Facebook and Google have created a duopoly in digital advertising. According to Business Insider,
“Google and Facebook together accounted for an astounding 99% of revenue growth from digital advertising in the US last year.”
There is a reason for this. Facebook and Google have created the best advertising opportunity the world has ever known. They offer the lowest CPM (cost per 100) in advertising history. Traditional marketing media, such as magazine ads, may cost a business $20 or more to reach 1,000 people. The same thing can be accomplished on Facebook for pennies on the dollar.
Facebook or Google ad?
A Google Adwords campaign requires a high level of expertise to run, and must be monitored very closely. If not, you can lose a staggering amount of money quite quickly. I do not recommend that people try and run their own Adwords campaigns.
A Facebook campaign, on the other hand, can be run for as little as $5. If you try to create the campaign through Ads Manager it can be overwhelming, and you can again lose a lot of money. However, if you follow my simple checklist, you can easily create cheap Facebook ads that are highly effective.
How much do the ads cost?
In 2016, it cost an average of $0.35 to reach 1,000 people through Facebook. If you follow my steps, you can consistently keep the price below $0.15. So let’s get started . . .
Step 1: Determine your objective
I recommend running a Facebook ad for two reasons. To either gain followers, or to promote a special offer.
Step 2: Determine your content or offer
Look at your answer to Step 1. If the answer was to gain followers, then you want to create some type of content to promote. Examples of content that consistently work are:
- Checklists (you are reading this now, right? That shows that checklists consistently do well) or cheat sheets.
- Guides and “How to” advice. The most successful Facebook ad campaign I ever ran was a post on “How to create bunny butt cupcakes.” Seriously- we knocked it out of the park. It generated so many followers and likes that we temporarily broke Facebook. I include things like crafting guides, recipes and decorating advice in this category.
- Tool kits and resources lists- Carefully curated lists of apps aimed at your target market are currently popular.
- Video series- Videos work well because not everyone likes to read. Things that work well for video series are instructional videos and self-help videos.
- Webinars- These are becoming less popular but can still be very effective if created for your target demographic.
- Free book or white paper offers.
If your answer to Step 1 was to promote a special offer, then you need to create the offer. Examples of offers that work well are:
- Discounted pricing on your product/service- Make it a special Facebook Follower discount.
- A free giveaway if they buy your product/service- For example, a customer of mine once offered a free appliance package to anyone that purchased one of their homes.
- Access to a special sale- Another customer of mine, that operates a MHC in the US, held a special “All Homes Must Go” sale and very successfully promoted it over Facebook.
Step 3: Create your content or offer
If you are creating an offer, use a progam like Canva to create an attractive graphic. Make sure it is visually attractive, looks professional, contains your logo and the basic information about your offer. Remember: don’t put all the information on your graphic because the goal is to get people to click through to your site.
If you are creating content, make sure it is is something that your target demographic will find interesting and compelling. Never forget the power of the bunny butt cupcakes. Personally, I think the easiest way to make a Facebook ad is to create a blog post, and put my content on there.
Step 4: Create your landing page
Running a Facebook ad just for the sake of it is a waste of time and money. The goal is to get people to your website. Ideally, you should create a special landing page just for your ad. It should contain all relevant information and the colors, font and graphics should be consistent with your Facebook ad.
This is very important: when you create your landing page, make sure to specify a Featured Image in WordPress. Use the image that you want to appear in your Facebook ad.
My advice: do not try and substitute your business’s Facebook page for a proper landing page. If you don’t have a website for your company, I highly recommend you get one before investing any money in digital advertising. If you need help creating one, contact me. I provide very reasonable packages for new businesses to create websites and landing pages.
Step 5: Make sure your website is in good shape
This is the time to make sure your site is up and running, all content is updated and that your site is as user friendly as possible. If you are appealing to an international clientele, all translations should be checked by a native speaker.
I recommend installing a plugin to either collect email addresses before accessing your content (I like Constant Contact’s Mail Munch but it isn’t free), or to encourage people to like your Facebook page (Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox is a good one).
Step 6: Create the Facebook post
As I alluded to earlier, DON’T DO THIS IN ADS MANAGER. It’s way too tricky. I’ve been running Facebook ads for years and I don’t use it. Log into your company’s Facebook page and create a post.
If you are promoting content
If you’ve correctly set your Featured Image, just copy the url of your landing page into your Facebook post. Give it a moment and Facebook will create the post for you. It will look like this:
If you are promoting an offer
If you’re promoting an offer, create a new Facebook post and upload the graphic you created in Canva, or elsewhere. Make sure you link it to your landing page.
Regardless if you’re promoting a content or an offer, don’t forget to write something in the text box. Ideally, include a call to action such as “click on the photo below for more information” or “share this post with your friends.”
When you finish creating the post, Facebook will give you two options: (1) Publish or (2) Boost Post. Chose (1) Publish. This way you can double check your post and make sure everything looks ok before you promote it.
Step 7: Boost your post
This is where you actually create the ad. After you’ve made your post, you’ll see a button at the bottom that says “Boost Post.” Click on this. You will be taken to Ads Manager, which is going to ask you a bunch of questions.
- It will ask your objective. The options are to drive traffic to your site, or to create engagement. Honestly, I haven’t noticed a difference of how Facebook serves my ads when I check one box as opposed to the other. It does help you track the results of your ad a little better, so choose the box that applies.
- It will ask if you want to ad a button to your post. I’ve tried this and noticed no difference in the results I get, with or without the button. Thus I recommend not creating a button, just to make your life easy.
- It will ask you to create/edit your audience. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. It gives you options to target people who like your page, their friends, etc. I highly recommend choosing the first one: People you choose through targeting. Then, click on the Edit button. Here you can choose very specific details of the demographic you want to target. Age, gender, language, location and specific interests of your demographic. The more specific you are when you fill out this information, the better conversion rate you will get.
- Choose your budget
- Choose your ad duration
- Enter your payment details
- Click boost post.
After you boost your post, Facebook needs to approve your ad. I’ve had this take anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. Most ads get approved. The only time I’ve had ads disapproved is because they contained too much text.
Step 8: Monitor your post very carefully
This is arguably the most important step. Once you create an ad, make sure to stay on top of it. Read every comment as soon as possible. People may have questions or send you private messages about the promotion. Answer them as quickly as possible. Waiting a day in Facebook Land is like waiting weeks to return a phone call.
The other possiblity is that a random person posts something unhelpful, or even unkind, about your business or promotion. These comments should be hidden from public view IMMEDIATELY. To hide a comment hover over it. In the upper right corner you will see a little “x”. Click it and the post is hidden. If it’s appropriate, you can respond privately (use Facebook’s direct messenger) to the negative comment to clear up any misunderstnading or to defuse the situation.
Step 9: Check your ad stats
Now you can go directly into Ads Manager! There is an icon for it on the left hand column of your Facebook page. Click on it and you will immediately see how your ad is performing. I check this daily throughout the course of any campaign I run. This way, if a campaign is performing particularly well, I can increase my ad budget.
FINAL TIP: Don’t fall into the Like trap
And that’s it! Your ad is up and running. My final advice is this: they key to getting a really well performing ad is to get people to share it. Don’t focus too much on Likes. They seem important, but truth is they don’t get you much. The goal of your ad is to get people to visit your site and convert. Post content so interesting/useful that your potential customers want to share it with their friends. Every time they do this, they are giving you free advertising to all their friends.