How to Advertise on Facebook – Updated

Okay, so you’ve developed a presence on Facebook for your business and want to start using Facebook Ads, but where do you start? How do you advertise on Facebook? When you start delving into Facebook’s advert guides, it can all feel a bit confusing, but don’t fret! We are here to help guide you through the process. Since our last post about how to advertise on Facebook, their Adverts are still a very strong tool, but now with more options. Follow these tips and you will be up and be advertising on Facebook in no time.

Facebook Reach / Audience

Before we begin, let’s take a look at Facebook’s stats, which are quite impressive. Back in April of 2012, Facebook bought Instagram and as a result, it has opened up your reach to a wider audience. This means you can link your business’ Instagram page to your Facebook Advert account and your ad will automatically show up on both platforms. Together Facebook and Instagram have almost 2 billion users visiting their sites each month. Even with competitors like Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat, Facebook is still number one when it comes to the number of users and potential consumers.

Facebook Stats

Do You Have a Facebook Business Page?

Before you start, make sure you have a Facebook Business Page as you cannot create ads via your personal Facebook page. While there are a number of ways to access Facebook ads, we recommend signing up for “Business Manager” and creating an “Adverts Manager” account to design and manage your ads. One of the benefits of doing it this way is that it allows businesses to give access to multiple people working together on an advert campaign and to easily see who is working on what. You can even assign your employees specific role-based access to adverts in order to control what they can see on your account. Once you’ve signed up for an Adverts Manager account it will walk you through each step.

Facebook Adverts Manager

Determine Your Marketing Objective

Every campaign starts with an objective so determine what yours is. Not sure? Facebook helps you determine your marketing objective by defining each type of objective they offer to help guide you to the outcome you want for your campaign. When you are setting up your ad campaign, you will see a list of all the possible objectives (see image below). You can click on each objective for its definition to help you decide which one is best for you and your business goals.

Facebook Marketing Objectives

For more detailed information, read Facebook’s “Advertising Objectives” article in their help section.

Some of these options offer what Facebook calls a “split test” which is also known as A/B Testing. It allows you to create two adverts to test and compare which one does better. Speaking of testing, it’s always a good idea to test two adverts at the same time. They should only have one to two different variables such as different images. Run them for 1-2 days and see which one does better.

Define Your Audience & Advert Placements

After you have identified your objective, the next step is to identify your target audience. Facebook makes it easy and steps you through the process. This is where you will spend most of your time defining whom it is you want to reach with your ads.

Facebook Audiences

You choose your audience based on demographics, their behaviours, interests, and/or their contact information. There is a handy-dandy Audience definition (graph) to the right-hand side of the audience page (see the image below for an example). Use it to gauge how well you’ve defined your target audience. It will tell you the difference between how many people you are actually reaching versus how many people you could be reaching. To reach more of your targeted audience, increase your bids and budget.

Facebook Audience SelectionYou can also choose where your adverts will be placed or you can let Facebook automatically select this for you. We recommend that you select “Automatic Placements” when you first start out. The available placements are:

  • Facebook feeds (mobile and desktop)
  • Facebook right-hand column
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network

Know Your Ad Budget

It’s important to know your budget before you start creating your advert campaign. Facebook has an ad for every budget making it affordable for everyone. It’s also important to know that there are two different types of budgets: Daily Budgets and Lifetime Budgets.

Daily Budget & Lifetime Budget

A Daily Budget is what you’re willing to pay for an ad per day. What you spend on the first and last days are prorated depending on the run time for those days. Meaning what time did the ad start on day one and what time did it end on the last day. Those two times may be different which is why the cost is prorated. The default minimum cost per day is still $1.00 for Daily Budgets. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll be charged $1.00 every day your campaign runs. For example, one day it might be $1.50 and another day $0.50 to maintain an average daily budget of $1.00. You can increase your daily budget to improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Remember, Facebook will always let you know the maximum amount you’ll spend during your campaign, so you don’t have to worry about going over budget.

