Facebook Advertising 101
Q: How Does It Work?
A: Even though this may seem like an unlikely starting point for savvy business people, you’d be surprised how often we’re asked this exact question – usually in hushed tones. It’s okay. The first step in understanding any system is asking the very basic question, “How does it work?” So, don’t worry about being totally new to the ballgame. With the relative newness of social media – at least from a brand standpoint – most small to mid-sized businesses are just as new to it as you are. But, we still haven’t answered the question, so let’s take a closer look at how it all works.
Q: What’s It Going to Cost?
A: While this may seem like an important question upfront, it really should take a backseat to your overall goals for advertising in the first place. What do you want to achieve with your Facebook efforts? Are you interested in lead generation? Increasing sales? Growing your community? Getting more people to your website? These are the real questions. The answers you come up with will determine everything we do from here forward. Don’t worry, we’ll explain why in the next section. The important thing here is to identify – really define – exactly what you want to get out of what you put in. Once you have that firmly in mind, we can move on to the next step – how the game is played.
Q: How Does An Ad Work On Facebook?
A: First, let’s dismiss the notion that Facebook ads and AdWords work in the same way – they don’t. The only similarity is that ad copy is used to deliver a message. Aside from that, the auction is much, much different and your control over ad service is limited in comparison. You can set a great deal of targeting before your ads ever go live, but your ability to truly decide when and where an ad is served – and if you want the cost at that time – is limited in comparison. Your ads will compete in the space for views and audience, but with one distinct advantage over AdWords – cost. It’s the real difference between the two platforms with Facebook being significantly less on average. It’s important to note that AdWords is expressly used for delivering leads to a business and users expect as much. Facebook is a social media platform at heart and users, no matter what anyone says, still see it as that first and foremost.
Q: How Are Facebook Ads Charged?
A: Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, such as why you want to advertise and how your ads will be served when you begin, we can look at the ways Facebook charges for your advertising. Unlike AdWords, where everything is based on a click, Facebook allows another way to finance your efforts – views. Whether one way is better than another is a matter of much debate, but one thing is abundantly clear – having options is beneficial. Let’s look at the choices:
Cost-Per-Click: This is exactly like AdWords. Your keyword is given a value and all advertisers bid on that keyword. Depending on the amount of bids, the keyword can either go for a reasonable price or become too expensive for your tastes. This means you’ll be competing directly with others for that specific keyword action. This is a quality way of doing business if you have the time, the experience, or the professional marketing partner. Again, it’s a great system where you can exert a reasonable amount of control over when and where the ad is displayed. Facebook, and this is super important to remember, is a social media platform, so treating a “like” as a lead can be tricky. You’ll end up paying for actions that don’t convert at times, and you need to be prepared for that kind of return.
Cost-Per-Impression: This is the option that truly separates Facebook from AdWords or Bing. You can pay for a batch of views – Facebook uses 1,000 – instead of clicks. This is excellent for getting your brand in front of as many people as possible, but it doesn’t guarantee any actions after viewing. While this is a legitimate system for specific purposes, it’s probably not as effective as AdWords in drumming up new paying customers. However, it is a fantastic way to grow your brand’s awareness among the consumers you target via website and other avenues of traditional and nontraditional marketing.
Q: Where Will My Ad Be Served?
A: Facebook uses their Business Manager platform to give you control over the targeting of your ads. You can choose an audience based on age, gender, location, and other relevant demographics. You’re also given options for where your ad will appear. Facebook will try to get you to plaster your ad everywhere they hold sway, but we encourage our clients to use a bit more self-control than that. Your options include Facebook’s Newsfeed (both web-based and mobile), Facebook’s Right Column (web-based only), Instagram Newsfeed (Facebook owns them), Audience Network (basically, all Facebook’s reach), and Messenger (our least favorite option). As we said, you’re given some control to do things yourself, but, and we mean this, it’s almost as easy to waste your money as it is to get results. You really need to decide if you have the time to DIY, or if calling Lift Conversions will be a more effective solution in the long run.
Q: What Are the Driving Factors Behind Costs?
A: This is a great question. Just as with any advertising system, there will be a variety of factors that decide final costs for using the platform. Facebook identifies three factors – Audience, Relevance, Estimation Action Rate – that determine your ad cost. But, like any complex system using algorithms, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Seasonality, location, placement selection, and even target audience can play a role in spend, so there can be quite a bit to stay on top of for even a seasoned professional. The keys, as we see them, to a successful Facebook campaign all center on understanding trends, dedicated A/B testing, and a willingness to test the water – from both a budgetary and a creative standpoint. Those are the best routes to lowering costs and increasing ROI.
Q: What Does It Take To Get Started?
A: Ah, the easiest question of all has been saved for last. All it takes to get started with Facebook advertising is a willingness to try new things, a commitment to doing what’s best for your business – even if you don’t understand it, and the marketing team at Lift Conversions. We’re a Google Partner founded by one of only a handful of AdWords TCs in the world. We have the expertise to win in the Big Leagues – AdWords – and that same savvy is brought to every Facebook campaign we manage as well. So, call (773) 419-3636 today and schedule a consultation with one of our social media marketing experts.