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Northwoods Blog

Getting Started with Facebook Ads

November 06, 2017

Not so long ago, marketers leveraged social media for brand recognition and little else. The growth and success of social media advertising has changed that; marketers now see a return on investment beyond brand awareness.

Facebook is a good place to start social media advertising. The price is right, and Facebook constantly works to improve its targeting capabilities. Even a $5-a-day budget can yield a substantial return.

You have probably noticed the Boost Post button, which allows you to quickly push a Facebook post to a wider audience. It works; more people will see your posts. But Boost Post offers much more limited targeting than an actual Facebook ad.

 
The Boost Post option offers a quick and simple way to expand the audience for your Facebook post.

Define your Facebook Advertising Audience

Facebook advertising targets audiences by interests or demographics, not by specific keywords (as in Google AdWords’ pay per click campaigns). In Facebook, you can specify audience based on purchasing behaviors, demographic information, location and/or personal interests.

However you define your audience, be sure to target more than a couple of hundred users. You want a sample large enough to yield better results and more conversions. Of course, the larger the audience, the bigger the budget. Find the happy medium that meets your advertising goals without breaking the bank.

Tip #1: If you market via email, you can set up a custom audience based on your email list by uploading your file or connecting Facebook to your email marketing platform. Then you can select identifiers, such as email address, phone number or name. Facebook will match those fields based on information already in its data base. This remarketing strategy drives conversions very effectively, because it targets users already vetted as potential clients.

Tip #2: Once you establish a target audience, you can use the Lookalike Audiences feature to find more people who fit that persona. Lookalike Audiences finds people you don’t already know, but who resemble your existing customers and are likely to be interested in your products and services. Choose an existing audience from your Facebook account -- such as a previously defined custom audience or fans of your page -- and the Lookalike tool will find new people with similar demographics and interests.

Choose your Facebook Ad Format

The growth and popularity of Facebook advertising has led the company to expand the number of ad formats:

  1. Carousel
  2. Single Image
  3. Single Video
  4. Slideshow
  5. Collection

More options make you more likely to find the perfect way to display your ad. They also make the process more complex. Which option is best for you? Let’s break them down.

The Carousel

Carousel ads display three to five images. Users scroll through them manually. Carousel ads highlight products and tell stories very well. Strong product shots or lifestyle photos are very important for carousel ads. Your images must inspire your audience to click through all the photos.

 

 

This animal shelter is using a carousel ad to promote the upcoming Milwaukee Petfest.

 

Design Recommendations:

Image Size: 600px x 600px

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 40 Characters (use this space to display the product name, price, or call to action)

Link Description: 20 Characters

Tip #3: Images should be images, not shots of text. Keep in-image text to a minimum. In any case, Facebook won’t allow text to occupy more than 20% of the image, and it provides a measuring tool to keep you within that limit. Too much text may prevent your ad from reaching its full audience potential.

Single Image

Maybe you don’t have three to five good images for a carousel. That’s okay. One good picture is better than several bad ones, and single-image ads can effectively attract attention. Again, keep text at a minimum within the image, and couch your call to action in the headline.

 

 

Ben & Jerry’s takes advantage of the single-image format to promote their new online store.

 

Design Recommendations:

Image Size: 1200px x 628px

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 25 Characters

Link Description: 30 Characters

Single Video Ad

Video ads engage users in a powerful way. They have quickly becoming a preferred ad format. Keep them short -- 15-30 seconds – and free of introductions and credits. The first three seconds are critical; get straight to the point. Don’t lose your audience before it sees your call to action.
 

 

iPhone uses video to promote the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Design Recommendations:

Text: 90 characters

Portrait Ratio: 9:16

Landscape Ratio: 16:9

Caption Length: 2,200 characters

File Size: 4GB

Slideshow

Facebook slideshows present three to 10 images in a video-like format. They’re great for marketing aimed at storytelling. If you have the right marketing collateral at your disposal, they’re easy to set up. Just choose the images you want to use, set the duration for each image, and set the transition mode to none or fade. You can set your slide show to your own audio track or choose from the options that Facebook provides.

 

 

Musicademy used a slideshow ad to promote a Black Friday special. Notice how it has the appearance of a video ad, but uses no video footage.

 

Design Recommendations:

Image Size: 1280px x 720px

Text: 90 characters (but longer posts may be truncated based on screen size)

Average Duration: 3-15 seconds

Collection

Collection ads showcase product catalogs very effectively. Put your wow-image up front and large and your more informational images in a thumbnail strip below. Each product image should link to the product landing page on your website. Users can learn more about your products by quickly navigating through your images. Another perk: This format works great on mobile.

 

This collection shows off t-shirt designs and offers further options through the More panel.

Design Recommendations:

Image Size: 1200px x 628px

Headline: 25 Characters

Products: Set at least eight products, but it’s better to use large (about 50) products sets

The right Facebook advertising format for your company might not be obvious. Some A/B testing might be in order. Whatever the format, be sure to use high-quality, attention-grabbing images that can hold their own amid the fierce visual competition on every Facebook page.

Jenna Dehn

Digital Marketing Consultant

Jenna Dehn provides support for the Digital Marketing Strategists and Account teams at Northwoods by contributing ideas and execution for web design projects, SEM, content marketing, digital strategy consulting and content management implementations. She focuses on applying strong expertise in data-driven, long-term strategic planning for clients and is certified in Google Analytics. 

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