A Lifetime Budget is what you’re willing to pay over the duration (lifetime) of an ad. Facebook tries to apply your budget evenly over the length of time the ad runs. The default minimum cost for Lifetime Budgets is $14.00, and like the Daily Budget, you can increase it to any amount you want which will improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Whether your ad runs for a week or a month, the cost will be at what you set it.

If you are just starting out, using the default Daily Budget option of $1.00 or even increasing it to $5.00 is more than enough to test the waters and see what works and what doesn’t. You can always change your budget once you’ve figured out which ad campaigns have worked the best for you.

Schedule Your Ad

Don’t forget to choose a schedule. There are two options:

  1. Run my advert set continuously starting today.
  2. Set a start and end date.

It’s up to you which option you choose, but if you’re someone who is a tad forgetful, then choose a specific time range. You can always stop the ad whenever you want. Remember the length of time your ad runs, also affects your budget. The longer it runs, the higher the cost. We recommend that you run an ad for no more than 3 weeks as Facebook ads tend to get stale by that point. You can always replace it with a new ad campaign with fresh images and text.

If you’re wondering how Facebook determines the cost of their ads, well it’s a bit complex and it doesn’t help that Facebook is constantly adjusting their formula. The exact cost associated with your advert being shown to someone is determined in Facebook’s Advert Auction. To learn more about it, read “Understanding how bidding and our ads auction work.”

Choose a Facebook Advert Format

Facebook adverts offer more format options than ever before. There are five to choose from: Carousel, single image, single video, slideshow, or Canvas. While most of these formats are self-explanatory, Carousel and Canvas are not.

Carousel lets you show up to 10 images and/or videos in a single ad. When people view your ad, they can scroll through the carousel cards. One of the benefits of Carousel is that it lets businesses tell a story through carousel cards or to showcase one long image that is divided between the carousel cards.

Canvas is Facebook’s newest format and it allows you to combine both images and video. You can tell a more in-depth story about your products and/or services. It is customizable and there is no one way to create a Canvas ad. If you choose to design a Canvas ad, it’s best to plan in advance what type of experience you want to create for the viewer and to have all your media materials ready in advance.

Facebook Advert Formats

Your ad will appear on desktop, mobile news feed, feature phone, and Instagram, so it’s important to follow Facebook’s guidelines when designing your ad. You want to ensure it looks good everywhere it appears whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or your mobile phone. Listed below are the recommended design guidelines to ensure your ad displays the way you want it to:

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Your images should have minimal amounts of text. Facebook adverts that contain images with little to no text tend to cost less and have better delivery than adverts with image text. So, what count’s as text in your advert image? Logos, watermarks, and numbers.

For a comprehensive list of design guidelines for each marketing objective, read Facebook’s “Adverts Guide.”

It’s easy to use your own images. Just remember to size them properly beforehand otherwise, they won’t upload or they will be cropped. Don’t have any of your own photos? You can use the free stock images provided by Shutterstock via Facebook.

There are three areas on your advert to add text: Text, Headline, and Link Description. You don’t have to use all of them. What text you include is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to have a call to action. You can even use Facebook’s “Call to Action” button which offers a number of options such as contact us, learn more, download, signup, and etc.

While designing your ad, there is an advert preview pane to the right that updates every time you make a change. There is also a drop down menu that shows you what your ad looks like on other platforms or you can use the arrow buttons to scroll through. You can experiment with your ad’s format, images, videos and text until you are satisfied with the results. You can make your advert as fancy or simple as you like.

Tracking The Results of Your Facebook Ads

Okay, so you’ve created your ad, hit the “Place Your Order” button and it has been reviewed and accepted by Facebook. What’s next? Track and measure the performance of your advert campaign using Facebook’s adverts analytics tools. Information is presented in easy and simple visual reports. Your report includes topics such as reach, actions taken, details on the audience that you reached and more. Reports are also tailored based on which marketing objective you chose. Use these analytic tools to determine if your campaign was a success and met your objectives and goals. The data can also inform your future campaigns.

