Facebook advertising: How to launch a campaign for your small business
In the last post on UTM links, we learnt how to effectively track the success of our Marketing efforts in Google Analytics. With this skill-set in hand, it makes sense to discuss which Marketing channels should deserve your attention first. The answer to this question will vary depending on what kind of small business you run. Understanding your product, niche and audience profile is vital to selecting the right channel; aspects we will discuss later.
Most entrepreneurs reading this blog however, either run a physical store with customers walking in an out, or an eCommerce business. In both instances, the average order value is between $10 and $100, with a large percentage of orders coming from repeat customers.
If this description fits your profile, the first Marketing channel you should test is Social Media, specifically Facebook. Instagram and Pinterest (only USA) are worth trying out later on, especially if you sell physical products which photograph nicely. But for now, let's look at why Facebook is a good place to start, and how you can launch your first campaign.
Why start with a Facebook campaign?
Facebook is one of the most attractive places for small business owners to advertise for three key reasons:
- You will reach your target audience. A massive 1.39 billion people use Facebook every month. As a result, setting up ads on the platform will allow you to reach any kind of customer profile you want, whether it's potential Gym members in a remote Scottish island, or fashion conscious hipsters in Berlin. Facebook has it all.
- Facebook is cheaper than most alternatives. As a small business owner you will be running a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) campaign, so you only pay when someone engages with your ad and is intrigued by your offer. Not only is this kind of performance-based advertising good for your business, but Facebook's comparatively low CPC's are good for your bottom-line too. This is especially true when compared to LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Facebook's advertising formats blow the (Social Media) competition out of the water. It's only after using other advertising platforms that you realise how useful Facebook's plethora of ad formats can be. Whether you want promote a specific product, re-market to your website visitors, increase attendance at an event or get people to leave their email address, Facebook will let you do it.
What you need to know before launching a Facebook campaign
Before we get into the thick of it, let's take a minute to discuss one or two best practices that will save you some time and money further down the road.
- Always use unique UTM links for your advertorials on Facebook. Ideally, you will be be able to track the performance of each advert in Google Analytics. This will let you optimise your campaigns later down the road, when you have reliable data on what works and what doesn't. At this stage, it's all about collecting data to optimise for the future and avoiding the mistakes of the past.
- Include Facebook's tracking Pixel on your website to see performance data in your Facebook dashboard.
- Target your audience as specifically as possible, even if it results in an initially low reach. It's always better to start with a highly targeted audience and then go bigger, rather than start off broad and waste money on clicks that are unlikely to generate sales.
- Start off with a small budget. You're probably rolling your eyes at this point, but it's amazing how many people end up spending large sums of money on untested campaigns. The trick here is to find an audience and an ad group which result in a positive ROI. Ramp up your spending only once you've found this combination.
- Facebook ads are priced by auction. Specifically, you define how much you are willing to pay per click, but you may find yourself paying +/-10%, depending on how much competition there is for the same ad slots. There are things you can do to further lower the cost of your ad; more on that later.
Facebook advertising - How to get started
Now that we've covered the best practices associated with Facebook advertising, let's take a step-by-step look at how to launch the first campaign.
Step #1 - Navigate to your dashboard
To get started, head over to Facebook and look towards the top right of your screen. Click on the arrow next to the lock, and click on "Manage Adverts".
Ad your credit card details and quickly set up your account.
Step #2 - Create a campaign
You should now be in your Facebook ads dashboard. Navigate towards the "Campaigns" tab and click on "Create Campaign".
Now you will be faced with a number of different campaign objectives. In this example, we want visitors to take a valuable action on our website, but we also wan't to pay per click, rather than per impression. Click on "Traffic".
Give your campaign a distinct and easily identifiable name.
Top tip: Naming your Facebook campaigns may seem trivial now, but it can cause serious confusion later on. To avoid this, come up with a defined methodology/structure to naming your campaigns. I recommend starting a spreadsheet which shows columns for the: date, objective, targeting, person responsible, landing page, UTM, budget (and later on results) for each campaign. Then assign a unique campaign name as a short-hand and use that as your Facebook campaign name, along with the launch date.
