Facebook Ads began in 2007 and in the first quarter of 2019 was responsible for over 15 billion dollars in revenue.
Despite all of Facebook’s recent controversies regarding data
There are a lot of reasons for its continued success. The rise of mobile is one of the biggest factors. It is reported that over 1.7 billion users log on to the Facebook platform from mobile devices every day. Another factor is how narrowly you can define an audience with their fine-tuned targeting options. If there is an audience for your product or message, you can be confident they are on Facebook.
Other benefits include granular data on ad performance (very useful for optimisation) and, well, that it’s Facebook… it’s part of the culture and won’t be going anywhere in the near future. You can build a foundation on the platform without having to worry about it disappearing overnight.
All well and good for big organisations with large budgets, you might say. But how about for the start up or smaller business?
Are Facebook ads effective for small business?
There are a lot of marketing and advertising options out there and if you have been operating for a while you’ve no doubt been burned by a few of them so it’s natural to be skeptical about Facebook ads.
The truth is, however, Facebook is one of the BEST options as a small business.
There are three reasons for this: low minimum spend, fantastic targeting options and powerful post-campaign reporting.
You can start learning the ropes of Facebook with tiny budgets, which is great if you don’t have much capital. As far as ad platforms go Facebook is still relatively young, especially when compared with veteran platforms like Google, so results can still be obtained for lower prices. However, as demand rises and supply plateaus inventory prices will likely rise.
You can also take advantage of Facebook’s detailed user data to make sure you pinpoint the exact audience that is likely to respond to your advertising message. Not only will this save you money in the long run but it will make it more likely you will get a positive ROI for your efforts.
Finally, as we’ve mentioned previously, the clear and simple reporting of the Facebook Ads platform allows you to quantify your KPIs and improve your ads as needed. This can help you justify scaling up or, if things aren’t working out, scaling down.
Now that we’ve determined Facebook Ads are perfect for small businesses, let’s talk about getting started with your first campaign.
Getting started with Facebook Ads
First off, you need to set up an account in Facebook Ads Manager.
Can’t find your Ads Manager? Click the drop-down arrow in the upper-right corner of your Facebook page and choose “Manage Ads”.
NOTE: You need a Facebook account and a Facebook Page in order to find your Ads Manager!
From there you can click on “Account Settings” and fill in all of the necessary details related to your business. Also don’t forget to add a payment method or you won’t get very far.
Once all of the admin is taken care of you’re almost ready to start advertising. Facebook
Choosing a marketing objective
All great advertising campaigns begin with the end in mind.
When you click ‘Create and Ad’ you will see a collection of campaign objectives that you can choose from.
It’s important to spend some time on this step. You want the campaign objective to describe accurately the purpose of your advert. What are you trying to do? Promote your page or send people to your website? Install an app or raise awareness for an event?
Only you know this so it’s up to you to get it right.
Now it’s time to pick an audience for your ads.
Finding your perfect audience
One of the main benefits of using Facebook ads is the in-built, very engaged audience that accounts for a solid fraction of the world’s population.
Also, due to the amount of data Facebook collects on its audience, there are some very specific targeting options that you won’t find anywhere else.
Looking for someone who likes football boots but is also a superfan of Beyonce? You can target them with a few clicks.
Also, because Facebook is smart like that, you can also select and target engaged users of competitors in your niche.
It’s important not to get too excited, though. You can quickly burn through budget with a net cast too wide. Instead, think long and hard about your desired audience and leverage any customer profiles you may have based on past customers. The more you can nail it down the better chance you have of doing well with a limited budget.
Create a budget and schedule that suits your business
Once you have found the audience you want to target you need to decide how much money you want to spend and how long you want your campaign to run for.
As a newcomer to Facebook Ads it is a smart idea to set a daily budget. This is a set number that ensures there will be a ceiling to your spend. You can also set a lifetime budget, which will be spread out across the set dates you have specified for the running of your campaign.
Once you have decided on your budget and time limit you can move to Advanced Budget Settings, where you can pick your bidding and optimisation preferences.
‘Bidding’ and ‘optimisation’ can sound like jargon for a beginner and in the spirit of this article we’d recommend you stick with the default preferences until you are more experienced with the Facebook Ads interface and running campaigns. Once you have a few successful ads under your belt you will be a little clearer about your goals, whether that is optimising for clicks to your website or optimising for a specific conversion metric.
Once you have the numbers locked down it’s time to get creative.
Getting creative with your ads
The creative has always been king of the advertising world and it is no different with Facebook Ads.
There are two ways for you to create an ad on Facebook: either from scratch or by promoting an already published post from your business page.
At this point you need to decide what kind of media you are going to use in your advertising campaign. Will it be an image or a video? If you have multiple products to showcase will you use a carousel?
You can also create different variations of your ad, which will help you test various approaches and measure the results for better messaging in the future. If this is your first time, however, you might want to stick with one just to keep things simple.
Once you have chosen the images or video for your ad campaign you need to add in the text component. This usually includes a headline, body copy (main text) and a call-to-action. This deserves an entire article in its own right but if you aren’t a confident wordsmith it might be worth hiring an agency or freelancer to make sure your offer comes across in the most attractive way.
Make sure you preview your ad before confirming to make sure it is exactly what you want.
Also, remember to click into Advanced Options and remove the ad placements that will not work for your campaign. If you don’t Facebook will try and optimise your ads for placements and places that just aren’t suitable, lowering your conversion rate and the value of your performance data post-campaign.
Now you have an ad set up with a budget ready to go it’s almost time to set it live.
First, however, consider setting up a Facebook pixel on your website.
The Facebook pixel allows you to track the actions of your users from click all the way to conversion. Facebook call this ‘conversion tracking’ and it has the potential – if used correctly – to skyrocket your ROI.
The behavioural data you collect from conversion tracking is metaphorical gold dust for future campaign optimisation. You can also use that data to create super-targeted ‘custom audiences’, full of people who are just like your current customers (and more than likely have the same interests/buying habits).
Conversion tracking allows you to keep improving your ads for a long, long time – even after they start turning a profit.
If you want to learn more about creating pixels for your business check out the official Facebook guide here.
The future of Facebook Ads
So you’ve got your first campaign set up and you’re already making money.
How long will Facebook ads be a ‘thing’ for small business owners?
Well, consider that the active user base of Facebook as of this writing is approximately 2.41 billion – an 8% increase of MAUs (Monthly Active Users) year on year!
Add that to the fact that, on average, Facebook Ads are one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising available in our digital-first, social-first world (average CPC across all industries is £1.72).
And you get a compelling case that small business Facebook Ads are here to stay.
As long as social media is at the centre of our lives (and, let’s face it, it isn’t going anywhere soon), there is a huge opportunity for small businesses with a compelling message and the creative to back it up.
What do you like most about Facebook advertising? Do you use it already or are you planning to in the future?