Facebook isn’t about having a huge potential audience to reach, it is about being able to reach extremely targeted audience sets that have an interest in your product/service. So, how do you start advertising on Facebook? Here is a five-point checklist to get you started.

1. Goal

Think about your advertising goals

Pinpoint what it is that you want to achieve. Are you looking at bringing in fans and then keeping them engaged about your business? Are you going after transactions or do you simply want to show up before the right audience? A clear advertising goal will let you structure your campaigns better.

2. Segmentation

Think about who you want to target?

 Facebook allows you to identify your audience segment “to the T”. The various segmentation options available on Facebook are enormous. Let’s look at a few:

i) Gender: Target your ads to men/women or both. It’s a good practice to target both through different ad groups, so you can test for differences in performance.

ii) Location: You can target audiences by city or a group of cities. Try and break your campaign into major cities / minor cities and other possible segments.

iii) Age: Add age targeting to your campaigns. Ideally, look at breaking your targeting into age buckets, so you can identify the best performing bucket for your offering.

iv) Precise Interests: You can add specific interests to your campaign such that you can go after an audience that you believe has a propensity to consume your product. So let’s say you’re selling baking tools, choose to target an audience that is interested in baking. Since there is affinity, the ad is bound to do well.

v) Broad Category Targeting (BCT): You can also choose to do BCT for your campaigns. There are a multitude of BCT options available. You can choose from this basis your product. However, remember to not combine BCT along with Precise Targeting. Run each through different campaigns to identify what works better.

vi) Relationship Status: This is another important element in the Facebook segmentation kitty. You should use this wisely. So if you’re selling baby products, there would be no point showing your ads to those without babies. So opt for a status of married to avoid any wasted clicks for an irrelevant audience set.

vii) Workplace: Facebook allows you to target by workplace as well. You can use this as a surrogate to arrive at an audience that may need/want your products too.

Now that you know the enormous segmentation opportunity, how do you arrive at what’s best for you? Let’s say you are a sporting site that specializes in ticket bookings, sports equipment, etc. How do you identify your bucket on Facebook? Ask yourself these questions –

a) Who likes me?

b) Who would buy from me?

c) What kind of interests would my buyers have?

You’ll find yourself arriving at a bucket that is potentially : “male + likes sports + likes sports channels”. Go after this bucket with your ads.

But remember, the trick is to not put all your monies on one segment only. Identify others who may also like your offering. Test between mutually exclusive buckets to arrive at the best-performing audience sets.

3. Ad type

Choose the right ad format

Facebook offers several different types of ads; choose the one that best meets your advertising goal. Let’s look at a few examples –

a) You are a sports merchandise website and want to buy fans – you’ll go after a Like Ad or a Sponsored Story

b) You are a sports merchandise website and want to lead people to your site – go after domain based ads, page post ads among others.

Again, the trick is to try combinations of ad formats to see what allows you to best meet your goals.

4. Creatives

Make your ads look awesome so they stand out!

a) Choose an Image: A large part of your ads’ initial success depends on the image you choose. Make sure you have a simple, crisp image that showcases the product on offer well. Don’t go for images that have too many elements. Keep the image simple, clean and optimized. Some guidelines that help in deciding on an image for your ad:

  • Clear white backgrounds with colorful images
  • Don’t have too much text on your image. Avoid any text altogether unless necessary.
  • Keep the image relevant to the product.
  • Use brand names in images where ever applicable.
  • Make sure that the image on display creates the right expectation for what is available on the site. It would be disappointing to showcase something that is NOT available on the site. It leads to a lack of trust and puts off returning visitors.

b) Choose your ad text: The ad text is broken into two parts – ad headline and body.

Other than the ad image, the headline is another element that grabs attention. Keep your headline simple and crisp. Some text guidelines you can follow:

  • Do not have a long headline
  • Include numbers in your headline and body
  • Mention catch phrases of elements that are bound to excite your potential customer. Go for words like “Free”, “Get Now” or  “Free Shipping”.
  • Keep the expectation clear and honest in your headline/body itself. If there is no discount, then don’t mention it. If there is no free shipping, don’t mention it. Ensure that you are creating an honest idea of what is available on the site. Otherwise, there would be a huge drop-off and lack of trust.

5. Bids

Choose a bidding strategy

Choose from two cost models: CPC & CPM.

CPC – Cost Per Click refers to when you pay for someone clicking on your ad.

CPM – Cost Per 1000 Impressions refers to when you pay for 1000 people who have seen your ad.

So which strategy should you use? And when?

Both of the systems use a bidding mechanism. It is broadly seen that CPC gives better CTRs, while CPM gives fewer clicks at cheaper costs. Go for a CPC model when you have extremely attractive images that are bound to get good CTRs, hence FB’s ad server allows you space on FB as it is. Go for CPM models when your product or service is difficult to display in the stamp size image and you are looking at showing up more often so people can click.

Now you’re ready to run your Facebook Ads. Go ahead and start them off. Make sure to evaluate results at each step and track performance. You can collate best targeting, best costs, best campaigns to determine what should form a part of your Facebook Advertising kitty.

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