Facebook Ads: The Truth Behind the (Nearly) Mind-Reading, Audience-Targeting Tool
A couple of months ago, a few members of our client services team here at Findsome & Winmore attended a social media summit with one of our clients. We were so fortunate to have attended and were able to hear from many renowned speakers in the social media world – one of them being Facebook. Though we had many interactive sessions, one that we found particularly helpful was the Facebook Ads Best Practices session. With over 2 billion new Facebook users each month, and 1 billion of those users part of Facebook’s Audience Network, the platform has become one of the most effective ways to advertise your business online. Advertising with Facebook has an unparalleled ability to target audiences based on interests, age, behavior and location. For small and large businesses, Facebook ads can be a game-changer.
Figuring Out Facebook Ads
If you have ever been in your ads manager and quickly become confused or intimidated, you are not alone! Ad Manager is an incredible but complex tool that allows you to set up, manage and report on your Facebook Ads campaigns. First and foremost, it is important to understand that there is a hierarchy for each campaign – campaign, ad set and ad. There are multiple levels, grouped in this same hierarchy that advertisers have full control over to impact overall performance. Setting up your campaign is the first step to the ads creation flow and where you tell Facebook your ultimate business goal. There are a number of options such as traffic, engagement, video views, lead generation, etc. Selecting the correct objective for your business is vital, as the delivery options available to you will be customized to this objective. As an example, the most common business objectives are conversions, lead ads and traffic. Common objectives for branding are brand awareness, reach and video views. The next step in the ad’s creation is targeting. This is at the “ad set” level and where you tell Facebook who you want to reach with your campaign. There are three different categories of targeting on Facebook: core audiences, custom audiences and lookalike audiences.
- Core audiences are segments available to every advertiser on Facebook and are built off first-party data that users provide, including location, demographic, interests, behaviors.
- Custom audiences are built off your own first-party data (email subscribers, current client information, website visitors, visitors that have engaged with your content across social platforms).
- Lookalike audiences are, well, lookalikes! This is a targeting strategy that allows you to find those who look and act most like those in your most valuable audiences. Facebook’s algorithm is so advanced that it can take your core audience and find individuals to target that may not have come to your site, but based on their behaviors, would likely visit if they saw an ad.
The next steps involve budget and the allocation of that budget. A unique feature that Facebook offers is the “Campaign Budget Optimization.” Essentially, Facebook allows you to assign a campaign budget and gives the algorithm the flexibility to optimize delivery towards the best performing ad set. Pretty powerful stuff. The last and final step of this process is creative. There are a number of best practices that should be considered when determining the overall strategy for your campaign.
- Campaigns using static images plus light motion video achieved 17% higher conversion lift vs. static images alone. That is supported by Cisco’s prediction (Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2016–2021 White Paper, March 2017) that 78% of all mobile data traffic will be video in 2021. Video is a huge consumer trend and we will continue to see an increase in video consumption over time.
- It’s important to have a clear message and focus. Engaging, concise copy can capture your audience’s attention more quickly, so stay away from too much text.
- How an ad looks on mobile is one of the most important aspects to consider when designing creative. The ads should introduce the brand quickly, be shorter in duration and designed to work without sound.
- Use a combination of text and images to help deliver the message as effectively as possible.
Next time you are served an ad, realize that it’s not magic, digital voodoo or a team of tech-savvy elves working around the clock at Facebook HQ. No, it is an incredibly robust marketing tool that is well worth the time of marketers and social media mavens. By allowing brands to highly target their ads and set specific goals, most any company on the platform now has the power to reap real benefits from this social media giant.