Social media advertising is a well-established method of reaching a specific target audience, be it new customers or existing ones. As it becomes increasingly difficult to reach people organically, social media advertising is an option worth exploring.
With the amount of quality data these social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn collect from their users on a daily basis, marketers can target their ideal customers and ensure their content is seen by the right people.
In a survey conducted in the U.S. in 2021, 35% of respondents said their purchasing decisions were influenced by social media ads. For Generation Z (Gen Z), that number is even higher at 50%.
For these and many other reasons, social media ad spending has increased from $73.83 billion in 2018 to $181.2 billion in 2021, and according to Statista, that number is expected to rise to $358 billion by 2026.
There are many different social media platforms that marketers are finding success with. Six of these platforms, from Facebook to TikTok, will be covered in this blogpost series.
Facebook - Still king of social media
Although many believe that no one uses Facebook anymore, the data tells a different story. As of January 2022, Facebook still has the most monthly active users of any social media platform at 2.89 billion. By comparison, YouTube has 2.56 billion monthly active users, while Instagram has 1.48 billion.
Facebook is still more popular than all other social media platforms. (Statista)
This large number of users combined with the advertising opportunities Facebook offers, which we will discuss later in this blogpost, make Facebook a really attractive social media platform for marketers.
By running ads on Facebook, businesses can get in front of the audience that Facebook has already gathered for them.
The only question that remains: Is Facebook where your target audience spends most of their time, or is there another social media platform that is better suited?
Who uses Facebook?
According to Statista, the largest share of active Facebook users comes from the 25-34 age group, which accounts for 31% of users. Teenagers, on the other hand, seem to have almost completely abandoned Facebook and make up only 5.6% of Facebook users.(Statista)
These statistics are important because if you want to promote a mobile game to teens, Facebook may not be the most optimal place to do so, based on the numbers.
However, if you're a wedding photographer looking to promote your services, Facebook could be a very good option, considering that the average age of those looking to get married is also the age of the most active Facebook users.
Ad Objectives on Facebook
One of the first questions to answer when planning a paid campaign is: What do I want to achieve with this campaign?
- Do I want to increase the awareness of my brand?
- Do I want to sell more products?
- Do I want to get better engagement on my page?
- Do I want to get people to visit my website?
Depending on your answer, you can choose between different ad objectives.
Important note: Facebook has announced that they are moving from 11 campaign objectives to just 6 (awareness, traffic, engagement, leads, app promotion and sales). This blog post will be updated accordingly once the changes are implemented.
- Brand Awareness: Increase awareness of your business
- Reach: Show your ad to as many people as possible
- Traffic: Get people to visit your preferred destination (e.g. your website)
- Engagement: Get people to like, comment, and share on your page
- App Installs: Get people to install your app
- Video Views: Get people to watch your video
- Lead Generation: Get people to sign-up and give you their information
- Messages: Get people to connect with you
- Conversions: Get people to take a specific action (e.g. create an account)
- Catalogue Sales: Get people to buy your products from your store's catalog
- Store Traffic: Get people to visit your store
Facebook ultimately optimizes for the objective you choose. If you choose "Traffic", Facebook will try to show your ads to the people most likely to click your link. If you choose "Engagement", Facebook will try to show your ads to the people who are most likely to like, comment or share your post.
For this reason, it's very important that you think about your objective, otherwise Facebook may optimize your campaign for something that isn't relevant to you.
Different Types of Facebook Ads
When it comes to running ads on Facebook, the options are much broader than just image and video ads. Depending on the goal of your campaign, different Facebook ad types may be more beneficial than others.
Facebook Image Ads are one of the most used ad types on Facebook. They contain a single image and some text. You don't even necessarily have to create a new ad, you can simply boost an existing image that you have already posted on your Facebook page.
Image ratios from 1.91:1 (landscape) to 4:5 (vertical) are supported. Note that the 4:5 (vertical) ratio does not work when a link is added to the ad.
Facebook Video Ads are structurally very similar to Image Ads. You only need a creative and some text, except that the creative is not an image, but a video. Just like image ads, you can also boost an existing video that you have posted on your Facebook page.
Video ratios from 16:9 to 9:16 are supported. Facebook recommends using 4:5, 9:16 or 16:9 (vertical) or 1:1 (square) ratios for your video ads.
