7 Tips to Mastering Facebook Advertising

social media toolsAdvertising on Facebook can be a cost-effective means of bringing new people to your fan page. To truly harness the value of Facebook advertising, you’ll need to dedicate time and resources to test, analyze, monitor and tweak your ads.

Do this and you may just find a sea of opportunity waiting for your brand, company or event.

The biggest challenge with Facebook advertising is maximizing the efficiency of your ads. In short, this means getting as many Likes for as little money as possible. To help you win this challenge sooner rather than later, here are seven important facts you should know about Facebook advertising that will help you get moving in the right direction.

#1: There are two primary destinations that can be advertised through Facebook

A destination within Facebook is a page, group, event or application. A destination outside of Facebook is a URL such as http://socialmediaexaminer.com.

When creating a new ad campaign from scratch, the Facebook Design Your Ad screen defaults to advertising a destination outside of Facebook. To change this setting, just click the option, “I want to advertise something I have on Facebook.”

A primary distinction between these two types of ads is that with an outside URL, users are only able to Like the ad. For destinations on Facebook, users have the opportunity to Like the page (or RSVP to the event) from within the ad.

The two major benefits of the latter are that (1) users can become connected to your page (or event) without ever clicking on the ad itself (which is a huge benefit for CPC advertisers) and (2) you’re keeping people on Facebook.

Select the “I want to advertise something I have on Facebook” option if your goal is to drive fan page Likes.

As a final thought on this subject, one of the inherent benefits of Facebook is that you can bring individuals into your network and engage with them on an ongoing basis. By driving people away from Facebook, you’re missing out on this opportunity, and consequently defeating one of the primary purposes of advertising on Facebook in the first place.

On the surface, there is only a subtle difference between advertising something on Facebook and advertising an outside URL. But there are actually major differences between the two. Make sure you’re selecting the right type of ad for your goal.

#2: Ad costs and impressions are heavily influenced by click-through rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is an incredibly important measurement for Facebook advertising. Even if your singular goal is to grow fans, regardless of how many people click through, you’ll still need to keep a close eye on CTR. Essentially, Facebook judges the success of your ad on the ad’s ability to get a relatively high percentage of people to click. Facebook rewards successful ads with a lower cost per click or cost per impression and more visibility.

Unfortunately, if your ad drops below a certain CTR threshold it will be nearly impossible to bring it back up. In that case, it’s better to start a new ad than to tweak the one you have. From my experience, having below a 0.1 CTR will almost always result in an underperforming ad. But the criteria for establishing a threshold will depend on the goals you establish.

#3: Targeting friends of connections increases the relevance of your ad

Have you ever seen an ad pop up on Facebook that shows that one of your friends is already connected to that page? Did you feel more drawn to the ad than you would have been if no connections were shown? Fact is, Facebook is really great at peer pressure, and when users see that one of their friends is connected to a page, it increases the chance that they too might want to check it out.

Targeting users whose friends are already connected to your fan page can be a powerful tool for increasing the relevance of an ad.

The downside of the Friends of Connections targeting selection is that it narrows the field of potential ad impressions down by a significant percentage. But, because the cost of the ad is a result of the CTR, having a narrow field of relevant individuals may in fact be more important than having a large field of irrelevant individuals.

Try testing ads with and without the Friends of Connections option selected. You may find that some ads work so well that having that narrowed field may actually hurt the full potential of a given ad.

#4: Facebook advertising takes time

If you intend to get great results from your Facebook advertising, be prepared to dedicate the right resources to supporting the effort.

Facebook advertising requires a lot of trial and error. Every brand, product and company will have a different message and a different audience, and knowing how a given audience will respond is impossible before getting in there and actually trying it.

Create ads, create lots of ads and create new ads every day. Even when you find an ad that works, it will have a limited run. I’ve seen ads that perform well for a few days and some that perform well for a few months. The smaller your potential audience, the quicker your ad will fizzle out.

There are a lot of different variables that can be tested. Test them all – copy, image, demographics, friend connections, interest groups. They’re all important variables that can dramatically change the results of a given ad.

Finally, look at daily analytics. CTRs and CPCs/CPMs change from day to day. An ad can start out with a great CTR, but gradually decrease over time. This means that what was once a $0.05 CPC ad may eventually be $0.50.

#5: An “Action” is an in-ad Like

If you’re advertising a fan page, “Actions” refer to in-ad Likes. In other words, an Action is when someone clicks Like on your ad, but doesn’t click through to your page.

Facebook doesn’t show Actions from the Campaign Overview screen, so you’ll have to click into an ad to see Actions. This may be an extra step, but if at the end of the day your goal is more fans, you need to be keeping track of Actions.

Clicking on a specific ad will give you a more in-depth look into the performance of your ad over time, including number of Actions.

Unfortunately, measuring the actual cost per fan (CPF) of a given ad is not as easy as it should be. And, perhaps at some point in the near future, Facebook will make this a standard measurement tool. But until that point comes, you’ll either need a custom software tool or you can use Actions as a base level estimate for fan acquisition. Just keep in mind that Actions only tell half of the story. The other half is the percentage of people who did click through to your page and Liked your page at that point.

