If you want to generate brand awareness or sales through Facebook, then you need to understand that Facebook has very much become a pay-to-play party. I could go on and on about why it’s so hard to get people to actually see your Page content unless they physically visit your Page (and yes, that includes people who have already liked or followed your Page), but Facebook will probably change the rules again tomorrow.
Rather than wasting your time on why all that great content you’re sharing on your Facebook Page is rarely seen, I’m going to focus in this article on how to create Facebook ads that actually work to raise brand awareness and sales for your business using a simple 5-step system. Details about all five steps are included below. There is also an infographic at the end of this article with all of the highlights.
1. Choose an Ad Type
There are a variety of different types of Facebook ads, so things get confusing immediately when you log in and try to create your first ad. Yes, you can quickly boost a post or run other types of ads without leaving your Facebook Page, but avoid the temptation.
Instead, you need to dive into the Facebook Ads Manager (click on the Create Ad link at the bottom of your screen when you’re logged into Facebook to open the Ads Manager) where you can run ads on posts that don’t appear in your Page’s timeline at all and look just like regular posts. These are called unpublished page post ads. In the Ads manager, you can:
- Include a lot more text in your ad than you can if you boost a post from your newsfeed
- Upload specific images to go with your ad
- Test different ad designs
- Precisely target the audience who will see your ad to maximize your return on investment
When other people see your unpublished page post ad in their personal Facebook newsfeeds, it will look just like any other post that someone shared. It even includes a like button so people can like your Page without leaving their newsfeeds!
2. Select Your Audience
Next, you need to make sure the right people see your ad. There are all kinds of people on Facebook. Some may know you, some may already be your customers, and some may have never heard of you before. You can target your Facebook Ads to each of these audiences.
The Audience Insights section of the Ads Manager allows you to show your ad to people who like your Page already, friends of people who like your Page, or even exclude people who like your Page. You can even upload the email addresses on your email marketing list (in .csv format) and build a custom targeting list out of it. Facebook automatically matches the email addresses on your list with the addresses people used to create their Facebook accounts. All of the matches become your new custom audience.
One of my favorite features that you can use to attract new audiences is targeting Facebook Pages similar to yours or Pages that your target audience might already like. Just create your audience and where you’re given the opportunity to select Interests, list those Pages. Facebook might not find all of them, but if you’ve done your homework and identified Pages where your target audience already spends time, you should be able to identify at least three to five relevant Pages in this section.
You can also retarget your own audience using Facebook ads. There is something called the Facebook pixel (it’s just a piece of code) that you can use to show your ad to people who have already visited your website. Keep in mind, you need to use custom audiences in your ad settings for this to work. You can learn more about using the Facebook pixel here. This is extremely powerful and can really increase your conversions, so do try it! I talk a bit more about it in #4 below.
3. Set Your Budget
It’s important that you monitor your Facebook ad performance on a daily basis. However, it takes Facebook one to two days to really optimize your ad and run it effectively based on the parameters you set. Don’t worry about your numbers during those first two days.
As you’re getting started with Facebook ads, it’s a good idea to start with a small budget. For the first two days, starting with a $5 or $10 per day budget is perfectly acceptable. On day three, bump up your budget to $10 or $20 per day and start watching your numbers.
But first, you need to determine what’s working and what’s not. Use the information you collect in your analysis to tweak your audience targeting so you can maximize your conversions while driving down your cost per conversion. Do this again two days later. Again, you need to give Facebook time to catch up before you analyze the results and make additional changes. At this point, you can increase your daily budget to your maximum.
Yes, these budget numbers are very low, but the more you use Facebook ads, the more comfortable you’ll get with the tool, the better you’ll understand how to evaluate your results, and the more confident you’ll get in increasing your budget.
If you’re working with an specific ad budget that you can’t exceed, start by setting a maximum daily budget in the Facebook Ads Manager for just 10% to 20% of that full budget amount. Increase it to 40-50% on the third day as you continue to optimize, and bump it up to your maximum two days later.
4. Design Your Ad
The design of your ad matters a lot. You need a great image and well-written copy that appeals to your target audience or no one will click on your ad. Since Facebook has to approve all ads before they run, you should create multiple versions of your ad for testing and optimization of your campaign, and get them all approved. You can submit up to six ad designs with different images, headline text, and call-to-action copy. Each ad should test one variable only!
Test half of your ads starting on Day 1 of your campaign. On Day 3, when you identify what’s working and what’s not in order to tweak your audience and increase your daily maximum ad spend, you should also evaluate which ad designs are working. Keep the best performer and pause the others. Now, it’s time to test the other half of your ad designs. When you review your results again two days later, keep only the best performing ad design for the remainder of the campaign.
For your images, make sure they’re colorful, eye-catching, and high quality. For your messages, make sure they’re laser-focused on solving one pain point and trigger one or more emotions. Don’t make the ads about you or your products. Make your ads about the problems that your audience has which you or your products can solve. Focus on benefits, not features!
Once someone clicks on your ad, you need to make sure they get to a high quality landing page — not just your website home page or another random page, but a page specifically created for this ad’s audience. If you’re going to be retargeting as discussed in #2 above, make sure you include a thank you page after visitors complete the action you want on your landing page (e.g., entering an email address or buying a product), because that is where you’re going to put your Facebook pixel!
5. Track Your Results
Facebook provides a wealth of data to help you track your results, so you can continually improve your Facebook ad performance. Don’t get weighed down in the quagmire of data though. Remember what your main goal for your ad was and focus on relevant statistics.
Use your ad reports to make better ads in the future. Facebook advertising success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to learn how the system works as well as to learn what your target audiences will respond well to. One thing is certain though. You won’t know the answers to any of your questions unless you start testing Facebook ads for your own business!
Your Next Steps
I’ve given you a simple, 5-step Facebook advertising system that works very well to attract new audiences to your brand. To recap:
- Use unpublished page post ads.
- Target people who already liked other Facebook Pages.
- Start with a low daily maximum budget and increase it two days later and again two days after that.
- Create multiple ad designs and evaluate their performance. On Day 5, you should know which ad is the best performing and pause all others.
- Track your results.
Here’s a handy infographic with all five steps.
Whatever you do, don’t just boost a random post from your newsfeed and hope for the best. This 5-step system is simple for a reason. I want you to actually use it rather than boosting from your timeline! Give it a try and see what happens. I think you’ll be happy with the results.