Facebook Advertising Strategy

Facebook advertising strategy is important when using the popular Facebook platform. Advertising on Facebook is a great alternative to using other PPC networks like Adwords or Yahoo’s Search Marketing. One major asset which Facebook boasts is the fact that most people on Facebook are willingly sharing their interests and personal details so that you can easily find and target your audience down to the closest details. If you’re interested in taking advantage of Facebook ads, here is a walkthrough of how to get started which contains elements of my own Facebook advertising strategy.

Facebook Advertising Strategy

Step 1 – Designing Your Ad

Let’s go to http://www.facebook.com/advertising/ and type in your URL which you want to send traffic toward to get started. You can click “Suggest an Ad” and Facebook will quickly grab that web page’s title as the title for the ad and it’s meta description as the body of the ad. It will also give you the option of pulling any images you have on that page to use as the ad’s image.

I recommend building your ad from the ground up. Keep in mind that it’s been estimated that 90% of what people notice about your ad is split between the title and the image. For the title, try to think of something which will grab your audience’s attention and make them think. Think about using a question as some of your titles. Sometimes you can even do well by taking an existing well performing title of yours and improving the CTR (click through rate) by adding a question mark to the end.

The image plays the largest role in your Facebook advertising strategy because this is what people will notice first if they notice it at all. Obviously also use an image which will immediately catch your audience’s eye and attention. Test different images to see which performs best. Your image doesn’t really have to be relevant to your ad at all so long as it helps to yield a good CTR.

It’s a bit sad with all of the split testing which I have done, but the majority of the time I find that any image which I test for an ad can be matched in terms of performance by instead including a picture of an attractive girl who is establishing eye contact with the reader. Regardless of whether I’m targeting men or women, this always performs well which I guess is just a reflection of our society and culture; people notice attractive people and at least give them more attention than most anything or anyone else.

If you don’t have the image that you’re looking for, there are plenty of stock photo sites. Just do a search for stock photos or free stock photos for millions of photos to use in your ads. Be sure to read the TOS of the photo site as sometimes even if a photo is free in some situations, you have to pay if you anticipate using it for advertising.

The body of the ad is what you’ll be using after your title and image have sucked that Facebook user into checking out your ad. Use this space for a short but powerful call to action to encourage that person to click through and visit your site.

Now that your ad is complete, aim for a CTR of 10%. This isn’t a hard rule, but I generally go for at least this kind of performance, otherwise I’ll toss the ad out after awhile or work on it some more.

Step 2 – Targeting Your Ad

Next in my Facebook advertising strategy is targeting. Facebook advertising’s greatest asset is its targeting options. Not only can you choose location like you can with Google, you can target age, gender, educational background, workplace, birthdays, relationship status, sexual orientation, and interests. Try doing that in Adwords!

You’ll notice as you tweak each of these targeting parameters, your “estimated reach” of your ad will appear and fluctuate over on the right.

Location: You’ll do well to focus on either the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, or some combination of some or all of them; these are the major English speaking Facebook using countries. You can get really specific, targeting individual states or even cities, but unless you have specific demographic plans in mind or a very local business, stick to countries at first.

Age: This is when it starts to get interesting. You can target people by their exact age, so think about having a group for 20-35, one for 35-50, etc. These demographics differ drastically in what works in terms of advertising on them so you’ll be creating different ads for each of them even if it’s for the same product/site.

Gender: With gender it’s the same idea. Break your ads between men and women as you typically won’t find the same success showing one ad to women as you will showing that ad to men.

Interests: I recommend switching to “precise interests” as opposed to “broad category” targeting. This enables you to input specific interests of people as opposed to using the very broad categories like “cooking”. You want to get as targeted as possible when choosing your ad’s interests, and “precise interests” enables you to do just that.

When you put in your first interest, your estimated reach will drop way down to just include users who mentioned that interest on their profiles and meet the rest of your ad’s requirements to that point. With each subsequent interest which you include which will trigger your ad when it appears on someone’s profile, your estimated reach will continue to climb.

Too low an estimated reach number and no one will see your ad. At the same time you don’t want to add semi relevant interests for the sake of reaching more people. Any interests which you add should be completely relevant to your ad.

Advanced Demographics: Advanced demographics is where you can add education, workplace, language, sexual orientation, and relationship status preferences as well as an option of only targeting people whose birthdays are that day. This is all pretty straightforward and can be very relevant or completely irrelevant, depending on the subject of your website. For example, if you are advertising for a dating website, you’re probably going to focus on people who list their relationship status as being “single”. That’s a pretty clear cut example, but just use some common sense here.

Step 3 – Campaigns, Pricing and Scheduling

In the final section you’ll choose your account/budget/scheduling/pricing options for your Facebook advertising strategy.

Currency/Country/Time Zone – Pretty straightforward settings.

Campaign Name: Name your campaign. You can put a ton of ads under one campaign, or you can split them up, having as many ads as you have campaigns, similar to how some people like to organize their Adwords ads/ad groups.

Budget: Here you’ll set your budget. You can set a daily budget meaning you’ll be spending up to your budget each day, or you can choose lifetime budget, meaning that your ad will only run until your budget runs out and will not replenish or reset with a new day like the daily budget option.

Schedule: Choose either a finite span of days to run the ad, or have it run continuously. This kind of works hand in hand with the budget option because they both determine how long your ads will display. You might choose just to show your ads during daytime hours, just in the morning, just late at night; it depends on your niche and your clientele.

Pricing: Pricing is where you choose how much you are willing to pay to have your ad displayed. You can choose to use suggested bid, meaning you’ll pay as much as Facebook recommends per click, or you can (and should) use advanced mode where you set your own price. If you do this, you have TWO options in terms of the structure over which you pay: CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per impressions).

CPC: Cost per click means that you will ONLY be paying up to your chosen maximum bid every time someone clicks on your ad.

CPM: Cost per impressions means that you will be paying up to your chosen maximum bid for every 1000 times your ad shows in Facebook to people.

While it seems like a much better deal to go with CPM, I recommend that you stick with CPC until you get a better handle on it. If you create what turns out to be a really well performing ad in terms of CTR, you might consider switching it over to CPM.

How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost?

I recently wrote a post on how much do Facebook ads cost and what determines their price, but generally it comes down to CTR. At first Facebook will recommend a maximum CPC range which you can go by which is based on other ads which target similar niches/interests, but that’s not set in stone and you can really improve upon a high estimated CPC with a great CTR. My post will offer a lot more information on this.

Directing Traffic to Your Facebook Page

An effective Facebook advertising strategy which I employ is to direct your ads to your Facebook page for your website as opposed to making them leave Facebook. Many people feel much more comfortable if they know that an ad will just take them to another part of Facebook.

Of course you should only be doing this if you’re using your Facebook page effectively. This means integrating your posts/RSS and or Twitter profile with your Facebook page, having a nice clean design which still looks like you’re on Facebook, and having a sign up box for your newsletter and some kind of incentive to sweeten the whole experience.

Also, do what you can to get people to “Like” your page, thus ensuring that every update which you make on your Facebook page will be seen by that person. Remember, the average user signs on to their profile at least once a day which for some people is more often than they do anything else on the net.

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