A Guide to Facebook Ads, and When to Use Them

I‘m teaching a workshop on Facebook later this week at the Alliance, and it’s all about Facebook. Soup-to-nuts, how to create a FB page, and then what to do with it once you’ve created it.

Now, despite how I feel about what FB is currently doing (Edgerank, etc), the new reality is, if you want your page to get traffic, or if you want your posts to be seen, you basically have to pay for it.

Yeah, I have mixed feelings about this, but there are some advantages to FB ads.

  • First off, you can hyper target your ads. Because you have to fill out so much info and detail when you sign up for FB, they have tons of information, which makes it really easy for marketers to target their niche.
  • Secondly, you have quite a bit of control over how much money you spend on your ads. You can spend just a little, or if you want to really extend your reach, you can spend a lot.

So, here’s a rundown of what Facebook offers, and when you should use them.

Driving likes to your page with a sidebar ad

This is the kind of ad you want to invest in if you have just started up your Facebook page, and are struggling to get likes. You may want to invest in these until you get to a point where you have at least, say a few hundred people liking your page. These ads show up in the sidebar of Facebook, and encourage people to like your Facebook page. Some of them will say “your friend likes this,” which gives the ad a bit more credibility.

Don't choose this option!
Don’t choose this option!

These are PPC ads, so they run until someone clicks on them. You pay every time someone clicks, until your budget for that day runs out. Facebook wants to make it easy for you to create one of these ads, so you’ll see this box in your admin panel. Don’t do it! Instead, go to this link, and click on the option for “page likes” when you create your new ad. This will allow you to create an ad that is much more targeted.

Drive sales to a website with a sidebar ad.

This works in a very similar way to the previous one, except that you are driving traffic off of facebook, instead of to a facebook page. You’ll want to use this option if you’re not trying to grow long-term traffic to your page, but you have something short-term to sell. If, for example, you’re a theatre company, and want to sell tickets, this ad might work for you, as your landing page would be the place where people can actually purchase the tickets to your show.

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 3.29.13 PM

Again, go to this link, and click on “clicks to website.”

Create awareness and drive sales with a sponsored post.

This is another way for you to highlight something special that you’ve posted on your page. Maybe you have a short-term sale on, or you are trying to sell a book. This is the way to go. You create a status update on your page, and then you “boost” it. What this does, is make your post more visible–its views won’t be choked back by Edgerank (which we know limits our audience to between 10-60% of the people that like our pages). You basically are paying to have your status update be seen by a larger audience.

These ads show up in your main facebook feed, not in the sidebar (or you can do both). But they appear more organic, because they show up in the main facebook feed. As an added bonus, anyone who doesn’t already “like” your page will also see a “like” button on your post, and be able to like your page, without actually leaving their main facebook stream. Needless to say, these are my favourite ads right now, as they both help to create visibility for your individual posts AND they help to drive overall likes to your page.

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 3.30.12 PM

In order to get one of these, you have two choices. In your admin panel, beside your analytics on the very top, you’ll find “boost post” beside every single post. On the actual posts, you’ll have the opportunity to promote. Again, Facebook wants to make it really easy for you to do this, but don’t do it here. Go to this link, and select the “page post engagement” option (you’ll have had to already crafted and published your post). By choosing this option, you’ll get much more control over who your post is targeted to, and how much you are spending.

One last tip: to really customize your FB ads, you should install and use the Power editor. More about that later, I’m just playing with it right now….

What kind of success have you had with FB ads? Please share in the comment section below.


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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 1

  1. Hi Rebecca,
    I just signed up for a sponsored post to the grand sum of $25 to advertise my upcoming Yoga Teacher Training. (To anyone reading: It’s in Ireland and is residential so you could come over if you wish!!) I was scared to commit more because I need to see the effects of this one first. Also, at the start of this year I was conned by an “online marketing company” who took a LOT of my hard earned money to pretend to advertise me on FB. Buggers!
    Victoria x

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