I started using Facebook advertising this summer and I instantly became obsessed. Facebook gives you AMAZING metrics that are easy to get hooked on. I found myself launching new ad after ad in attempts to get higher and higher CTRs (Click Through Rates or "the number of clicks your Sponsored Story or ad received divided by the number of times it was shown on the site.") I wanted to master the Facebook advertising world. I set out to do so and sat down avidly diving into Perry Marshall's, The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising, a must read if you have the time. While running several ad campaigns and reading Marshall's words of wisdom, I invented and tested ad after ad until I got acceptable results.
Like the realm of Facebook, Facebook advertising is also ever-changing. I've tried to keep these general guidelines applicable to things I don't foresee changing anytime soon.
1. As I stated above, I ran ad after ad. Trial and error is key to successful advertising campaigns. What people like and what they click on is always going to be hard to predict. I learned very quickly that it was important to have patience and not get discouraged when my ads didn't preform well.
2. Photos are king. You know the saying and in the advertising world this couldn't ring more true. Having a captivating photo is key. Images that I found that worked best are photos that emphasize one or all of the following elements: dramatic colors that will literally distract people from the pages of Facebook, funny photos and/or close up photos of people.
Now you're working with small space, 100 px by 72 px, so try to keep the photo clear and uncomplicated. Resizemypicture.com is just one helpful, free resizing site I found.
Basically you want a photo that will literally distract users and/or draw the "OH!" reaction, be it in a good, bad, cool, amazed, intrigued and/or shocking way. Remember, it's not what you want to show, i.e. a photo of your product or services, but what people want to see.
3. Almost as important as a good photo is including a call to action in the copy. Now writing good copy can be tricky, I'm definitely not an expert at it. It seems obvious you want people to click on your ad, but users aren't on Facebook with the intention of clicking on ads, so they need to be reminded.
EXAMPLES: "Click like," "like us below," "click below," "click to start," "if you like x than like us," "like x? Then like us too!" "Click to find out more," "like us for more info."
4. Advertise your Facebook page versus your website page. People are in the world of Facebook when they see your ad. Chances are they don't want to leave. I have found it more affective to advertise a Facebook page on Facebook then it is to advertise a website.
5. Keep your target audience as selective as possible. In my opinion, this is where the fun comes in. You can make your target audience as big or as small as possible. Facebook kindly gives you a number as to how many people you are targeting for each ad you run. I recommend creating lots of highly targeted ads instead of just one or two broader scope ads. This will help you understand your most affective ads and your most responsive audience.
6. When creating an ad, don't be afraid to use those cliched ad tricks. We are showered with advertisements every day. Why are there some techniques that advertisers use over and over again when they sometimes seem obnoxious or annoying? Because they work. Take time to spend a few days actually taking in the advertisements you're hit with. What works? What doesn't? Who is your audience? What are some successful advertisements you see for that audience?
As equally as important, don't be afriad to use unique and edgy techniques. If your ad isn't appropriate for whatever reason Facebook won't run it. Don't be afraid to push the envelope.
7. Determining how to set a budget can be tricky. I noticed just today that the way in which Facebook manages ad budgets has been changed! See, EVER changing! But the bottom line options are choosing whether you want to pay per click (CPC), the amount of times someone clicks on your ad, or pay per impression (CPM), the amount of times 1,000 people see your ad. Now this is not 1,000 different people but rather just the amount of times it shows up on the right hand column of a Facebook page.
Personally, I prefer CPM. This rate is automatically picked for you by Facebook and is the best way to test ads because you can see per 1,000 people how affective your ad is. However, if you are targeting to a large audience, BE CAREFUL. Be proactively checking your account for this could get expensive quickly. The CPC approach tends to be more of a bidding game and can be tough to master. Both ways can produce great results. I personally have the time to continusouly check my ad performance and keep a close eye on my ads. Therefore, I prefer CPM. I reccomend playing around with both approaches to see what works best for your advertising needs.
8. Determining a budget.
In my experience I have found setting a daily budget works best. For some reason Facebook responds better to displaying ads that are set at a daily budget rather than with a lifetime budget. It makes sense. They want to get all of your moneys worth out of that day. When you set a lifetime budget the results aren't as immediate. When you have more results more immediately, it also is simultaneously showing up on more new users timelines.
For example, let's say Carol, Betty and Anne are all friends. Now Carol and Betty are in your target audience and both decide to click on your ad and like your page. Even though Ann isn't seeing the ad, she will see in her timeline that two of her friends chose to like your page. She may be intrigued to visit and do the same.
Important side note: when setting a budget, I always set a time period for that budget, be it a month or three days depending on how much money I have to work with. You can select the time in which your campaign is run by un-checking the "Run my campaign continuously starting today" box (see above). This box will automatically be checked when you first set up your campaign.
9. Use the "promote post" option and create ads that "show users friends liking your page." These are two super awesome ways to get direct results with very little action on your part.
Click promote underneath your posts or decide which posts you would like promoted on your ads manager page. For very low cost, the Facebook experts will go to work and show your post to highly likely candidates. The CTR rates will blow your mind.
Creating ads that show stories about people liking your page is also an easy and effective way to get results. As soon as someone sees that their friend likes a page, they want to know if they would like it too. It's a basic law of humanity wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be cool, to "fit in." This ad option plays perfectly to this concept and can, again, deliver big results at low cost.
10. Monitor your results. CTR isn't everything, although I personally love bragging about a high CTR, impressions, frequency and reach are also big factors that should be monitored.
Impressions: The number of times someone sees your ad. A person may see your ad multiple times which will increase your impressions.
Reach: Different from impressions, this is the number of unique, individual people who saw your ad at least once.
Frequency: The number of times each person saw your ad.
These numbers will vary depending on your target audience. If you are showing your ad to a large audience, and/or at a high frequency, your ad may be performing just as well as one with a high CTR though the CTR number won't show it. The end goal is to increase sales and traffic, no?
For example, I remember several years when Facebook advertisements first took off. I remember seeing the advertisement for the online women's clothing store ModCloth keep popping up on the right hand side of my screen. I finally clicked on it BECAUSE it was shown so frequently. I wan't the only one. My girlfriends were doing the same. We all seemed to come across ModCloth because of how frequently we had seen the ad. Because ModCloth had such a great business model and offers fabulous products, once we clicked we were no longer annoyed at the frequency of seeing the ad. We all quickly fell in love with the cute, vintage clothing store!
There are a ton of successful ways to approach Facebook advertising. These are simple steps that I have found leads to impressive results at low cost. I hope you find them helpful as well!