Danielle Legler | June 24, 2014

Understanding the Basics of Facebook Ads for Small Businesses

As the digital world continues to grow, and mobile usage exponentially increases, Facebook is continuing to see a staggering increase in users and daily visits to the site.

The site has over 1.28 billion users and 128 million of those users visit the site every day in the U.S. alone.Not only are consumers spending their time on Facebook, they’re also spending their money. About 38 percent of respondents have made a purchase as a result of a share or like they saw on Facebook.

With this information readily available, it’s clear that business owners understand the need to have a social presence – as of last count, over 25 million business pages currently exist on Facebook. However, with more and more people joining the site, the ability toorganically reach consumers in their newsfeed is steadily declining. The amount of content being produced is outnumbering the amount of space that the newsfeed allows for, making it very hard for businesses to get their posts seen by their own fans.

Get more info about social media marketing in our free white paper, “Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses”

The Benefits of Facebook Ads

There are a few ways to improve your presence in the newsfeed, but the best way to combat organic decline is with paid advertising. Small business owners may be wary about paying for a platform that they’ve always used for free, but the results for paid advertising on Facebook could very well change their mind. According to Brian Neal, Client Partner at Facebook, 70 percent of the campaigns reviewed on Facebook are seeing a 3x return on investment.Facebook ads are clearly a good investment, so we’ve broken down on outline on how to get started with them and which ones are best for your small business.

Determining Your Objectives

Similar to any marketing plan, it’s important to determine what your goals for the campaign are before launching. So before setting up ads for your small business, you must first determine what the goal of your Facebook page will be. Your goal will determine the type of ad you should use on Facebook at what the ROI might look like for that goal.

Page Post Engagement Ads

These ads are optimized to increase visibility for text posts, photos, links, or videos shared on Facebook. These ads are best to stay top of mind with your customers by encouraging interaction and keeping them up to date with business news.

Tip: Images with more than 20 percent text on them will get disapproved. Use Facebook’s Grid Tool (found here) to ensure your photos are within guidelines.

Page Like Ads

These ads are used to drive a larger audience to your page. These are great for newly created pages to increase awareness of the business.

Offer Claims Ads

These ads are great for encouraging sales to either your online store or brick and mortar business via a promotional offer that is sent to their email after “claiming” the offer on your page.

Tip: Post offers with images that include the promotional text on them in order to better catch your customer’s eye.

Event Responses Ads

These ads are optimal for both promoting upcoming events and reminding attendees that they have an event coming up.

In addition to these more popular ads, you can also do Clicks to Website ads, Website Conversions ads, and Mobile App Installs and Engagement ads.

Getting Started

Once you’ve determined what kinds of ads you like to post, you’re ready to start setting them up. Creating a post can either be done directly on your page by “boosting” your post or by creating more in-depth posts on facebook.com/ads/create. Boosting a post will allow your ad to be seen higher in the newsfeed, whereas creating an ad within the ad create tool gives you greater control over your audience, budget, and campaign duration.

Newsfeed Vs. Right Hand Column Ads

Next you will determine the placement of your ads within Facebook’s platform. You have the option to either place your ad in the newsfeed (available for mobile and desktop) or in the right hand column (desktop only). Newsfeed ads are powerful because they allow for bigger images, more visibility, and are seen on mobile as well as desktops. Right hand side ads work better to test offers targeted to different audiences and to supplement your newsfeed ads.

Targeting the Right People

The next step in setting up your Facebook ads is figuring out who you want to see them. Facebook is great in that it has vast amounts of data on people ranging from where they live to what kind of TV shows they like to watch. This specific data allows you to target your exact audience, allowing for a higher likelihood of receiving a return on your investment. It’s important to think about the audience that is already engaged with your store and to base your targeting off of that, rather than trying to get your ad in front of as many eyes as possible.

“When you take advantage of the targeting that’s available on Facebook, you can get the right kind of people to your page. People who are actually more likely to do business with you, rather than casting this giant net worldwide to increase your overall like count. We [G/O Digital] really want to make sure that they’re qualified fans, and finding that right balance of getting the right level of qualification and big enough audience so that we can move the needle for you and your business,” Krys VanSlyke, G/O Digital Sr. Social Media Manager.

Keeping Up With Your Campaigns

One of the more difficult things about Facebook ads is optimizing them to perform better by using your Ads Insights tool. It’s not difficult in the mental capacity, but difficult in the amount of time it takes to determine how to improve your ads to increase your ROI. Setting up your initial Facebook ads isn’t time consuming, but monitoring them and your Facebook page, is a daily process.

Not only that, but Facebook is constantly changing their ads and layout in order to improve customer satisfaction, and it can be hard to keep up with those changes and how they affect your ads while you’re busy running your business. Hiring a digital marketing company with dedicated social media specialists is an effective and relatively inexpensive way to ensure that your Facebook ads are running at their optimum level.