Facebook Advertising is often touted as a marketing tactic that can save you money, build your business, feed starving orphans, and save the careers of even the most mediocre marketing minds on the planet today.

Only one of those descriptions was hyperbole.

The truth is that Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool for acquiring your target customer’s attention when used properly. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, the odds are that a human being is still your final decision maker. If so, chances are that your customer is on Facebook and scrolling through their feed for at least one hour per day.

Regardless, there are some basic guidelines we need to collectively be reminded of to most effectively turn Facebook advertising into actual business-growing results.

  1. Set Realistic Expectations

Facebook Advertising is probably the single most consistently effective ad tool on the internet today. With that being said, consistency and immediacy are not synonymous. Too many agencies oversell the ability of Facebook to convert consumers and drive sales. This isn’t fair to companies or to the platform itself.When used correctly, Facebook advertising can provide a steady stream of growth in line with the amount of spend you choose to allocate. If you’re a healthy/profitable business looking to grow and you have a product/service/value to sell – Facebook is a strong bet for long-term growth. If not, you need to re-evaluate why you’re spending advertising dollars in the first place.

  1. Use the correct ad tool to target audiences

Typically, small businesses begin their Facebook advertising experience by boosting content they have previously posted organically. Facebook has done a phenomenal job of making boosted content a simple, low-cost, “easy button” option that almost feels negligent to ignore. Further, many boosted posts can boast gaudy engagement metrics that convince marketers their message has been received and digested.Boosted posts are an excellent way to drive the awareness of a general audience (particularly locally) toward specific forms of content such as contests or deals. Though there is some audience segmentation, the ability for marketers to hone their audience and the testing available in boosted posting is crude in comparison to the other tools available on Facebook. Creating unique audience segments and flighting ads through a “dark posting” method is generally the more effective way to drive growth on Facebook. This method typically requires more expertise on the platform itself.

  1. Understand what the metrics are telling you and adapt

Attribution can be tough on Facebook. There are a number of ways to measure success (particularly for an e-commerce or online sale activation), but the industry struggles on the whole to justify what/how Facebook is impacting the business.This is a much larger conversation, but here are just a few tools to use in building your attribution/measurement model for future ad decisions:

Determine the Importance of “Vanity Metrics”: What is a “like”, comment, or direct message worth to your brand? If you’re a B2B company, the answer may be “0.” That’s ok.The value in understanding the value of your vanity metrics will allow you to invest the correct amount in awareness, brand lift campaigns, or general content creation to engage with your audience. Regardless of your answer here, you’ll need to both create organic content that provides value, and have a distinct strategy on what you hope to reap through Facebook.

Figure out your Cost Per Lead (CPL): Let’s imagine you sell dresses through an online store. How much does it cost to get a user to your website/page in order to make a purchase decision? This is a key piece of data that you’ll need to have prior and following a Facebook campaign.Often times, Facebook can drive a significantly more efficient CPL. So, if you’re seeing higher traffic and are spending a reasonable amount on your Facebook campaign, you may have a hole somewhere else in the buying process that is hurting your conversion.

Figure out your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Taking the above scenario one step further, you’ll also need to know how much it costs your business to earn a new customer. Across all mediums/platforms (e.g. offline, online, via word of mouth, etc.), how much does a new customer cost? Now compare this to the CPA for those customers driven through Facebook. Is there a major difference?The answer may direct how you use Facebook in future scenarios. For example, if Facebook is more expensive – you may choose to limit your Facebook campaigns to when your company is looking for hyper-growth at scale with customers whose margin is much larger for your business.

Hopefully this has been a helpful primer on how to think through your Facebook campaign. When used correctly, there are very few limits on the scale it can provide to your business. Answering some of these basic questions up front will allow you to make informed decisions that drive the results you determine are necessary.

Apologies for the longer-form post. Let us know if this was helpful and as always, please reach out if you have specific questions, complains, or concerns. We love hearing from you all.

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