14 May

4 Beginner Tips For Understanding Facebook Ads To Help Save You Money & Time

Facebook advertising paying off. Woman looking at her Facebook ad results.

Everyone can benefit from Facebook Advertising with a little creativity and ingenuity. Here’s how…

So you’ve created a Facebook account for your business. Now it’s time to really get your message out there to the right people and you can definitely do this with Facebook advertising. But, to do it without wasting a ton of time and money, you need a basic understanding of how Facebook’s ad program works before you begin.

Here are 4 things you need to know about Facebook Ads before you run an advertising campaign:

#1 How does pricing work for Facebook ads?

Facebook designs its ads to work in accordance with your budget. According to the Facebook Ads page, “The exact cost associated with your ad being shown to someone is determined in our ad auction.” How this works is you set your own budget through Facebook’s Ads Manager website and app. You can either set a daily budget or one that will last for the lifetime of the ad. 

You’re asked to set this budget before your ad runs so you are in charge of the expenses you incur. This means that you only pay for the actions you want or elect to have Facebook run on your behalf.  You choose the audience and set the budget, so ads are only shown to an audience that could potentially be interested in what you’re advertising.

Specifically, this process is handled by the “Facebook ad auction” who “shows your ad to the people most likely to be interested in it—for the price you bid or less, and never higher”. 

The process looks like this:

  • First, you set your ad budget.
  • Second, set your bid which is the maximum amount of money you would be willing to spend when someone sees or clicks on that ad.

If you have a bigger ad campaign (reaching more than 200,000 people), then you can (and should) consider one additional service Facebook offers big campaigns: reach and frequency buying. Reach and frequency buying include locked-pricing, controlled spending, and predictable ad delivery.

The details of these kinds of ads can be decided up to six months in advance and there is always help for navigating the process. But for most of us, our budgets are well below 200K so we either have to hire someone to help us navigate the ad process or learn how to do it ourselves.

#2 How is your audience determined through the Facebook advertising process?

You also have control over who sees your ad but only to an extent. The basic demographics of your ad’s audience (age, location, gender, etc) and Facebook users who have expressed certain interests on the site are the types of things you can take into consideration through their Ad Manager program available to everyone. This process is called defining your target audience.

An individual can often fall into several target audiences, as social media users often have a multifaceted online presence. For more advanced targeting, you can also use a feature called “connections”. Through the Connections setting, you can include or exclude people who are connected to specific groups or pages. Moreover, the optional Custom Audiences tool allows you to retarget users who have already interacted with your business’s page.

This is the part of ad buying that makes the most sense to get some support on. Clients often share with us that they work on building the “biggest audience” they can. This is often the wrong move because the audience is too broad. A well-targeted audience is often the better route to take so more of your client’s buying signals are reached. If you need help with this, please reach out so we can help you make smart decisions so you don’t waste time or money on your ads.

#3 How do Facebook ad auctions actually work?

Ad auctions are determined by the Facebook user more so than the advertiser, as “each time there’s an opportunity to show an ad to someone, an auction takes place to determine which ad to show to that person”. The target audience that you’ve defined tells Facebook who you want to see your ad.

When the opportunity to show an ad arises, the algorithm takes into account many different factors. These include: ads a Facebook user has responded to in the past, personal interests, groups, and other targeted audiences the person is involved with, demographic information, and finally, the advertiser’s target audience.

Each of these factors makes up the match between the ad, price, and consumer.

The additional variable is the ad itself. The winning ad is the one with the highest total value which is based on three things: the bid placed by the advertiser for a particular ad, estimated action rates (ie how likely this targeted individual is to be called to action through a particular ad), and the ad quality (based on feedback and assessments of low-quality attributes).

The more relevant and high quality an ad is, the more subsidized it can become through Facebook itself. Working on your ads to make them more palatable will, in the long run, make them less expensive and more likely to win an ad auction.