“Facebook does provide a few additional reports that can help you gain a better understanding of the costs and conversion analytics related to acquiring fans. These reports, including the “Advertising Performance” report, can be found in the reports section of the Facebook Ad Manager.”

#6: Daily budget and daily spend limit are not the same

Daily budget is the maximum you would spend in a given day for a single campaign. Daily spend limit is the cap set on your account by Facebook. Your daily ad spend limit is automatically set to $50 per day. So, if you have a daily budget of $500 for campaign ‘A,’ and you continuously max out your spend at $50, this is the reason. To change your daily spend limit, you must contact Facebook directly.

#7: You’re not the only person who can access and edit your Facebook ad dashboard

As discussed, Facebook advertising takes a lot of time and resources. Depending on your organizational structure, it may be beneficial to have multiple people working on Facebook advertising. Under Settings, there is a Permissions section that will let you add other users to your ad account. If multiple people are working on ads at your company, it’s beneficial to have them all tied to one account for a number of reasons.

First, it helps overall measurement and analysis because data between accounts cannot be automatically combined. Second, the more money you spend on Facebook ads, the better access you will have to Facebook Ad staff, which comes in rather handy when you’re looking to get answers and run official promotions on your page.

Allowing multiple people to use and access the same Facebook ads account can help organize resources and data.

Once you’ve passed the beginning stages of Facebook advertising, you may find these other articles helpful. Both dig deeper into specific tactics around creating successful ads, including landing pages, maximizing for CPM and creating a call to action with your copy.

There’s a reason why Facebook ad revenue is projected to be over $1.2 billion in 2010. It’s because when businesses manage them correctly, Facebook ads can be an incredibly successful and cost-effective means of tapping into Facebook’s 500 million users. Out of all the reasons why you may consider advertising on Facebook, driving fan page Likes should be at the top of your list. Just make sure that when you do decide to start the process, you understand the factors and resources involved.

If you’re ready to start digging deeper into your overall Facebook marketing strategy, then check out these Facebook marketing tips from the world’s top pros.

Have you found other tricks and tips for helping beginners maximize their spend with Facebook ads? Tell us about them in the comments box below.

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About the Author, Terry Lozoff

Terry Lozoff is the president and CEO of Antler, an experiential and digital marketing agency based in Boston, MA. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.extremejohn.com/ Extreme John

    This is a great post it actually made me realize something I hadn’t realized before reading this. Sometime way back in June I stopped advertising to outside links that went to my tanning salon chains blog and switched it to advertising the fan page itself or an event on the fan page itself.

    Not until I read this did I realize that right around that time in June is when our “likes” increased from something like 10 new ones a week to 10+ per day, where it’s stayed since that change.

    That tip in itself is awesome, great post.

  • http://www.webtechuniverse.com Steve Austin

    Hi Terry,
    This are really great tips that you have mentioned here. I think, i have been using facebook for 4+ years now but never heard about the things that you have mentioned above. thanks for sharing such a wonderful content.

  • Allie

    As a person who is thinking of jumping in with Facebook advertising – I feel that I have a MUCH better idea of what is involved. Thank you for a great post

  • http://darraghkelly.me Darragh Kelly

    Some timely advice as I am only starting to look at leveraging FB. Dedicating time and trail and error would seem par for any marketing course but this can difficult to manage with demanding objectives but it’s still totally valid

  • La Petite Coquette

    This is a very informative post. Just in time for an ad I will be running which will give La Petite Coquette (luxury lingerie store based in NY) fans a chance to win $150 gift certificate to http://www.thelittleflirt.com/ if they “like” us and tell us what they would buy. We are using the “Target friends of connections” option which will hopefully help us attract new fans who already have friends liking our page.

    Take a peek and like us if you want in on the giveaway. http://www.facebook.com/LaPetiteCoquette

  • http://www.GrandmaMaryShow.com Grandma Mary

    Great post Terry! Fantastic tips. One point in your first tip, even though someone may Like your Fan Page or RSVP to a Facebook Event directly from your ad, you are still charged for a click. Although the easier you make it for someone to Like you the better!

  • http://www.brosix.com/ Brosix

    great article. Thank you so much.

  • http://mazakaro.com Rahul @ MazaKaro

    Real timely advice…I was just thinking of leveraging Facebook….

  • http://twitter.com/terjegranum Terje Granum ⎝⏠⏝⏠

    Thank you. A good and Informative article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrylozoff Terry Lozoff

    good point, mary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrylozoff Terry Lozoff

    Glad to hear Allie. Hopefully, these tips will help you save some money and time in your early trials…

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrylozoff Terry Lozoff

    Glad you found the tips helpful, steve. Facebook is a constant learning process… including FB ads. Happy to share the insights that I have taken away with the community here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=820719921 Joshua Nathan

    I recently, used Facebook for a campaign, bought LinkedIn and Facebook ads to drive traffic into my fanpage on Facebook. I felt that by increasing the number or target audience(keywords) gives you a better number of fans, because the ad appears on more profiles, but you will be faced with somewhat of a non relavent audience.

