How Facebook Ads Can Work for You

If you've tried online advertising and you're having trouble seeing any returns, you might want to give Facebook Ads a whirl. I think you'll find, like my clients have, that the targeting is easier to manage, easier to test, and can even be more affordable than other ad networks.

Budweiser ad painted on roof
Creative Advertising Photo by Flickr user rooneg.
Say, for example, like the people installing a new window in my dining room, you run a local home improvement business. Like them, you're not seeing a lot of results from advertising in the phone book.

Here's what to do:

First, write the ad. Keep it simple. Use a headline that pops - I like to try a question, and then a call to action, like "Great deals on quality home repairs - windows, floors, more. Click for current specials."

Then, add an engaging photo. I like pictures of people. If you don't have any good photos of people, consider a membership in a site like iStockPhoto, where you can choose what you need from millions of photos with practically any subject matter.

Now, let's talk targeting. This is what's so amazing about Facebook ads, and one reason why people are valuing its upcoming IPO so highly. Anyone, yourself included, can deliver highly targeted ads to a group that's self-identified as interested in what you might be offering. How?

  • First, you can target by location - by country, then by state, city, and/or zip code. For a business like this, I'd target by city - you're free to chose more than one.
  • Next, you can target by demographics, including age, sex, interested in (for dating purposes), relationship status, and language. For an ad like this, I might choose people 30 and up, since they are more likely to own a home, and maybe test ad response for single vs. engaged or married people. I might change the photo to something more group or family-related for the engaged and married folks.
  • Then comes the most exciting part - I can target this ad by likes and interests. I can choose fans of things like the DIY Network, Martha Stewart, Home Depot, and HGTV, since people interested in these kinds of things might want to fix up their houses. After I do this, Facebook will continue to suggest more opportunities for targeting. As you can imagine, this makes Facebook a powerful way to identify and connect with very targeted audiences.
  • Finally, you can target by education and work. You can target people by level of education, by school attended, and also by where they work or worked in the past. I don't think we need this kind of targeting for the ad we're working on today, but it can come in handy for other things.

All that's left to do is set our budget by impressions (how many people see your ad), or clicks. Facebook provides suggested bids. We'll also set a daily budget for each ad campaign.

And finally, once your ads are up and running, Facebook provides reporting on who has responded, by gender, age, and location, to further help your future targeting. How cool is that?

So, are you advertising on Facebook yet? Why or why not? 

Let me know in the comments, or send me a note and I'll help you get set up.

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