Facebook Tracking

Are you ready to get started? Need help? Just let us know. Facebook ad creation and management is just one of the many services we provide.

About the writer: Gloria Botelho is a practicum student from the Digital & Mobile Marketing program at Simon Fraser University. Gloria lives in East Van and is obsessed with cats, flowers, street art and all things Portuguese. You can follow her on Twitter @glorbot and on Instagram @gloria_boria.

Related Articles: How to Advertise on Facebook

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How To Use Hashtags To Grow Your Online Social Presence

Hashtags are a really useful tool for small businesses. You can use a hashtag to extend your social media reach and to engage prospects and like minded networkers. Used right they will help you build your following, your posts will reach a far wider audience, you will get more leads, and boost productivity. In this post, you will learn how to use hashtags to grow your online social presence.hashtag, hashtags

What is a Hashtag?

In social media a hashtag is the hash or pound sign (#) followed by a word or key phrase that is used to categorise what your post is about. For example, if you are posting about social media, you might use the hashtag #socialmedia or #socmed. When you post to social networks using a hashtag, this then becomes searchable i.e. you can click on it to see all posts that use the same hashtag and it makes it more likely that people will find your post.

A Few Things to Know About Hashtags

  • Never include a space in your hashtags. If there’s a space, then it won’t be searchable.
  • You can include numbers and capital letters in hashtags. Capitals often make the hashtag more readable and understandable.
  • Use hashtags that are short and sweet. Trying to fit a whole sentence into a hashtag makes it incomprehensible and reduces its reach.
  • You can (and should) have your own hashtag. One that you use to brand your posts.
  • Hashtags are hugely important on Instagram and are key to building your following.
  • Be extra careful when using hashtags on Facebook. Don’t use too many (2 is enough) and don’t use them too often.
  • Don’t use made up hashtags that mean nothing unless you are trying to be funny (this can backfire and be a waste of your time).

Hashtag Data by hashtagify.me 

To decide which hashtags to use, first think about what you are posting about and then consider which words you would use to describe your post. For example when we share this post we might use hashtags like #socialmedia and #marketing.

Once you have determined the most appropriate word to use you can dig deeper using tools that help you to determine the most popular ones to use.  Hashtagifyme allows you to search for a hashtag and view related hashtags and their popularity. Choose the ones that are most popular to get the widest reach.

hashtag, hashtagsInstagram Hashtags

Using hashtags is a central component to building your following and engagement on Instagram. This app allows you to use up to 30 tags – if you try to use more you won’t be able to share your post.

The optimum number will depend on your audience and your posts but a general rule of thumb is to use between 5 and 10 (test and try this to see what works for you!). Upload your photo then enter your hashtags in the caption area.

More sophisticated users often enter a few tags in the caption area then more in the comments (there’s also a way to hide them to make your posts look cleaner but still make them searchable by adding line breaks). It’s a good idea to save a list of hashtags you frequently use so that you can simply copy and paste them from your phone. Instagram has a useful feature when entering hashtags that allow you to see how often these terms are used.

Twitter Hashtags

Twitter can be a really confusing network and most people really aren’t sure how to use it effectively. Hashtags can really help with that as they help to organise constant streams of updates and help you (and your audience) find the nuggets of information they are really interested in. Use a relevant hashtag before relevant keywords to help your Tweets show up better in search. You can use them anywhere in your Tweet and popular hashtags often become trending topics. A general rule of thumb is to use 2 – if you use more then engagement will decrease.

Using hashtags efficiently and effectively can be a great way to increase your social media productivity. Remember to use them efficiently and effectively according to which platform you are on.

This post is an adaptation of a blog post that Mhairi Petrovic of Out-Smarts Marketing wrote for SMEI

Website Bounce Rate and the 8-Second Rule

website bounce rateYou have seconds to convince a first-time visitor to stay on your website. Approximately 50% of them leave within those first 8 precious seconds for a number of reasons, but there are ways you can reduce your website bounce rate.

