Target Your Business’s Ideal Audience and Get the Most out of Facebook Advertising
So you’ve decided to take the leap and start using Facebook ads for your business. Congratulations, Facebook is a great tool to have in your digital marketing arsenal, but only if you know how to most effectively use it by targeting the correct audiences and using the best bidding strategy to complete your company’s goals.
Speaking of goals, make sure you have clearly outlined objectives that you are hoping to accomplish with Facebook advertising. Keep in mind that advertising on Facebook may not bring in huge amounts of direct leads but it will help to boost your branding and expose your company to a wider audience.
Let’s start by talking about target audiences: what are they? How can they be customized, and how is each type of targeting different?
There are three general options for you to consider when choosing your audience:
1. Core audience
A core audience is selected manually during the ad set setup and gives you options to create an audience based on demographics, interests and behaviors.
2. Custom audience
A custom audience is one that you would generally upload to Facebook from a client or customer list you already have on hand — if you don’t have a customer list it is something you should create immediately because it is very useful for other forms of targeted marketing.
3. Lookalike audience
The last major type of target audience is the lookalike audience. A lookalike audience is the easiest type of audience to target because Facebook will use it’s algorithm to automatically target Facebook users that resemble your current clients, customers or site visitors — I know, kind of freaky, but very effective.
In order to truly realize the potential of audience creation in Facebook it’s helpful to breakdown how each audience can be created, as well as the different characteristics and traits that can be used to segment it.
Core and custom audience ads can target users based on demographics such as age, gender, relationship status, homeownership, education, etc. Facebook ads can also use location to reach your desired audience by manually creating a radius around your business, targeting specific neighborhoods or zip codes, and even excluding designated areas based on zip codes.
In addition, Facebook ads can target users based on their interests and behaviors: what people are interested in and past purchases and decisions. Custom audiences help you continue targeting your ads towards customers and contacts based on your preexisting customer lists and site visitors.
So now you’ve decided on your target audience type and you’re ready to set your ads loose on social media, but wait! You still need to decide what type of bidding strategy you want Facebook to use. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
A bid on Facebook is a number representing how much you value showing your ad in the slot that is available and the bid strategies are a tradeoff between efficiency and stability when it comes to bidding on the ad slot.
A bid strategy on Facebook is exactly what it sounds like; the strategy you instruct Facebook to use to bid on the placement of your ads for ad optimization. Optimization is getting as many/much of your desired goal results as efficiently as possible through clicks, traffic, impressions, etc. Before you can reach your goal optimization you have to decide on your bid strategy.
There are two bid strategies: lowest cost and target cost. Each strategy will get your ad in front of your target audience, however, the strategies vary based on the way you want to spend your budget on bids.
A lowest cost bid strategy tells Facebook to bid with the goal of getting you the lowest possible cost per optimization event while spending your entire budget. This strategy can fluctuate based on auction competition for the same available slots meaning at times the cost may be higher, and at others it may be lower.
Regardless, Facebook will make sure if you win the slot position it will be for the lowest possible bid, but Facebook cannot guarantee the winning bid will remain constant day to day.
A target cost bid strategy tells Facebook to bid with the goal of achieving an average cost per optimization event as close to cost target as possible. Target cost has a stable average cost over the lifetime of your ad set. This strategy will ensure you never see major fluctuations in the cost per slot your ad is placed in, however, there is no guarantee the ad will win the slot at the same time or same days. Target cost trades maximum efficiency in ad placement for cost stability.
In general, Facebook recommends utilizing the lowest cost strategy if your goal is to get the most value from your budget. Even though at times the slot you win may cost more than the lifetime of the target cost, the lowest cost strategy gives your ad a higher chance of being in the peak position to be in front of the audience most likely to see your ad and take action. Regardless of the bidding strategy you choose, be conscious of how it fits into your overall optimization strategy.
What are you bidding for?
When you place a bid in Facebook’s world you are entering an auction house not for antiques, or a car or other product. Instead you are bidding on impressions - an impression happens every time your ad shows up in someone’s newsfeed - and clicks that occur every time a user clicks on your ad and is directed to your website where they can fill out a call to action form, or contact you about your services.
When you’re deciding on your bid strategy it’s important to keep in mind how each strategy will fit into your overall optimization goals. This ensures you won’t pay too much, or worse, reach too small of an audience for your budget.
When you create an ad campaign on Facebook you enter into an auction where companies and businesses from around the world are all actively competing for the open slots on Facebook. So space for advertising is limited and the highest bidders will get their ads in front of not only the most people, but the right people who are most likely to contact you for your services. If you bid too low, your campaign may not get the exposure it deserves and even if you bid a high amount using the lowest cost strategy, you’ll still pay the lowest possible amount.
One last thing to keep in mind: Facebook does not drive huge amounts of leads, however, it does a great job of boosting your brand and getting your company seen by your audience. People go on Facebook to see what’s happening with the news, connect with friends, and waste time. They aren’t logging in to find their new HVAC, home performance, or solar contractor. But keeping that in mind, Facebook is incredibly important to use because when those people who have been scrolling past your ad for a month suddenly need an HVAC, home performance, or solar contractor, your company and brand will be one of the first things they think of.
Like any element of digital marketing, you can’t rely on one channel alone and Facebook is no different. It should be a part of your overall strategy and budget, one component of a well thought out and orchestrated plan to boost your company in the digital universe: not a be-all-end-all that you are counting on to bring you leads. Use Facebook strategically with clear goals, and if you keep in mind the strategies discussed in this blog you’ll be well on your way to getting the most out of your ad budget.