In other words, a quality, good looking ad that is properly targeted your buyer will get you more clicks for less cost.

#4 Creating the Facebook advertisement

With the audience details and cost squared away, your next step is to create the actual advertisement. Before you get into the creative process, consider your goals. What do you hope to gain from your ads? As this process is complex, it’s ideal that you review it all before starting to plug details in.  

To begin, Facebook offers you fifteen options for your goals/objectives. Keep these options in mind as you walk through the ad creation process so you can choose which one best fits your business goals and objectives. Facebook offers specific objectives under one of three categories: awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Next, you’re asked to choose your advertising format. You can choose between five formats: carousel, single image, single video, slideshow, and canvas. Make sure that the ad format aligns with the other components of your ad and specifically, what are you going to ask people to do if they click on the ad? 

Next, you’re asked to choose your body text. Your ad text can be up to 90 characters and you need to both inform your audience as well as entice them into actions in this copy.  Our best advice is to use this space to briefly explain your service, give a broad overview of your business itself, outline a particular blog post, etc. To get a grasp on the character count, type your ad in a Word or Google Doc and use the “word count” feature to count your characters. This will give you a clear sense of how wordy you are and what needs to be cut.

Once the words are down, you need to create the image(s) required. The number of images is determined by the format you choose above.  If you choose any of the options other than video, you have to have at least one photo. Ideally, this image should not be a basic stock photo, but another piece of eye-catching material that further informs your audience.

Because the image is often what inspires a buyer to click, this detail is very important.

When considering what to pick, think about who you’ve defined as your target audience. Then consider what kind of imagery would appeal to them. Again, go for high quality, and try to also be relevant and eye-catching. Use as little text as possible in the image itself.

Additionally, remember that the image size is 1200 x 628 pixels at most. Images that are not well-matched, poor quality, or misleading will either be rejected by Facebook or will hurt your campaign in the long run.

If you’re using a video, these same guidelines apply. Videos should be succinct and compelling,  and can only be up to 60 seconds long. If the audience is not interested in your video, they’re unlikely to actually stick around for the entire thing, so if it can be said through an image, try that option first. Based on your format, you may be able to include multiple images, multiple videos, or a mix of both.

When you’ve mostly completed the actual look of your ad, consider other elements that should be included. To really get your message across, and to further publicize yourself, you have to link your ad to your sales or landing page. This link can send traffic to a specific Facebook page (probably the page you’ve set up for your business), Instagram account or a landing page on your website. Choosing where to send people is often determined by the next step you want people to take.

The quality of the page you send people to should be of equally high value so it’s congruent with your message/branding AND it inspires clients to engage with your offer.

Lastly, you must decide on your ad’s placement. Facebook will help you out here by recommending placements based on your objective. It is advisable to follow these recommendations, especially for your first Facebook ad campaign. However, if you envision your ad to be placed elsewhere on your audience’s Facebook homepage, then this is also up for experimentation. 

As you can see, there is a ton of experimentation as well as trial and error allowed. Testing is smart but at a low cost and you always want to track your ad spends against the statistics offered. Understanding user engagement is critical to help adjust your ad campaigns so you continually improve your ads for higher clicks and sales.

As you can see, there is a ton to explore with Facebook ads. When someone really understands the ins and outs of ad campaigns, Facebook can prove to be a wonderfully economical way to improve your brand and increase sales or entries into your funnel(s). And while you should always take advice in these areas with a grain of salt (especially where finance is involved), carefully consider the recommendations that Facebook offers you about your ad campaign. Remember that this social network wants you to succeed as much as you do.

Last note, if Facebook advertising is outside of your budget, consider boosting Facebook posts.  This is the most economical way to reach more people on Facebook.  Here’s what you need to know about Facebook Boosts.

Have questions about Facebook ads or boosting posts on Facebook? We can help. Please reach out for a free consultation to explore how we can help manage your Facebook page and improve your social media marketing overall.

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