Getting Started With Facebook Ads

You’ve been managing your Facebook business page for a while now, posting regularly (or trying your best to) and slowly growing your faithful following. You want to start expanding your audience reach and connect with new people - sounds like your ready for Facebook Ads! But, where do you start?

Should you boost a post? Do you need an ad account?

If you're getting started with Facebook Ads, which is probably why you're reading this, skip over boosting posts to get an intro into Facebook Ads and look to create your first campaign!

Time For Facebook Ad Campaign Basics. 

Navigating through all the “Do This”, “You Must” and “Top Ten” articles when trying to learn about a new subject can be challenging. Everyone has a different idea and all the experts are competing for your attention. Kind of like an advertisement competing for an audience. 

I’ll discuss some solid fundamentals and frequently asked questions to help prepare you for some of the decisions you’ll have to make for your successful Facebook Ad Campaign.

For your Facebook Ad to be effective, we need to start at the beginning. The first thing you need to figure out is - What’s your marketing objective?

What’s Your Marketing Objective?

Everything you do to create an effective ad campaign will revolve around how you answer this question. Facebook Business has narrowed the answer down to three critical areas for the first step in creating an ad, choosing an objective.

  1. Raise Awareness
  2. Grow Engagement
  3. Boost Conversions

When setting up your ad you will be asked your objective and Facebook is set up to easily guide you through the process. It’s important to remember that most people are on Facebook to be social so there is a level of subtlety required when trying to advertise. The subtlety comes from how you develop your relationship with your audience - how you write and frame your ads.

To be effective, when starting out, your growth must be strategic. The first step is raising awareness. You want these ads to build brand recognition, increase your views, and expand your reach. Your objective shouldn’t be so much to sell something, it should be to build relationships. This is what we do when sharing our articles via Facebook Ad.

Once people are used to seeing you and appreciate what you have to say, the next step is to grow engagement. These ads will be geared towards getting your audience to get a little more involved with you. Getting clicks to your website, comments, and messages from your post/ad, having your app downloaded, and generating leads will come from ads created for engagement. You will have more success with these types of ads if you’ve done the work ahead of time growing your awareness.

Your audience likes you, they are beginning to trust you - now is when you move to phase three of the ad campaigns. It’s time to boost your conversions. (Not the same as boosting a post, we’ll get to that shortly.) Ask for and get the sale. These ads will have very specific CTA’s whether direct sales or linking them to your well-crafted landing page.

Take the time to grow your Facebook presence correctly. It will pay dividends in the future if you follow the three-phase plan: awareness -> engagement -> conversions.

Finding the Right Audience (and do you need one first?)

The second step after choosing your objective is selecting your audience. The framework that Facebook walks you through makes this step super simple. You will be able to drill down to a very specific audience by following the prompts.

Source: Facebook

You’ll be asked about several categories to help home in on your target. When selecting your attributes you can keep an eye on the estimated audience reach. Obviously, the more specific you get the audience gets smaller but the likelihood of a conversion should go up.

  • Location: from country to state to city down to community
  • Demographics: age, gender, education, relationship status, job title and more. But nothing that would personally identify anyone.
  • Interests: hobbies, sports, clubs, etc
  • Behavior: not whether or not they’re goofy but rather their online behavior, spending, searches, etc.
  • Connections: choose whether or not you want to target people who have a connection to you or new people altogether

Whether or not you need an audience before you start depends on the goals you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re in the growing awareness stage then you’re also building your audience. If you want to be focusing on conversions then it’s good to have some preexisting relationships built.  

Where Do You Place Your Ad? 

You can choose which platform in the Facebook family to place your ad. Pick Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network, or all of the above. In the beginning, you should try several different ad mixes to see what works best for your niche. 

You also have two options for placement selection. There are automatic and edited placements. It’s recommended to use automatic. I agree, let all those fancy algorithms do the hard work for you.

What Should You Spend?

The quick answer is, never more than you're comfortable with. That’s the beauty of Facebook Ads. You set your budget and you will never spend more than you plan. You can set your budget to what you want to spend daily, or over the lifetime of your ads. I recommend starting small, around $5.00 to $10.00 a day. 

You can go as low or high as you want. You can select to start immediately or set a schedule with start and stop dates. It is suggested to start with daily because you’ll have the ability to pause and adjust whenever you want. The key is monitoring and learning from your results.

You also get to choose which type of result you are paying for. Do you want clicks, engagement, likes, or shares? It’s important to know that Facebook will show your ad several times a day to the best audience at the best time depending on a number of factors. Did you set your budget (bid) right? Is your content relevant? There are so many different factors, I couldn't cover it here, but there's a great article from AdEspresso by Hootsuite that does.

Facebook ad costs are based on bids which are based on what you set as your daily budget. Facebook creates the bid for you but I recommend learning how to investigate and tweak your bids a little. Remember, you’re not the only one selling!

Bottom line, start small and try different things. What works for one of you won’t work for someone else. You’re unique, just like everyone else.

How Long Should The Campaign Be? 

You’re not going to like the answer but it’s the ever annoying "it depends." A lot of what you do while you’re getting started is trial and error. Play around with different lengths of time. Try 3, 5, and 7 days or try a few weeks. The most important thing you can do is test, track, and optimize. You should be constantly reviewing the analytics. In Ads Manager, Facebook provides all kinds of great tools to scrutinize exactly what is and isn’t working. A great aspect of Facebook ads is that you can constantly update, edit, and revise your ads. 

Just be careful if you're sending traffic to a landing page or your website, you'll want to track the analytics on your site as much as your Facebook Ad analytics.

What Types of Ads Are There 
Creating your ad will come after you decide on your target audience and where to place your ad. It's a good idea to explore what different types of ads are available to you so you can be prepared. I won't go into super detail in this article but you can click here to get more in-depth info from Facebook.

  • Photo: easy and effective, great for boosting
  • Video: short videos create lots of engagement
  • Story: good for creating relationships, ongoing ads
  • Messenger: get personal, initiate conversations, can be interactive or automated
  • Carousel: up to ten images or videos, tell a story or showcase a variety of products each with their own link
  • Slideshow: video-esque ads, you can add text and audio, “lightweight” great for all devices and signal strength
  • Collections: catalog shopping, easy purchase, fast loading
  • Playables: instant interaction, try before you buy experience, great for apps

Should I Boost This Post? 

To boost or not to boost? That is the question. How about a strong maybe? Boosting a post is an ad. You’ll show up in the news feed of your targeted audience. Boosting a post is quick and easy, and it only takes a few steps. 

  1. Pick the target audience of who you want to reach.
  2. Tell Facebook how much you want to spend over the whole campaign.
  3. Select how long you want the post to be boosted for.

Boosting plays an important role in the awareness stage of your advertising. It’s great for getting in front of new people. The one thing I love using boosting for is when I have a post that is already performing well and getting organic engagement. It’s like the original post was a successful test run and you know it’ll be a hit.

Another important note is that you can create a post and go straight to boost instead of share.

Master Your New Marketing Mix 

Facebook ads can be a great addition to your marketing efforts. You have a large amount of control over all aspects of your ad. From pinpoint audience targeting to knowing exactly what you’ll spend, these ads are perfect for testing the waters to find what works.  

I can’t stress the importance of using the tools you’re given to continually improve your ads and every aspect about them. Keep learning and you’ll move past being a beginner in no time. 

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