The Basics Of Facebook AdsPost Banner

What Are Facebook Ads And Should My Business Use…

Facebook Usage By The Numbers

Social Media isn’t a fad, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and as of right now Facebook is still king.  According to the latest data from Pew Research Center, 4 out 5 Americans on the internet use Facebook.  Nearly 75% of these users check Facebook at least once per day, and the average user spends 50 minutes per day on the platform.

Having a strong showing on Facebook is essential to winning over curious shoppers.  Over 60% of potential customers research brands they are considering doing business with by checking Facebook. 

This includes looking at

  • customer reviews
  • videos
  • photos
  • post content
  • about section.  

Facebook is about keeping the users brand aware, and developing a relationships.  Ideally once the customer reaches a point in the buying cycle where they are ready to buy, this relationship leads them to choosing YOUR business.

Organic traffic refers to the free views received when Facebook shows posts to friends and followers.  This foundational traffic can achieve long term results, but choosing to spend money on ads is a shortcut to reaching customers right now.

What Are Facebook Ads?

When a commercial comes on TV, we fast forward the recording or pick up our phone.  For radio, we change the channel, and for internet pop-ups we race to close them.  With Facebook Ads people aren’t as aware they are being served ad content.  The instant knee-jerk dismissal at being sold something is less prevalent giving a savvy marketer time to deliver a message.

Facebook News Feed Ads just show up in the middle of someone’s news feed.  There will be a handful of actual posts from the pages of followed friends and business pages.  In the middle of this stream of posts is where an Ad lives.  It looks identical to the posts of funny cat videos, and family photos around it, except it says “Sponsored” where the other posts show how long ago they were created.

Facebook Ad Example For Lucas Walker Business Consulting

Keep Scrolling, Scrolling, Scrolling, What?!?

The content of Facebook Ads should be designed with the concept that many users are just browsing for best effect.  Most people are not actively shopping.  A poorly done ad can create a jarring experience for the user and they notice they are being served a spammy sales pitch.  The best ads send the customer down a new interesting rabbit hole.

Any type of media that you would use on a regular Facebook Post can be used for an ad.

  • Text
  • Photos
  • Videos

Unlike a regular Facebook post, these Facebook ads are focused on the user executing a particular task referred to as a “Call To Action” (CTA).  The goal of an ad is to have the customer perform this CTA.  We don’t want the customer to do just any old thing, but a very specific something.

Some of the most common Call To Action goals include

  • Visit a website – Become a prospect
  • Grow Engagement – Share, like, comment on a post
  • Contact – (Call / email / message sales opportunity)

The marketer designs and a type of media and the sales copy from the list above, and associates it with a single CTA goal.  Later in this post I will talk about the last two elements in launching an ad, picking a target market and budget.

One of the most popular CTA choices is to have an ad send the user to a website which is focused on conversion (whether that means collecting information like email, a store where a purchase can take place, or reading an informational piece early in the sales process).  This type of Call To Action typically leads to a conversion in the form of a sale, which in turn pays for the ad spend.  CTA’s which don’t eventually lead to sales (either short or long-term) become expenses and are inevitably discontinued.

Newer ad options such as “Facebook Messenger Destination Ads” can even open a direct chat window in Facebook between a customer and a business when they click the ad instead of going to the business website.  Technology like chat bots can be layered over this system to ad further features.

Learn About Facebook Ad Placements

But Facebook Ads Don’t Work For Me, I’ve Boosted Stuff Before…

Boosting a post and running a Facebook Ad should be thought of as two completely different things.  Remember, Facebook’s goal is to keep users and make money.  When they are offering to help you boost a post, it isn’t solely in your best interest, but they are trying to sell you something.

“This post is more engaging than 90% of your posts…” message is misleading.  Remember, a Facebook page should have constant growth.  The fact that I have more users this month than last month, means that my engagement should constantly be higher than it previously was.  At a minimum average, 1 in 10 posts should display this request to spend advertising dollars on boosting a post.

A Boosted Post, just means more people see your broadcasted message.  This can be a good way to get likes on a post and maybe even grow Facebook page and increase visibility.  Unfortunately, often there is no direct pathway to a sale from a boosted post.  Is your message just a cute picture of you and your dog, or does it actually have a call to action?  Probably not.

The difference between crafted Facebook Ads designed to convert, and a post Facebook suggested to be boosted is worlds apart.

What’s so Good About Facebook Ads Anyways?

Here are a few of the most important reasons small businesses should be running Facebook Ads.

1.) Finding Users Where They Are

As I’ve already covered, users are all over Facebook at huge numbers that seem to be steadily growing.  Compare this to the number of people who record TV shows just so they can fast forward through commercials, or change stations when the radio goes to a commercial break.  Facebook users are a captive audience across broad demographic ranges.  With a solid message, there is a huge opportunity here for most businesses to find and reach potential customers.

2.) The Ability To Target Customers

Facebook knows a scary “Big Brother” amount of data on all of us.  When constructing Facebook Ads you can target very specifically the users you want to reach.  Some areas include household income, what kind of music they like, what sports they watch, if they are in the market for a new car, etc.

The chance to advertise to worldwide duplicates of my best customers is powerful.  I can even set up multiple audiences and run tests to see which data points increase my conversions!

Facebook Advertising Targeting Options
Some Of The Potential Areas To Target On Facebook Ads

3.) Measure The Results

Unlike traditional media, Facebook tracks how many users see an ad (“Impressions”), and how many interact with it (“Clicks”).   I can measure how successful my ads are performing and know if my Call To Action is occurring.  At any given time I can run multiple ads and find which ones are performing the best, and double down.  If I understand the basic math behind digital marketing sales, my ads should almost always be profitable!

4.) Not all businesses are advertising on Facebook yet.

By the time that there is a general consensus on something, the time is almost past.  Most business owners know they should be active on social media and focus on SEO going forward.  Leveraging oversized results in these areas is becoming steadily harder.

Interestingly the smaller and more specific a niche, the better a chance there is opportunity to get through the noise.  Small towns tend to be slightly behind the times technology-wise, so we actually get to look into the future using the crystal ball of larger more progressive cities.  Businesses in larger cities like St. Louis or Chicago have been active for years, so it is harder to get heard now in these markets.

There is a huge opportunity to be one of the first in the local marketplace to advertise on social media in a less populated area like Springfield, MO.

Additional Resources

Need help with growing Facebook Organic Traffic too?  Watch this training video!

Curious about SEO and more digital marketing?  Learn the basics of being seen on Google.