Facebook Advertising: The What, The When, The How

July 1, 2016

Facebook is doing pretty well. They have over 1.6 billion users and they have a very sophisticated targeting tool that can reach pretty much any audience. Facebook has more interest-based data than any other social network and this data aligns well with the information marketers need to target an audience. Facebook aggregates all the information about what people do on Facebook, what they like, what keywords they use in their statuses and so on and use this data to help businesses target their ads to their audience. This knowledge reaches beyond just the Facebook platform too - the Facebook pixel, which exists on all business websites that advertise on Facebook, tracks Facebook users' other online activity as well. In short, if you are looking to reach your audience online and you aren't using Facebook yet, you are in the right place. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about Facebook advertising.

How Does Advertising Work on Facebook?

Facebook advertising is managed in much the same way as AdWords PPC - It is based on an ad auction system where advertisers bid for certain ad placements on the platform. The cost of your ad can differ for many reasons: the audience, the country, the quality of your ads, the placement may be in high demand and so on. For example, competition for an ad placement around the Super Bowl in the USA will cost much more than a school fair in rural parts of England. When first starting out on Facebook, it is wise to test some ads first to help predict the cost and ROI before planning larger, more expensive campaigns.

How to Set Up a Facebook Advertising Account

The first step you will take as a new Facebook advertiser is to set up your ad account in the Facebook Ads Manager.Navigate to the ads Manager in the right corner drop down menu and click 'Account Settings'.Insert your business name and address as promptedAdd each member of your team in the Ad Account Roles section and select required admin rightsAdd a new payment under the 'Billing' tab in the Ads ManagerClick 'Add Payment Method' and enter your card detailsReview and confirm all the information is correct

Audience Research and Targeting

You will likely have a fairly good idea about who your audience is already, however it is important to dedicate some time to researching and understanding how your audience behaves on Facebook before you dive into your first campaign. The main reason you want to do this is so you don't waste your precious advertising money on wasted clicks.First up, avoid using general interests such as hiking, watersports or foodies to attract your audience. The reach for this campaign will be huge and chances are only a small amount of users will find relevance and click through to your page or website. Choose specific interest matched with audience demographic to ensure you are weeding out the waste. For example, you might be a female running product, in which case you will target women aged 18 to 55, interested in running products and who have downloaded the Nike Running app.

Beyond this you can dig down into certain pages your audience has liked, the location you are targeting, the annual income of the household you are targeting and so on. You want to avoid going too granular with your audience targeting as this will give you too small a reach - we aim to land somewhere between the 50,000 to 100,000 range, depending on campaign, budget and goals.

Once you have finalized your targeting, you can create your advertising campaign.

How to Set Up a Facebook Advertising Campaign

You can choose from three different types of Facebook ad campaigns:

  • Boosted post on your Facebook business page
  • Self-serve Ads Create tool
  • Power Editor tool

Boosting a post is ideal for a small business looking to get a little extra reach for a post on their business page. When it comes to more advanced targeting and campaigns, the last two options are more suited.

The Ads Create tool is the most intuitive for beginner to intermediary advertisers with some experience in ad targeting and reporting. The Power Editor is more complex and although it gives you tons of different ads tools to use, it can get complicated and hard to follow.

For the purposes of today's article, we will assume you have chosen to use the Ads Create tool. Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up your first ad.

  1. Within the platform, select 'Create an Ad' and choose your campaign objective. Are you looking to promote your Facebook page or drive traffic to your website? Use the options to select the best option for you based on your business objectives and campaign goals. Facebook will optimize your campaign to reach the goal you select.
  2. Once you have selected your goal, you will be prompted to set your audience and budget. You should've already completed your audience research, so in addition to selecting location, age, gender and language settings, include the more interest focused selections. You can make use of the Narrow Audience feature and create rules where your target audience have to be interested in one thing AND/OR another, so this tightens the targeting further. This way you know you are reaching your most qualified audience.
  3. Make sure to enter your daily or lifetime budget when prompted along with a start and end date.
  4. Your next job is to create the ads for your campaign. Click 'Choose Ad Creative' and either upload an existing or new post to promote. Your ads can come in different formats: single, static images or carousel ads that include multiple images. Carousel ads are ideal for promoting more than one product, so are highly recommended for ecommerce ads. When prompted, upload the creative for your ads - you can upload up to 6 images and Facebook will create 6 different ad types based on your assets. This is great if you wish to A/B the success of certain ad copy vs. another. The ad size for Facebook is 615x300 or 1200x628.
  5. You will need to build out some copy to accompany the images in your ad. You will need a 25 character headline, 90 character limit for post text and 250 character link description.
  6. Click 'Review Order', triple check your submission and then Place the Order.

Reporting on Facebook Advertising

One of the most important things to do when running a paid campaign is to measure its success and Facebook makes this easy with the Facebook Ad Reports tool. You can check this report whenever you like and analyse information on performance and clicks to see how well the campaign is performing overall. We aim to get a 1% click-through-rate. If you are getting higher than 1% your campaign has been set up well, however if it is below you will want to reevaluate the effort. Keep a record of your cost per click to keep in your back pocket for future campaigns too.

There you have it - you have launched your first Facebook ad campaign. Next time we will go into more detailed targeting options within the Power Editor tool as well as complex reporting best practices.  

Tell us what you think over on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Prototype is a PPC agency, Dubai-based, that's grounded on data and experimentation.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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