If you are not totally new to the world of online marketing, you have had to hear about Facebook Ads, Facebook’s online advertising platform that has become one of the pillars of today’s online marketing that everyone is using.
The secret of its success has been that in recent years Facebook Ads has become a tremendously efficient platform, that is, a platform with which you can achieve a very high return on investment ( ROI ), compared to the options that had previously.
There are shocking statistics, such as this eMarketer statistic according to which 96% of social media marketers consider Facebook Ads the most effective advertising platform in this medium.
There are also testimonials and success stories; everything you want. You can find a wide collection on the Facebook page itself.
The factor that has made Facebook Ads sweep also among small online entrepreneurs has been to greatly shorten the times in which they manage to make their activity profitable. What took years now, if done right, can be accomplished in months.
Also, it has a barrier to entry that is very small. It is not difficult to run small campaigns and they can be perfectly effective with just a few tens of euros of investment.
However, not everything is rosy. The first symptoms of saturation are already beginning to be noticed in Facebook Ads (it is becoming more expensive) but, even so, it is still a platform that, well used, continues to give very profitable results.
In this post, I am going to focus on the conceptual and strategic vision of Facebook Ads, what exactly Facebook Ads is, what elements it is made of, how it works, and how it can add value to you.
What are Facebook Ads?
Although Facebook already had an online advertising platform since it was invented in 2004, what was then called Flyers, it has been in the last 3-4 years when Facebook has taken off and devastated.
Then and now, the platform displays ads interspersing them with normal social content. It does this both in the feed (the main column of populations) and in the right column or sidebar.
That Facebook Ads has grown exponentially in recent years is no accident; I would say that there have been, above all, two key factors that explain it:
- It has been in recent years when the tool has reached a very high degree of maturity and efficiency, which is what allows such good investment returns.
- Facebook has also “forced the machine” with the controversial and drastic cut of the organic reach of the fan pages (which are the ones that are used commercially). This change in Facebook’s organic reach seems very clear that it was intentional.
In the latter, the organic reach, Facebook has never given exact data, but it was in 2012 when a drastic drop was noticed to an average of around 16%. This means that on a page with 10,000 fans, only 1,600 would see a certain publication.
But it is that, since then, this figure has only decreased even more and today many testimonies speak of a range between 2% – 6% as a normal range.
In other words, Facebook has deliberately forced its users to pay for visibility within the platform. It is a private company and it has every right to do so, no matter how little we like it.
This is also a wake-up call that reminds us very clearly why a digital business should always have its own website (typically a blog) and not depend 100% on a third-party platform such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or any other.
Facebook Ads versus Google AdWords Which is better?
Until the arrival of Facebook Ads, Google AdWords was the rooster of the henhouse, practically a monopoly in the online advertising market.
But the market share of Facebook Ads continues to grow and, to date, it has already gained a very important% of the market, as you can see in these statistics on advertising spending from Statista :
So the question is unavoidable:
What is better, Facebook Ads or AdWords?
Here’s some debate.
On the one hand, there are quite a few testimonials that affirm that Facebook Ads is the platform that generates, in general, the best investment returns.
Others argue that there is no clear answer to this question, that they are too different platforms and, in both, the range of returns according to the nature and know-how of each advertiser is enormous.
The key in this debate is that it is necessary to understand that targeting (definition of the audience to which to direct the ad) is completely different in these two platforms.
In AdWords it is done mainly through Google searches, that is, the ads are associated with related searches (see the example in the image above) and will appear mainly in:
- Google search results pages.
- Websites with Google ads ( AdSense ), typically niche websites, blogs, forums, and other websites.
- And on Google Shopping (the product ads with prices in the search results that you can see above).
Instead, Facebook Ads appear on the pages and apps of the social network itself, and targeting is done through audience segmentation, which can be incredibly sophisticated and accurate if you like.
That is, first you try to define in the best possible way the characteristics of the profile of people to whom the ad is directed and then you show it to them.
AdWords, for example, is often considered more efficient in situations with clear intentionality, which is what the user’s search reflects.
Facebook Ads takes heart when we do not know the intentions of the user, but we are very clear to what type of people you can offer a certain offer to (which can be free).
