To help me (and you) understand how these advertising programs work (and promote my new leadership blog at the same time), I recently experimented with a Facebook advertising account and ran a few ads announcing the launch of my new website.
Along the way I learned what makes an effective and ineffective Facebook Ad, what products and services are best advertised on Facebook, and how much you can expect to budget for a successful online advertising campaign using Facebook Ads.
If you own a small business, or are thinking of starting one to help supplement your income in these challenging economic times, advertising on social media websites may be an excellent way to attract new customers.
Opening a Facebook Advertising Account:
Opening an account with Facebook Ads is incredibly easy, especially if you are already familiar with how Facebook’s basic layout.
On the Facebook home page there will be a link at the bottom for prospective advertisers, simply click this link.
This link will bring you to Facebook’s Advertising Page where there is information on the benefits of advertising on Facebook, etc.
When you make it to this page, click the green “Create an Ad” button to go to the ad design page.
To help standarize the look and “feel” of Facebook, you must follow a structured template when designing your Facebook ad.
Ad Title: The first challenge is choosing a catchy title for your ad using 25 characters or less. For the sake of my leadership blog I created the tagline “Leaders Make More Money”. We all want to make more money (Just ask Sally Struthers), and I thought this tagline would be virually irresistable to the potential customers I was hoping to attract.
Ad Body: This area is were you describe the product or service you are offering. In my case, since I didn’t have anything to sell, I just described what my blog was about and how it could help people with their leadership skills.
“Launch your career with a FREE subscription to the best leadership coaching site on the internet. Subscribe via email or RSS feed.”
You’ve only got 135 character spaces to work with so make sure you choose your words carefully!
Ad Image: Facebook allows you to incorporate a small image (110 x 80 pixels) into your ad for added visual impact. It costs nothing to add an image and I highly recommend using one if you have one that is appropriate for your ad. In my case I had a professionally made graphic for my website that I incorporated into the ad.
When you are happy with the appearance of your ad, move on to the next step.
The “Targeting” parameters in Facebook Ads are what really set social media sites apart from other online advertising options. Because users of social media sites often include their age, gender, education level, location, relationship status, interests, etc., they have become a virtual goldmine for companies interested in targeting a specific demographic.
As an example, lets say you were a wedding photographer from Boston, MA. and you wanted to target young, professional, engaged, females, within a 50 mile radius of the Boston Area. With Facebook Ads, accomplishing this is as easy as 1-2-3, literally!
Facebook Ad Pricing and Bidding:
Facebook Ads works on a keyword bidding system similar that of Google Adsense. For example, if your business sold golf products, you would probably want to focus your advertising budget on Facebook users who identified golf as one of their interests.
As we discussed in the previous step, singling out “golfers” on Facebook is easy; the problem is the competition from other businesses who wish to advertise to golfers as well. This is were the bidding part comes into play.
There are two ways to bid for your Facebook Ad…
Pay per 1000 Impressions (CPM): Bidding based on CPM means that you agree to pay Facebook up to a certain amount of money for every 1000 times your ad is displayed in front of another Facebook user.
Pay Per Click (CPC): Bidding based on CPC means that you agree to pay Facebook up to a certain amount of money every time someone actually clicks on your ad.
To help ensure that your bid is competitive and your ad has a good chance of being displayed, Facebook offers a recommend starting point based on your targeted audience.
Generally speaking, the more popular and affluent the Facebook demographic you are targeting, the more expensive it will be to run a successful ad campaign.
Finally, when you have successfully created your ad, Facebook offers a great statistical page to help you determine how effective your ad(s) are performing. You will be able to see the average amount you are paying per click or impression (depending on if you bid on CPC or CPM), what your max bid is currently set at, how much money you have spent so far, etc.
Is Facebook’s Advertising Program Effective?
I knew going into this experiment I was going to loose money. After all, there was no way to convert these new readers on my website into revenue other than the odd chance that some of the individuals clicked on one of my Google Adsense Ads.
On the other hand, it is no coincidence that I used the example of the wedding photographer above. I have heard of several photographers, wedding planners, and DJ’s having great results advertising on Facebook.
I also have an artist friend who has been successful selling custom picture frames with Facebook Ads.
The more specialized (and expensive) your product or service is, the better luck you will have with Facebook Ads.
Think of it this way, a photographer could earn $3000 or more from one client redirected to her photography site.
Another person selling knitted scarves might only make $10 off of a client redirected to her knitting site.
Both business owners would have paid about the same for the ad (typically between $.35-.70 per click (CPC) but the photographer would most likely see a higher return on her advertising dollars. On the other hand, the knitter may have spent $20 in ads just to sell that one scarf!
The best part about Facebook Ads is it allows you to set a daily budget so you never spend more than you want. Start slowly at first and monitor the results. If you find that your advertising dollars are paying off, keep going into you can no longer comfortably meet the demand of your new clients!