Your website should make the best first impression so that it convinces visitors to stay.  Keep them on your site and lower your website bounce rate with these 4 tips:

1) Speed Up Website Load Time

There are a number of sites that can measure your website’s load time. The quicker your website loads, the less likely a first-time visitor will leave. A couple of sites we recommend are Pingdom and Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Pingdom has a free tool to test your website’s loading time.  It’s simple and easy. Enter your website’s address, select a location and Pingdom analyzes it, gives you a performance grade and identifies in a detailed report what may be slowing down your website’s load time.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights is also free and just as easy. You type in your website URL, click on the analyze button and wait for the results. You will receive two performance reports;  one for desktop and another for mobile both of which have their own a PageSpeed Score that ranges from 0 to 100 points.  Side note: your website should be optimized for mobile devices – which includes both smartphones and tablets – otherwise your website may not show up on Google Search results on mobile.  The reports give advice on what to fix and how to fix it to make your website better and lower your website bounce rate.

2) Define The Purpose of Your Site

Your website should solidify your online identity and your services and/or products should be clear and obvious. The top left hand corner is the most important part of your site – use it to showcase what you do and define your purpose so that visitors get it instantaneously. Showcase what you do and who you do it for.

3) Simple Website Navigation & Layout

Keep your website simple, make it intuitive to use and design it to be desktop and mobile responsive. These elements will keep first-time visitors on your site longer and make them less likely to bounce (leave after visiting only one page). Have all information about your products and/or services on your website.

Another way to reduce your website bounce rate is if you keep getting asked the same questions, then it is a good idea to make that information available on your website too because people would rather move onto another competitor’s website to find the answer than to call up your business.

You should have two sitemaps – one for Google (XML) and the other for people. It is paramount that people can find the content they are looking for on your site easily, so don’t overwhelm them with links. Too many links and menu items can cause confusion and result in people leaving your site if they have to keep clicking around to find what they were looking for. Pages should be linked from the menu or from inner pages (to help Google crawl them all).

Include easy to find contact information on every page of your website. Having an address, phone number and email in plain sight makes visitors feel that they are dealing with an actual business.  

4) Give Website Visitors Reason to Come Back

Provide dynamic content such as blog posts, images, videos and etc. Use a blog to set yourself apart by showcasing you’re an expertise in your industry and how you will deliver on their expectations. If you can offer valuable information like giving free advice this results in trust and  goodwill. It will bring visitors back to your website and increase the likelihood that they will retain your services.  

Videos are great for boosting conversions and return visits too. Use videos to highlight a new product or explain your business. Make sure though to keep videos short – less than 2 minutes – so visitors stay to watch.

Differentiate your website and business by having a distinctive logo and by sharing consumer reviews so that visitors don’t go searching for reviews about your company on other sites that you don’t have control over.  

Lastly, update your site often. An active and fresh website will not only make first-time visitors stay, but come back again and again.

Conclusion

Take a moment to look at your website from the perspective of a first-time visitor or better yet, have a friend do it. Identify what your website may be lacking from what we’ve outlined above. Implement some of these tips to reduce website bounce rate and see if it convinces more visitors to stay on your website longer than 8 seconds.  Some of these changes will be easy to put into action and others you may feel are too technical. If that’s the case, contact your web developer or give us a shout – we’d be happy to help.

About the writer: Gloria Botelho is a practicum student from the Digital & Mobile Marketing program at Simon Fraser University. Gloria lives in East Van and is obsessed with cats, flowers, street art and all things Portuguese. You can follow her on Twitter @glorbot and on Instagram @gloria_boria.

Google Adwords Express and Adwords

Did you know that there are two versions of Google’s advertising platform Adwords? There’s full blown Google Adwords and Google Express. They are both really similar but Adwords Express is designed to make it easy for you to set up your ads. Managing your ads easy is because you don’t have to – it’s all automated.

