How to Launch Your First Facebook Ads Campaign
Many entrepreneurs avoid using Facebook for business purposes, assuming that Facebook is a social network, not a business community. It’s like saying don’t use billboards because the streets are for moving between home and work, and are not for informing commuters about specific products and services. Indeed, people are not on Facebook to be assailed with advertising messages, but that doesn’t mean we can’t promote ourselves through this network.
Facebook Ads offer excellent opportunities to promote small and medium businesses. This platform enables running multiple types of campaigns by which companies can make their name in the market or generate qualified sales leads.
In this article I will focus on campaigns that aim to generate new leads, and the main mistakes to avoid for success. My aim is not to give step-by-step instructions for carrying out a campaign, but to offer some important pointers for a correct strategy.
Why Facebook Ads?
Facebook offers access to over 1.4 billion global users. As of the second quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.49 billion monthly active users. Moreover, on the 24th of August Mark Zuckerberg was proud to announce that his network reached the 1 billion users a day milestone. Just think about it! In a single day, 1 in 7 people on Planet Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family. This is a huge opportunity for any business that masters the art of creating interest for their product or service on social media.
The question is how to do it rather than should we do it?
Through the Facebook Platform, you can select a very specific audience using different targeting criteria: demographics, interests, behaviors. A well-thought-out Facebook Ad campaign can bring “good” clicks on the website when you create interest in your offer at very low prices, (cost for a click varies depending on your industry, and can be reached even under 10 cents).
3 Mistakes You Want to Avoid When You Start Your First Facebook Ad Campaign
1. Do not think of advertising as a direct sale
Your potential customers, no matter how generally they would be interested in your offer when they are on Facebook, they want movies with cats, pictures of friends vacations or to take a peek into the life of their favorite celebrities. Nobody goes to Facebook to find the best offer for certain products or services. Your ad shouldn’t be thought of in terms of a direct sale. Its purpose is to create interest for the offer you want to promote. The best approach is to start from the customer’s need and to “sell” through your advertising on Facebook i.e. an educational article about how your potential client can fulfill that need.
Example: a company that offers training in photography will attract potential participants with a blog article that describes “5 Ways to improve your street photography”. Facebook users will react positively to this educational content, because the information will be delivered only to those users who are interested in photography (targeting by interest). Instead, a direct invitation to a photography workshop is unlikely to succeed because people are not on Facebook to buy. Only after reading the article, will the potential participant be invited to the workshop.
Another possibility is that the invitation should be launched with a second advertisement which is served by a retargeting campaign to reach all potentials who arrived on the educational article page initially.
2. Don’t limit your audience by excessive targeting criteria
Facebook offers a lot of targeting criteria, but not all criteria are equally useful. Narrowing the audience too much can be as bad as not limiting the audience at all. In the first case, the ads will not have enough “reach” and will not be “served” (seen by the audience ). Secondly, the budget for Facebook Ad campaigns will be wasted on unqualified leads. A healthy audience strategy is to start by defining users’ interests and then gradually narrowing audience, using “behavior”. Thus, it is ideal to define with your team which behaviors are important, what is “desirable” and those that are contraindicated.
Another important point: avoid criteria that can mislead i.e. like professional status information. Often, Facebook users do not declare their real profession and employer. It is better to focus on “interest” and “behaviors” as they are objective criteria, whereas a criteria such as “profession” is not always completed or often completed in jest by users.
Example: The company which promotes a photography workshop may use criteria related to location (people of New York), age (19-65 years) interests (photography, photographers, Adobe Photoshop, DSLR, Canon, Nikon) and behaviors (photo uploaders). It makes no sense to add professional criteria (Occupation: Photographer) since interests and behaviors well define the audience well enough.
3. Do not waste your budget on a single all-in campaign
Many entrepreneurs give up on Facebook Ads after spending all their marketing budget in a campaign involving one or two commercials with poor results. The secret is not to invest all your budget on one campaign. In Facebook Ads you have to start with small steps and test various messages, targeting, images, titles, etc.
Your campaign will be designed in several subcampaigns (adsets) and each subcampaign will have several ads that will be tested. The ads are started on low budgets. Only after checking the results and costs for each creative should you increase the budgets for the best performing advertisements. A proper assessment means testing each time a single isolated variable is altered, and never testing more than one variable change at a time, in order to get an accurate result of that assessment.
Example: After testing several age categories for some advertising, photography workshop organizers noted that the applicant will have good results by age criteria i.e. 19-25 and 45-65.
If they invested all their budget from the beginning on the 19-65 age group, the results would be weak, with high costs per click, because it was shown that the 26-44 age category was not particularly responsive to the photography workshop campaign.
Experimenting in small steps, gathering enough information about groups that respond best to advertisements and increasing budget only for those adsets that have an optimum target, will get the maximum from the campaign.
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