How to Master Your First Facebook Ads Campaign

There’s no larger or more successful social platform for advertisers than Facebook, and for a good reason. Facebook, since its launch in 2004, has ballooned into the world’s preeminent social network, with over 1.56 billion daily active users (DAU).

Every month, 2.4 billion unique users log onto Facebook across desktop and mobile devices, making it a hotbed for tapping into domestic and international markets. But the question remains—is Facebook advertising right for you?

With so many competing ad platforms available online, it can be difficult to decide whether Facebook, one of the older and more costly options, is the right choice for your business. In this guide, we’re going to go over the benefits and drawbacks of Facebook advertising to see if it’s worth your money, and how the process of setting up a Facebook ad works.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be surprised at how many leads a single Facebook ad campaign might be able to draw for your small or medium-sized business.

Table of Contents

Why Facebook Advertising?

Lately, Facebook’s gotten a bad rap. Over the past few years, the common narrative around Facebook is that it’s dying out due to shifting demographics, the emergence of newer, cooler mobile apps (i.e., Snapchat and Instagram), and the simple, uncool fact that everyone’s parents use Facebook.

Despite this, Facebook is still arguably the most under-utilized advertising network in the world. This is because Facebook isn’t going anywhere. Don’t believe us? Well, look at the data.

Facebook’s year-over-year growth has been rising continuously since Q2 2015 and in Q2 2016 they brought in $6.4 billion in total revenue. That’s a massive amount of money for only one financial quarter. Facebook, in other words, is showing no signs of slowing down—whether young whippersnappers want to admit it or not.

Today, one out of every 10 dollars spent in the advertising industry is spent on Facebook advertising. Since 2014, advertisers are spending more per ad on Facebook than they did in the year prior. This goes to show that, while competitors’ platforms have risen to prominence, Facebook is still the top dog in the game.

Using Facebook Advertising Properly

When advertisers complain that they aren’t reaching their target audience through their Facebook-hosted pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns, it’s more than likely due to a fault of their own. Since Facebook is such a massive social platform, it can feel natural to simply create an ad and release it into the enormous sea of users on Facebook and hope some of them bite.

This, however, spells disaster. The key to success when using the Facebook Advertising platform is to utilize Facebook’s targeting algorithms to your maximum advantage. This way, you can create ad campaigns with confidence knowing that the right audience will be viewing, and clicking on, your content.

What to Know Before You Start Your Facebook Campaign

There are three main pre-launch phases to every successful Facebook advertising effort. These phases compose the various levels of your marketing funnel that your ad viewers will be led through, which consist of the following:

  • Awareness: Where early attention is drawn through eye-catching content.
  • Consideration: Where the “hook” is provided through an enticing offer.
  • Conversions: Where the deal is closed through the provision of payment info.

Beginning with the Awareness Phase, you need to grab the audience’s attention, and fast! In today’s attention economy, you only have a couple of seconds before your ad is scrolled past and left in the dustbin of social media history.

In this phase, you need to create content that provides real value for your audience by helping them solve a problem they’re interested in. This is why targeting your audience using specific demographic data points is crucial for reigning in those most likely to be inclined to proceed through your funnel.

From there, the Consideration Phase will continue to build awareness by sending your audience additional product or service information at little cost to them. Consider using a “lead magnet” such as a free webinar, product giveaway, or a newsletter subscription. From there, you can provide a call to action (CTA) to full payment in the Conversion Phase.

Getting Started with Facebook Advertising

Before you can start designing your first Facebook advertising campaign, you need a Facebook Business Manager account. The Facebook Business Manager platform is the main tool that business owners on Facebook use to manage their company’s page and run ads.

You should never manage your business’s affairs on Facebook using your personal account. Instead, business-related posts, updates, ads, and content should be centralized within the Business Manager interface. To do this, you first need to have a personal Facebook account to confirm your identity.

