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February 19, 2014

Expert Advice for Facebook Advertising

Credit: Matt Harnack / Facebook

Last year, a study showed that only 37 percent of Facebook marketers felt their ads were successful. Stats like these hint that ads themselves are not universal, and nuances exist on platforms like Facebook that can make or break a campaign. If you have yet to master the art of social ads, let this article enlighten you to the fundamental differences Facebook requires in your ad creation.

The Universal Laws in Advertising

Before we dive into what makes a Facebook ad successful, it’s essential to understand the foundation of great advertising. The following attributes are required in any ad campaign you generate:

  1. An intimate and detailed awareness of your target customer.
  2. Engaging ad copy that draws in your viewers.
  3. Eye-popping images that integrate well with your copy.
  4. Ideal page-placement.
  5. Efficient optimization and pricing structure.
  6. Detailed analytics that give you necessary data about views and click-throughs.

If you’re not yet an expert on the steps above, take the time to master and understand each before you dive in to the particulars of a Facebook campaign.

Facebook’s Key Differentiators

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s examine the special traits of Facebook campaigns that require an equally comprehensive understanding.

1. Micro-Targeting

Because Facebook has scads of demographic data about each of their users, this allows marketers to get extremely granular via targeted-ads. Newspaper and radio ads can’t let you target by gender and interest, but Facebook certainly can. This is why an all-inclusive understanding of your demographic is so essential in social advertising – the opportunity for micro-targeting necessitates this knowledge.

How targeted can your ads really be on Facebook? Even more so than on Google AdWords. While a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign lets you target by location and keywords, Facebook has the whole enchilada: location, keywords, workplace, birthdate, gender, age, and interests. This is immensely powerful advertising, but only if you know your audience.

2. Social is Key

Facebook is a social network, so your ads better have a social element too. This is especially true if you opt for native advertising placement; this gives marketers the chance to appear in a user’s feed, rather than traditional banner positions. The bonus of native ads is you are front and center to your audience. The drawback is you are competing with their chosen friends and content.

Native advertising necessitates that quality content be offered to your audience, rather than a hard sell. A great example of this can be found throughout gossip rag Buzzfeed’s many sponsored posts. Publisher Harper Collins has a great one called ‘17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand‘. Link through to that ad and you’ll find a fascinating piece that appeals to their demographic, which in turn does an epic job of boasting the credibility and awareness of the brand.

As you craft your Facebook ads, think about what your audience cares about the most, and offer them quality information rather than just a blurb about your services.

3. Cost Versus Optimization

It’s a prevalent myth out there that because Facebook is so popular, advertising on the platform must therefore be expensive. Not so. Facebook ads are volumes cheaper than traditional advertising, and even Google AdWords. A few hundred dollars a month could very likely reach your goals.

What Facebook requires above high price tags is time and effort. You cannot just launch a campaign and expect great results; it requires daily check-ins and careful analysis. Since you have the power to micro-target your ads, optimization is truly the key to Facebook ad success. Key metrics include monitoring which ads are getting the most Likes and click-throughs (i.e. actions), and a constant analysis of your cost-per-click (CPC).

4. Great Profiles are Essential

Many marketers miss this critical piece of the Facebook puzzle: no matter how great your ads are, your business page must also be comprehensive and well-maintained. Your ads are likely to draw a substantial crowd to your Facebook page. If it’s dull and archaic, any positive brand identity infused by your ads can be undone in an instant via a terrible Facebook profile.

5. Outsourcing is Not Required

Facebook ads work best if the ad manager is well-versed with the company and its related industry. It is ultimately advantageous that you or someone very close to your business be your Facebook marketer, not an outside firm. The more you work with the platform, the more you’ll learn about what works and what doesn’t – for your specific business. Because it is so micro-targeted, the rules are very specific to each business’s results.

Consider Facebook ads a long-term investment. Additionally, be willing to change ad campaigns and strategies at the drop of a hat if your results require it. Facebook, unlike traditional advertising platforms, requires an organic perspective, or a “go with the flow” attitude. Hard-sells and spammy ads are likely to fail miserably. A small marketing budget and a commitment to quality can go a long, long way.

6. Know Why Your Ads are Successful

Once you have a campaign that brings you positive results, don’t just celebrate your success, study it extensively. An understanding of why your target audience engaged with your ads is critical to the ability to duplicate these efforts. Do some audience segments respond better than others? Does your audience interact more with sidebar ads or sponsored stories? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you continue the positive trend.

What other key tactics have you discovered in Facebook advertising? What mistakes have you made that you advise others to be wary of?


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile