Imagine an advertising tool that helps you reach your ideal customers based on their preferences, interests and behavior. A tool that saves you time and money by optimizing your ads to show them to the most converted users.
That’s exactly what you get with Facebook Ads, a platform used by many e-commerce entrepreneurs. Those who don’t have much experience and are on a tight budget are the most concerned. Anyone can use social network campaigns to grow their business, as long as they are willing to learn. So here is the basic guide to Facebook ads.
Why use Facebook for advertising?
Among the many advertising options, deciding where to invest your marketing budget can be tricky. Basically, advertising on this social network is especially appealing to new and experienced entrepreneurs alike because it allows you to:
Generate traffic through an active and engaged user base
Facebook is a very addictive social network. According to statistics, it has over two billion active users per month. And these users spend more time on the site than on competing social networks. In addition, this social network has Messenger and Instagram, two other popular mobile apps that are accessible to Facebook advertisers through its advertising platform. This is a lot of active and engaged traffic.
Facebook is designed to share personal updates and information (vacation photos, recently discovered songs, sentimental situation, video, etc.) with your network of contacts. All of the likes and connections on Facebook and Instagram create detailed user profiles that advertisers can use in targeted campaigns. Advertisers on this social network can associate their products and services with a long list of user interests, characteristics, and behaviors; and by doing so, they are more likely to reach their ideal customers.
Increase brand awareness
Most businesses have a company page on Facebook and/or Instagram, which they use to connect with their fans and customers on social media. When you decide to create a paid ad on Facebook and Instagram, you can choose your business page as the source page. Often, this results in more brand exposure and new followers for your business. This is one of the benefits of advertising on social platforms.
Configuring Facebook’s Business Manager
People who choose to stop advertising on this social network often do so because they set up their account incorrectly or because they feel overwhelmed by the myriad of options available, to the point where they can’t launch a campaign.
The first step to getting off on the right foot is to properly set up your account on Business Manager.
Business Manager is the section of the site that will house your ad account, your company’s Facebook pages, and other tools you need to manage your ads.
To create your account on Business Manager, go to business.facebook.com and click on “Create an Account.” Facebook will ask you for: your business name, your business page (create one first, if you don’t have one), your name and your email address. Next, you’ll need to create an advertising account or add an existing one. To do this, choose “Settings” from the Business Manager menu; then click on Advertising Accounts.
This is your advertising interface, where you can browse all the different areas of your Facebook business.
Installing Facebook Pixels
The Facebook Pixel is the link between Facebook Ads and your website. It is a tracking code that you need to create in your Business Manager account and add to your website before you start paying for ads. It shows you all the actions taken by the visitors who come to your website because of the ads on the website. Basically, the Facebook Pixel reveals not only which ads were successful, but also from which audience and creative elements the conversions came from.
Setting up the Facebook Pixel on your website is easier than you think; and rarely requires you to deal with the code.
Building an audience on Facebook
Addressing your ads to the right people is one of the keys to the success of your Facebook Ads. The platform has billions of users worldwide. But you can find the people most interested in your brand or product by using the “Facebook Audience” feature.
“Audience” is a section of the Business Manager where you can create user lists for your Facebook Ads strategy. In the “Audience” section, there are other functions to define these lists, which can be divided into two main categories: retargeting and prospecting.
When you create a custom audience, you get a list of different sources to tap into. The three main sources that e-commerce companies can use are: customer files, website traffic and interactions.
A customer file allows you to upload a list of email addresses, phone numbers, and any other contact information you have collected from customers or potential customers. The site matches this information to its users so you can set them up as targets for your lists. Building an audience with a customer file is ideal for re-engaging existing customers with new products or reaching out to newsletter subscribers who have not yet made a purchase.
Your website traffic allows you to create a retargeting list to reach your website visitors. You can create lists of different sizes, depending on the actions taken or pages visited by users on your website.
If you have an active Facebook or Instagram page or have tried campaigns to generate interactions (e.g., comments or shares), you may want to retarget people who have interacted with your page. By selecting Interactions from the Custom Public options, you’ll be taken to a list with different types of interactions that you can select for retargeting.
Prospecting: finding new customers
Finding new customers is often called “prospecting”. It requires an advertising strategy aimed at people who have not shopped with you or interacted with your business online. For this, Facebook has created two useful tools for businesses to identify their best potential customers.
This site can find valuable potential customers for your business using your existing customer list or leads. Similar Audience uses your custom audience data to create a new audience of social network users who share characteristics with your existing customers.
As you expand your target audience and increase your budget, you can move to 3%, 5% or eventually 10% similarity. The similar audience offers you scalability while maintaining a user profile that reflects your customer type.
Interests, Behaviors and Demographics
Don’t have a list of previous customers or visitors to create a similar audience? Then you can use interests, behaviors and demographics from the site to create an audience of potential customers with the “Registered Audience” option.
