A complete guide on how to advertise on Facebook, including what kind of leads you can generate, types of ads, campaign goals and how to create a campaign.
UK advertisers spend more than £1.27 billion on Facebook ads every year – that’s more than Channel 4 generates from advertisers and close to ITV’s revenue across multiple television channels.
In 2020, Facebook remains the platform of choice for social advertisers, partly because of the sheer size of its user base, which now sits at more than 2.5 billion active users as of Q4 2019. However, that’s not the only reason this platform is so popular with advertisers around the world.
In this article, you’ll discover the other reasons Facebook
Advertising is trusted by so many advertisers and how to create your first
campaign on the world’s most popular social network.
We’ve written a blog post on this exact topic, explaining three key reasons why you should advertise on Facebook.
Related article: The complete guide to Instagram advertising
In the intro of this article, we touched on one of the most obvious reasons to advertise on Facebook: its massive user base. However, the diversity of Facebook’s user base is also important as this is what gives advertisers access to the target audiences they need.
More on this in the next section.
Another key point to consider when you’re choosing
advertising options is cost and, as we’ll see later on in this article,
Facebook offers some of the lowest average CPCs in the business.
According to Pew Research (visualisation by SproutSocial), Facebook is most popular with users aged 18-49. There’s a growing number of users in the 50-64 age bracket, probably due to the fact Facebook users are gradually getting older. Other platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok are more popular with younger age brackets, but Facebook still has a strong grip on the age groups that the majority of consumers and business decision-makers belong to.
Here’s an overview of the age brackets:
In other words, you can pretty much reach any target audience you need to on Facebook. It’s the only social platform that can truly match Google Search in terms of connecting you with just about anyone and everyone.
Related reading: Facebook targeting options explained
Another key strength of Facebook is its suitability for both B2B and B2C advertising. Twitter is the only other network that can really say this, but Facebook drowns Twitter in user numbers, targeting options, CPCs and all kinds of other areas.
These two strengths combined leave Facebook in a unique position. Most social networks suit certain types of businesses targeting certain types of audiences, but Facebook is the network we can confidently say 99+% advertisers should be using.
The great strength of advertising on search engines like
Google is that you can target users with great accuracy, based on the search
terms they use. This allows you to target high-intent leads looking to buy now,
low-intent leads to nurture and everything in between.
You don’t get this same benefit with advertising on social networks, which means you’re somewhat limited to targeting lower-intent leads and then nurturing them along the buying process. However, you do get a different benefit from advertising on social media – being able to introduce your brand to people who aren’t actively searching for it (or what you’re selling).
Social advertising gives you reach that search ads can’t really match and this is crucial if you’re looking to significantly grow your customer base.
Facebook has a secret weapon that helps you turn “lower-intent” leads into paying customers faster too. We mentioned Facebook’s targeting options earlier and this is where the magic happens with Facebook advertising campaigns. Thanks to all that personal data users hand over, you can layer targeting options to pinpoint the most specific audiences – e.g. people currently planning a wedding, currently travelling in specific locations or couples who are about to welcome their first baby into the world. You can also use interest targeting to deliver ads to people with a proven interest in your products or services, even if they’re not at a point where they’re going to search for them specifically in Google.
Crucially, this allows you to get your brand seen by potential customers before they even realise they’re interested in buying from you. Thanks to Facebook’s targeting options, low intent leads from the network can be as valuable as the highest-intent leads you’ll generate from Google Ads.
Compared to advertising on Google Ads, the technical process for creating and managing campaigns on Facebook is relatively simple. It’s actually the creative side of Facebook advertising that’s more challenging, with the prospect of creating the content necessary to run successful campaigns – a lot of images, videos, quizzes and engaging types of content.
In a moment, we’ll show you how to create your first
Facebook advertising campaign but, before we do that, let’s take a look at the
ad formats available to give you an idea of the kind of content you’ll need to
There are eight key ad formats available on Facebook
Advertising and they’re all image or video-centric:
The next thing you need to know is the campaign goals you can select in Facebook Advertising.
There are 11 different campaign objectives you can choose, each one designed to help you encourage a different type of action from your target audience.
Depending on the objective you choose when you create a new
campaign, Facebook will use this information to deliver your ads to the most
relevant users – people who are most likely to complete the action you require.
Now you’re ready to create your first campaign. Luckily, Facebook’s advertising platform guides you through the necessary steps, making it actually quite easy to get your first campaign up and running.
Here’s a quick preview of the process.
The most complex stage of this process is choosing your targeting options but, to put things in
context, this is much less time-consuming than keyword research for Google Ads.
And, while this can make Facebook campaigns longer to set up than other social
platforms, the results are more than worth it.
In all honestly, it’s very difficult to specify a cost as it varies so much depending on the audience you’re targeting, the quality of ad, the marketing objective, etc. The best way to find out is to give it a go, start small and work it out from there based on your own campaign parameters.
There are several studies that show average CPCs being between £0.39 and £0.79 – you can read more about this here.
Based on these studies, this puts Facebook advertising well within the most affordable social advertising platforms, another reason why this network remains so popular among advertisers. In terms of effectiveness, flexibility and affordability, Facebook still comes out on top in 2020.
There’s been a lot of praise for Facebook Advertising in
this article but no platform is perfect and, as always, there are some
weaknesses worth considering. The main challenge with running effective
Facebook campaigns is creating the visual content required to engage audiences.
With Google Ads, you can get results from text ads but you’re going to need to
invest in quality images, videos and visual content formats to make things
happen on Facebook.
That said, if you compare Facebook to other social networks,
this aspect is far more demanding on platforms like Instagram, YouTube,
Snapchat, TikTok and the vast majority of alternatives. At this stage, every
business needs to be creating the kind of visual content that makes great
Facebook campaigns (at least) so this isn’t really a barrier to advertising on
the platform in 2020.
If it is, you’ve got bigger problems.
The other main downside to Facebook is that organic reach has crawled to almost nothing over the years. Technically, organic posts don’t have anything to do with Facebook Advertising but when you’re using Twitter or LinkedIn, for example, you can reinforce your paid ads with organic posts so this does make a difference. Then again, CPCs are higher on both LinkedIn and Twitter, so it’s all pros and cons.
For more tips on Facebook Advertising and social media
marketing, take a look at the PPC
and social media categories on our blog.
Callum is a PPC Specialist at Vertical Leap.
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