    Wished this article came out earlier, I woud have known on how to better manage the media buy.

    Good read, Thanks Terry.

  • http://socialmediarevolver.com/ KrisOlin

    Thanks for a great article, Terry! One useful trick is to run your campaign on CPC mode for the first three days and then on CPM for next three days. Then compare the results and continue with the setting that gave you the a better CTR and/or cost structure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Seiji-Kato/631878571 Seiji Kato

    Very nice article! It’s true, there is a huge potential collection of individuals all ready to be drawn to ones company if you are good with your advertising on facebook.
    However, you should also be careful of the adverts themselves. Some people see facebook advertisements as equivalent to spam mail, so they just delete or ignore them. If you can grab their attention, then you have a chance to get past their spam hatred.

  • Grant Perry

    Excellent article. I’ve noticed a big improvement in the FB advertising interface and reporting options over the last year or two.

    And my ads that target friends of fans have been significantly better performing than other ads to get likes to our fan page. Like you mentioned, a smaller segment but much more responsive.

  • Grant Perry

    I have found having copy saying “click like below” seems to increase the ad effectiveness. However, I guess the downside to having people like your page via the ad directly (rather than visiting the page itself) is that they won’t see your welcome tab (if you have one). When they do eventually visit your page, because they are a fan, they will not go directly to that welcome page either.

  • Dee

    But isn’t that welcome page, and all tabs, etc. going away?

  • http://twitter.com/kamranmian Mian Kamran Aziz

    nice thanks for this post..!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hope-VanDross/100001450470094 Hope VanDross

    This is a great article. One of the reasons I like utilizing FB ads for my clients is because I can tailor the audience’s behavior (with likes) and geography to what is most relevant. Thanks.

  • http://www.wickedinnovations.com/ Jeorge Peter

    Great tips, knowing that facebook has been one of the leading “social” grounds for businesses.

  • http://thecitizenherald.com Michael McGimpsey

    Thanks for providing useful information and tips on Facebook advertising.

  • Benjamin Snyers

    It’s a brilliant article. Thanks to Terry Lozoff for sharing theses inspiring tips.

    Although the article is really obvious, I still have a question regarding the part #5 of the article: An “Action” is an in-ad Like

    If I understand well, when a user click on the image, then arrive on the Fan Page and become fan by clicking “Like”, he is not reported by Facebook as an action?
    That would mean that we have probably more fans than the reports shows under the title Actions ?

    Thanks for the great work!

    Regards,

    Benjamin Snyers.

  • Maggie

    Great article- some good basic things that are often overlooked. Thank you for writing it!

  • Mbarnet5

    Great article. I found tip three interesting. I’m glad you pointed out the potential of targeting the friends of fans.

  • http://ifyoucanstomachit.com/ Patrick

    Would you say when promoting B pages, that CPM is better than CPC?

  • http://twitter.com/bcotier Bonnie Cotier

    Curious how many of those “likes” transfered into increased sales in your salons?

  • http://www.extremejohn.com/ Extreme John

    A tremendous amount. Between the coupons tab and the specials/giveaways we do the redemption return has been excellent. Of course I’ll always take more :) Another 50,000 fans would be great!

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  • http://www.openxcell.com/internet-marketing-india.html Affordable seo services

    This is nice write up and very helpful to me. I am glad to see this article. Good job. Thanks.

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  • http://impresswebdesign.com/ Marylou Rickles

    Gee, thanks! I guess I’ll be trying this one out. Knowing that a lot of my friends already have a Facebook account, this is gonna pay off for sure. About this type of advertisement taking up a lot of time, I think it’s safe to say that not all things are instant.

  • Sarah C.

    thanks for this info. I have 20 years in traditional advertising so I get a lot of this already. One thing I can’t seem to find help with is this….If I create one campaign with one budget can I run multiple ads with different creative (same message) just positioned a different way and have these multiple ads come out of the same budget? i.e. traditional TV advertisers purchase commercials M-F 7-8p and can run a different spot each day under the same budget. The creative is different each day. Will FB circulate different ads for the same advertiser with one budget? OR does each ad have to have it’s own budget even if it’s advertising the same thing just in a different way with different creative?

    whew!
    thanks.

    Sarah C.

  • Avenir

    Use Quantcast and Google AdPlanner to get demographic data for targeting. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips..

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  • http://dammay.org/ Điện toán đám

    Thanks. What happen with my ads if sometimes i can load the Facebook apps/ pictures due to the restriction of ISPs in Vietnam ?

  • http://www.oialuxuryvillas.com/ Ppcapital

    Dear Terrry. Very nice article. I have recently started an facebook campaign but i have noticed the following :
    Although a have  a lot of impressions the clicks i get are mostly from one country. | have included almost 26 countries in my campaign and i don;t think that this is normal. I suspect that my impressions are directed only in this specific country.

    Can anybody help me with this ?

  • http://twitter.com/EmailCreatives Maarit Durity

    Great information, thanks for sharing. I’ve never done FB ads until today and your article covered everything I needed to know.

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