Four Steps to Mastering Facebook Paid Online Advertising

Written by Jeff Cole on July 17, 2017

Hand holding smartphone with blue like on screen. Facebook thumbs up on mobile phone. Online advertising concept

Facebook paid online advertising is relatively new, but it is an incredibly efficient way to share your content and your products with a wide range of people. These ads take advantage of Facebook’s already existing user base to pair your content with people who will be most likely to act on it. If you are a small business using Facebook paid online advertising for the first time, don’t let stress about all of the choices and analytics involved deter you from taking advantage of this excellent tool. Instead, follow these four simple steps to optimize your return-on-investment and get the most out of Facebook paid online advertising.

1. Decide if Facebook fits your market. 

Before you even begin to dive into the plethora of Facebook marketing options, make sure you understand the Facebook platform itself and its demographics. While most people do have Facebook accounts, it’s possible that your niche is less represented among Facebook users. And before you spend your online advertising budget on a platform, you need to make sure that the target audience is there. Here are a few demographic insights into Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center:

•Facebook leans 7% more towards urban users than rural users.
•The 18-29 age range has almost double the representation of the 65+ age range.
•People who make $50,000 – $74,000 a year are the least represented socioeconomic group.
•Hispanics have the most representation, while non-Hispanic blacks have the least (8% difference).

Statistics like these are important when you are considering Facebook as an option. While a 6-8% difference may not seem like much, Facebook has over a billion users which amplify the impact of a few percentage points.

When in doubt, give Facebook a try. Just make sure that your spending is proportional to the amount of your market that your Facebook campaign will reach.

2. Understand your options.

If you’re on board with Facebook as a marketing tool, the next step is to understand their wide variety of paid advertising options. Here’s a breakdown of the five main online advertising tools that Facebook offers and what they entail.

Post Promotion: When you create a post on your corporate Facebook account, you can pay a per-person fee to distribute the content to a wider audience. For a small boost, prices can be as low as $5.
Photo/Video: The simplest option on the list, these ads are classic single-photo and single-video ads that run in a user’s feed or in a sidebar.
Carousel: These ads give you the option to include up to 10 photos that users slide through. They are larger than single-photo ads, which makes them more expensive.
Slideshow: Similar to Carousel ads, Slideshows go through multiple pictures to tell a broader story. In this case, however, the ad plays like a video; users can’t scroll through content by themselves.
Collection: Collections allow users to visit your online store while staying in the Facebook app. What starts off as a regular ad turns into a full-fledged shopping experience when interested users swipe down for more information.

3. Create a specific advertising budget.

After reading through these options, there should be a few that jumped out at you. If you’re a retail store, the collection might seem like a great way to directly combine sales and advertising. If your company has an interactive story to tell, the carousel option is a great fit. And if your company is strapped for cash, the single-photo ads are the perfect option.

Use this intuition to create a budget that includes specific features you’d like to purchase. First, decide how much money you are willing to spend on Facebook online advertising. This sum will depend on the size of your company, trust in Facebook’s ability to reach your market, and availability of your advertising department.

Then, break that sum into pieces according to which types of ads you’d like to buy. Do some research on how much each ad will cost for the amount of exposure you require and create a specific budget of which types of ads you will buy and how much you plan on spending for each.

This seems basic, but it’s all the more important when you are dealing with Facebook. Why? They have mastered the art of the upsell. Facebook loves to try to convince you to buy just a few more ads or reach just a few more people. It’s crucial that you stick to your budget and leave room to address all of your priorities; don’t fall for their upselling and don’t stray from your path.

4. Evaluate your data and repeat.

This step is the most important for fully taking advantage of Facebook’s paid online advertising. After you purchase advertising from Facebook, they will send you lots of data about who your content has reached and its lead generation. Pay attention to this information! If you purchased different types of ads from them, it will help you know which ads gave you the most bang for your buck. In addition, it will help you avoid making the same mistakes next time you buy; continuous improvement is key for online advertising.

Once you’ve looked at this data, go back and repeat step 3. Re-evaluate your budget and reapportion money to the areas where it went the furthest. Refine your marketing strategy to hit the locations and the ages that responded to your CTAs. Assess which types of content–image, video, slideshow–captured your viewers’ attention, and dedicate time to creating more of it. Above all, don’t be afraid to take your time and really think about how you can improve your Facebook strategy.

With these four steps in mind, you will be able to conquer Facebook paid advertising in no time. Their simple platform makes it easy for small businesses to get involved in the action, and by following this cycle of continuous improvement, you will be able to get an excellent return on your investment.