Things like attracting leads (potential customers) with free incentives work especially well here, for example. This is why so many people use Facebook Ads to grow their mailing lists, attract attendees to a webinar, etc.
As you can see, they are very different platforms, so my advice is: why compete when you can use both at the same time?
That is, the best approach I can recommend is to test both platforms and measure the returns. Depending on the results, you can decide which one to keep for each type of campaign or even whether to continue using both at the same time.
How does Facebook advertising work? How to create ads with Facebook Ads
Let’s see now, with a very global vision, how advertising works in Facebook Ads, that is, how to create ads in Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads Manager: the Facebook Ads Manager
Here everything revolves around Facebook Ads Manager, the Ad Manager Facebook.
It is a very powerful tool, with many possibilities, although it is not difficult to start doing simple things with it. This tool has been another of the keys to the success of Facebook Ads.
Now, although it is easy to start creating ads, keep in mind that you will get really good returns when you handle advanced concepts such as the Facebook pixel, similar audiences, or the rules of Facebook Ads.
Advertising campaigns on Facebook Ads
That is also the reason why the creation of these campaigns goes so far, that they and the Facebook Ads Manager deserve a whole course. Here I am going to limit myself only to the most essential so that you simply get a first idea of the philosophy of how it works in Facebook Ads.
It all revolves around the campaign/ad set/ad structure.
Every ad has these three levels; each level has its specific functions and works as an exclusive container. In other words, an ad, for example, cannot be used in two ad sets at the same time; the ads are exclusive to your sets and these to your campaigns.
At each of these levels, different optimizations can be made and this is where the “art” of managing Facebook Ads really lies. This is where you are going to make the difference between mediocre returns and spectacular returns.
So let’s see in more detail what each thing is for.
What are campaigns in Facebook Ads?
Each campaign must have a single advertising objective. For example: attracting traffic to a website, the sale of a certain product, or the exposure of a brand.
Depending on the type of goal, the algorithm will optimize the delivery of the ads differently.
This optimization can be refined a lot with advanced tools such as the Facebook Ads pixel (which I will talk about again a little below) and the Facebook Ads rules (which are a real pass).
What are ad sets in Facebook Ads?
Ad sets are primarily used to create different strategies and compare their performance to get the best one.
An ad set is structured into four groups of parameters:
- The maximum daily budget and the publication schedule for the ads.
- The profile of the audience to which the ads are exposed. Here we are talking about audience segmentation, another of the star points of Facebook Ads because you can do real magic. We see more about this later.
- The location of the ads: different options are configured here (feed, sidebar, etc.).
- The optimization and delivery: here you can set options such as billing ad impressions or clicks, set an economic limit on the bids (price per click), and other options.
The game that this has is tremendous. A very simple example would be to create, for example, three ad sets with different targeting (audience profiles) and run them at the same time. In fact, getting the segmentation right will be one of the fundamental keys to achieving a profitable campaign.
After a prudent time, you can now compare the results obtained and stay with the segmentation that has worked best.
Here it is very important to be patient; The algorithm needs time to work and fine-tune the optimization (it has a minimum of 2-3 days) before the results will not be reliable.
It is a very common mistake to abort an ad prematurely (after 1 day, for example) due to not having satisfactory results that 2 days later, after enough time, could be very different.
What are Facebook Ads ads?
The ad is the graphic element itself that is shown to the user, that is, the box with the ad title, the banner image or a video, the description text, and a link.
By the way, I recommend that you take into account the video format. It is very interesting because it stands out a lot in the Facebook feed and differs from most ads that are static images.
In this, the aesthetics of the advertisements and the copywriting of their texts are greatly overrated. Without a doubt, they are important and influence conversions, but even more important is a clear message and the best possible alignment with the page that you will take the user to if they click.
Each ad set can have multiple ads with different formats and sizes and with different combinations of images, text, links, and calls to action.
In the ads, you can also configure a tracking with the pixel and Facebook Ads events. I am not going to go into the details, which are many but keep the idea that you can measure the results 100% because it allows you to integrate Facebook Ads with other websites.
