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.

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Facebook Wall – #GetReal

Facebook can be a great place for small businesses to build community, loyalty and awareness. It can even level the playing field with larger competitors. It is important to remember, when using Facebook for your small business, not to hide behind your wall or try to make your business out to be something it isn’t. Be authentic, transparent and genuine – get out from behind your wall from time to time because the best online presences are those that reflect, augment and intertwine with your everyday functions.Slide1

 

Social Network Changes – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

This new regular monthly blog post will recap and explain some of the functionality changes taking place in the big social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.

Facebook Changes

1. Scheduled Posts

One of the best things to happen on Facebook for people who manage Facebook pages is the scheduling function that allows you to schedule your Tweets.  You can post Tweets in the past (anywhere on your timeline) or up to 6 months in the future. To schedule a post, click on the clock icon and enter the year, month, date and time you want your post to appear on.  Once you have schedule your post, you can view and change it by clicking on “Use Activity Log” in the <Edit Settings> of your page.  Whilst this is a great addition to Facebook for pages, there are a coupole of downsides: 1) You can only post in increments of 5 minutes 2) You can’t really edit the post itself once it is scheduled, you can edit when you want it to appear but not the content.

 

2. Activity Log for Profiles

Similar to the Activity Log for Pages, Facebook recently added an Activity Log for your personal page too. Click on this to see everything you have shared from today back to when you first started using Facebook.   According to Facebook:

You can do different things with the stories that appear in your activity log, depending on what the story is and where it came from.  You can adjust the privacy or delete anything you post on Facebook. If the story came from someone else (like when a friend writes on your timeline or tags you in a photo), you’ll be able to review who can see it. You can also control whether stories show on your timeline. On some stories, like posts from apps, you can report the post as spam, turn off publishing from the app or remove the app from your timeline altogether.

 Twitter Changes

Twitter recently announced a slew of changes to how their API can be used.  For most users this will mean very little at least in the short term but for Third Party Apps that build on Twitter this is huge.   Read more about the changes on the Twitter blog. Considering how cumbersome the vanilla Twitter can be and the fact that that most power users need to use third party tools to make their Twitter experience manageable, the company needs to be careful to not shoot itself in the foot on this one but the good news is that there will be more control over Third Party apps that are potentially dangerous and more rules put in place to police this.

 

LinkedIn Changes

We manage a number of LinkedIn pages for clients and to be honest the interface and capabilities of company pages on LinkedIn has been a bit of a let down for us, which is why we’re excited about upcoming changes to LinkedIn pages announced in their blog on September 6th.   The changes are currently being rolled out to the big players (Philips, HP and Dell are among them), you can take a look at an example on Hubspot’s page.

For users this will mean that it will be easier to find what you are looking for on a company’s page, company updates will be front and centre and company pages will now be available for iPhone, Android and iPad (not before time as LinkedIn has been sorely lacking in this area).

The changes are rolling out over the next few months and too be honest, they are long overdue.  Company Pages look like a dog’s breakfast right now and leave a lot to be desired.  We’re hoping that more functionality such as the ability to schedule updates and to interact with both followers and other companies will be coming too.

 

An Introduction to Internet Advertising

With online ad spending hitting new highs, Internet advertising is becoming one of the key tools that companies use to attract attention for their product or service online  and online ads are beginning to eclipse traditional advertising.

History

Hardly a new concept is it?  Advertising has been used ever since mass production became possible well over a century ago  as a means to influence an audience with the intention of getting them to buy your product or service.  You just need to read Claude Hopkin’s 1923 book on the topic called Scientific Advertising to understand the importance advertising has had from a business perspective for the last century (and many of his points still apply today).

Recently however traditional media advertising (TV, newspaper, billboards etc) has faced a tough challenges with readership and viewer numbers plummeting, savvy audiences becoming desensitized to traditional advertising techniques and with the rise of alternative ways to influence target audiences (such as social media).

One of the saving graces for advertising is the ability to use the Internet to advertise online.  Online advertising has a few advantages over traditional advertising:

  • Less Expensive
  • Highly Targeted
  • East To Track Effectiveness

There are a number of different forms of online advertising, each with its own pros and cons.

Search Based Ads

Usually associated with search engine  results ads like Google Adwords and one of the most commonly used forms on online advertising, search based ads are predominantly text based and appear as sponsored or paid ads when people search for a particular phrase or keyword online.With search ads you pay or bid on an ad appearing to a searcher (impressions) or when someone clicks on the ad (pay per click).    These ads are highly targeted because they appear only to the people who enter pertinent related keywords.  If you have a new website this is a great way to get noticed by the major search engines, and really useful if you are going after new audiences.  The key to being successful using these ads is to use very specific key terms that you know potential clients will use and to make the most of them in the ad text.

Banner Ads

Banner ads (or web banners), are for the most part, rectangular image ads that appear on another organisation’s website.  Pop on over the Entrepreneurial Woman’s website and you will see an example of a banner as right at the top of the page. One important consideration with banner advertising is that you should only post your ads on sites that are related to your product or service or that attract your target audience.  Banner ad costs can vary according to the traffic the site gets and can be on a pay per click basis or on a time based (i.e. monthly) fee basis.

Email Ads

Not to be overlooked, more people use email on a regular basis than use any other online tools.  Having a regular opt-in marketing newsletter should be part of every company’s online advertising strategy to promote its products or services.  Email advertising can also include buying placements in the newsletters of related companies.

Network Advertising

Advertising networks companies make it easier for organisations  to advertise on related sites.  Google Adwords  is an example of a tool that facilitate network advertising  and this is a growing area with companies like Tribal Fusion acting as facilitators between publishers of high trafficked content and organisations looking to advertise to their large audiences.

Pop Up Ads

Those annoying ads that pop up on your screen unexpectedly and won’t go away.  Spare your audience and don’t use them.

Online Classifieds

Just like traditional classifieds, online ads on classifieds sites are used for the most part by the general public to buy or sell and by companies that target consumers.  Craigslist and Kijiji are just 2 examples of online classifieds – they are easy to set up and free to use but before you do consider if this is appropriate to your brand.

Social Network Advertising

Many of the major social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter allow you to advertise and these social ads are the fastest growing form of online advertising.  The biggest benefit of advertising using social networks is that your ads can be aimed at a very highly targeted audience and you can get started with just a few dollars per day to test the waters.

Online advertising tools make it easy for companies to use adverts to reach their audience online and can be a huge driver of targeted traffic to your website.   If you are considering your online advertising strategy and would like more information about our services please contact us.

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The Future of Digital Advertising, iAds and Promoted Tweets

The Future of Advertising

Create a Custom iFrame Tab for your Facebook Page

Recently, Facebook updated their business pages and in the process they replaced FBML with iFrames for creating custom tabs. This means that instead of using FBML to create custom content on your page, you will now need to create a custom application and use an iFrame. Basically, an iFrame allows you to use content across different web domains through code which tells the website browser to request content from a different location. This enables you to display content from one webpage on another website, such as embedding a youtube video or flickr photo on your Facebook business page. IFrames are a bit more complicated than FBML, but we’ll walk you through the basic steps below.

 

1. Create the webpage you will be integrating with your Facebook page and upload it to your web server – making sure that the page will fit within the 520px wide size limit of Facebook. The iframe application that you will be creating will pull this content from your web server directly to Facebook.

2. Go to the Facebook Developers site to begin creating your application. Click ‘set up new app’ in the upper left-hand corner. This will take you to a screen that looks like the one below:

Fill in your application name – it’s easiest to make this the name of the custom tab you are creating, and click ‘create app’.

3. Now that you have created your app, you will be taken to the About Tab for your application. There are many options with your new application, but for basic custom tabs, our one recommendation is to change the icon. This way an icon of your choosing will show up on your page navigation bar under your page profile picture, instead of the default iframes icon. For best results, make sure the photo you upload is 16px x 16px.

4. Next, click ‘facebook integration’ on the upper left-hand side of the page.

These next steps are the most important in creating your custom iframes tab. It is where the integration happens between your webpage and Facebook. You will see a screen that looks like this:

5. Canvas URL: This is the url where the file you wish to integrate is located – remember to include ‘http://’. However, do not include the actual name of the file here. In other words, fill in everything but the name of your iframe file, instead the URL must have a trailing slash at the end. For example, if you webpage is hosted at http://www.mysite.com/webpage, only include http://www.mysite.com/. (You will fill in the name of the iframe file in a later field).

6. Secure Canvas URL: Re-enter the same URL as above, this time using ‘https://’ instead of ‘http://’.

7. Canvas Type: select iframe.

8. Iframe Size: Select ‘auto-resize’. This ensures that your webpage will fit neatly onto your Facebook page without users have to scroll left to right and up/down.

9. Tab Name: This is the name of your tab, such as ‘Welcome’ or ‘About’, you are limited to 16 characters here.

10. Tab URL: This is the name of the file you wish to integrate with Facebook. It is what you didn’t include in the above ‘canvas url’ field. For example, if your webpage is hosted at http://www.mysite.com/webpage, only include ‘webpage’ here.

11. Save your changes. You have created your first Facebook application!

12. The next step is adding your new application to your page. The screen you should see now includes the information on your new application. Do not submit your application, unless you want everyone to be able to add your custom iframe to their page through the Facebook Application Directory. Instead, click ‘application profile page’.

From here, you will be taken to an empty business page. On the left side under the profile image, click ‘add to my page’ and, if you have multiple business pages, click the appropriate one.

13. Go to the page you just added your application to, and hit refresh. Your new custom tab will appear in the list under your business page’s profile picture. Done!

You can make your custom tab the default landing page by going to ‘edit page’ and clicking ‘manage permissions’ on the left hand list. From here, use the drop down menu to choose your new application in the default landing tab field.

As you can see, iframes are a bit trickier than FBML. If you are looking for more guidance or have any questions, contact us at Out-Smarts Marketing.