Facebook Carousel Ads allow you to include up to 10 different images or videos in a single ad. The order of the ads can be set manually, or Facebook can optimize the order based on performance. There is also the option to link each creative to a separate URL.
The aspect ratio for carousel ads is 1:1 (square). Some other aspect ratios are supported as well, but may be masked to 1:1 (square).
Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to collect viewers information and nurture them further in your sales cycle. This type of lead generation increases the likelihood of visitors taking action, as they don't have to leave the app, and Facebook already fills in the information it already has about them.
Important: A successful lead campaign always requires a strong lead magnet, something offered to the user in exchange for providing their data. This could be a special invitation, newsletter, whitepaper, or an entry in a contest. Don't ask for more data than necessary.
Instant Experience Ads
Facebook Instant Experience Ads are full-screen ads that allow users to experience features such as viewing images and videos, scrolling through carousels or clicking on tagged products. According to Facebook, the ads load up to 15 times faster than the regular mobile web.
Facebook Dynamic Ads are highly personalized ads that connect your Facebook Events Manager and Facebook Pixel to your store's product catalog. When a user visits your website and looks at specific products, the same products are displayed in the Facebook ads. This makes Facebook Dynamic Ads very efficient, as users see exactly what they are interested in.
Facebook Slideshow Ads allow you to create engaging video content by using multiple images and inserting them into a slideshow video format. The advantages of this ad type are less complexity compared to producing videos, and faster loading times because less data is used.
Facebook Messenger Ads are displayed between chat tabs as well as between Messenger Stories. When a user clicks your Messenger ad, a detailed view opens in Messenger, presenting the user with the ad and a call to action. Other Facebook creatives can be reused for Messenger Ads.
Targeting Options on Facebook
What makes Facebook so special when it comes to advertising is the amount of data it collects and thus the ability to target exactly those people who might be interested in our products or services.
For Facebook targeting, there are three different tools for selecting the intended audience:
- Core Audiences or Saved Audiences
- Custom Audiences
- Lookalike Audiences
Core Audiences allow you to create your ideal customer based on your specifications, using the various criteria Facebook offers you. You get to decide how narrow you want your targeting to be.
- Location: Choose a location (e.g. a city or country) where your ideal customer currently lives, has recently visited, or has recently traveled to.
- Demographics: Choose the age, gender, education, job title, etc. of your ideal customer.
- Interests: Choose interests that your ideal customer has (e.g. banking, trading, and investing).
- Behaviour: Choose customer behavior relevant to your campaign (e.g. previous purchases).
- Connections: Choose to include or exclude people who follow your Facebook page, have used your app, responded to your events, and more.
Custom Audiences allow you to target people who have already had contact with your brand, whether they are an existing customer or simply a user who has visited your website.
- Contact Lists: Target your contacts by using your CRM system or email lists.
- Site Visitors: Target people who visited your webpage and took certain actions by using Facebook Pixel.
- App Users: Target users who are already using your app by installing Facebook SDK (Software Development Kit).
Lookalike Audiences allow you to target people who are similar to people who have already been in touch with your brand (e.g. existing customers). All you have to do is tell Facebook which audience you're trying to replicate (e.g. people who have engaged with your Facebook posts in the last 90 days). Facebook then finds people who have similar demographics, interests, and behaviors to your selected audience.
Summary: Use-Case Example
Imagine you are a sports shoes and apparel brand and your goal is to increase the number of running shoes sold.
There are many different ways you can organize your Facebook campaign - but let's look at just one example Facebook offers.
You could start with a video campaign designed to engage viewers with your brand and get them to visit your website. You could create a “Core Audience" by selecting the right demographics and interests of your target audience, or you could create a “Lookalike Audience" based on people who have also currently purchased products on your website.
In a second step, you could retarget the people who visited your website using "Custom Audience" and show them the products they viewed on your website using Dynamic Ads. This highly personalized option has the potential to increase the likelihood of users taking action.
While Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms for advertisers, there are many other social media platforms that marketers are finding success with.
These platforms are covered in this blog series:
- Facebook (Part 1)
- Instagram (Part 2 - still in work)
- LinkedIn (Part 3 - still in work)
- YouTube (Part 4 - still in work)
- Twitter (Part 5 - still in work)
- TikTok (Part 6 - still in work)