That is, it allows you to do things such as, for example, detect that the user who clicked on an ad then went to a sales funnel on your blog and, in the end, ended up buying the product that is offered at the end of the funnel.
Wonderful to be able to do these things, don’t you think?
And to give you a much more practical idea of how ads work and how to manage ad budgets, I recommend the following video tutorial that also explains general concepts of online advertising that it is important that you understand and also includes a part of AdWords.
The video is set here to start in the Facebook Ads part (minute 36:48), but if you are also interested in the other two topics, simply play it from the beginning.
What is targeting and retargeting in Facebook Ads?
When working with Facebook Ads and other online advertising platforms, you will come across the terms targeting and retargeting many times. They are two very important concepts and, therefore, I also want to explain them briefly here.
Let’s start with targeting. This term comes from “target”, “objective” or “Diana” in English; the translation of target fits here more because, so to speak, it refers to the actions necessary to “target” the right people.
To achieve this we have to segment or filter the audience we are targeting, to target as precisely as possible the people who are the right ones for our ad.
In general, the more precise that segmentation is, the more profitable our campaign will be because we will achieve our objective to a greater extent (the sale of a product, for example); It is logical.
Higher conversion means that you “spend” less ad space on the platform, as a result, you pay less. Therefore, your campaign becomes more profitable.
And to achieve this, Facebook Ads allows you to do tricks. I give you two examples :
Suppose I have an SEO course and I want to sell it from this blog.
Well, Facebook Ads allows me to segment not only by standard criteria such as age range, country, purchasing power, education, profession, etc., but I can be much more precise than that, I could create, for example, two sets of ads with different audiences like this:
A targeted audience with the help of the Facebook pixel, allows me to target Facebook users who have visited my blog SEO posts.
With this audience I am retargeting, that is to say, I “put myself in front of ” these users who already visited me once and showed interest in SEO once, although this time I do it with an ad on Facebook.
The strategy behind this is that it is a “hot” audience, with a greater willingness to take the action you want: sign up for a webinar, buy your product, etc.
By the way, does this sound like something to you? Yes right? It is a lot like what happens, for example, when you browse products on Amazon. Suddenly, the ads for those products seem to be chasing you everywhere. That is retargeting.
I am going to create the other targeted audience differently: using the similar audience functionality of Facebook Ads in combination with my mailing list.
To do this, I would first filter an email list of subscribers who have opened SEO-related emails (even this could be further refined by using only certain emails).
With this list of emails, Facebook identifies its users (let’s say 1000), locates other users they have with a very similar profile (of interests, etc.), and creates an audience with them. With this, I can convert that audience of 1000 people into 250,000, for example.
Now I could A / B test these two audiences using the same ad (duplicate) in these two ad sets and after a week of testing, for example, be left with only the highest profitable (lowest spend) ad set. per sale).
Mind you, there are still many other possibilities, for example, I could have also created a similar audience from the first audience (that of visits to SEO posts) and tested it with a third set of ads.
Do you get a glimpse of how powerful all of this is?
What is the famous “Facebook pixel” for and how does it work?
I have already talked a lot in this post about the Facebook “pixel” and it is inevitable: it is a great invention with many possibilities; It’s hard not to end up talking about him when you talk about Facebook Ads.
The previous examples are enough for you to get a first idea of the game that it gives and how to work with it, so here I am going to limit myself to explaining what the “pixel” is as such.
\The pixel is a tracking code that, when integrated into a website, allows Facebook Ads to record the activity of users on your website (which pages they visit).
This way you can know, for example, if a user has purchased on your website because it would have detected that that user has visited page X of your website, which is the final page of the purchase.
Integrating the pixel into a website is very easy and even more so in the case of WordPress, since you have a lot of plugins to integrate the Facebook pixel.
And if you have been wondering along these lines if such an accurate tracking of activity is really legal, without being, for now, illegal, such a comprehensive tracking system certainly raises an important question of privacy and personal data.
Why use Facebook Ads? 5 Practical examples
If you have not worked with online advertising platforms yet, it may still be difficult for you to see how to apply all this in practice.
Therefore, we are going to review some typical application examples and also the different strategies behind them, something very important, because if the strategy is not the right one, you will not get results.
