, Facebook is something more than just a social community for finding potential customers.
With Facebook advertising, you can use the social platform’s vast user base to market your products, find new customers, interact and engage with old customers, provide after-sales service, increase brand recall, and do a lot more.
What is Facebook Advertising?
As the phrase suggests, Facebook advertising refers to placing ads related to your products and services on different spots on FB’s desktop and mobile site. You can set it up using Facebook Business Manager. The basic concept of FB advertising is the same as any other digital ad. Facebook does not charge its users. Instead, it charges marketers to place ads on its site. The revenue earned from advertising ensure that the site remains free of charge for all its users.
How Does Facebook Advertising Work?
When showing an ad, Facebook focuses on achieving 2 goals, namely:
1)Delivering value to advertisers- Striking the balance between helping advertisers reach their target audience and
2)Maintaining a good user experience- Ensuring that the FB users continue to have a positive, relevant, and enjoyable experience on the site.
Facebook achieves these goals by auctioning advertising space on the site to all marketers seeking to place an ad on that spot. 2 aspects are taken into consideration. The first one is how likely the target audience is going to get converted when they see your ad and engage with you on FB page, website or mobile app. The second aspect is the relevance score which is an aggregation of number of aspects such as positive and negative ad feedback, creativity and deliverability of your ad.
As you can see, only your bid, which is determined by your ad budget, is a tangible factor. Quality of the ad and estimated action/engagement likelihood are intangible factors that play an equally significant role in determine which ad is displayed on the page.
Getting Started with Facebook Advertising
So, how should you proceed if you want to hop on to the FB advertising bandwagon?
1. Step1 Analyze Your Business Goals- The first step is to analyze your business goals and determine why you are placing the advertisement on the site. Do you want to introduce your brand to your audience? Are you marketing a specific offer, update, or sale? Do you want more people to visit your page and view its updates? Or, are you planning a global campaign to get more people to download your mobile app?
2. Step2 Identify Your Target Audience- Once you have clarity on the purpose of the ad, it is time to identify your targeted audience. You can customize various facets of the audience to ensure the ad is visible only to those whom you think are most likely to respond favorably to your ad. A youth-centric brand won’t gain anything by showing up on pages of senior citizens. Similarly, a feminine hygiene product needs to be showcased among young women.
3. Step3 Determine Social Channels- The third step is to determine the various websites on which you want your ad to run. Apart from Facebook, you can place your ads on Instagram, FB Messenger, and all apps and sites on Facebook’s Audience Network. The truth is that there is more to Facebook advertising than the website alone.
4. Step4 Run Ads based on Your Budget- Now, you can fix your budget, which is the maximum amount you are ready to pay for the advert—this can be fixed as a per-day limit or in the form of a lifetime budget. Once this is done, choose whether you want your ad to be an image, a video or—for those on low-bandwidth—a slideshow, or a combination of images and videos running together like a Carousel.
Now that we know the basics of how FB advertising works and how you can create and place your FB ad, let us look at some reasons why FB scores over traditional advertising.
Why You Should You Care about Facebook Advertising?
1. Facebook Advertising vs Traditional Advertising- In the past, the phrase traditional advertising would normally refer to advertising on billboards, sending direct mail flyers, or publishing ads on radio and television. Today, the world of digital advertising has evolved to such an extent that one can differentiate between real-world advertising, traditional digital advertising like search and PPC, and new-age digital advertising—social advertising.
Facebook advertising is cheaper, more efficient, and significantly more effective than traditional advertising—in the real as well as the digital world.
2. It Is Significantly Cheaper- Studies done over 2011 till date shows consistent results—direct mail is the costliest while social media is the cheapest marketing channel when assessed on basis of cost per thousand impressions. In 2011, CPM for social media was $2.5 while broadcast TV was $28 and direct mail was $57. Later studies showed that despite reduction in costs, social media was the cheapest way to ensure your content was viewed by a thousand persons.
3. It Offers Targeted Advertising- Imagine a hall filled with a thousand persons. Advertising through television would involve blaring your message through a loudspeaker and hoping that your target audience hears the message.
PPC (pay-per-click) search advertising would involve showing your advert to all those searching for a related keyword (e.g. Google Ads). If the person is searching so as to buy the product or service, then he may click on your ad and end up becoming your client.
Facebook advertising, on the other hand, is all about
• Understanding your target audience and target market,
• Identifying those who are most likely to be interested in your product or service, and
• Showing your advert to this specific group of FB users.
The huge amount of user data available with FB will be used to whittle down the thousand-person group to a group of individuals sharing characteristics with your ideal customer.
Want to offer moving services to those living in a particular city or state? Specify that users living in a specific geographical area must be targeted and nobody else.
Sell yoga mats, clothes, and other accessories? Your ads will be show only to those who list Yoga as a hobby and whose newsfeed and interests indicate active involvement in Yoga.
Want to market your range of baseball accessories? Create different adverts for different teams and FB will sift through user updates to ensure your audience views ads related to its favorite team only.
This reduces the role of luck or chance in the success of failure of your advertising campaign.
