Beginners Guide To Running Facebook Ads
In this article, we’ll first define what Facebook Ads are and the different types of native ads and placements available to marketers. We walk through the 3-level structure of Facebook Ad campaigns, the specific campaign objectives available on the platform and also the CTA buttons.
Next, we’ll dive into the targeting options and audience insights Facebook offers to marketers. At this point, you’ll likely be wondering how you create ads on the platform, so of course, we’ll then talk through Facebook’s Ads Manager and Power Editor tools and how ad auctions work.
Lastly, we’ll show you how you can leverage Canvas, a unique customizable ad type, then finish up with how to analyze your Facebook campaign performance.
Facebook Ads is the native paid media platform offered and developed on Facebook. Facebook Ads enable advertisers to target real people across many devices, which allows advertisers to strategically reach people at each stage of the marketing funnel.
Facebook provides various ad formats. They include:
- Video Ad: These ads put video front and centre in feeds.
- Image Ad: These ads allow you to use static images to highlight the offering.
- Link Ad: These ads allow an advertiser to input a URL that people will visit once they click the ad.
- Carousel Ad: Allow advertisers to upload multiple images and users can scroll across them.
Dynamic Ad: These ads help you promote relevant products to shoppers browsing your product catalogue on your website or mobile app.
- Lead Ad: These ads allow people on mobile to complete forms with just a couple of taps, making it incredibly easy for them to send you their information.
- App Ad: Allow advertisers to drive new installs to your app or engage existing users.
- Event Ad: Advertisers can get people to “attend” or respond to their Facebook event.
- Local Awareness Ad: Local awareness ads from Facebook are a way for businesses to reach people near their business and help them find it.
- Canvas Ad: Canvas is an immersive and expressive experience on Facebook for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products.
- Collection Ad: Make it easier for people to discover, browse and purchase products and offerings in a visual and immersive way.
Facebook also offers three different placement options for your ads to encourage users to engage with your objective. They are:
- Desktop News Feed & Mobile News Feed (and Right Hand Side)
- Audience Network (which is collection of third-party apps and mobile websites approved by Facebook to show Facebook Ads)
The same people can be reached across all placements in the same campaign.
When creating a Facebook Ad campaign there is a 3 level structure:
1.Campaign Level: You begin at the Campaign level which is where you set your objectives to determine what you want to accomplish with an ad.
2.Ad Set Level: Then you move on to the Ad Set level where audiences, ad placement locations, budgets and ad schedules are set.
3.Ad Level: Last comes the Ad level, where you define your campaign creative – which includes the format, photo or video, the ad copy, and any page links.
Within a campaign, there can be as many ad sets as you wish. There can also be as many ads as you wish in an ad set, but best practice would point to there being no more than 6 ads in an ad set. Too many ads in an ad set mean there are too many ads competing for the same audience and it will have a negative impact on delivery.
Now on to Campaign Objectives. We discussed this earlier, but note that Facebook specifically designs their campaign objective selection around these three particular stages of the Buyer’s Journey.
- If your aim is Awareness, you should select a brand awareness or reach objective for your Facebook ad campaign.
- If your aim is Consideration, you can choose from traffic, engagement, app installs, video views or lead generation objective.
- If your goal is Conversion, you can select from either a conversion, product catalogue sales, or store visits objective for your campaign.
Be sure to choose the most appropriate campaign objective in order to achieve your campaign goals.
Facebook offers several CTA buttons for marketers to include in their ads. Each CTA specifies a specific action which should be aligned with your marketing objective.
Audience targeting helps you show your ads to the people that are most relevant to your message based on location, demographics and what they do off of Facebook. So, let’s dig into the various targeting options that Facebook offers.
- Core Audiences: Allows you to target based on location, demographics, age & gender, connections, interests, and behaviours.
- Custom Audiences: An audience you can create made up of your existing customers and is a great way to reach out to current customers to upsell or cross-sell, as well as to re-engage lapsed customers.
- Lookalike Audiences: A way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in a business because they’re similar to customers you care about.
- Partner Categories: Leverages offline data provided by trusted partners that match to people on Facebook and Instagram, enabling more relevancy.
By selecting the right targeting options, you can implement a strategy that focuses on reach and precision at scale, while eliminating waste. For example, a nail salon can reach out to people with manicure offers in the local area who have an interest in beauty but exclude anyone who has bought a manicure from them in the past 2 years.
So now you might be wondering what tools you can use to measure the success of your Facebook Ad campaign.
Audience Insights is a tool native to Facebook that allows you to learn more about audience engagement and performance metrics from paid campaign activity in order to deliver meaningful and targeted messages to people.
Audience Insights aggregates anonymous information about your ad performance such as:
- Demographics: age, gender, lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role.
- Page Likes: top Pages people like in different categories.
- Location: top towns/cities, countries, language.