Sale of products and services
This is the most typical example. You will have had enough of seeing ads for products and services on your Facebook feed.
Here the strategy is usually as simple as taking the user directly to a landing page ( landing page ) that presents the product or service.
In this case, the profitability of your campaigns will be determined by the conversion into sales. That is, with X money invested in ads, how much money are you generating profit on your sales?
In a lead capture ad (prospects, that is, potential clients), we will also take the user to a landing page, but here the immediate objective is not the sale, but to capture their contact, that is, get their email.
The way to do it is similar to what you see on other websites such as blogs, for example, where free hooks such as eBooks and the like are offered, which require registration with an email to access them.
From there, it is your decision what to do with them: whether to simply take them to your mailing list, to a sales funnel, capture leads for a webinar, or whatever else you can think of.
Traffic generation and SEO
Facebook Ads allows you to get really low prices per click. The exact amounts cannot be generalized, it depends a lot on each case, but you will find testimonials from people who get prices per click (that is, for visits) of only 2 – 5 euro cents.
With these prices, generating paid traffic to your website can make a lot of sense not only to capture leads but also to simply generate visits to certain pages so that they are shared on social networks, receive social proof signals such as comments, etc.
In addition, this will also have positive effects for SEO, because more visits mean that the links will also arrive much faster and Google will perceive that page as a site with more movement, which is also positive for SEO.
Here the interesting strategy is to choose very well the pages to which to bring traffic and multiply the return on your investment.
For example, those pages that have affiliate links and/or a powerful lead magnet (free incentive to join your list) that converts are especially interesting.
With this, you would be paying to generate traffic and positioning in the medium / long term, to get leads, and perhaps the occasional affiliate commission will also fall. You will have achieved a full-fledged three-for-one with your investment.
Launch of new websites
As you well know, there are more and more websites and small digital entrepreneurs, competition in most niches is increasing little by little and that also makes it more difficult to get visits for websites that start from scratch, at least at the beginning.
For this reason, and due to the low prices per click that can be achieved, Facebook Ads has also become an increasingly used tool in the launch of new websites.
The crux of the matter here is, above all, that the first few months (minimum 2-3 months), even if you do a very good SEO job (which I highly recommend), Google will practically ignore you.
During this initial drought, a good investment in Facebook Ads traffic allows you to take a “jump in time” of many months overcoming this initial drought.
At a price per click of, say, 10 cents, every € 100 invested would be generating 1000 visits, visits that with a new site can be really a lot of work (on social networks, etc.) to get them at the beginning.
This allows you to start attracting subscribers now (a 2% rate is realistic if you do it right) and move forward with your project from day one, without wasting time and the frustration of seeing a dead website at the visitor level for months.
Over time, little by little, if you have done that SEO work that you should have done, you will see how Google will start to open the tap of visits to your website, there will begin to be traffic from your subscribers, from social networks, etc. and you can gradually dispense with paid traffic.
The term “branding” (of “Brand”, brand) refers to the process of building a brand. A very important part of it is making the brand recognizable (logo, colors, etc.) and getting people to remember it.
The key idea behind a branding campaign is that if you put out a positive message related to your brand to enough people long enough, they will think of that brand when it comes time to make a purchase.
Therefore, the objective here is going to be exposure to the maximum number of suitable people, not so much that they click on the ad. Now the immediate goal is not to sell.
In that sense, a simple ad with a positive, inspiring message or that invokes a wellness experience, without any allusion to any specific product, can be a perfect branding ad.
One of the most impactful and most remembered commercials of this style is the famous “Do you like to drive?” from BMW:
You can also do something like (with an image or video ad) with Facebook Ads.
In fact, Facebook Ads has a specific campaign objective, that of “brand recognition” with which the algorithm will optimize the delivery of the ad for this purpose.
Read more: WordPress GDPR plugin: the best plugins
How to make Facebook Ads as profitable as possible
In the previous sections, I have already given several strokes about what are the factors that will decide the return on investment that you will achieve, but this being the key to the success of your campaigns, I want to make a small reminder.
I also want to insist that this subject deserves a whole course and that I will limit myself only to the essentials.
Facebook Ads pricing
First of all, I want you to be clear that low prices do not equal high profitability.
