Do Facebook Ads Make Sense for Your Business?
Today’s post is courtesy of Meg Brunson of EIEIO Marketing, our favorite Facebook Ads guru. Meg shares why she believes all businesses can benefit from Facebook Ads in today’s guest post.
With over 2 Billion users, Facebook is a platform that is too big to ignore. We’re living in an age where having a website is no longer enough to legitimize your business. You must also have a presence on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others. According to a November 2016 report from Hootsuite, over 50 Million businesses are currently using Facebook’s Business Pages. 2 Million of them are advertising on the Facebook platform. Looking at the numbers, only 4% of the businesses with a presence on Facebook are advertising – so how important are Facebook Ads?
Organic Reach on Facebook
Unfortunately, the days of free advertising on Facebook are gone. In the early years, it was possible for businesses to post to their timelines and have large numbers of people see their posts. However, as the number of users and businesses on the platform increased, Facebook changed the algorithm (the computer application that determines what posts are seen by which users) so that people would see a balance of posts from their friends and businesses. Knowing that people sign on to Facebook to see updates from their friends, and not to see ads, Facebook placed a heavier emphasis on posts from friends. The algorithm shows business posts significantly less often. What this means for Business Pages, is that there is high competition to get into the timelines of their fans.
The algorithm selects which business posts to put in a user’s timeline based on how much engagement the post receives from other people. We recommend businesses create engaging content regularly. This increases the chances that people will see your posts organically. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and often frustration with organic reach is what causes businesses to consider Facebook Advertising.
Cost of Advertising on Facebook
Often the first concern is how much advertising will cost. The great thing about Facebook Ads is that you set your own budget. Even better, you can start with as low as $5/day. During the ad creation process you will also select which action you want your audience to take and how you want to be charged. There are no other paid advertising options as affordable or as flexible as Facebook Ads. Based on a study by Brian Carter (moz.com, 2014) here is a comparison based on the cost to reach 1,000 people:
With costs and flexibility like that, there is no reason why a business wouldn’t want to test a Facebook Advertising strategy.
Value of Advertising
Facebook makes determining the value of their advertising easy as well. With traditional advertising, it’s often difficult to assess the return on investment. Some digital platforms fall short of Facebook’s tracking abilities. Facebook has a tool called Facebook Pixel, which is very effective at tracking users’ actions across devices (phones, laptops, desktops, etc.) over a period (up to 28 days). This is how Facebook provides insight into the return on your investment. This is also why it’s very important for businesses marketing on Facebook to ensure that they are using the Pixel correctly.
Identifying your Audience
Warm Audiences Are Ideal
Facebook has amazing targeting options for both searching for new clients, and retargeting “warm” audiences who are already familiar with your business. A warm audience is someone who is familiar with your brand.
If you want to send an ad to people who are already familiar with your business, there are a few different options through Facebook:
- With the Facebook Pixel installed properly, you will be able to create Website Custom Audiences based on people who have visited your website. This is a powerful tool if you are also using Google AdWords or have other ads that are driving traffic to your website.
- You can also upload your current customer list to Facebook and it will match as many users as possible to form a Custom Audience.
- Target fans of your Page or people who have otherwise engaged with your page.
The Power of Lookalike Audiences
From any of those custom audiences you can also create a “Lookalike” audience to identify a new audience that is like your existing clients. By targeting customers who are similar to your current customer base, you can greatly expand your reach and potential ROI.
If you don’t have audiences from website traffic, customer lists, or Facebook engagement, that’s okay too because Facebook has unparalleled targeting abilities.
Targeting Cold Audiences
You can target based on a variety of demographic information such as:
- Location – either where people live or where they currently are
- Age – 13-65+
Detailed Targeting including additional Demographics, Interests, and Behaviors is available. Some of this information is first party data and comes from Facebook directly. Other is third party data which comes from one of their approved data partners. Targeting options include:
- Education – what school they went to, what they studied, when they graduated
- Household Income
- If they are parents – and how old their children are
- Where they work – their job title and/or industry
- Relationship Status
- Approaching Birthdays and Anniversaries
- People in the market for a new car
- Those who have recently moved
- People who are likely to shop online
- The list goes on…
People share a lot of information with Facebook through their Personal Profiles. Facebook can access even more information based on their internal tracking abilities and the third-party data partners they work with. There is no other platform that has the precise targeting capabilities of Facebook. If you’re using Facebook ads right, you can get your message in front of the most relevant audience.
Design Skills Not Needed
You can run Facebook Ads without a skilled design team. All of Facebook’s ads are created with a user-friendly template. Facebook provides access to free stock images if you do not have your own images.
If you have a design team, that is great too, and they can help with designing/selecting the best images for your ads.
If you want something a little more customized, you can create ads using inexpensive online programs like Canva. Text on images should be kept to a minimum. Facebook Users are on Facebook to see updates from their friends and family – not to be sold. Too much text on an image can cause the ad to be disapproved or penalized with less reach.
How much text is too much text? Facebook used to have a strict 20% guideline. That guideline was eliminated. There is not a precise guideline, other than: use as little text overlay on an image as possible. If you have an image in mind, Facebook does provide a screening tool. You can upload your image to the text overlay screening tool and it will let you know how much text they identify on the image. It will also alert you if it may impact your ad’s delivery or not.
Should You be Advertising on Facebook?
Yes. While an organic (un-paid) strategy is still important, organic efforts on Facebook are losing effectiveness on their own. Your audience is on Facebook, and they are easy to find through their targeting options. Facebook is affordable. You can start with a very small budget and scale up as your business grows. The Ad set-up process is also user-friendly and requires no design skills. Once you start running ads you will be able to track your return on investment. Facebook advertising is an effective way to amplify your visibility among your audience, generate leads, traffic, and/or sales, and remain competitive in a noisy digital world.
Meg is the Founder and CEO of EIEIO Marketing, a digital marketing agency with a Facebook-focused approach to marketing to moms.