To get started creating your Business Manager account, follow these quick steps:

  • Go to the Facebook Business Manager homepage
  • Select “Create Account”
  • Enter your company’s name and work-related email address
  • Create a simple Facebook Page for your business
  • Enter your company’s information in the rest of the available fields

Once your Business Manager account is created, you will automatically be appointed the primary administrator of your business’s account. With full admin powers, you can add and remove employees and partners from the page, view and edit settings, add additional Pages and content assets, and manage ad accounts.

Get to Know the Ads Manager

The Ads Manager interface is your go-to resource for handling all aspects of your company’s PPC campaigns run through Facebook. Your first step when it comes to getting your ad campaign off the ground is to verify your business using the “Start Verification” function in the Business Manager dashboard.

Facebook uses third-party data sources to auto-authenticate whether your business’s legal name, location, address, email address, and more are all legitimately associated with your account. If Facebook cannot successfully do this on its own, it will request supporting documents from you to confirm your identity, including:

  • Business license
  • Business Tax or VAT registration certificate
  • Certificate of formation or incorporation
  • Bank statement
  • Utility bills like an electricity or phone bill

With a confirmed account under your belt, you can freely navigate the Ads Manager dashboard (pictured below) and initiate the setup process of a new ad account. You can proceed to this step by clicking on the “Ad Accounts” tab located under “Accounts” on the left drop-down menu.

The Ad Accounts dashboard, above, is where all Facebook ad campaigns are managed.

Decide on a Marketing Objective

Before you throw your hat in the ring, you need to narrow your focus on a specific marketing objective that will serve as the cornerstone of your PPC campaign strategy. Without a clear-cut objective, it’s going to be very difficult to evade distraction and not get lost by the multitude of options available to you.

If you launch a PPC campaign on Facebook without a narrow and well-defined purpose (e.g., appealing to 18-34-year-old males in the Pacific Northwest on mobile devices), you might end up casting your advertisement out to the masses without attracting any one group in particular. In other words, you need a concrete game plan before you move forward.

However, there’s more to it than deciding on who you want to attract. You also need to decide on three other important factors:

  • Awareness Type: Brand Awareness, Reach
  • Consideration Type: Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Generation, Messages
  • Conversion Type: Conversions, Catalog Sales, Store Traffic

From these three options you can inform Facebook as to who you have to reach out to via their platform, and, ultimately, what you want your audience to do. By selecting the optimal choices for your campaign, you can squeeze more value out of your ad purchase and can achieve a lower cost-per-click CPC overall.

The “Marketing Objectives” screen helps users determine how they want their ads to function.

Also, it’s never a bad idea to invest in an A/B testing strategy to see which marketing objective suits your PPC campaign the best. This way, you can see for yourself which campaign funnels hit with your target audience and which ones come up short.

For instance, you might want to compare the performance of a video ad run versus a regular engagement campaign and compare the overall CPC metrics of each. To give this a shot, toggle the “Create Split Test” option at the bottom of the screen before clicking the Continue button.

Where Is Your Ad Going to Go?

Depending on how much you decide to spend, your ad might end up on the phone, tablet, or desktop of many people. To get the most bang for your buck, it’s in your best interest to choose the platform, operating systems, and mobile device types that you want your ad to display on.

If you’re uncertain about which devices to choose, you can select “All Devices (Recommended)” or “All Mobile Devices” so you can cover as wide of an audience base as possible. Broadly, however, you have four main options when it comes to where you want to drive traffic that are exposed to your ads:

  • Website
  • App
  • Messenger chat
  • WhatsApp chat

Ultimately, all Facebook ads can be thought of as funnels that lead to one of the four endpoints listed above. As such, Facebook will not allow you to proceed without choosing one of the above—in most cases, this will either be an app or a URL where the customer can learn more.

Know Your Audience

There’s no step more important than the one where you determine who’s going to be viewing your ad. At this point, you can choose to create a new target demographic or use a saved audience from an existing campaign.

For the sake of this guide, we’re going to start from scratch and configure a new audience batch, which can be created using any of the following options:

  • Demographic selection
  • Location selection
  • Behavior selection (i.e., Likes, Shares)
  • Connection targeting
  • Custom audience (i.e., imported from list)

The Audience panel helps users choose who will view the ad and who won’t.

