In February this year, comScore reported that Facebook ads accounted for more than one-third of all US display ad impressions. eMarketer also reported last month that Facebook would surpass Yahoo! in display ad revenue this year; which means that more than one in five US display dollars will go to Facebook, a staggering YOY increase. Facebook advertising is no longer just a fun trend to watch, it is becoming an online advertising requisite.
Getting started with Facebook advertising is simple; albeit a manual process that requires basic planning, targeting and creativity. With Facebook’s 500 million+ active user base, there is a compelling reason to test Facebook advertising for your brand, products or services – your customers are online and on Facebook.
- Understand goals and objectives for the campaign: In our experience, we’ve seen a higher success rate in driving “likes” and increasing fan engagement vs. taking people to a landing page or website. The culprit? Facebook-ers typically don’t like to be taken off of Facebook while they’re in Facebook mode, and thus, taking people off of Facebook results in a high bounce rate and low qualified, less engaged traffic.
- Check out Facebook’s guidelines: Provided on their Help Center page, advertisers can learn about creating, targeting, and launching a Facebook ad campaign.
- Complete the set-up process: With goals and objectives in mind, choose and upload ad creative or logo, choose your targeting and demographic specifications and set a budget using Facebook’s manual campaign builder tool. Creating a single ad will take most newbie advertisers under 10 minutes to build.
- Test & Tweak: Because users on Facebook are viewing connections’ photos, perusing status updates and the like, the ad needs to capture the user with a bold image and call-to-action. Likewise, ads can quickly become less and less effective as users become “fatigued” with seeing the same image or message over and over again. This will decrease CTR as well as impressions if your ad’s performance drops. Creating and testing fresh ads continually, will have the biggest impact on maintaining and improving the performance of ad campaigns over time.
- Use Facebook Insights & Ad Stats: Utilize the Facebook ad stats dashboard to monitor performance of impressions, clicks and actions, as well as Facebook Insights (for Page driven campaigns) to monitor interaction and engagement.
One of the main advantages of using Facebook ads is the ability to target customers more granularly by their interests, as well as other demographic factors such as age, education, connections, location, etc. Instead of targeting users based on search intent and bidding on keywords (think Google AdWords), Facebook allows advertisers the ability to hone in on a very qualified, niche audience at a reasonable cost.
Selecting the option to target Facebook users whose friends already “like” that particular page can dramatically help to reinforce the advertising message by utilizing the power and influence of a Facebook user’s connections. With this option selected, the ad will include that users’ friends name next to a thumbs up “Like” icon (see below example), which can boost click through rate and improve the potential for that user to like that particular page; because their decision is being influenced by their friends’ interests and “likes”. Showing these connection preferences can have a strong influence over the success of an ad and the action the user takes once on the Page in question.
Allocate resources to test the Facebook advertising waters. For small businesses, the self-serve campaign creation model may work well and keep costs down. However, for larger corporations who need to scale their campaigns, looking towards specialized agencies may be the key. As the popularity of display advertising and spend on Facebook increases, it’s unclear whether or not this will have an adverse affect on ad rates. Regardless, it’s best to strike while the iron is hot, before an influx in advertisers increases advertising fatigue on users and dulls performance or significantly increases ad costs. Launching, testing and refining your first Facebook campaign may open up a new and effective online advertising medium for your business.