Beyond the Boost: Digging in to Facebook Advertising

This year, I have been digging deeper into the complexities of the Facebook advertising platform, which has expanded with the addition of dedicated support, learning modules through their BluePrint site, a new ad builder, audience tools and the advent of a more powerful tracking tool.

dont-boostIn 2012, Facebook added the “Boost” button on posts to simplify their advertising platform for small businesses. Unfortunately, the boost function simplifies too much and limits the power of your dollars. It limits your capabilities for just about every aspect of Facebook advertising: audience targeting, campaign goals, tracking and so on. Advertisers quickly caught on to the downfalls of the boost, and articles (like this one) come out every so often, warning against using the dreaded Boost.

While it takes a while to get in the swing of things, with a trusted partner (ahem, like us), you can easily add Facebook Advertising to a current or upcoming promotion. Let’s cover the basics:

results-lg-shadowWhat you can advertise

There are a lot of objectives to choose from. An experienced advertiser can help you pick the best objective(s) for what you want to promote. The most common for our clients are:

  • Page Posts: Increase engagement (likes, comments, shares) on current posts
  • Event Attendance: Attract new people to RSVP to your event (through Facebook events)
  • Clicks to Website: Drive traffic to a specific page of your website. This is a second-best option, since most calls to action are now best served with the website conversions objective.
  • Website Conversions: Measure the actions taken on your site after people click through. This can be form submissions, adding items to a cart, check-out and more.

What you’ll need

  • Defined target audience: With Facebook’s audience tool, you can drill down to very specific geographics, demographics and interests to build an audience.
  • Good visuals: These are key to catching the eye of your target audience and may need to be swapped out every so often – your audience can grow tired of a photo.
  • A place to go: Every call to action needs a place to send people. If you’re sending them to a website, make sure they know what they need to do when they get there.
  • The Code: Facebook pixels require a code placed on the page, the location depends on what you are measuring. You can run ads without the code, but without this element, you lose a lot of opportunity for important data. Namely, the data that tells you how many people did what you wanted them to do.pixel-code-shadow

New Tools

  • Instagram: Facebook owns Instagram, and their ads platform allows you to place ads on Instagram. You also have the ability to advertise solely on Instagram. One issue with Instagram ads is that they don’t report metrics on likes, new followers, etc. You’ll only really see actions taken on your objective.
  • Pixels: These are the new norm in Facebook advertising. The old Conversion Tracking Pixel is being phased out this year. The new pixel ties in with the new Website Conversions objective and more accurately follows the path people take on your website after leaving Facebook. The Pixels gain their accuracy through tracking events, like a search, purchase or form submission.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Make your audiences more specific using Custom and Lookalike Audiences. Using these tools, you upload a customer file, pick a webpage with your pixel on it, or choose your page. Facebook then examines those people, and finds more people like them to make an audience that “looks” like the audience you already have. It only takes a few minutes to get the lookalike audience loaded!
  • Lead Generation: This tool is brand new this year and lets you collect lead info – names, emails, etc. – without needing to leave Facebook. Staying on the platform increases the likelihood that people will take action. It’s still very new – if you haven’t seen it yet, you will soon.lead-form

Spend

Facebook requires that you allocate at least $1 per day of your campaign, per objective. If you run a “Clicks to Website” campaign, you’ll need to allocate at least $5 per day. I advise calculating the minimum, then bumping the number up a bit – within reason – to increase how many people you’ll be able to reach each day of the campaign.

Which new Facebook advertising tool(s) would you be most interested to use?

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