10 Tips for Effective Facebook Advertising

I have been fortunate to do some photographic work for a fellow Santa Clara grad, Ingrid Hergert.   She is in the process of building her own jewelry business (Charmed by Ingrid Anne) so it has been fun exchanging our entrepreneurial stories and working together.  She still has her full time job at Facebook and offered to provide some insight about the inner workings of this incredibly powerful marketing tool.  I sat down with her Tuesday afternoon to get my learn on, and it turned out to be a huge knowledge explosion in my head.  (thats a good thing).

Okay… I am an engineer by education and I’ve done some sales work since the glory days of college, so I can design it, analyze it, build it, test it, break it, fix it, and sell it,  but when it comes to marketing it, I’m like a dog chasing after its tail, doing a lot of work, but not getting very far.  Now that I’ve got my website launched, the blog is like 90% there, and I’ve got a Facebook “like” page, its time to go out there and get ’em!  So how do you go about seeking potential customers?  One of many options is Facebook advertising.

One of the ways Facebook makes their money (they did finally turn a profit after 5 years) is by selling those paid promotions on the right hand side of your profile as you cruise through Facebook.  Ever looked at those and thought, “Say what!  How did you know I was into that?  That’s kind of cool!” and then.. “click”.  “Click” =  $ for Facebook.  Every time you click on one of those adds, someone is saying “thank you for driving traffic to my site Facebook… here is my money.”

For brevity’s sake, I wont go into detail about how to go about actually creating a Facebook advertisement (this is all available on the Facebook website), but will rather share some of the best practices as explained to me by Ingrid.  Lets break it down into 10 tips:

1) Get organized: With your Facebook “like” page you can create an arsenal of ads designed to target any number of people based on a variety of different parameters.  You can create multiple campaigns which run multiple ads at the same time.  For instance if you are a photographer, you can create a campaign directed towards wedding clients, and then have three ads with three different pictures and three different wordings.  At the same time you can launch a campaign focused on engagement clients… again containing ads that feature three different pictures and three different wordings.  With all of this variation it is wise to get a spreadsheet set up which details each of your campaigns and the ads that run within each campaign.  Think about, and try to understand, what market you are attempting to reach with each photo/content combination and document all of this in a spreadsheet.

2) Create a naming convention: Within Facebook all of your ads will be managed in the Ads Manager (go figure!!!).  You have the ability to create one ad, or you could create 50.  If you have more than one add running at any given time then you will want to be able to quickly identify the details of that ad using a naming convention that works for you.  Say you create an ad targeted to engaged females between 18 and 35 years of age with interests in “weddings” and “home buying” and you use a red picture and an informal text.  You could use a name something along the lines of “F 18-35 Eng. Wedding Home Buy Red informal.”  You want it to fit on one line so you can compare your results with other ads you are currently running and be able to define what differs in each ad.

3) Payment options: There are several payment schemes within Facebook.  One such scheme is a pay per 1000 impressions.  An impression is an appearance on someone’s page.  If you have a recognizable brand, i.e. Starbucks or McDonalds, you might be more concerned with getting that brand at the top of people’s minds.  Page viewers don’t need to click on the ad to know that you serve coffee or burgers, they just want you to see their branding and say to yourself, “Ooooh, Starbucks… caramel frappachino… mmmm, (enter saliva) I want that!!! I want that right now”  when, without seeing their logo, you might have just gone to the kitchen for a cup-o-joe and a sandwich (thats how it happens to me anyways).  Another payment scheme, and the one that I am using, is the pay per click.  Your ad can appear on a million pages, giving you a million impressions, but if no one clicks you don’t pay a cent.  For someone who does not have a recognizable brand, you probably want to drive traffic to a page where they can get more information and learn about your product or service.  The click is more important to you than the impression, and a pay per click option will allow you to pay only for the valued result.

4) Facebook is the Ebay of Marketing: You have an audience you are trying to reach, this is your target market.  You have decided the demographics, the age, gender, location, and interests associated with this market.  Funny thing is, someone else has that same target market.  Facebook says okay, you want your add on this particular group of people’s page and so does competitor A, and competitor B and so on.  So who gets that ad spot on the page?  Well the person who pays more, of course.  Within the “pay per click” scheme, Facebook will suggest a price per click, somewhere between $0.30 and $2.00 from what I have seen.   That is the range that other people are paying to obtain clicks from this target market.  You can enter any number you like and that will be the maximum amount you will pay for a click, just like an Ebay auction.  If you bid towards the high end of that range, your ad will appear on more pages, giving you a better chance of receiving click throughs.  If no one has bid as high as you have, your clicks will be charged $0.01 above the second highest bidder up to your maximum price specified in the campaign.  For example:  Other people who are trying to reach the audience you have selected are paying a range of $0.45 to $1.02/click.  Lets say you bid the max bid at $1.02 because you want to out bid your competitors providing you more page view.  Well if your competitor drops their bid to $0.92, you only pay one cent above that $0.92 or $0.93.  Make sense?  The price for this specific audience you are trying to reach will change daily based on the bidders trying to reach that same audience, so keep checking the status daily while your run your campaign.

