“I’ve Run Facebook Ads Before and I Didn’t See Any Return”

If I had a nickel… I hear this a lot from new clients of mine when I bring up the suggestion of running paid advertising with Facebook, “I’ve run Facebook ads before and I didn’t see any return”. Most times, people have done one or two boosted posts, or run an ad or two through their ad manager, with limited to no success. After spending a little money and time, they simply decide “Facebook ads don’t work for my business”. This is absolutely not true. Facebook & Instagram ads are some of the most effect advertising you can buy, because you can get so specific with the customers you target.

While it may seem easy to just throw up a post, boost it and leave it at that, there are so many factors that can make or break a Facebook advertising campaign. Knowing these factors can be overwhelming and is one of the most common reasons why people tell themselves Facebook advertising isn’t effective.

I’m going to be mentioning Facebook specifically, but Instagram is affected by the same metrics as these ads are also bought through Facebook.

It’s important to realize that Facebook ads aren’t like buying traditional advertising. You don’t simply pay for a space and have a guaranteed ad for 3 months. Instead, Facebook works like an auction. When you set your ad budget, you can either set how much you’re willing to pay for an action, or let Facebook automatically calculate a bid for you based on your total budget and how long you are running the ad. [Read more about the cost of Facebook Advertising here].

This means you’re constantly bidding for customer’s attention on Facebook. And you’re bidding against of a lot of other players in the industry. According to Facebook, the average consumer’s attention span is 8.25 seconds. That’s not a lot of time to catch someone’s eye and get them to take action. If you’re not immediately targeting the right people, with the right message, your ad is not going to do well in the Facebook marketplace.

What does this mean for my business?

There are a lot of factors to consider when running a Facebook advertising campaign. You’ll need to figure out who your target audience is, where they’re located, what they will respond to, when they’re online, and any other information that might help you target them more effectively.

It’s not just about figuring out who your audience is, you’ll also need to know what action you want customers to take once they do see you ad. Are you trying to get them to come into your store, maybe you want them to buy from your ecommerce site? Or perhaps you want them to download a copy of your free eBook. These are all things to consider when setting up your Facebook ads.

The right action!

First you need to decide what you want your customers to do with your Facebook ad. Facebook has several advertising options depending on your objective. Your ad objective is what you want people to do when they see your ads. For example, if you want to show your website, you can create traffic ads that sends potential customers there. If you want people to send your page a message, perhaps to start a conversation, you can create an ad specifically for that purpose.

Who is your target audience?

Next you need to figure out your target audience. Maybe you think your audience is men and women ages 30 – 55. But all of a sudden you run some advertising testing and discover your audience is actually women, age 25 – 45. Imagine what you can do with this information! You can reconsider your entire marketing plan with this valuable information. Creating ads to test target audiences is a great way to do this. Create the same ad and target it ad different customer sets. See which customer sets respond best to the ad, and work from there.

Where are they located?

Whether you’re a brick and mortar store or an ecommerce business, knowing where you customers are coming from can make a huge impact on how you spend your ad dollars. Another great thing to test is the location of your customers. Figure out exactly where your best customers are coming from, and geotarget those locations.

What will appeal to my audience?

The final step is to get creative! The right image or video, words and calls to action can be crucial in getting people to interact with your ad. You might have your perfect consumer all figured out, but if you can’t get them to interact with your ad, you’re back to square one. A great place to start is by testing 3 different ads for the same product or service. Run some tests to see which image/text combinations get the best reactions according to what you’re trying to accomplish. You can use slightly smaller budgets here on the testing end to see what gets the best results. From there, use the more effective combination of image, text and call to action to create an ad perfect for your ideal customer!

How do you figure this out? Through extensive testing!

This variety of factors is one of the reasons you need to be constantly running ads, testing creative, testing age groups, testing locations, testing, testing, testing and always refining. Once you figure out what works for your audience, you can refine your ads to get the most out of your ad dollars. The best part? You’ll actually know what is working and what isn’t.

Unlike traditional advertising where you place an ad in a newspaper and hope for the best, you get real time data from Facebook about who your customers are, where they come from, and what they respond to. This is amazing information you can use to help connect with your customers and give them the experiences they’re looking for, all in a relatively short time frame.

Get the Right Help

Facebook, and now Instagram provide small businesses with some of the most powerful advertising tools available. But making the most of these tools when you’re trying to also run your business full time can be a challenge. Don’t have time to run your own Facebook ads? Contact us today about our Facebook and Instagram advertising options.