There are a number of ways businesses can use Facebook to support their marketing efforts. But did you know that Facebook Ads can offer a great opportunity to complement your inbound marketing efforts? Facebook advertising works on a bidding model similar to Google AdWords. You bid on the price you are willing to pay to have your ad displayed, and then you are either charged when someone clicks on your ad (cost per click), or you are charged per 1,000 people who see your ad using the CPM model (cost per thousand impressions).
For someone who's never advertised on Facebook before, the process might seem intimidating. But with some careful thought and planning, you can reap the rewards of an effective Facebook advertising strategy. Here's how you can go about designing a killer Facebook advertising plan:
1. Set Up Your Goals
What do you want to achieve from your campaign? If you want to direct traffic to your website, what should success look like? A newsletter sign-up? A purchased product? If you want to send traffic to your Facebook Page, is your goal to convert page visitors into fans?
2. Outline Your Ad Campaign Plan
Set up a formal campaign that outlines different types of ads that you can split test. Split testing involves changing one piece of the ad, such as the photo, and keeping the other elements the same to see which ad performs better. Rotate your ads every couple of days to keep them fresh. No one wants to see the same ad over and over.
3. Decide Who to Target
Research targeting options before running the ad. Watch how the Estimated Reach and the Suggested Bid changes as you add different targets. Optimize your bid price and reach to get the best price. Let's review some of Facebook's targeting options:
You can target by country, state, city, and even zip code.
You can choose a range or no upper bound maximum. Facebook gives you the option to require an exact match within an age range if you select the 'Require Exact Age Match' box. This means that if a user turned 51 yesterday, that user will not be shown the ad for which you selected the age range of 25 to 50.
However, it’s better not to require an exact match, because Facebook will give you a “discounted bid” for people who click your ad who are slightly outside the range (although Facebook does not provide an exact idea of “slightly,” and it doesn’t specify its definition of “discounted bid”).
Interests are displayed in a person’s profile and are drawn from the keywords used in their information. When you start typing, you may notice the # symbol next to some words. Facebook refers to this as “topic targeting.” For example, there may be many pages or interests around the term “bicycle,” and by selecting #bicycle, you are including all of them so you don’t have to individually select each one. If you want the specific term and not a broader match, choose the term without the # symbol in front. You can also click the 'Switch to Broad Category Targeting' link to use a broader range of general terms to target, such as “Outdoor Fitness Activities."
CONNECTIONS ON FACEBOOK
The radio button is defaulted to “anyone," but you can choose to include or exclude fans of the Facebook Pages you are the admin of.
Many of these selections will limit your audience heavily, so only choose these options if you have a very specific purpose.
4. Define the Budget
Decide how much you are going to spend per day and for the whole campaign. When you choose your daily budget, your ad will automatically shut off when that budget is reached. You can also run the campaign for a certain amount of time--three days, five days, etc.--so you don’t have to worry about your campaign exceeding your budget.
On the bid, we suggest bidding in the middle of the 'Suggested Bid' range or higher. If you bid too low, your ad won’t show up. If your ad gets more clicks, you will be rewarded with a lower click price. Give your ad the best chance to get more clicks by bidding high.
Research what other ads are in Facebook's rotation. These are only going to be the ads that your Facebook profile qualifies for viewing, so it’s not a complete list. But it’s good to see what other users are doing.
5. Track Your Progress
Know which metrics you must watch to determine if your ads are successful. Make sure you know how to determine if the lead or sale came from the Facebook ad versus other traffic. Trackable links, special coupon codes, and custom landing pages are great options to track leads and sales.
Now that you are driving all this traffic to your website, make sure you are measuring it. Hopefully, you have some tools to measure where your website traffic comes from and what terms people are using to find you. HubSpot’s software, for instance, includes an analytics tool that gives you exactly this information. It tells you not only where your traffic is coming from, but also how effectively these visits turn into leads and customers.
Google Analytics is another great tool for in-depth analysis. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, it isn’t hard to do. Using an analytics software, you can drill down into the Facebook statistics and see what is working and what isn’t.
Have you experimented with Facebook Ads to complement your marketing efforts? What results have you experienced?
Image Credit: Lawton Chiles