When I first started using Facebook for marketing, there was no paid advertising widely available. It was all about creating the right content that got shown to your audience for free.
The days of 20% organic reach were good times 🙂
But as the number of Facebook users grew, so did competition for space in the newsfeed, and businesses found it increasingly difficult to get their content seen by people who had ‘liked’ their page.
Suddenly Facebook advertising became far more mainstream.
It’s not just newspapers, radio and television that show paid for ads anymore.
It’s also on social media – where there are is an audience, there’s an opportunity to make money.
But still, when Facebook advertising was first introduced I turned my nose up at it.
I figured that if I kept creating content that people found entertaining, interesting, educational and informative, I wouldn’t need to pay to get it seen, right?
Wrong. Facebook had other ideas.
The average organic reach is now just 1-2% for business pages, so when you publish a post to your page, only around 1-2% of those likes you’ve worked so hard to grow will see it.
I finally caved a couple of years ago, accepted that Facebook advertising is an inevitable part of social media marketing, and started experimenting with ads.
Facebook knows a lot about its 1.6 billion users – it knows what we like, how old we are, where we live, even what we’re interested in – and all this information means when running an ad you can target exactly the right type of person who’s most likely to respond well to your message.
I’ve learned a lot about what works over the past couple of years so here are the three most common types of Facebook ads and what you need to know about them.
3 types of Facebook ad – what you need to know
1. Boosted post
This is the easiest type of paid content to create on Facebook – as soon as you publish a post, you will see a big lue button button, encouraging you to spend just a few pounds a day to reach more people.
“Please do not use that button!” – Jon Loomer, Facebook advertising expert
Boosted posts may be the easiest to set-up but they’re also the least focused.
Other advertising options give you the opportunity to be far more targeted on who sees your ad.
Another reason boosted posts might not be the best way to spend your budget is because their goal is to reach more people within Facebook – if your post is trying to drive people to your website, boosting it isn’t the best choice as it will be shown to people who are more likely to click like, comment or share within Facebook, not the people who are most likely to visit your website.
When is it good to boost a post?
Boosted posts can work well for local businesses – if you’re introducing a new product or service, or if you’re looking to raise awareness of an event you’ve got coming up in the near future, a boosted post can expose your message to more people.
2. A like campaign
When you set-up an ad within Facebook’s advert manager, the first decision you need to make is the objective of your ad:
It doesn’t cost much to significantly grow the number of people who like your page if you run a ‘Promote your page’ campaign (in the left column above).
But this is one of the least effective long-term strategies for marketing your business through Facebook.
I don’t ever run ‘like’ campaigns because all I’m doing is paying to grow my audience on a platform that rarely shows my content to those people.
It would be much smarter to spend the money on growing my email list, generating leads or driving people to my website. Facebook has so much data and so many users that it’s too good an opportunity to miss, but only if used wisely.
Consider this ad by Google which appeared in my Facebook newsfeed this morning:
Or this one by Wordstream:
Both have a clear goal: get people to sign-up for something.
Compare this to a ‘like’ campaign.
Success is measured by the number of people who take the free training or download the guide, both of which involve interested readers subscribing by email.
What would Google and Wordstream have achieved if the goal was purely to get a ‘like’? Their likes increase, but only 1-2% of those people ever see their content.
*Climbs onto soapbox*
Building likes on Facebook is like building your house on rented land – the landlord could step in at any moment and demolish the beautiful property you’ve taken months to build.
Facebook is the gatekeeper – the one who chooses whether those people see your posts.
Yes, Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses, but it’s most effective when used as part of a bigger plan, to move people onto your email list – something you have control over.
Use Facebook advertising to find your audience, offer them something you know they want, encourage them to subscribe by email to get it, then deliver consistent value by email, offering them any products or services that can help them further.
A simple but hugely powerful tactic.
*Climbs back down*
Don’t waste your money on a likes campaign – instead use it to get people on your email list so they can get to know you and where you can nurture the relationship.
3. Clicks to website
Facebook drives more traffic to websites on average than any other type of social network, including Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat, but most of us are still disappointed with the number of people clicking through from Facebook to read more on our websites.
Enter the ‘Send people to your website’ ad – finally we’re getting to a type of ad that can drive sales! Hurrah!
We already know Facebook holds an unnerving amount of data on its users, but did you know it also tracks who clicks adverts to visit a website?
A ‘clicks to website’ ad is most likely to be shown to these people, because Facebook knows they are most likely to respond positively to the ad – so make sure the page you’re sending them to delivers value.
Things to consider when creating your ‘Send people to your website’ ad:
- Write a great headline – your headline needs to communicate the benefit of what you’re offering, but it also needs to be very specific
- Choose a strong image – images with little or no text have been shown to have the highest click-through rate so choose an image that your audience will relate to and that gives them an idea of what you’re offering
- Craft a compelling description that further highlights how your website is going to provide a solution for you reader’s problem
Things to consider when creating the landing page:
- This is the page people will land on after clicking through from your Facebook, ad so it needs to immediately be clear that it relates to the ad they’ve just clicked. Here’s the landing page from the Google Digital Training ad:
- It needs to have a clear call to action – above, the ‘Start learning’ button is very prominent and instantly invites a user to create an account and login
- It needs to be distraction-free – if a landing page is full of menus and links, a visitor can feel overwhelmed. Too much choice can lead to indecision and ultimately hitting the ‘close’ button so keep your landing page clear of too many options so it’s obvious what you’re asking your visitor to do
Facebook advertising presents amazing opportunities for businesses, large and small – do it right and you can tap into what is perhaps the biggest database in the world that holds information about who we are, what we do, and how we behave – but like any advertising, the costs can easily mount up.
Take the time to get to know your audience, get the targeting right, then create an ad that drives people to your website where they can find out more about you, join your mailing list and ultimately become a lifetime customer.
What types of Facebook ad do you run? What’s worked for you? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear.