4 Things To Know Before Starting With Facebook Ads
You’ve got a great product or a compelling service to offer the world, or maybe yours is still in the “great idea” stage of development - either way, you need to decide if Facebook is the right place to advertise and, if so, how to do it.
This article, and subsequent post yet to come, are intended to arm you with some of the basic things you need to know to make an informed decision about Facebook advertising. It’s a great platform and can be an invaluable tool yet warrants some thought about what it can, and can not, do for you.
Table of contents
Know your audience
For all it can do - give you access to billions of people - Facebook is not, as the Shakespearian idiom goes, the be-all and end-all, in advertising. When deciding if Facebook is the right advertising platform for your product or service, first consider your audience. Who are your potential customers? What is their age, gender, income, location? Now think about who uses Facebook. Not just who has an account, but who uses it and for what. Facebook boasts 2.7 billion users, so you can likely count on one hand the number of people you know that do not at least have a Facebook account. Having an account is not the same as active users nor does it describe how it is used. Even if only 1.6 billion people log on to their Facebook accounts on a daily basis, it’s a lot of people.
If yours is a B2B, or business to business offering, you may want to give serious consideration as to whether or not Facebook is the highest priority for your ads. Granted, businesses are made up of people, but many companies restrict or even prohibit the use of Facebook on work machines. If yours is a B2B offering you may reach your intended target, but not when they are in the mindset to consider your solution. They are looking at pictures of kittens or posting pictures of their last great meal. They are unwinding and don’t want to think about work right now.
Generally speaking, there are better advertising platforms for B2B sales than Facebook - but you know your product, so just consider your audience.
How your story is best told
You’ve decided it’s time to tell the world about your product or service using Facebook. Now, consider how this story is best told. An image, multiple images, a short video, or a combination of all these in the form of a story? Obviously, a single image is the easiest and fastest type of ad to create. This will get you “up and running” quickly, but will it generate the results you want? If one image just won’t do, maybe because you want potential customers to see a variety of styles or options, a Carousel of up to ten images may be what you want. Depending on the product or service you have to offer, you may find that a short video will be more compelling and create more interest. Or, go all out. Create an audio-video production to rival that of a television ad.
Facebook can accommodate all of these and more. Over the years, their advertising platform has grown quite sophisticated. And why not? Facebook is a $55 Billion enterprise ranked #57 on the 2019 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. They make their money in advertising, so guess what! They know how to do it.
The important thing here is to spend some time thinking about how your story can best be told. Consider how your competitors do it but don’t let that have too much sway. Maybe they are missing an important element in telling their story. You might be able to do better. Imagine you are a potential customer. What, in the very very short amount of time you are willing to devote to any one ad, will catch your eye make you want to learn more.
How will you create your ad?
When advertising on Facebook this question is, for the most part, answered for you already. You will create your ad using Facebook’s Creative Hub. Creative Hub is located inside Facebook and allows you to begin creating ad content immediately. Using templates for the various types or formats of ads they host, you can add your photos, videos, ad copy, and Voilà - you have created a professional-looking ad.
These easy to use templates allow a novice advertiser to create ads that compare - at least in presentation - to any high-priced ad agency. That means you can spend your time and energy on ad content. This is where you will differentiate yourself from your competitors. Their ad format, image size, video length, etc. will be the same as yours, so your content needs to be more compelling. More eye-catching. More informative.
Use your creative powers to gather or shoot the best images and videos. Polish your story and how it needs to be told. Don’t sweat the technical stuff, for now anyway. Facebook Creative Hub will guide you through this. What Facebook can’t do for you is create that connection between your offering and your potential customers. This must be done by you.
Be aware of Facebook’s Advertising Policies
In many ways, Facebook has earned its reputation for being vague, convoluted, and hard to understand in its advertising policies. As most Facebook advertisers will attest, there is a certain amount of trial and error involved in creating ads that they will accept. Often there is no understandable explanation as to why a certain ad has been rejected. You just need to tweak it a little and keep trying. To be sure, there is an appeals process but good luck with that. Many find it easier to correct what you think may be the offending element in the ad and resubmit.
Facebook’s Advertising Policies page lists 31 categories of prohibited content. From adult content to multilevel marketing to misleading claims, each prohibition comes with an explanation, which may - or may not, be easy to understand.
As an example, let’s look at Facebook’s advertising relative to Personal Attributes. Their policy says, “Ads must not contain content that asserts or implies personal attributes. This includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record, or name.”
As illustrations of this policy, they provide several examples. Here is just one. The phrase “Find black singles today” would be acceptable but “Meet other black singles near you” is unacceptable. If you look closely you see that the second phrase uses the word “other” which implies that the race of the reader is black. This would violate the ad policy as stated above.
The purpose of this article is not to rationalize or even explain all of the Facebook ad policies, but rather help you understand that significant learning and planning is required to create ads that comply with their policies. Don’t be disheartened. If you are offering a legitimate product or service in an ethical manner you will be able to negotiate these policies and get your ads placed.
In summary, Facebook is a great place to advertise your product or service - if - you want to sell to people, not businesses, and value ease of use and speed of startup. If other businesses are your target and you have time and resources to create ads in-house, Facebook may slide down your priority list just a bit.
Check back often. In subsequent posts, we will help you fine-tune your Facebook advertising strategy with tips-and-tricks, successful methods, and advanced features.