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.

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.

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.

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.

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 $30.00, 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.

You now have the option to add a Facebook Pixel to your ad campaigns. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you install on your website. It allows you to more effectively measure the performance of your ad campaigns and it helps you determine exactly who sees your ads. Learn more about it in our blog post, “How do Facebook Pixels Work – Getting Set Up.”

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.

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

 

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 web page 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 web page 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 choice 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 web page 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 your web page 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 web page 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 web page 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.

Connecting Your Social Media Accounts

Many businesses would like to have a strong social media presence, but are put off by the sheer number of social networks available. It’s easy to get overwhelmed but remember, you don’t have to be on all social networking sites. In fact, being on sites that don’t directly speak to your target audience, or on sites that your target audience doesn’t frequently visit, can be detrimental to your business, and a waste of your valuable time.

A good place to start when entering the realm of social media is with the heavy hitters; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for video content, and your business blog. If this list still seems overwhelming, don’t despair! There’s a way to connect all these social networking sites so you’re not spending half your day posting the same YouTube link to all your different followers.

It is best to set up Facebook as your hub when connecting all your different social networking sites. This is because Facebook has a huge amount of applications that have been developed for all sorts of social networking related purposes. All you have to do is go to the Facebook Application Directory and search for the appropriate application, chances are it’s there in the directory. Next up, how to connect your blog, Twitter, and Youtube accounts to Facebook.

Blog:

Connecting your blog to Facebook means that each time you update your blog it automatically posts to your Facebook page’s wall, as well as archiving in the ‘notes’ tab of your page. The process for linking your blog isn’t obvious when looking at your Facebook page, but it’s well worth the search. To begin, click on ‘edit’ below your page’s profile picture. Next, click on ‘Apps’ in the list on the left hand side of the screen. Once there, find the Notes application and click ‘Go to App’. Now, on the left hand side of the screen you should see ‘Edit import settings’ as the very last option. Click this. You should now see a screen that looks like the photo below.

From here, enter the url of your blog and click ‘start importing’. Your blog is now auto posting to your Facebook page.

Twitter:

To connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts, log into your business’ Twitter account, then open a separate tab and go here. Find your business page, click ‘link to Twitter’ and follow the directions.

Youtube:

Using the Cueler application, you can connect your Youtube and Facebook accounts so that videos posted to your Youtube channel automatically post to your Facebook page as well. To do this, click here, and then click ‘install’. This will bring you to a screen that looks like this:

Choose the page you want to add the application to, and follow the directions to automatically post Youtube videos to a new Youtube tab on your Facebook page.

Following the above steps will help reduce the amount of time it takes to update your social media accounts. However, don’t forget to manually update your accounts as well. A mix of manual updates and auto posting allows you to save time, but also ensure that your business maintains a humanistic and approachable presence online. Also, if people follow your business across multiple social networking channels, taking the time to manually post, along with auto posting, ensures they won’t continuously see the exact same content numerous times.

We can help:

If you are interested in connecting your social media accounts and are looking for more guidance, contact us at Out-Smarts Marketing – we provide social media and internet marketing planning services to help you achieve your online goals.

 

Facebook Privacy – Should You Be Concerned?

Privacy and Social Networking

An article in today’s Vancouver Sun raises the Facebook privacy issue again: the article discusses the increase in bogus online identities and points out that many business individuals are steering clear of Facebook as a result.

Every time Facebook makes changes, like those we mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, the inevitable wave of hysteria follows. Whilst privacy is undoubtedly an issue, it shouldn’t be a reason to avoid social networks completely. Given that 400 million people (and counting) use Facebook, if you are in a professional role where building your network is part of what you do, then it is simply foolish to ignore Facebook completely.

How To Mitigate Facebook Privacy Concerns

Privacy is indeed a concern, as is identity theft, but if you take a few simple precautions when social networking you can really help limit the risk of these eventualities actually transpiring. What better a time then to review some simply steps you can take to mitigate these concerns:

1. Use the privacy settings (in Facebook click on settings at the top right hand side of your screen then privacy) to make sure that your personal information such as date of birth, home address, email etc are not there for all the world to see – dont want to encourage identity thieves or spammers do we?

2. Off the Wall – dont use peoples wall to communicate personal information or communications. If it is longer than a couple of sentences take it to Facebook email.

Duckhunt

3. Remember that the first thing recruiters do these days is to check out candidates on Facebook. If you intend on ever applying for another job you should be cognizant of this. Boasting about your drinking prowess to the world will not land you that coveted job. Always do the granny test, be careful of what you post and again use the privacy settings accordingly.

4. Be authentic – upload a profile picture so that people can see that its really you – or what you look like after all these years, as the case may be.

5. Be selective about who you add and which pages you like. Dont add every TD&H who invites you and remember what mother said about strangers! Seriously though, being selective about who you connect with gives you more control if safety is a concern: this is not about quantity – it is about quality.

6. Never Buy Friends or Followers – never use sites that promise you thousands of new followers or views. There is always a catch. (Thanks to the a forementioned Sun article for that one!).

7. Be respectful and dont use profanities too much – you never know when someones kid is watching over there shoulder (take it from me – this happens a lot!).

8. Be true to who you are. Transparency is key to effective social media participation. Dont try to present yourself as something or someone you are not. Imagine how embarrassing it will be when someone crawls out of the woodwork and points out the truth – to everyone.

9. Say It – If it is not worth saying out loud, it is not worth saying on line. This is a good mantra to bear in mind when considering your status updates.

10. Block Em – If someone is rude to you in comments or on your wall, you can block them. Again go to settings, privacy and scroll down to Block List to do so.

11. Applications – you should be aware that most of the games and applications on Facebook are from third party companies you know nothing about and are often set up for the simple purpose of collecting you marketing info. Once you add the application, they have access to your information. Be wary of which applications you add and again use the privacy settings to control this.

Thanks to Tailor Ransom for the great Flickr image!