4. It Is Versatile In Nature- Not every advertisement must necessarily result in a sale. Your Facebook ad can have number of goals. For example, social advertising can be used to create user engagement that can, ultimately, lead to a sale in the future. So, your advert on FB can
a. Invite viewers to visit and like your FB page, or
b. Visit and respond to a specific post or update on your FB page, or
c. Respond to an event invitation related to the advert, or
d. Visit your company or business website, or
e. Download and install a mobile app for direct interaction in the future.
Since likelihood of the user responding to your ad impacts its success in the auction, you should consider this aspect carefully when creating your ad and the response strategy.
5. It Offers Smooth Linkage between Marketing and Engaging- Conventional channels provide very little scope for audience engagement. You can relay your message and wait for interested parties to revert to take the sale process ahead. FB advertising allows you to engage with your audience through the advertisement itself. This is particularly true for those accessing FB on their smartphones.
As of 2017, internet users from all over the world spent around two and a quarter hours surfing social media sites on the Internet. With FB ads, the social experience can quickly segue into a purchase decision with very little delays. View the ad and buy the product is something that can become a real thing with FB adverts.
6. You can Measure your Success and Failures-
Have you created a good ad?
Did your target audience respond the most to your ad?
Are your ads even working or are you getting all the FB likes from another source?
In the digital world, you can control only that which you can measure and FB advertising offers detailed insights. With an easy-to-analyze data at your disposal, you can evolve constantly and ensure your next advertising campaign on FB is bigger, better, more efficient and offers better bang for your buck.
7. You Can Zero-in on Your Target Audience Base- Every business must have a customer avatar i.e. a detailed description of all attributes and characteristics that your ideal customer would possess. Age, education, interests, location, gender, annual income, spending habits, social and political preferences—all these and a lot more go towards defining your customer avatar.
With Facebook, you can take your existing customer research to the next level by incorporating customer avatar data into your FB advertising strategy. So, if your ideal customer is aged between 25-40 with a university degree and a white-collar job, then FB will use the information in your hand to expand your target audience automatically.
8. Don’t Just Cater. Instead, It Allows You to Create Demand! – Search engine ads (e.g. Google Adwords or Google Adwords Express) show up when a person searches for a keyword related to your business. For example, when a person knows he/she needs car insurance, he/she will find your ad when searching for car insurance online. Here, you are catering to an existing demand. This is certainly a useful strategy and it does work.
However, on the other side, a short video about the consequences of not having a car insurance can help the viewer want to insure his or her car. Showing this video as Facebook ad in the user’s social feed can help you create demand. This is possible only in the universe of social media where the user is ready to look beyond cost when exploring purchase decisions.
While FB advertising is, beyond doubt, more effective and less expensive as compared to the traditional options, it does not mean that advertising on FB is easy or can be treated as a routine task. It does require tweaking and adjusting to make sure your advert is yielding ROI.
Facebook Advertising Best Practices to Consider
If you are serious about Facebook advertising, then you should follow as many FB advertising best practices as possible. I’m presenting handful of best practices but by all means, the list below is not universal in nature.
1. Dare to be Different- Understand what makes Facebook unique from other media channels. For the first time, you can define your targeted audience right down the finest detail. Combine data, analytics, and your understanding of your business to maximize your chances of success.
2. Granularity is Key– You can create unique ads for your female customers. Further, you can create variants based on different parameters including the interest and hobbies of the viewer. The one-size-fits-all approach is best discarded on FB.
3. Define your ad campaign goals- We have already seen how social media ad is the cheapest arrow in your quiver of marketing and advertising options. Keep this in mind when defining campaign goals. Don’t try selling when introducing your brand. Instead, stick to your well-defined goal and focus on engagement. Sales will automatically follow.
4. Add variety- The news feed of an average FB user will contain photos, images, memes, videos, slide shows, along with text. A 2015 Nielsen Study found that users were impacted by video content even before watching it for a full second. Your brand has the opportunity to establish a bond with your target audience in less than a second. It is up to you to create the right type of impact with a varied and innovative library of content.
5. Be Proactive and Engaging- Facebook ads can drastically shorten the time taken by a potential customer to view your ad, buy your product or service, and become an existing customer. You must be prepared to proactively engage with an audience that is ready to take such quick decisions. This means doing your homework and laying down the necessary infrastructure to handle the positive consequences of a successful advert campaign.
6. Don’t Stop Learning- Every FB ad campaign, whether successful or not, represents an opportunity for you to learn to be better at your job. From how Dove handled the backlash over a racist ad to how the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge led to millions of videos on FB and a research breakthrough, there are numerous lessons that are just waiting for your attention.
In the past, mass advertising involved compromising on novelty to ensure the message was perceived and understood by all. Today, you can run a thousand different advertisements for thousand different sub sets of your target audience without straining your finances.
Through FB advertising, you can deploy content to help people recognize latent demand, create demand where none exists, and go beyond mere selling and engage and bond with potential and existing customers from all over the world.
If you need any help with Facebook advertising or setting up Facebook marketing campaigns, do reach out to my office.
Wishing you a grand success in your endeavors!