Facebook offers a very unique platform for marketers to advertise on. They have a more accurate base of user information than just about any other site on the planet, because their demographic data is supplied by their users, rather than by statistical analysis.
In addition, with over half a billion users, Facebook offers the potential for both high conversions and high traffic volume.
Here’s how to use Facebook ads intelligently, to maximize the return on your investment.
Step 1: Start the Ad Creation Process
Start by going to http://ads.facebook.com. Click on “Create an Ad” to get started.
Step 2: Choose a Target URL
Choose where you want visitors to end up after they click on your ad. If you’re using an external URL, all you need to do is type in that specific URL.
If the URL is on Facebook, (i.e. targeting a page or app,) then you have a few more options. You can choose to have your ad appear as a sponsored story or as an ad. You can also choose the exact page on your site they end up on.
Ads that target a Facebook page have a higher likelihood of being approved. If you’re running an ad for a topic that you’re not 100% sure will get the ad team’s blessing, it might be wiser to create a fan page for the topic and send your ad traffic there instead.
Step 3: Enter Ad Text and Image
Type in a headline and a description. Then, upload an image.
The order of importance in Facebook ads is: Image > Title > Body.
The image is by far what will influence your CTR (click through rate) the most. Ideally, the image should stand out and catch attention and still be related to your product or service.
Images that tend to work well include high contrast images, high color images or images that are odd or eye-catching in some way that get people to stop and look.
You should always split test images first, before you split test headlines or descriptions. In fact, because you’ll have to rotate out images and ads so often to keep CTRs up, it usually doesn’t even pay to split test headlines.
Start with one or more attention catching images. Write a headline that will increase someone’s interest once your image catches their attention. Then write a description that gives them a bit of information about what you’re offering and gets them to click on the ad. Once you’ve uploaded an image and typed in your copy, you’ll see a preview at the bottom.
If it looks the way you want it to look, click “Continue.”
Step 4: Location Targeting
Choose where you want your ads to show up:
Many marketers just leave it on the United States by default. However, there’s a lot of money to be made promoting products overseas. In fact, for many markets, you’ll get a higher ROI in international traffic. International traffic almost always has lower CPC's (cost per click) than US traffic.
Even within the United States, don’t automatically just leave it on the whole country. To really get the highest ROI, think about where your target audience would live and target those areas.
If you’re choosing an offer that’s most relevant to students, get a list of college towns and target those cities. If you’re targeting the affluent, then target areas like Palm Beach or Beverly Hills. Location targeting can be a powerful way to narrow your market down to just the people who you want to see your ad.
Step 5: Demographic Targeting
Choose which demographics you want your ad to show to.
Try to make your target range as narrow as possible in the beginning. Once you know that your campaign converts, then and only then broaden out the targeting.
For example, if you know that most of your customers are between 30 and 40 years old, but most are around 36, then try just targeting 36-year-old's.
You might only be able to spend $30 a day on targeting 36-year-old's, but just make sure that you’re actually converting on $30 a day before you target 30 to 40-year-old's and ramp it up to $300 a day.
Step 6: Keyword Targeting
Type in as many keywords as you can think of that relate to your product or market.
By turning on keyword targeting, you’ll immediately filter out the vast majority of Facebook traffic. Though that means less volume, it means you’ll almost definitely get a higher click through rate and likely a higher conversion rate.
Step 7: Connections Targeting (Optional)
Facebook allows you to target only people who are members of certain pages, events, groups or apps.
For example, if you wanted to target only members of the Democratic Party for a political campaign, you might search for all the pages related to the Democratic Party then target members of those pages.
Step 8: Advanced Targeting
There are three more targeting options that Facebook puts under the “advanced targeting” tab:
Targeting people on their birthdays, targeting by relationship status & sexual orientation and finally by languages spoken.
Step 9: Education Targeting
What educational level does most of your target market have?
Step 10: Account Time & Currency Settings
Setup your own time zones and currency settings.
Step 11: Campaign Budget
Name your campaign. Then, set a budget.
The budget should be small enough in the beginning that it won’t put a serious dent in your bank account if the campaign fails. That said, it should be enough that you’re able to get meaningful data right away.
Set a daily budget and watch it every day.
As soon as you know if a campaign is working or not, then increase the budget or shut it down, depending on its progress.
Step 12: Setting Your Bids
Click on “Advanced Pricing Options” to set your bids.
By default, Facebook hides the bidding options in the ad creation process. It’s important for marketers to remember that it's Facebook’s goal to maximize your ad spend, while it’s your goal to minimize your ad spend.
While it may be easier to just let Facebook pick your CPCs for you; most advanced marketers do quite a bit of price testing to find out at just what point Facebook will still give them traffic.
If you have a good CTR, you’ll find that you’ll be able to constantly lower your bids and still get traffic, so long as Facebook’s CPM is still high enough at the end of the day.
*** More Tips for the Ad Setup Process ***
Always split test.
Start your testing on your targeting, because no matter how good your ad is, if they’re showing to the wrong people, you won’t get results. Once you’ve found the right demographic and keyword mix, then start split testing images.
Split testing is doing two different tests and comparing the results to see which works better. For example, one ad will use a picture of you and the other ad will use your logo. You can judge by the CTR (click through rate), which image is more effective in your ad.
You can do split testing for images, headlines, call to actions, and text in the ad.
Be aware that Facebook traffic is not passive traffic.
At some point you will have to swap out images, even if they’ve been working, because you’ll have burnt out the whole traffic pool. In other words, once everyone in your target demographic has seen your ad, they’ll gradually start to ignore it and your CTRs will go down as a result.
When that time comes, you’ll need to write new ads with new images, or pause your ads and let some time pass before running them again.
Make sure you’re using some kind of tracking system that allows you to track each opt- in and each sale back to the demographic target and specific ad you used to get them to your site. Usually you’ll do this with tracking codes, i.e. you’ll attach a code like A1D3136LUS to your URL. To you, this means they came from Ad #1, Demographic 31 to 36 years old and the location is in the US.
If your ads don’t get approved by the approval team, don’t be discouraged. Thousands of ads are turned down every day, even if the product(s) you’re selling are perfectly legitimate. Fix whatever you think may be wrong and resubmit it. Though Facebook may sometimes tell you why you were disapproved, the reason may not always make sense. Just fix whatever you think is wrong and resubmit the ad. There’s no cost to resubmitting ads, so just keep fixing and resubmitting until you get it right and your ad is approved.
Those are the basics of how to setup and use Facebook ads! Facebook advertising does take regular attention to successfully manage, and the high level of targeting and high level of traffic can make it all worth it in the end!