If you don’t have a website then Google Adwords Express is the way to go as it allows you to advertise your Google+ page on Google and Google Maps. It might also be the right solution if you have a small budget, want to spread a wide and targeted net and you don’t have a clue about (or don’t want to learn how) to manage your bids. But beware, with Express Google decides the keywords your ads show up for and you have no insight into how much bids cost.

Benefits of Adwords:

  • Pay when someone clicks on your ad
  • Full control in choosing keywords, bidding on those keywords, and how your account is structured
  • Targeted by geography – can reach people anywhere
  • Access different ad formats and reports on Google, Google Maps, and partner sites.

Benefits of Adwords Express:

  • Pay when someone clicks on your ad
  • No control in choosing keywords, bidding on those keywords or how your account is structured
  • Advertise on Google, Google Maps, and partner sites.
  • You can reach people anywhere

If you want full control over the search words your ads appear for, or if you want to manage how much you bid for those keywords then Adwords is the best option.

Adwords Express is a way to test the waters and to find out how Google’s advertising platform works but if you are serious about advertising on Google, full blown Adwords is the only way to go. Adwords can be quite complex but it’s easy to learn yourself if you have time to dedicate to it, if not consider outsourcing (hint – we do that!).

Switching From Express to Adwords

When you are setting up a new advertising account Google really wants you to set up an Express account so it is easy to set up Express accidentally. If you started out with Express and now want to move to the full blown Adwords to take advantage of full functionality, the best way to switch from Adwords Express to Adwords is by calling Google support.  Here’s a link that will help you with that.

If you set up Adwords Express by mistake you can cancel the account by clicking on the Settings Cog at the top right of your screen after login then clicking on preferences in the left hand sidebar and scrolling down to the bottom of the page where you will see the ‘Account Cancellation’ option. However if you do this then try to set up a fill blown Adwords account using the same email address you might not be able to. Best to call support!

Using Adwords Express and Adwords Together

Using both of these at the same time is not recommended, there are no benefits from doing so and it will make it more complicated to keep track of everything and to manage your campaigns.

 

 

 

 

Google Analytics Set Up

This is an update of a post about Google Analytics that was originally published in 2009. To see the original, click here.

Google Analytics is the best way to track traffic to your website. It will tell you where in the world your visitors are from, the route they take to your site, how long they stay, whether they convert and much, much more. Analytics is free to install so if you haven’t already done so, what are you waiting for:

Google Analytics - Set Up

1. First of all you will need a Google account. If you are using gmail you can use those login details and if not, sign up for an account then proceed to check in with Google – click on the sign up button to get started.

2. Choose the ‘Website’ option.

3. Enter your Account Name. URL, timezones, industry category and click the applicable data sharing terms then click on the blue Get Tracking ID icon. Accept the terms for your location (using the drop down).

4. You will be taken to the tracking instructions. There are 3 ways to make sure Google knows to track your site.

  • You can copy and paste the website tracking code into each page on your website
  • or use the code to create a php file and add a little code to your template
  • or you can use Google Tag Manager.

The way we prefer is to insert the code into the header section of your site in the <head> section before the <body> tag.

Once you have it set up and its been tracking traffic for a few days, you will find all kinds of valuable information that will enable you to improve your SEO,  your online marketing efforts and make educated decisions:

Your traffic: where it comes from (both geographically and from other sites), how often people visit, how long they stay and which pages they visit and more;

Your content: which pages they land on and where they go from there, which content drives the most traffic etc (or the least);

Your goals: track your online marketing goals including conversion rates, funnels and Adwords campaigns.

Tips

  • Filter out visits from you or your employees as they can skew your results.
  • Set goals – Analytics allows you to set goals pertaining to your traffic. You should use these to track success.
  • One of the things I like best about Analytics is the ability to view data in different ways – remember to use these capabilities to view graphical representations of your data.

Having problems installing Google Analytics or no time to do so? Just let us know. This is just one of the many services we provide.