The possibilities of Facebook Advertising


Facebook is by far thé social media channel that knows the most about you. Personal data such as where you live, your age, studies, relationship status, interests,.. are no secret for Facebook. This data doesn’t even have to be visible on your Facebook-page to be used by advertisers. In fact advertisers are allowed to use all this data to get their message to show on your timeline. Advertising on Facebook is so much more than simply boosting a post. You can focus on different target groups, target people who have a similar online appearance as your followers, remarket, target your client list,.. In this article I try to sum up all these possibilities and best practices considering Facebook Advertising.

Online advertising: look before you leap

The process of setting up an online ad is quite similar to when you’re for example setting up a onepage-ad in a magazine. It requires some planning and brainstorming before you can make it happen. You have to think about who your target audience will be, what message you want to bring across and how you’re going to create and visualise this message. The same goes for online advertising. You first think about what you want to accomplish, whether that be more sales or maybe just more likes on your Facebook page. Next you define your target audience(s). Based on these audiences you can go ahead and create a compelling ad copy and an image that draws attention.

Different ways of advertising

Advertising on Facebook can be tackled in many different ways. For example, you can post a message on your Facebook-page and than promote this post. Another possibility is to create a new post and only use it to advertise. If you do this, then your post will not be visible on your own Facebook-page itself. A scenario where you would use this is for example when you want to communicate that your company has won a certain price. When you advertise this post you want to tell this to your followers, the people that already know you, in a different way than to new potential followers.

Promoting a post is only one of the many possibilities of Facebook Advertising. Other possibilities are:

  • promoting your page
  • drive traffic to your website
  • stimulate conversions on your website
  • increase the amount of video views

Audiences

Custom Audiences

You can use external databases to target Facebook users. For example, you can import your client list or mailing database and Facebook then searches for users that use (a piece of) this data to log in to Facebook (e-mail, telephone number,..). Another possibility is to retarget users that already visited your website in the past. You are also able to advertise to users who visited a certain page on your website, or users that added items in their shopping cart but didn’t finish their purchase. If you have a mobile app, you are also able to target these users individually.

Lookalike Audiences

With lookalike audiences you can target users that have similar interests as your followers. For example: you have a shop in Ghent and a lot of people of Ghent like your Facebook-page. But with your online webshop your target group is bigger than only people from Ghent and you want to communicate to people in the whole of Flanders through Facebook. On Facebook you can use your followers as an example group and Facebook will then target people who behave the same way. The source for this can be a custom audience, a conversion pixel or your Facebook-page.

Saved Audiences

Another possibility is to create an audience based on age, gender, region, interaction with your page, … You than save this audience and use it later on in your targeting of a certain ad on Facebook.

Best practices

One thing is certain. Boosting a post on a weekly basis with the same budget is NOT a social media advertising strategy. First you have to set up your target group and think about the budget you’re willing to spend. Defining a fixed budget in advance is difficult. Monitor the ads closely the first few days and adjust when needed. Is your goal to have a certain conversion take place on your website and does your ad trigger a lot of clicks but no conversions? Don’t be afraid to pull the plug. Always keep in mind the goal of why you’re advertising and be realistic. If it’s not going well, it’s not going well. If that’s the case, just start over.

The process of online advertising doesn’t stop when you reach the end date of your ad. Look at and analyse the results of your ad critically and keep a clear overview, through a reporting tool or even a well-tailored excel-sheet. Which kind of promoted post did well? At what time of the day is there more interaction? Who are your most loyal Facebook followers? ..

There’s not just one best practice when it comes to Facebook Advertising. Opposed to classic advertising channels, Facebook Advertising is still young and in constant change. New possibilities are added, other functions disappear. But a few key things stay the same, just as with classic advertising channels. First think carefully about who you want to reach with your ads and the message you want to bring across.

Kevin Haveau | 1 October 2015

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