How does Facebook advertising work?

Facebook advertising today is way more advanced than simply “boosting a post.”

There is no doubt that today’s social media channels can help you get your business message to the right target audience. Facebook advertising, in particular, can increase website page views, can help generate new sales leads and appointments, and can significantly increase downloads of your website content.

But where do you start?

I recommend Facebook ads. Not boosted posts, mind you, but Facebook Ads delivered through their very robust ad dashboard they call “Facebook Ad Manager.”

Facebook continues to be one of the most popular social media platforms among adults. According to Pew Research, 79 percent of adults are utilizing Facebook to connect with their friends and family and to look up companies they’re considering buying from.

When an ad campaign is being built out on Ad Manager, there’s a lot that needs to be considered, such as: What’s your goal? What is your message? Who is your audience? How much do you want to spend and for how long?

When building an audience, we first want to look at demographics, interests, behaviors and location.

Demographics can be type of education, a financial situation, home environments, life events, politics, employment and relationship status. Interests can range from business, entertainment, fitness, hobbies, technology, fashion and much more. Behaviors can range from buying activities, charitable donations, media consumption, traveling, etc. Your audience can be a specific state, a city within that state or a neighborhood within that city and so-on.

Next, we should be looking at our content. Should we be posting educational content? What about written testimonials? Should we be using video testimonials or video content? One thing we do not want to do is actually “sell” in our message.

One of the biggest mistakes I see today on social media is companies trying to “sell.” That really is a bad practice. The best practice is to deliver a high-quality, high-value proposition that is more educational and “soft” rather than an in-your-face approach.

For instance, I have found that downloadable pieces of educational content have worked the best with most types of audiences my clients are trying to attract. Short videos in that 30- to 45-second range also convert at a very high rate and get great results.

Knowing this “conversion” information is crucial so you don’t waste your budget and so you can reach the absolute best audience for your product.

When beginning to plan out a social media advertising campaign, you should think about how many advertisements you’re going to run in that month. Is it one or two? Or more? Will you be running ads every day?

As with any media channel — traditional or digital — the larger the budget you have, the more significant reach of audience you can achieve.

The goal is to decrease the amount of money spent and increase the size of audience seeing your advertisement. But to do that, you have to be willing to go in with a larger budget to start testing what works and what doesn’t. Typically, I recommend testing several messages and audiences at the launch of a new campaign to see what is going to resonate with the target audience and compel them to action. This is actually very easy to do and is essential to getting good results.

How can we tell if our advertising efforts are working? We should be looking at metrics such as reach, video views, link clicks, engagement, conversions and other results provided by Facebook.

According to Facebook Business Manager, reach is defined as the number of people who saw your advertisement at least once. Do not be mistaken — reach is far different from impressions. Impressions are views of the advertisement by the same people. In other words: Reach plus frequency.

Result is the number of times your advertisement achieved an outcome based on the objective you’ve selected when making the advertisement.

Link clicks are important because we want to decrease the money spent but increase the amount of link clicks.

This can relate back to the piece of content. Is it compelling? Is there an incentive?

Pieces of content have to be relevant. Facebook rates your content on a scale of 1 to 10 of relevancy. This estimates how well the audience is responding to the advertisement. Having a rating of 10 is the goal.

As is the case with all digital marketing and advertising, Facebook is always changing. Make sure someone on your team is keeping up-to-date on new techniques to effectively reach audiences through social media channels. My advice to you is, “Don’t be afraid.” If you have something worth saying and think your target audience can benefit from hearing about it, get a Facebook ad campaign together and start.

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