5) Use your allowance wisely: Within a pay per click payment option, you can set a daily spending limit for your ad campaign.  This provides you the ability to control how much you are spending on a daily basis so that you meet your advertising budget.  Say I only want to spend $300 per month on Facebook advertising, and say there are 30 days in the month.  I would set my daily limit to $10/day.  Easy.  Now in my conversations with Ingrid, she encouraged me to bid the highest price for the ad that I am running to ensure that I am getting the most number of impressions possible.  So, if the bid range for my target market was $0.48 to $1.12/click, Ingrid encouraged me to bid the $1.12 every time, or whatever that higher limit was, just to ensure my ad was appearing on pages first.  I tend to agree with this statement if you are running a campaign with an unlimited budget, however if you are setting your daily spend limit, to say $10 like mentioned, you want to make sure you are getting as many clicks as possible per day, not impressions.  If I bid that same $1.12 per click I am limited to only 8 clicks per day ($10/$1.12 = 8.9).  Once you reach your daily spend limit, your ad stops running for that day.  I might get 8 clicks by noon, and then my ad is done for the day, my money is spent.  Say instead you bid $0.60 per click.  You are not the highest bidder, but you may still get enough impressions (which results in clicks) to meet your daily spend limit.  At $0.60 you could receive 16 clicks per day for your 10 smackarros and your ad runs (though not as frequent) all day.  You will want to experiment with your bid price to see how low you can go, to get the most amount of clicks with your daily budget.

6) Experiment Experiment Experiment:  Because Facebook offers a pay per click option, you only pay when you get positive results.  If you run an ad that gets zero clicks, you pay nothing, zero, zip, zilch, but in return, you have learned something about your target market and what they like or dislike.  Maybe the image you used was not the strongest, maybe the text you included was not all that enticing.  At the same time, if you run an ad that is wildly successful, you have learned something about what your target audience likes, giving you insight as to how you might want to market to these people through different mediums such as your website, brochures, flyers, emails etc..  Once you find an ad that is successful, you can try running it to specific groups of people by using keywords offering further granularity into the inner workings of your target audience.  Maybe a successful ad might run well for a set of people with the keywords “wedding”, “dress”, and “cake”…. but maybe it does not do so well with an audience with keywords “engaged”, “ring”, and “love”.  I don’t know if that is actually the case, but you get my drift.  Try many things, and then study the results.  If you run an ad and don’t learn anything from it, you might be missing a huge opportunity to get to know your customers which can allow you to better focus and understand your brand.  When getting started make at least 10 ads and run them all at the same time.  Your daily spend limit will control how much you are paying for the advertising, but you will get tons of feedback by having multiple ads run simultaneously.

Example of an Ad I created on Facebook

7) Selecting and Preparing Images: Images are a very important aspect of your ad.  It is the first thing someone will look at should their eyes glance at the right side of the page.  For someone who does not have a recognizable brand, it is suggested that you use an image showcasing your product or service instead of a logo.  I could put my Colson Griffith Photography logo on an ad, but the likelihood of someone being captivated by my logo is, well, admittedly very little.  Perhaps I would rather use a wedding image with bright colors to catch someone’s eye.  Images in ads are 110×80 pixels in dimension.  Make sure you upload your images at this size otherwise Facebook will resize your picture and possibly make it smaller than what is actually allowed.  Horizontal images work best.

8) What does your text say? You will want to captivate your target market with your ad.  An ad viewers experience goes like this, 1) See picture; 2) Read title 3) Read text.   If you’ve gotten a viewer through the first two steps, you are well on your way.  Now its time to grab ’em with your words and never let go!  Start your text with something that your target market can relate to, something that make your audience say, “yeah, this ad must be made for me!”  You want to be clear and concise about your message and make sure that it describes your product or service.  After that be sure to include a call to action in the text of your ad.  Viewers like to know how to proceed after seeing something they are interested in.  If your ad says, “were awesome! use us!” your audience will then say, “well thats great, now what?!?!.”  Be sure to include a statement which encourages your audience to “click for more information” or “like our fan page” or “check out our website” or “call our late night hotline for only $18.99/minute” (if that is your kind of business :D).  This call to action will give your audience direction on how to proceed in becoming more involved in your greatness.