At the most basic level, you can use Facebook’s vast data resources to ensure that only select demographic traits and location status will “unlock” your ad. For instance, only males aged 18-34 in Pennsylvania will view your ad if you input these specifications under the “Create New” panel tab.

The “Detailed Targeting” field, highlighted in red, provides users with an opportunity to take their targeting to the next level. In this field, you can include more granulated audience characteristics such as “‘Likes’ The Today Show With Trevor Noah” or “Ice Hockey” to find audience members whose interests include those shows or activities.

The Magic of Micro-Targeting

To run a successful Facebook PPC ad campaign, you need to take advantage of Facebook’s incredibly powerful micro-targeting features. Given that Facebook has an enormous amount of user data at its disposal, they can home in on their users minute interests and sociodemographic characteristics to provide advertisers with direct access to their ideal candidate.

Therefore, it’s in your interest to use the “Suggestions” tool next to the entry field to see which auto-generated characteristics the Facebook platform thinks your ideal viewer should have. This way, you can harness the powers of artificial intelligence to micro-target those viewers most likely to proceed through your funnel.

Finalizing Your Budget & Schedule

The final and arguably most important stage of the Facebook ad creation process is setting a budget and schedule that satisfies your goals. You can choose to set a Daily Budget amount, or a Lifetime Budget that will be spent incrementally over the duration of the ad campaign.

The budget figures that you set will determine your estimated daily reach in the bottom right-hand panel. Under the “Audience Size” graph on the right-hand side, it’s a good idea to keep your potential reach in the green zone so you don’t overextend your potential audience so it’s too broad or allow it to fall into the red and exclude too many potential audience members.

The Budget tool helps you determine your daily spend limits and campaign duration.

One of the more intricate features of Facebook Advertising is that you can daypart. Under this method, you can pre-determine which parts of the day you would like your ads to appear in your audience’s timeline. This is useful if you’re selling a time-specific product or service (e.g., coffee in the morning, or wine in the evening).

Facebook Ads vs. Google AdWords

There are two ad giants in the digital space: Facebook and Google. Far too often, we find that these platforms are pitted against each other, as if using them were mutually exclusive. The truth is that the savvy marketer should utilize both PPC platforms to ensure their campaigns get the most reach possible.

However, if you’re stuck having to choose between them due to budget constraints, we’ve broken down their main differentiating factors below to help you make an informed decision.

Different Display Networks

Google AdWords display ads on websites and apps that feature keywords related to your product or service’s content, either in the form of videos or images. By contrast, Facebook ads appear in the Facebook or Instagram timeline of your audience members, with a call to action (CTA) button built-in.

Google Shopping Perks

Unlike Facebook, Google Ads offer premium eCommerce advertising space at the top of Google search engine results pages (SERPs) with thumbnail photos, links, and prices to advertised products. This embedded search functionality is one distinct advantage that Google Ads holds over Facebook Ads.

Facebook Offers Diversity

Perhaps the greatest selling point for Facebook Ads is that you can customize your funnel to appeal to your particular ad objective. For instance, if your goal is to spark a conversation with interested parties, you can provide a CTA on your ad that initiates a Messenger chat dialogue with the potential buyer—from there, the ball’s in your court!

Are Facebook Ads Worth It?

It’s a stubborn myth that Facebook is over the hill, and that running a PPC campaign on its platform isn’t worth the investment given the variety of popular alternatives now on the market. Ultimately, however, Facebook remains the most popular social network in the world and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

As the world’s leading social network, countless millions log in every day to engage with their friends, colleagues, and peers within niche social circles. For this reason, leveraging Facebook Ads allow you to make your presence known within hard-to-reach micro-targeted segments of the population.

For this reason, Facebook is an excellent choice for marketers or business owners that want to get their message across to the right audience. The best results, however, come when Facebook Ads are run in conjunction with other leading PPC ad platforms like Google AdWords.

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