If you are a local business, an artist or a national company then you have probably already considered the lucrative possibility of advertising on Facebook. You always see sponsored ads to the side of your Facebook page, and sometimes they may even be offering products of friends of friends. Just what are these “sponsored ads” and how effective are they?
The question now is; how do you use advertising on Facebook? It’s not wise to invest in a strategy in which the benefits and the Return On Investment strategy are not clear. So your first step is to determine what your ultimate goal is. Do you want more Facebook followers or fans or are you more interested in boosting traffic to a website? Have you studied where your traffic is coming from?
Advertising on Facebook Works Like This…
First, you create an ad. You can create an image with copy and then submit it for advertising, paying the small fee requested by Facebook. The next step is what truly makes the deal special. Facebook doesn’t merely match you up with keyword traffic, as with PPC. Instead, they send the ad directly to “targeted traffic”, that is people who live nearby you or who may have common interests as you. All of this is based on the data that Facebook collects about its users—you and all of your friends and contacts.
So what you are paying for is for the “right people” to see the ad. You can specify the target audience you’re going for, whether by region, location or other demographics. Just as an experiment, load up your own Facebook page and try out advertising with Facebook. Right away, you can already see examples of products Facebook is recommending to you, based on your interests and your interactions with friends. You also have the ability to “X” off anything that doesn’t interest you. (So yes, in theory a friend could give your company the big “X”…but that’s why you have to be nice!)
Advertising on Facebook: Ads and Sponsored Stories
What is the difference between Facebook ads and sponsored ads? They are both forms of Facebook ads, but there is one major difference between them. Traditional ads are delivered to people most likely to respond to the ad—as in local businesses or customers (or other business criteria). These ads can appear on multiple pages, including photos, group pages, company or fan pages, profiles/timelines, home pages and apps. Often times, Facebook ads are partnered with news about social actions—something that relates back to your friends (i.e. your friend “likes” a page…and so an ad is featured around that product).
Sponsored ads are posts from your friends or from your pages that a company has paid to highlight. There is a better chance you will see the advertised product if it’s actually on a post from a friend—something you are looking forward to. This is a brilliant strategy, as companies are basically buying individual Facebook posts to promote their brand. And what better avenue? Facebook has over 900 million active users as of 2012.
Regardless of your goals, it’s safe to assume that converting Facebook interaction to cash flow is your ultimate goal. However, in order to determine how well you’re converting and how much you’re selling, you must develop a Facebook-centric strategy. You must think like the average Facebook user and try to determine what he or she will be interested in and what ads might prompt a response.
Strategizing Your Opening Moves
It is commonly recommended that you create Facebook ads that have a clear call to action (as in, telling the audience what to do). Even if the call to action is simple—like asking people to “like” your page, it must be directly stated. Since you don’t necessarily want to talk hard business in a social media hangout, it might be better to simply ask for non-committing forms of support rather than asking for a sale.
After this, plan on running some smaller “test” ads and then tracking the conversion rate. This is a smart strategy as it allows you to make educated decisions and not merely blow money on a whim. You will clearly see what copy is performing better and which deserves more support.
It’s also a smart move to rotate your ads frequently rather than sticking to the same photo and the same copy. The longer the campaign, the more you owe it to your audience to be entertaining and unpredictable. It is recommended that companies using advertising on Facebook try to change the ad every few days.
How Much Advertising on Facebook Costs
Like PPC, and like the popular Google Adwords page, you are the one who decides how much you want to spend on advertising. You start the campaign by entering your budget as well as a schedule as to when you want to ads to be shown. You can limit the budget to a few dollars a day, and can also customize how much you are willing to pay for a click. After finalizing the data, you can enter your credit card number and begin the adventure. Your ad must be approved by Facebook before it goes live.
Of course, Facebook rationalizes its entire system away, by claiming that they have to make money somehow—since it costs a billion dollars a year to run the Facebook website. Honestly though, most people don’t mind a few ads here and there—especially when the ads are part of their local Facebook community.
You have a tremendous opportunity in front of you with advertising on Facebook. There is already an estimated 400 million businesses using Facebook advertising, hoping to increase brand recognition, and reach consumers locally. It can be done. All it takes is an enthusiastic attitude and a solid understanding of both the Facebook Ad system, and Return-On-Investment strategy. Start profiting today by using your favorite social media site!