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learn how to use facebook ads

Make Outreach Effective Fast: Learn How to Use Facebook Ads

Learn How to Use Facebook Ads to Keep Up with the Pace

Chances are if you’re reading this, you may be one of the 50 million businesses maintaining a Facebook page. Businesses in all shapes and sizes have a Facebook presence, all the way from Starbucks (37,240,603 likes as of press time) to Harvard Business Review (3,027,036 likes) and even Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts in Lynchburg, Va. (36,973 likes). In 2018, a Facebook business page is the modern-day equivalent of a website. Any digital marketer will tell you, there is no doing business without one. If you’re a business owner, you’ve got to learn how to use Facebook Ads.

Any digital marketer will tell you, there is no doing business without [a Facebook page]

For as many people who say they hate Facebook, even more love it and use it every day. Facebook itself estimated in 2014 that the number of daily active users was 1.32 billion while Apple places Facebook in the number 6 position as one of the top 20 most downloaded apps in 2017. An average visit to Facebook and its subsidiary apps, Instagram and Messenger, is longer than the amount of time it takes to shower and brush your teeth almost an hour  — , according to the New York Times. In fact, the best part of waking up isn’t Folgers anymore — it’s Facebook, listed as the number one activity after getting out of bed.

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Facebook has not only transformed the morning rituals and behaviors of much of the world’s population, but they have also transformed how business does business.

Facebook’s Power Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Be Denied

Powering today’s Facebook Business ecosystem is one of the most powerful and successful ad platforms there is. During last earning’s call for Q3 2017, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, reported a 49% growth in revenue just from ads. Speaking in terms of dollars, this equates to $10.1 billion.

Facebook has not only transformed the morning rituals and behaviors of much of the world’s population, but they have also transformed how business does business.

This figure helps to illustrate the phenomenon and exploding popularity of Facebook advertising. But what does it mean for you as an entrepreneur and business owner? How exactly does one learn how to use the Facebook ads platform?

The Basics of Facebook Ads and How They Work

Facebook advertising is a paid platform to get your business in front of the right people and connect them to your business or brand. The overarching idea is to reach your customers where they already are: actively engaged with family, friends and the day’s latest news in the feed — the constant stream of messages, pictures, videos and posts.

When you hear “Facebook ads,” it’s referring to paid advertisements that run within Facebook and show up in your feed, also called the News Feed. These ads can take on a variety of formats, from text to videos to slideshows, and show up as sponsored posts in the News Feed on a desktop or mobile device, on Instagram, or what is referred to as the Audience Network: a community of Facebook partners, including apps and websites, who get paid to show your ads outside of the Facebook platform.

Facebook advertising is a paid platform to get your business in front of the right people and connect them to your business or brand

In terms of expense, ad budgets run the gamut. As long as you are the admin of your Facebook Page, you can spend as little as $5 a day to promote your page or create an ad set to get your business in front of your ideal customer. Size doesn’t matter; small mom-and-pop shops like Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts can place ads just like Starbucks can though budgets for larger enterprises run into the thousands, even millions of dollars.

Digital ad spending, of which Facebook advertising is a component, just reached an all-time high of $209 billion in 2017, overtaking TV advertising at $178 billion, according to media-focused research firm Magna.

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What makes these ads so powerful isn’t their popularity or the money being thrown at them, but in their ninja-targeting abilities. Let’s explore some of the platform’s unique targeting abilities, so you too can harness the power of and learn how to use Facebook ads.

Ninja Forces at Work: Facebook Ads Pack a Punch

Only a few short years ago, advertising a business online meant bidding on keywords or phrases that consumers would use to search for products and services, primarily on Google. For example, I might type the words “Digital Marketing Consultant New Jersey” within the Google Search box if I were looking for a Digital Marketing Consultant, like C-Suite Social Media, in the New Jersey area. I might also type this same string of words within the search box on Facebook, too. But then I would have to navigate to the “Pages” or “Places” tab within the navigation to filter my results further and search to find the business or businesses that best match my personal preferences. That involves work and a lot more of my time.

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What if we flipped this model on its head and rather than me finding the business, the business finds me? In a nutshell, that is exactly how Facebook ads work and only part of the ninja-ness of the ads platform. The biggest, single-handed, Jackie Chan advantage to Facebook ads is their ability to target even the most niche of audiences.