Second, you should know that the price range in Facebook Ads and returns is huge. It all depends on your strategy and things like your ability to find the right audience.
To be clear if your ads are being “expensive” or “cheap”, what you have to measure is the performance of the final objective of your campaign.
Let’s take an example with two scenarios, to be clear about the concepts and how you should think about this:
- Scenario A: you have a € 500 online course. Each click on your ads is costing you about € 2 per click and these ads are having a 2% conversion (1 in 50 clicks translates into sales). Therefore, the price or cost of your Facebook Ads campaigns is giving you a result of around € 100 investment per student (per sale).
- Scenario B: you are bringing traffic to your website and this traffic, due to a series of factors (which does not matter now) is getting you to 10 cents per click. You value (by criteria that now do not matter either) that the pages to which you take that traffic generate, on average, about € 100 per 1000 visits.
If we compare the two scenarios, in scenario A you have a price per click of € 2 and you are generating an ROI (return on investment) of 400%, for every € 100 invested; Facebook Ads is generating you € 500.
The final objective of your campaign (the sale, the conversions you get for the course) is to be very profitable.
In scenario B, you are getting a much cheaper price per click, 20 times cheaper than before. But if we calculate the results obtained, we see that for every € 100 invested, we get another € 100 back, what is eaten by what was served, that is, an ROI of 0%, despite a much cheaper price per click.
That is the crux of the matter that has to determine how you design your strategies. So don’t think about absolute prices per click or prices per impression, but think about the final ROI.
A high price in Facebook Ads can be very profitable and vice versa, it depends on each case.
What determines the profitability of your ads?
The profitability or effectiveness of your ads will be determined, above all, by:
- The quality of your targeting. That will determine your CTR (Click Through Rate), which is the% of clicks received on your ad or what is the same: the conversion of your ad. The higher the CTR, the lower the price per click. Remember that you are bidding for a finite number of ad space, which is what you pay for, after all.
- The “temperature” of the audience. A “cold” audience (that doesn’t know you or your brand at all) is not the same as a “hotter” one (that already knows you and values you). They convert hotter audiences much better. That is why retargeting techniques and the creation of audiences based on the Facebook pixel are so interesting, with this you are targeting more “hot” audiences.
- The design and copywriting. Good use of appropriate colors and images will make your ad stand out and good copywriting will help increase interest in clicking on your ad or the footprint your message leaves in a branding campaign.
- The alignment of your ad with the objective. A spectacular CRT with a very low price per click is worth nothing if your ad is not aligned with your objective and people do not connect. That is, if you sell a product, for example, and when the user clicks on the landing page the user does not connect with it, it will all have been for nothing, they will not buy.
Why the “Promote Advertising” button is dangerous
One last topic to close the question of profitability is the famous “Promote Post” button. If you have ever shared content on a Facebook page, you have had to see it:
When you click this button, Facebook allows you to increase the organic reach of your posts by paying. For this, you can choose audiences such as “people who like your page” and “people who like your page and their friends. ”
With what you just read, do you suspect what the danger is here?
Exactly. This type of audience has a very poor segmentation, especially the option of friends of fans will generate a completely arbitrary composition of people.
But it is that even the fans themselves, who could be, in principle, a hotter public, in practice, especially in young pages, are often of poor quality.
Only if you know with certainty that the fans of your page are of good quality and are aligned with the publication in question, this segmentation makes sense.
On the other hand, you can also choose people by segmentation with standard criteria such as age, country, interests, etc. But this will generally be a cold and generic audience that does not have a specific relationship with the publication you want to promote.
Therefore, in all these options, the return on investment with this type of segmentation is very likely to be very bad.
The problem is that for a newbie, who is not aware of all these things, this kind of simplistic segmentation is very easy and tempting. You just see that you are exposing yourself to a much larger audience and that seems appealing. Fall into the trap.
As you have seen, Facebook Ads is a tremendously efficient tool, both for businesses that are starting up and for those that have been operating for a while and seek to improve their performance.
Now, to reach really high levels of performance and investment returns, you need to learn Facebook Ads thoroughly, especially everything related to audience segmentation.
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