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Facebook Ads – The Basics & N00b Mistakes to Avoid

Submitted on 8/21/2013 by Georgia Hitchcock

Soak Up the Sun Thunder SEO

Did you know that only about 16% of your clever, well-thought out Facebook Posts actually show up in the News Feeds of your loyal fans? It’s true, but this shouldn’t be news to you, because Facebook made this public knowledge earlier last year.

So, how do you reach the other 84% of your audience? By using paid ads, of course! But don’t worry, a small budget can usually take you a long way and I am here to hold your hand for all the newbies out there!

First, you should understand the different types of ads that are available to you as marketers. There are two main kinds of ads: ads to get you more fans on your Page and ads to get you more engagement with the posts you make on your Page. Sponsored stories are also an option for both types of ads. Allow me to explain…

Get More Page Likes

Pretty self-explanatory, right? This is the ad to choose if you have a very low number of fans on your Page and simply need to boost your audience. You can completely customize this ad by selecting the headline, text, and image, which will best tell the story of your Page and get people enticed to “like” it. You can also decide on the landing view for your ad. I highly recommend the Timeline option, but you could also choose to have them land on any of your Page's Apps if you preferred.

Get More Page Likes

Next, you will decide if you would like the Sponsored Stories option. This feature helps people to discover your business through their friends and no additional increase in your budget is required. I almost always keep this feature turned on because people are much more likely to “like” something that one of their friends has already become a fan of.

Sponsored Stories

Now you get to create your audience by literally handpicking who on Facebook you want to see your ad. Select the location, age, gender, and any precise interests you may wish to target as well. I usually like to keep my audience small and intimate, that way there is not a ton of competition in the space, so clicks cost me less, and the people who I am targeting are much more likely to actually be interested in what I’m advertising. But don’t make your audience too small! I usually try to stay above the 20,000 mark (give or take a few), so pay close attention to the Audience reach as you finalize your targeting. You also have the ability to choose if you would like to target people who are already connected to your page versus those who are not already connected to your page in some way.

Create Your Audience

Lastly, you select your campaign pricing and schedule. Name your campaign, set a budget, and select whether you would like to run that budget per day or as a total lifetime budget. (Note: When you switch from “Per Day” to “Lifetime”, Facebook automatically bumps the budget up to $350 – don’t miss that unless you are willing to spend that much!) Select your start and end date, if applicable, and decide between CPM and CPC. What’s the difference, you ask? If you select CPM, you will be charged every time someone sees your ad or sponsored story (think of it as paying for impressions), and if you choose CPC, you will be charged every time someone clicks on your ad or sponsored story. For CPC, it is important to point out that you will also need to manually bid on how much you would like to spend on those clicks. I recommend CPM for beginners, since Facebook does all the heavy lifting for you.

Campaign Pricing and Schedule

Finally you are ready to review your ad and place the order!

Promote Page Posts

First, choose the post you would like to promote. You can select between any existing posts on your Page or creating a new post to be promoted. Just like with the “Get More Page Likes” ad, you will have the opportunity to utilize Sponsored Stories, create your audience, and set your campaign pricing and schedule. One of the differences with this type of ad is that you have the ability to set up conversion tracking to your website for Promoted Page Posts. This will involve adding a snippet of JavaScript code into the code of your website. If this is not something you know how to do, ask your website developer to assist in installing the code. This snippet will send information back to Facebook when someone has viewed or clicked on your ad and then taken a specific action like buying something on your website. Lastly, choose if you will be optimizing for clicks or impressions, review your ad and place the order!

Promoted Page Posts

N00b mistake #1: Know when the billing cycle starts and ends!

At Thunder, we can admit when we make a mistake and this was a mistake we learned the hard way. I made the incorrect assumption that since an ad for one client had been completed, it was safe to set up a new one in our account. I added client #2’s credit card information to our account, made it the primary billing source, and set up the ads to start running that day. Little did I know that although client #1’s ad had finished running on Monday, that the billing cycle did not end until Wednesday (two days later). Fun times.

The following week, it was time to report to client #2 how their ads were performing and I discovered that the last couple days of client #1’s ads had been charged to the wrong credit card. But it gets better. I also found out that Facebook’s Customer Service Department fails miserably when it comes to Ads support, and that they absolutely will not reverse incorrect charges and re-charge them to the appropriate credit cards. Awesome.

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Image: Jean Browman

The best way to avoid this from happening to you? Never add your client’s credit card info to your account. Instead have all of your clients’ ads billed to your own company credit card and invoice them individually for their ads. Voila! No more incorrect charges.

N00b mistake #2: Know how many days you are running your ads for

This one is almost too embarrassing to admit, but because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did when I was just starting with Facebook Ads, I’m going to share.

If you tell your client that you are going to be running ads for two weeks, starting on a Monday and ending on a Monday, that will be a total of 15 days, and not 14. Common knowledge, I know, but I made this very easy mistake and incorrectly estimated the necessary budget for my client’s Facebook Ads. Luckily, the discrepancy was minute, but it still made me feel really silly.

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Image: Ciro Duran

Facebook Ads are still relatively new in terms of paid advertising channels, so the landscape is constantly changing. If you are ever in need of some expert Facebook advice, my good friend Merry at AimClear is pretty much THE expert. Check out this post she wrote making it really easy to find all the answers to your questions about Facebook Ads.

Have you ever made silly N00b mistakes with Facebook Ads? Let me know I’m not alone and leave me a comment below!

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