What’s the buzz about Facebook advertising?

by / Thursday, 04 May 2017 / Published in Blog

If you’ve been thinking about investing budget in Facebook advertising, its targeting abilities alone make it worth investigating, as I learned at a recent Fatbuzz seminar in Edinburgh.

Fatbuzz, which hosts a monthly series called the New Media Breakfast in cities including Glasgow and Edinburgh, this time presented case studies and step-by-step guidance on running, targeting and refining ads on Facebook and Instagram. Here are the topline insights I took away from the morning:

1. The growth in Facebook and Instagram advertising is tremendous. The research firm eMarketer is expecting Facebook advertising revenue of $33.76 billion in 2017, with $3.92 billion coming from Instagram. If you haven’t investigated this medium, now is the time. Whether your budget is in the hundreds or thousands, the smart targeting of the platform makes it worthwhile investigating.

2. Invest the time in learning how to use it. As Fatbuzz Managing Director Gordon White said, Facebook advertising is clever, but it’s a mistake to think of it as cheap or easy. Take the time to know the market you’re aiming at, look at the online resources Facebook provides for new advertisers, get inspiration from the Facebook advertising case studies, which you can search by business size and sector and test and learn from your campaigns. That’s the way to reach those prized results every business hopes for: the ability to show their advertisement only to the people who care about it, and nobody else.

3. Facebook learns from everything. Whether it’s a Page a person has “liked” or even keywords in their status updates, Facebook develops a profile of its users that it lets advertisers leverage as a targeting mechanism. Yes, it’s unsettling, but as the saying goes: if you’re not paying anything for a product, you are the product.

4. Be ready to set a goal and an overall objective for your campaign. Right at the start, Facebook will ask you to choose a goal (Awareness raising; Consideration, such as traffic to website or engaging with a video; or Conversion, such as sales of a product.) You will also need to think about your overall goal. For example, a purely off-line business may want footfall to their showroom, or a recruiter may aim to get a certain number of candidates applying for a job.

5. The geographic targeting is powerful. Are you a local café? Estate agent? Facebook gives you the ability to show your advertisement within a tightly defined radius of as little as a few kilometers, letting you use highly specific ads that really speak to your targets.

6. You need the all-important Facebook Pixel. Gordon and his colleagues were very clear about this: this cookie-like tracking code, which Facebook generates for you and lets you download after you’ve set up an advertising account, needs to be put onto every page of your website to let you track the effectiveness of your advertising spend. The pixel even allows you to re-market, showing advertisements only to Facebook users who have previously visited your website. If you run Facebook or Instagram campaigns without the Facebook code installed on your website, your ad spend is not trackable — and why would you want that?

7. Knowing your audience is everything. Facebook will let you narrowly define the kind of person who should view your ad, so if you don’t know your target, it’s time to profile them, right now. Luxury car owners in a specific city? Teenage students nationwide, with an interest in rugby? Senior executives in the legal profession? It may not be the professional social media network, but remember, Facebook knows a surprising amount about its users, their jobs, age and interests. Once you have defined your audience, you can save it for future use, or (and this is what Fatbuzz does), define multiple specific audiences and use them in various campaigns.

8. Be careful with your budget. Facebook allows you to set a lifetime budget for an ad campaign, but you can also go into your advertising account settings and set an absolute limit on your advertising account, so you don’t unintentionally run up charges you can’t afford.

“Our advice is to start small, test your campaigns, increase your spend over time,” Gordon said. “And don’t forget: every campaign is an opportunity to test, fine-tune, improve and optimise what you’re doing next time.”

Huge thanks to Gordon, and his Fatbuzz colleagues Mary-Julie McNally and Kimberly Manderson, for a super-informative New Media Breakfast.

If you’ve used Facebook advertising, what challenges have you come across?

Sheila Averbuch is managing director of content services agency ENNclick, with offices in Scotland and Ireland. You can go here to find out more about our social media management services, or contact Sheila on +441875341583

Image by Asim Bharwani on Flickr

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