The result would look something like this:
This method allows you to keep a detailed record of your Facebook campaigns in a spreadsheet, making evaluation easier a few months down the road when your first campaigns is but a hazy memory.
Step #3 - Define your Advert set
In this step we will define the general settings of our campaign. The conversion type, testing objective and total budget are determine in your Advert set. Let's look at the options open to you:
Traffic: Keep the default as "Website or Messenger" unless you want to optimise for App installs.
Offer: This is the perfect way to include a special offer in your Facebook ad. Not only will the offer attract more interest from your audience, but users can save your offer to get a notification about it later.
Audience: Finding the right audience is crucial to the success of your Facebook campaign and is the most important factor to get right. As mentioned previously, try to be as specific as possible. Start with a small, but highly targeted audience which fits your perfect buyer persona.
Placements: You can decide where you want your Facebook ads to show. Just keep this at the default settings for now.
Budget & Schedule: This is where you define when you want your ads to show. Make sure that you're only charged for clicks, and not impressions, and set your budget. The minimum tends to be €5 per day. Define the start and end dates of your campaign, making sure to run them for at least 14 days. The important thing here, is to allow the campaign to run for long enough to gather some meaningful data. The bigger the sample size, the more meaningful the results.
Format: Here you can determine the type of creative used for the ads. The right choice depends on what you are trying to sell. For most physical products, the Carousel works best in my experience, while straight-forward services only need a single image. Done correctly, the video format can be very powerful, but make sure to have a short, fun, and professionally finished video. Do not choose this format with a self-made video.
Images: The images should ideally put your product front-and-centre. Try to avoid stock photos, and make sure to go easy on any text added to the picture, as Facebook is stricter than most when it comes to text-to-image ratios.
Page and links: Set your specially-crafted UTM link as the website URL, and devise a snappy headline. The key here is to include the unique value proposition of your product in the ad, while framing your headline in such a way that it solves the problem your audience is facing. An ad selling Gym memberships for example, should include a headline like: "No more tight waistbands"or "Say goodbye to weak arm muscles" rather than "Sale on Gym memberships" or "Greatly priced Gym memberships".
Next is the text field. Use this space to describe your product's advantages over competitors and the value it brings to customers. Keep your sentences short and too the point, while including some UTF-8 characters to draw the eye.
Now we have to pick the right call to action (CTA). The correct CTA depends on the product or service you are trying to sell. As a very rough guideline however, I would recommend using a soft-sell, like "learn more", for products of €50 or more. Anything less than that warrants a hard-sell: "shop now", or "sign up" for example.
The aperitif comes in form of the News feed link description. This where you make the final bid for the product. You will have to test what works best for your audience, but typically this is where you can get away with CAPS and UTF-8 characters. Make sure to use this space to include a time pressure point, like "limited time only" or "limited availability".
Finally, include a display link (the shorter the better) and place your order. Now a highly efficient Facebook bot will scan your Ad for any guideline breaches and get back to you within 15 mins, updating you on its status.
🌈Congratulations, you Ad is now live! 🌈
How to become even more effective at Facebook advertising
Get cheaper clicks by optimising your CTR
Your click-through rate is the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of impressions. Improving your ad's click-through rate (CTR) will lower your average CPC. This is because Facebook works to bring the most eye-balls to the best ad's. Therefore, if users react well to yours, Facebook will lower your CPC in order to show your ad's more frequently.
Nail your timing
Determining when your audience gets to see your Ads can massively impact their performance. By getting specific about your timing, you can not only ensure that people are most likely to click, but also that they are likely to buy. Somone clicking on your Ad at 2:00am on a Wednesday night for example, is less likely to make a significant purchase than a visitor at 13:00pm on a Saturday afternoon.
Try to show your Ad between 09:00am and 19:00pm. This is when visitors are most likely to make a purchase in my experience.
Facebook Advertising - Conclusion
With this step-by-step walkthrough you should be well-equipped to launch and track your first Facebook campaigns. Facebook is constantly changing it's user experience however, and much depends on where the advertiser is located as well as who he is trying to reach. Should you run into problems not tackled in the above, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to assist you.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing your ads ;)