It's virtually impossible to scroll through your Facebook feed without seeing a single advert. And I'm betting you're often tempted to click through and learn more.
This in itself should illustrate the reach and the power of Facebook ads. They are the ultimate tool for reaching a wide, but more targeted, audience on a budget because they can be done so cost-effectively.
The first step is to understand the different types of Facebook ads you have to play with:
Domain ad: A simple promotion of your website that can only be displayed in the right column. It's a cheap option, and allows you to include a title, a link, and a short description.
Page post link: These ads pop up in our newsfeeds all the time and are a great way to drive traffic to your website and encourage more likes for your Facebook page.
Page post text/photo/video and Like: These are all ways for you to promote your Facebook page, depending on the type of content you like to share. Note that images and video content tend to perform much better.
Opt-in ad: These lead-generating ads are fantastic, and they make life easier for your target audience too - no more filling in forms, they can sign up with the click of a button.
Carousel: These ads allow you to showcase up to five products (or images) with individual links and calls to action.
Offer: Once you have at least 50 likes on your page, you can create an offer ad, which allows users to click to redeem. They'll then receive all the details via email.
Event: Boost the event you're hosting, whether online or off, but I'd advise you to be really focused with who you target here, as these ads can get pricey.
Canvas: These ads are for mobile only, but they can have quite an impact. They're entirely interactive, so they provide an interesting way to raise brand awareness - just remember they keep users on Facebook, so they may not be ideal for you if your main goal is driving traffic back to your site.
Dynamic ad: These ads are like sneaky little ninjas that show up for people depending on their past behaviours with regards to your website. In other words, you can target your ads to those that have visited, but clicked away from, a particular page on your website.
Creating an audience for your Facebook ads
Follow these steps for an almost instantaneous custom audience for your Facebook ads:
- Make a list of 15-20 influencers in your niche - these could be people, organisations, publications, awarding bodies.
- One at a time, enter them into the Interests box. Some of your influencers will show up as indexed, others won't. Click on the ones that are.
- Once you've done that, click on Page Likes.
- Facebook will then give you a list of pages, alongside an affinity score (how likely your audience is to like that page); the goal here is to build an audience that wants what you're offering.
- Add and delete "interests" to increase the affinity of your audience.
- Happy with your audience? Hit the Create Ad button and get creating. Facebook will automatically transfer this new audience to your ad.
- Remember to save your audience if you think you might want to use it again.
Creating your Facebook ads
Facebook has two tools that you can use to create your ads - Ads Manager and Power Editor. Ads Manager will work for pretty much anyone, but Power Editor is the best choice for those who intend to run and manage lots of campaigns.
Now I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here. There are so many brilliant articles out there on how to design and run your Facebook ads. I recommend this step-by-step guide to creating ads using the Ads Manager and this step-by-step guide to creating ads using the Power Editor.
I hope you can see that Facebook advertising isn't just for pro-marketers - it's a tool that levels the playing field for all business, large and small. Take some time to absorb all of these tips, then experiment and run a few low-cost ads - I promise you'll figure it out as you go.
Written by Gemma Went.
Gemma has more than 20 years' experience in the online world and worked for a variety of clients and agencies before setting up her own award-winning business.