When Facebook opened its guest list to businesses in 2008, marketers were presented with a new opportunity to connect with their customers. Since its beginnings in a college dorm, Facebook hasn’t stopped growing, and over the years has made a number of changes to improve profitability while offering new ways for businesses to engage with customers and attract new ones.
Shortly after Facebook added Pages, businesses were able to run paid ads. But not all jumped on board. For some, paid advertising seemed both expensive and complicated. And many companies assumed they could continue posting without paying. Not so. Facebook changed its algorithms and free brand pages were no longer given priority.
Today, Facebook is an advertising channel for businesses, pure and simple. It can be one of the most effective ad platforms for your business, whether you're a B2B or B2C organization, but to get the most from it, you need to master some critical best practices for creating and managing your ads.
First – should you advertise on Facebook?
As of June 2017, Facebook has more than 2 billion active users. And with all those users comes a ton of competitors jockeying for a slot in your prospects' news feeds. So, if you're fishing for new clients in the Facebook sea, you better go in equipped with the right data and the right tools.
Before you start your first Facebook ad, make sure you've tightly defined your target audience and created well-researched buyer personas. This will focus your efforts and reduce wasted spend on users that aren't your ICP (Ideal Client Profile). Next, determine your ad objectives and spend. For example, B2B companies often use Facebook ads to promote educational content on their websites or drive traffic to a product demo. Finally, be ready to measure, test, and optimize as you go.
When you know your marketing strategy, Facebook's ad manager provides an interactive tool to help you determine which ad campaigns to execute. Here are the Facebook campaign objectives in the tool that you’ll need to choose from:
Once you've dialed in how Facebook ads will help you reach your goals, the following best practices will help you get the most from your ad spend.
The 3 Best Practices to Launch Facebook Ads1. Experiment – targeting, pictures, ad copy, budget
After you post your ad, monitor its performance and start testing different approaches to learn what resonates best with your buyer personas.
Targeting: Facebook’s large audience makes it easy to cast a wide net, but many times, a big net also catches a bunch of trash fish. Facebook does a great job gathering details about its users, and you can use that information to create ads that understand and relate to your target audience. Experiment with the targeting controls Facebook provides: age groups, geography, interests, etc. Make sure to use your buyer personas to create ads that will speak to them effectively, and be persistent in testing different targeting controls provided in the Facebook ad manager to fine-tune your results. Be methodical and you'll learn what interests and behaviors to target to attract and catch your ideal prospects.
Visual: The first thing people see when they’re scrolling through their feed isn’t your carefully worded copy; it’s the image you use. Is the image engaging and appealing? You may want to switch out photos if your ad isn’t performing well.
Ad Copy: Once you’ve grabbed attention with your photo, your ad copy needs to be simple and relevant and include a value proposition. If you’re not getting the clicks or engagement you’re looking for, the problem may lie in your copy. Don’t over-complicate things, but also make sure the copy reflects what you’re offering.
Budget: When you start paid ads, you want to get the most bang for your buck. HubSpot has an Ad Calculator to help you determine what your overall budget should be. Once your ads are running, adjust your spend as much as your budget allows, particularly if one ad is performing better than others.
2. Rotate your ads
Users see ads every time they sign into Facebook. Ad fatigue is real. How do you keep your ads fresh and optimized? Start by rotating your ads every week or two. This is where experimenting with your images, ad copy, and CTA comes in handy.
3. Include a CTA
When scrolling through Facebook, your ad could get passed over without the right call-to-action. Be sure to make the call-to-action clear and concise. Your audience wants to know what they’re in for. You should also try multiple CTAs, but always keep them simple.
Once you’ve experimented and found what works best, you can optimize future ads and be on your way to becoming a Facebook advertising expert!