Facebook Advertising Decoded
Traditional advertisers often find Facebook daunting. Social media marketing is the future, that is certain, but transitioning established advertising strategy to new media can be a challenge.
It’s worth it: with over 900 million people at your disposal, the possibilities are nearly limitless. The breadth of data available through Facebook and the versatility of its ad units allow marketers to customize solutions for any type of client, whether a Fortune 100 brand or a local mom and pop hardware store. At the same time, it can be a bit overwhelming.
Facebook isn’t like other types of media, and it’s important to remember that. This is one of the keys to running a successful Facebook campaign: recognizing the unique opportunities and challenges of marketing on the platform.
The aim of this column is to give you tactical advice about running your own advertising campaigns, to teach you about these challenges, and to equip you with the tools to take advantage of the opportunities. In the coming months, we’ll cover the various elements of Facebook marketing, from ad types to analyzing user engagement, and dive into the best practices for each. Here’s a taste:
A Wealth Of Ad Types
The variety of ad types on Facebook is unparalleled. At present, there are seven types of Marketplace ads available to advertisers.
Facebook also offers Premium Ads, but we will focus exclusively on the Marketplace offerings, as they are more readily available to the average marketer. Each ad type has a distinctive look, creative options, and targeting capabilities, and each serves a distinct end goal.
Not every ad type will be effective for every campaign. There are ads designed to get people to “Like” your Page, ads designed to encourage interaction with Page content, and ads designed for driving users off-site.
So how do you decide what ad types are best for each individual campaign? The most important thing to keep in mind is the client’s ultimate goal. Once you know, you can tailor your ad selection to drive the best possible results for that client and campaign. A well-thought out strategy with regard to ad type is essential.
Creative Is King
Creative is another important piece of the puzzle. Creative control varies by ad type, but the basic elements are Title, Body, and Image.
Here the difference between Facebook and traditional search engine marketing becomes even clearer. To be blunt: search engine copy is not Facebook copy. What works in search will not necessarily work on Facebook.
This can be a good thing, and an opportunity to flex your creative muscle. Facebook copy has to be both informative, exciting, and within strict character limits. It also has to include a strong call to action.
Again, you must keep the campaign’s goals in mind to be effective. If the aim is credit card sign ups, the copy needs to reflect that. Images must similarly align with the campaign goals and brand or product advertised.
Although it may seem trivial, creative plays a significant role in campaign success, and highly variable performance across different copy and images will illustrate this very early on.
Targeting The Right Audience
Unlike search marketing, Facebook lets you target users based on what are interested in, what they like, what they are talking about. You don’t have to wait for users to come to you via search; you can target your messages in a highly specific manner that is entirely unavailable on any other platforms.
A new campaign requires a kind of psychological assessment: who is the user who will be interested in what you are promoting? What might his or her other interests be? Where does he or she live? Is he or she married? College-educated? Anything a user inputs about him or herself on Facebook is targetable; obviously, the options are vast.
What is key to Facebook targeting is not only understanding your audience but being willing to learn more about them. The data you can generate from ad campaigns on Facebook is entirely dependent on how ready you are to test. That being said, testing everything at once isn’t really possible. The ideal strategy is to start broad and hone in to the specific populations that are responding best to your ads.
Optimization To Boost Campaign Performance
What is optimization? It’s an umbrella term for improving performance of a given key performance indicator (KPI) over time.
Unfortunately, it can’t exactly be broken down into precise steps. Facebook’s ads platform operates on an auction system, where advertisers bid to have their ads shown to specific populations.
Because the inventory is constantly changing, bids are also constantly changing, and key metrics will reflect these changes. As such, ad optimization requires flexibility and adaptation on a regular basis.
If you want your campaigns to be successful, you must be willing to devote time to analyzing data, understanding the audience’s response, and making the necessary changes to your existing ads. This requires a thorough understanding of Facebook’s reporting metrics, and again, keeping campaign goals in mind is vital.
Beyond The Campaign
As marketers become more comfortable with Facebook, the question becomes less about how to run a Facebook campaign, and more about what these campaigns mean.
How do they stack up against other platforms? What am I supposed to do with all these new fans? Here’s where the engagement portion of Facebook advertising emerges.
Very recent developments on the platform have opened up the possibility of tracking user behavior after he or she clicks on an ad. We’ll continue to explore these updates as they emerge and do our best to outline what they mean for advertisers.
These are but a few of the many components of Facebook advertising. We will discuss these elements more thoroughly in each month’s column, and it’s my hope that by the end of it, you’ll feel equipped (and maybe even excited!) to start managing your own Facebook campaign.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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