This happens during the ad creation phase within Facebook Ads Manager as you, the advertiser, creates an audience. Simply put, an audience is the segment of people who see your ad. Facebook even provides a gauge (resembling a speedometer) that estimates the size of the audience based on the specific variables you select.

What if we flipped this model on its head and rather than me finding the business, the business finds me?

Remember, you cannot run a Facebook ad without first defining and mapping a specific audience to see those ads. Audiences are built using a specific set of criteria: basic targeting and detailed targeting.

Learn How to Use Facebook Ads Right Here, Right Now

Basic Targeting Fields

Basic targeting includes fields of information, i.e. basic information you might normally expect such as city, state, zip code, age range, or gender. Following is a basic explanation of each category:

  • Locations: Mandatory field, must include country, state, city or zip code. Once a geography is named, you can extend the selection to a radius of 10 to 50 miles or do exclusion targeting to exclude certain cities within your audience.
  • Age: This is used to define the age range of your target audience, 21 to 45 years of age for example.
  • Gender: Identifies men, women or all groups.
  • Language: Indicates the language preference of your ideal group, such as English or Spanish.

Detailed Targeting

Detailed targeting is where things get very interesting with Facebook ads. Advertisers can use behavior and interest targeting to build an audience of Facebook users most likely to buy their product or service.

It works like this: Facebook collects information on its users based on information they have added to their timeline, the posts they like, keywords in their status updates, apps they use, and any ads they have previously clicked. Facebook then assigns these groups to high-level interests. An advertiser will use or select these specific interests to curate an audience of people most likely to click their ad.

The combination of interests an advertiser can target is endless

For example, if I were a boutique athletic shop, I might target college students living away from home who take spin classes and like the brand Lululemon. This just scratches the surface; the combination of interests an advertiser can target is endless.

As if that weren’t cool enough, Facebook also provides an advertiser the ability to select an audience based on their existing customers and traffic to their website. This assumes certain conditions are met such as how data imports are formatted and the installation of a Facebook Pixel.

When your business is ready to harness the full power of Facebook, these five types of audiences are a great place to start and may even provide your Facebook Ads with a competitive advantage:

  1. Create a Lookalike audience of people on Facebook who match your current list of customers. Most businesses have an email list of customers. Facebook will use this list as a “seed audience” to create what’s referred to as a “lookalike audience.” A lookalike audience resembles your existing customers; it’s a way to reach people already on Facebook who most look like or match the demographics, interests and behaviors of your current customers.
  2. Remarket to website visitors by installing the Facebook Pixel tracking code on your website. Facebook gives each advertiser a unique tracking code specific to their ad account called a Facebook Pixel. A Facebook Pixel is installed on a website and lives in the background at the source code/HTML level. When installed, it enables a business to create an audience of people on Facebook who have visited your website within the last 180 days maximum.  
  3. Build a custom audience of people who have watched your videos. Create a list of people who have spent time watching your videos on Facebook or Instagram. Chances are they will be very interested in your product or service if they have already spent time viewing your video content.
  4. Create a list of people who have interacted with your Page on Facebook. People on Facebook who have already visited or interacted with your Page have the potential of making a great audience for your ads. These include people who engaged with any post or ad – reactions, shares, comments or link clicks; people who clicked any call-to-action button; people who sent a message to your Page; or people who saved your Page or any post.
  5. Form an audience around people who have interacted with your events on Facebook. Many types of businesses use their Facebook Business Page to promote their events. Consider creating an audience based on who responded as “Going” or “Interested” in your events during the past year. An advertiser can even select specific events to include or exclude within this group.

Here is a final word on Facebook ads for new advertisers especially. It is important to note that first and foremost, audience selection is critical to the success of your ad. With so many different configurations, the process can overwhelming at first. But with time, patience, and even a little bit of help, a business of any size can reach the people most likely to become customers. It is in this way that a business can harness the full power of and learn how to use Facebook ads.

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About Tina Powell

Tina Powell is CEO of C-Suite Social Media, a digital marketing and social media consultancy for the financial services industry. A dynamic leader with more than 20 years of experience, Tina works with leaders and thought-leaders to help them build strong brands and find their voice via social media.

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