9) What do your landing pages say? When someone actually goes ahead and clicks on your link your mission is not done.  Facebook gets their money, but you still have to convert that individual into an adoring fan of your work or business.  A click from a viewer says, “okay the advertisement is interesting enough to make me want more, now what?”  How do you get them to click that “like” button allowing all of your posts to appear on their page.  I use an amazing program called ShowIt to build my website, and they have included code allowing me to make my web page appear as a tab on my Facebook like page.  First time visitors to my facbook page will thus be able to view my full flash website with moving photos, a bio page, client galleries etc. all within my Facebook page, kind of cool right?  The thing I have to think about though, is my webpage strictly markets my business as a wedding and engagement photographer.  What if I make an ad encouraging families to book me for christmas photos?  They don’t want to land on a wedding web site, so I’d have to create a new tab describing my services as a family portrait photographer and direct those specific ad clicks to that page.  When you create an ad with a specific market in mind, make sure that your landing page specifically addresses the incentives mentioned in your ad.

10) CTR (Click Through Ratio): CTR a great number by which you can gauge the success of an ad.  It is the number of clicks per page impressions expressed as a percentage.  A CTR of 0.06% (6 clicks per 10,000 impressions) is really good number to achieve, very good actually.  A CTR of 0.04% is totally average, nothing to feel bad about.  A CTR of 0.02% means your ad needs some work.  If you create an ad that is getting a CTR of > 0.10% then consider yourself an advertising rockstar!  Then call me, and tell me what you are doing. 😀

Example of a decent CTR

If you want to dive into the nitty gritty of Facebook advertising, you can certainly do so by exploring the following site: www.facebook.com/adsmarketing

So that is what I learned during my time at Facebook.  Thanks a TON for your insight Ingrid!

Colson at Facebook

Have a question?  Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts.

  • Eric OConnor - December 12, 2010 - 10:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing the info you got from Ingrid. I’m getting ready to play around with Facebook ads and stumbled across your post. How have the ads been working for you?ReplyCancel

    • Colson Griffith - December 14, 2010 - 1:04 am

      Hey Eric! Thanks for stopping by!

      First off, beautiful images on your website! Really nice work!

      I’ve been pretty happy with the results thus far, however its a little difficult to determine what the ROI actually is. I was running ads at $10/day for 25 days of a month, so $250/month. Did I book any clients directly from my ads???… well, its hard to say. I did see a steady growth in the number of followers which is one metric, from 300 to about 475 in the period of about a month and a half. I do wish I could hone my target audience a little better, but I’ve found that when targeting engaged couples in my neighborhood if I added one keyword it limited the audience to <5000 people... resulting in nearly no hits in a day. Its just a numbers game and so I had to go with a very broad audience to get the number clicks I wanted. One idea is to have an ad point to your blog or website (instead of a fan page). The traffic from those clicks will help kick up your SEO on that external site. That can sort of be an indirect win from FB advertising. In my opinion FB advertising is just one tool in a suite of marketing activities that I've got going on (new branding, blogging, wedding expos, emails, etc). Its not a grand slam, but I think if you use it as a tool in a broader scheme, you'll find it worthwhile.

      Please let me know if you have any more questions!
      - ColsonReplyCancel

  • Tampa architectural photography - December 22, 2010 - 10:28 am

    Great tips and information. Really love the blog BTW. Keep up the good work.ReplyCancel

  • Elida - June 23, 2011 - 11:13 pm

    Great arctile, thank you again for writing.ReplyCancel

  • Edith Levandoski - August 4, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    Hi Colson!

    Thanks for the blog post. I’m thinking about delving into fb ads, but it’s tough to put out so much money for exposure. I am really good at bridal shows, and at the $300/month price, I know I’m guaranteed at least 2 bookings from my shoes every month. Now that it’s 2013, and I see you wrote this a while back, have you continued FB ads and have you gotten any clients from it?

    Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Colson Griffith - August 5, 2013 - 10:02 am

      Hi Edith!

      Thanks for dropping by! I dropped off FB ads for a bit and then have started them up again recently. Honestly I dont think I’ve had someone come to me and say, “Hey, I saw your ad and want to book you!” It’s more of a tool for creating general brand awareness and helping your content actually get in front of your followers. I recently sat down at Facebook again (July 2013) and was told that their algorithms actually only shows your content to ~15% of your followers. Boosting your post, or creating an ad will help push the content to more people. I’ve recently also started using http://www.grosocial.com/ as a tool to run photo contests, and I do get leads that are generated from Facebook.

      Facebook is a small part of an overall marketing effort. I would not give up your bridal shows if those are working well for you! ;D

      ColsonReplyCancel

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