Facebook Advertising 101: Reaching the right people out of a billion

Facebook-LikeYou may have heard of  that big social network Facebook.

Well recently Facebook went public and with that began working hard to bring in revenue.

How did they do it?  Advertising…obviously.

Advertising is a marketing tactic that allows brands to pay for visibility in front of an audience.

On the web, advertising is more measurable and more easily targeted  especially with the wealth of data that Facebook has about all of us.

Should you advertise on Facebook?  Read on to find out…

What are your goals and expectations?

The first thing to think about is what you want to accomplish.

If your goal is to drive sales, advertising on Facebook is one of the least effective ways to do it.  People by and large ignore display advertisements on Facebook.  If you are expecting that Facebook’s 1 billion person user base is waiting at their newsfeed, credit card in hand, waiting to buy your stuff because of a display ad, you are in for a rude awakening.

On the other hand, Facebook has ad units that are very effective at driving likes on your page or traffic to areas ON Facebook.com.  If you plan on using ads on Facebook to drive traffic to your Page where you can engage people or use good content to get them back to your website… you’ve got a shot.

Think about Budget

Don’t go into this without knowing exactly how much money you’ve got to burn…seriously.

If you setup your ads correctly, try different copy and frequently use the data to optimize your ads, you might have overwhelming success with Facebook ads and make good use of your budget.

Many companies just setup their targeting, create one ad and then run it until the money’s all gone.  If that’s the case, it may be money spent that doesn’t deliver.

Consider how much you’ve got to spend and if possible, consider hiring experts to help manage the campaign.

Also keep in mind that with recent changes to EdgeRank, getting people to your page is only the first half of your spend, next you will likely need to promote your posts to gain visibility in your audience’s newsfeed.

Other Options and Resources

Look, the web is a big place full of smart people, so I won’t waste anyone’s time–including my own–regurgitating the different types of ad units and how to deploy them.  So here’s what I’m going to do…

Below are a series of guides and resources to help you get the most out of Facebook ads.  That being said, BEFORE you click on any of them, skip down to the next paragraph and finish reading this post, THEN and ONLY then, should you click these links.


Facebook Advertising 101 by Mediative

Facebook Advertising 101 by Tom Altman

7 Tips to Mastering Facebook Advertising by Social Media Examiner

Advertising on Facebook: How it Works by Facebook


The Alternative to Advertising

While the prospect of advertising on Facebook seems exciting, there are other ways to go about utilizing Facebook without purchasing a single ad unit.

The life blood of Facebook is the newsfeed.  It’s what everyone looks at, it’s what everyone uses and it’s where the “magic” happens.  The key to getting into the news feed is by creating content that is engaging enough to your fans that they like, comment or share–that is unless you want to just pay to promote it.  So here’s another option:

Whatever that budget is that you had set aside for Facebook Advertising, consider splitting it in half.  Use half to drive people to the page, use the other half to create compelling, visually appealing content.  Content Marketing is hands down more effective than advertising because it appeals to people in a different way.  Ads are generally intrusive in some way.  Even if they are targeted, it is still not something people have sought out.  Interesting content, on the other hand, is the engine that runs every social media site you go to.  If you can look at your Facebook page data and determine what content has been most popular, you can create similar content to continue attracting the attention of your audience.    The other boon of content marketing over advertising is that it presents an opportunity to get people OFF of Facebook and ON to your website.  Now we’re getting somewhere…

Get people from Facebook to your website, and then provide a call-to-action.  Provided that the content that brought them to the site is a match for their needs, you’ve now got a good shot at getting a prospect.

So that’s it, my pitch for content marketing over advertising on Facebook.  What do you think?  Am I wrong?  Should we be spending money on ads on Facebook for a >1% clickthrough rate instead of drawing however many interested people back to our website?

What are your thoughts, sound off in the comments.


Jeff Gibbard is the lead blogger and editor of Social Media Philanthropy and the President of True Voice Media, the Social Business Agency.