- Activity: frequency of logging in and through which device.
- Household: income, ownership, size, market value, spending methods.
- Purchase: retail spending, online purchases, purchase behaviour.
Check out the tutorial for how to navigate Audience Insights in the resources section.
The information in Audience Insights is aggregated from three different groups of people:
- People on Facebook (the general Facebook audience)
- People connected to your Page or Event
- People in Custom Audiences you’ve already created (an audience made up of your current customers)
So where within the Facebook platform do you go to manage your ads? Facebook’s Ads Manager is a self-serve tool where advertisers can launch and manage their own ad campaigns, define objectives, targeting & placements, and upload the creative they wish to run. Ads Manager is the starting point to building campaigns and setting campaigns live on the platform.
Ads Manager offers many features and settings which include: Marketing Objectives, Campaign Structures & Planning, Ad Creation & Management, Assets Management, Ads Reporting, Billing & Payment Methods.
- Marketing Objectives: these are the various brand and direct response approaches an advertiser can take and can be found under the ‘Create & Manage’ tab.
- Campaign Structures & Planning: These are the Campaign, Ad Set and Ad levels that allow you to set the right Objective, Targeting and Creative. This can be found under the ‘Create & Manage’ tab.
- Ad Creation & Management: This is the creative flow that lets you build ads across the three layers. This can be found under the ‘Create & Manage’ tab.
- Assets Management: This is a space that holds your pixels, audiences, product catalogues and more. This can be found under the ‘Assets’ tab.
- Ads Reporting: This is the interface that allows you to analyze the performance of all campaigns. This can be found under the ‘Measure & Report’ tab.
- Billing & Payment Methods: Here you can add new payment methods, download invoices and set spending limits. This can be found under the ‘Settings’ tab.
Now that you know how to navigate Facebook’s Ads Manager, let’s discuss the best practices to apply to get the most out of your campaigns:
1.It is vital to align your marketing objectives when selecting them on Ads Manager with the objectives of the business. If your job is to grow the brand or drive new customers, reach and awareness objectives should be set. For example, if you are set to get new sign-ups, select Lead Generation.
2.Always structure your campaign to the audience you select and the desired outcome. If you are reaching out to new customers, be sure to exclude existing customers in targeting.
3.Strong, impactful copy, imagery, and video should be provided for the campaign. The success of the campaign is strongly influenced by the quality of the creative and it’s relevancy to the target audience.
4.As you have seen, there are many ways and permutations with which to reach out to audiences on the Facebook platforms. Be sure to build precise targeting clusters.
5.There are a few ways to bid on advertising, we will discuss those later in the module.
6.A “test, learn and scale” approach is the best way in which to approach advertising in general, but particularly on Facebook. It is important to frequently check the performance of campaigns against metrics that matter to you. Analyze what works and what doesn’t. Whatever works well, be sure to invest more in it so you can scale success.
Navigating Ads Manager is really quite simple, it just looks daunting because the tool is so comprehensive. Check out the tutorial in the resources section to see how to create and edit a campaign, ad set and ad in Ads Manager, and also how to turn them on and off!
The functionality and layout of Power Editor allow marketers to see more live campaigns than Ads Manager and makes the management of bulk ads, individual ads, ads sets and multiple campaigns easier with easy tab navigation and high-level metrics such as results, reach, and spend.
In Power Editor, there are slightly different campaign objectives available to advertisers, however, they still ladder up to the same three stages of the marketing funnel:
- Awareness objectives are: Brand Awareness and Reach
- Consideration objectives are: Site Traffic, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Generation, Post Engagement, Page Likes, and Event Responses
- Conversion objectives are: Conversions, Product Catalog Sales, and Store Visits
Now, this video will walk through how Facebook Ad Auctions are designed to bring relevant content to people while providing maximum value for your advertising budget.
First, a ‘total value’ is assigned to every ad competing in the auction, your ad competes with others, and the one with the highest total value wins the auction. The ‘total value’ number is based on:
- The amount you have bid
- The likelihood of your ad leading to your desired outcome
- The quality of your ad
- The relevance of your ad to a potential viewer
To make sure your ad is competitive, you’ll need to choose an objective that aligns with your business goal. Then, bid the maximum amount the ad is worth to your business. Make sure you set the budget and bid on your ad type so you’re likely to capture at least a few of your desired actions each day. Low bids tend to result in slow delivery to a small percentage of the selected audience. High bids tend to result in speedy delivery to a large percentage of the audience, which is why bidding the maximum amount is recommended.
To win a spot in an ad auction, the ad has to have the highest “total value.” The total value isn’t how much an advertiser is willing to pay to show their ad. It’s a combination of the following three factors:
1.Advertiser Bid (Automatic & Manual): An automatic bid lets the system optimize bid amounts for you, whereas with the manual you are instructing the system what bid level you want to go for e.g. €3 per website click.
