by Jack Buckley Account Executive, [email protected]
Facebook advertising has a bad reputation; people think it’s confusing and overly complicated…and rightly so. This type of advertising is so dissimilar to the industry standard of paying for something, and receiving a service, that it immediately puts off those without the time to invest in it.
This isn’t like standard advertising; you pay for the privilege of using it, rather than paying for anything tangible. Because Facebook needs to protect the experience of its userbase, the company does not guarantee coverage, nor does it encourage irrelevant advertisements. Facebook makes you pay to play, but any successes you have are due to the quality of the advertisement you run.
Let’s shine a light on this and take a look at what exactly makes Facebook advertising tick:
This is the simplest element you’ll encounter when planning an advertisement set. The more relevant an advertisement is to those you’re targeting, the cheaper it will be, and consequently the more views you will receive. Facebook have coded a ‘path of least resistance’ – the more relevance your advertisement has to your audience, the easier it will be to get a cheap, successful advertisement.
The entire aim of advertising through Facebook isn’t to help your business…it’s to make Facebook money. What better way to do this than to hide the rules of the game from you, and charge you for services regardless? Nowhere on the site will you see a cost-per-interest, so it’s something you’ll need to research and implement yourself.
Set five to ten advertisements that are identical but for one point, and allocate a small budget for each of them – around £1 will do. Once these advertisements have run their course, you will see which performs best. In the case of Facebook advertising, cheaper is better. It means the ad’ set is more relevant to those you’re targeting, and will allow your advertisement a greater reach than if you targeted a more broad audience.
Broad vs. Defined
A broad audience will hit more people, and will be more expensive because some of those targeted may not be interested in your product. This option is excellent for getting the message out there, but naturally, will cost a lot more than a defined advertisement.
A defined audience is just that; small, specific and relevant. This audience is good for selling products, as you are 100% sure that your audience is interested. You can expect an average value far less than you would pay for a broad audience, so this is the natural preference in any campaign.
A boosted post relies on being seen by as many people as possible – these won’t generate a huge amount of likes, but for visibility, they are pound-for-pound some of the most cost effective advertisements you can get. Where else can you buy thousands of specifically targeted impressions for under £10?
You’ll be able to tell if a post is about to take off. Usually within the first 20 minutes, you will see a few likes, a few shares – if you’re lucky, you’ll see people tagged in the post. You can boost the post by a few pounds and see where it goes…if the numbers continue to rise, then you can keep adding more money.
In one campaign for a client, for 20% of the total budget, boosted posts brought in 80% of the impressions. The Parato principle in action!
Paid likes vs. Promoted page
Paid likes are almost universally derided as pointless. Think of them like an inflatable muscle-suit…from a distance, you may be fooled, but look again and you’ll realise just how silly they look. Paid likes are when you pay a certain amount to a third party, and receive a certain amount of likes in return. This is usually extremely cheap, and is exclusively made up of fake ‘bot’ accounts.
Promoting your page through Facebook, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish. Your advertisement will appear in a users sidebar, and they get the choice as to whether or not to like it. This leaves the potential for a highly engaged, highly specific audience – a far cry more successful than 5000 spam likes and next to zero engagement.
Facebook advertising is less of a science and more of an art. The single best way to understand it is to set a small budget, see what works, and watch the likes roll in. The reason your un-boosted posts aren’t getting much engagement is most likely because you aren’t playing the game. Facebook is no longer a meritocracy, and advertising has fast become an essential to any successful social media campaign.