There will likely be different audiences you’ll want to test among all the options available for interests, behaviors and demographics. The Public Information Tool can help you make a selection by identifying the categories you want to test.
The Public Information Tool is available in the “Plan” section of the main menu of the Business Manager. It allows you to use your page or enter demographic data about your potential customers.
The data collected in the public information can be used to identify new interests to target experiences or places and locations that may work for your chosen audience.
The audience based on interests, behaviors and demographics is usually quite large. It can be hundreds of thousands of users. So it’s a good rule of thumb to test each category individually, to find the one that works best.
Creating a Facebook campaign
The first step for the Facebook ads strategy is to create a campaign to place them. In each campaign, there is at least one group of ads (“ad set”). For each ad set, you can choose: the audience, the budget, the target and the ad displayed by the users.
A single campaign can contain multiple ad sets. This allows you to test different types of audiences and lists individually, and then target the best performing elements.
Choose a target for your campaign
To start creating your first campaign, go to the Ad Management section of your Business Manager account and click the Create button. On this social network, there are three categories of advertising goals: awareness, consideration and conversion. Under each category, there is a short list of more detailed options, such as traffic, video views and catalog sales. Consider your business goal.
Choose the naming conventions that work for you. The important thing is that there is consistency, so that your account remains organized and easy to access for you and others in your business.
Setting up ad groups
After choosing your campaign target, the site will direct you to the different ad groups. For each of them, you have the ability to choose.
Budget setting and scheduling
The next step within the ad group is to set the budget and choose whether you want it to be daily or total. The decision on how much to spend depends on several factors.
In order to give your ad campaigns a good chance of success, allocate enough budget to reach the goal. Once the ads are published, you will have to wait. It takes time (and budget) to complete the “learning phase,” the period during which the site’s algorithm examines your data and initiates optimization to successfully reach your goal.
In Ad Groups, you will have the ability to select and refine the prospecting or retargeting lists created in the Audience section. By selecting location, gender, age and language, you can either further narrow your audience or provide variations to test in other ad groups.
Further down the page, you can add detailed targeting through behaviors, interests or Facebook demographics. Here, you can choose to use these categories to create a new audience to overlay on top of your existing audience or simply stick with the custom or similar audience selected above.
Additionally, ad groups give you the ability to select the preferred placement for your ad. As mentioned earlier, the site has other popular apps with the ability to place ads outside of your news feed. If you only want to reach Instagram users, for example, ad groups allow you to exclude all other placements.
Advertising on the site is very different from traditional advertising and has its own rules for choosing creative ads that actually convert. When you create an ad, you will have the option to select the Facebook business page and/or Instagram account that will display your ads.
The Facebook catalog is another connection between your business website and your ad account that can be set up through the Business Manager, under the Resources menu. You can create a catalog through your Facebook pixel.
Once the catalog is created, when you’re ready to create a dynamic ad for your products, go back to Ad Management and create a new campaign with the goal of “Catalog Sales”. This will allow you to select the catalog at the ad group level, choosing who to show the relevant products to.
You can use dynamic product ads not only to retarget previous buyers or visitors, but also for prospecting. If you choose this option, Facebook will show products on your store that it deems relevant to potential new customers, based on their profile data, even if they have never visited your website before.
Optimizing Facebook campaigns
Knowing how to set up campaigns is an important first step. But if you want to be successful on the platform, you also need to learn how to monitor campaign performance and optimize them over time. Check ads at least once a day (or even more frequently as you increase your ad spend).
You may be tempted to change your target or turn off an ad if you don’t see purchases after a day, but it’s important to be patient.
Ad optimization takes time because the algorithm has to learn who is most interested in what you’re selling. If you’re not sure if you should disable your ad, try to wait until it gets at least 1,000 impressions before deciding to invest more or shut it down to test something new.
Creating a funnel
A funnel is a marketing strategy based on the simple fact that the vast majority of users you are targeting are not ready to buy immediately. A funnel-based approach to marketing focuses on personalizing advertising based on purchase intent and audience knowledge of the brand and products.
As you increase your budget, the funnel can become more complicated, with multiple campaigns targeting customers at different points.
If prospecting doesn’t generate sales, choose a cheaper target higher up the funnel (e.g., traffic, added to the shopping cart). This can help you build a list of potential customers to target with a second campaign.
Grow your business by following this basic guide to Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads is an advertising platform designed to be easy to use. It’s designed for those with little to no digital marketing experience, which makes it even more appealing to startup entrepreneurs who don’t want to pay an agency to manage ads.
Take the time to learn. And set up your account and campaigns correctly by following this step-by-step guide to Facebook Ads Basics. In the end, your efforts will pay off and with Facebook Ads, you’ll be able to grow your business independently.