2.Ad Quality & Relevance: For this second factor, targeting and quality of creative are important to get right in order to win the auction.
3.Estimated Action Rates: The system estimates the likelihood of an audience reacting positively or negatively to the ad.
Facebook also gives ads a Relevance score from 1-10 that is calculated differently depending on the objective set, based on positive and negative feedback the system expects from the people seeing it, and also how the ad is performing. Only set the ads live that have high relevance scores.
Let’s now walk through one of Facebook’s more unique ad types –Canvas. Facebook Canvas is an immersive and expressive mobile ad experience that businesses can leverage to tell their stories and showcase their products. Canvas enables you to shorten the distance between your message and the customer. It loads instantly, is mobile-optimized and is designed to capture the complete attention of your audience. Canvas ads let people watch engaging videos and photos, swipe through carousels, tilt to the pan, and engage with lifestyle images with tagged products – all in a single ad.
To create a Canvas ad, use Facebook Canvas Builder and the Canvas management tools within your page’s Publishing Tools. Marketers can select various components such as video, text and headers to include in their Canvas. It is recommended that marketers test and learn which components work best with each other, especially in relation to their marketing objectives.
Although Canvas ads still follow the same three stages of the Buyer’s Journey, the ad objectives for Canvas differ from the other Facebook ad types.
- For Awareness, the objective options remain as Brand Awareness and Reach.
- For Consideration, only Traffic, Engagement, Video Views are available.
- And for Conversion, only Conversions can be selected as an objective.
The Canvas creation process starts with three default components: header, photo and CTA button. You can move these components using the arrows at the top right of each component’s box. You can also use the trashcan icon to delete a component from your Canvas (and you always have the option to add it back). There are additional Canvas components available which include: carousel, text block, and video.
A finished Canvas has its own URL that can also be used within a Facebook Ad for mobile News Feed.
It’s worth noting that Canvas also has unique reporting metrics to other formats. The added metrics Canvas has are:
- Canvas View Duration: The average total time, in seconds, that people spent viewing a Facebook Canvas.
- Canvas View Percentage: The average percentage of the Facebook Canvas that people saw.
- Link Clicks: The number of clicks on links to select destinations or experiences, on or off Facebook-owned properties.
- Canvas Component Duration Percentage: The average percentage of time spent viewing each component of a Facebook Canvas.
- Outbound Clicks: The number of clicks on links that take people off Facebook-owned properties.
Ad reporting and analysis is crucial to understanding how well ads are performing and allows marketers to make changes in real-time to live ads to enhance their performance.
The best place to see how your ads are performing is the reports area of Ads Manager. Here you can create and export Facebook ad reports to see your most important ad metrics and learn how you’re reaching your business goals. Ads Manager can also breakdown the performance of each campaign to date across all metrics and they are updated in real-time.
The following are the metrics you can report on within Ads Manager and each report can be configured by date range, account, campaign or individual ad:
- Responder Demographics: These reports show which users are viewing/interacting with the ad.
- Responder Profile: These reports show user interests, ranks and clickers.
- Placement Based Metrics: This shows the breakdown of results by placement (ex: Facebook desktop News Feed, Instagram mobile News Feed) where your ad was shown.
- Facebook Page Actions: These reports show Pages action activity that happens as a result of your ad. This includes Post Engagement, Page Likes, Check-ins, Page Mentions, Page Tab Views, and Event Responses.
- Video Actions: This report shows engagements (views, likes, comments, and shares), retention, and clicks (clicks to play, link clicks, and other clicks) on your video.
- Website Conversions: This report measures ads’ ability to drive online conversions, offline sales and in-store visits (via a pixel). This includes: Website Conversions, Website Checkouts (Conversion Tracking Pixel), Website Registrations (Conversion Tracking Pixel), Website Leads (Conversion Tracking Pixel), Website Key Page Views (Conversion Tracking Pixel), Website Adds to Cart (Conversion Tracking Pixel) and other website conversions.
- Cross-Device: To enable the cross-device reports, you need to install the Facebook pixel on your mobile and desktop websites and select the Facebook pixel or App Events in your ads. If you’re using the Facebook SDK, you can also install the Facebook SDK into your mobile app and configure the app events.
- App Actions: This report measures app actions including; Desktop and Mobile App Installs, Desktop App Engagement, Desktop App Story Engagement, Desktop App Uses, Credit Spends, Mobile App Sessions, Mobile App Registrations Completed, Mobile App Content Views, Mobile App Searches, Mobile App Ratings Submitted, Mobile App Tutorials Completed, Mobile App Adds to Cart, Mobile App Adds to Wishlist, Mobile App Checkouts Initiated, Mobile App Adds of Payment Info, Mobile App Purchases, Mobile App Levels Completed, Mobile App Achievements Unlocked, Mobile App Credits Spent and more.
I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.
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