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We’re kicking off a new series on paid media to help PR and marketing professionals understand the basics on social paid advertising. Keep an eye out for new posts as we explore Twitter, Taboola, Outbrain, basics of content strategy and more in the coming months. 

If you’re managing a Facebook community, you’ve likely felt the pressure to start devoting dollars to advertising. But is it really necessary? In short, absolutely. Facebook admitted that on average, only 16 percent of your community will see your content in their newsfeeds organically. To put this into perspective, if you have around 2,000 fans to start with, only 320 people will see your content – and an even smaller percentage will engage. This is due to changes in the Facebook algorithm. Want to beat the game? You’re going to need a targeted Facebook advertising strategy. It’s not as complicated as you might think, and we’re here to help! We’ve outlined a roadmap below to get you started.

How Facebook Ads Work
Facebook’s advertising platform allows marketers to target audiences by email address, age, sex, location and interests (based on listed interests). This is fantastic for brands, as you can create different campaigns based on each of your target personas or target locations.

To manage your spend, ads are best utilized under Facebook’s pay-per-click (vs. pay per impressions) model, which requires that a user click on an ad in order for you to be charged. Similar to the Google ads marketplace, each advertiser is competing against other advertisers as they bid for placements against demographic data. What’s great is that Facebook ads are very flexible and can be changed in real-time to adapt to strategies that are having the most success with your audience.

Ad Placements
Many of you may be familiar with the original Facebook ad, which was a small ad in the right sidebar on your desktop. Facebook now has a variety of additional options to suite your needs.

 Facebook ad placements

  • All Facebook (formally known as Marketplace Ads): These ads show up directly in the desktop newsfeed, on the right sidebar of the homepage or directly in the mobile newsfeed. When you purchase a homepage ad, you cannot guarantee where it will show up within the three options. Consequently, this type of promotion is usually more cost efficient.
  • Newsfeed: These ads will only show up within the newsfeed on desktop or mobile – the two most engaging placements on the site. You can also choose which percentage you’d like to show up in mobile versus newsfeed. Usually, you’ll see a higher engagement on mobile as there are fewer distractions within the platform.
  • Logout: You can also be the sole advertiser on the logout page.


Ad Products
Now that we’ve covered where the ads show up, let’s go through the different types of ads you can purchase.

 Facebook product overview

  • Page Post Ads: These are posts on your Facebook page that you would like to promote – photos, text or videos. Traditionally, these types of ads show the greatest engagement as you’re increasing the reach of your content, not developing a direct ad.
  • Page Like Ads: These ads show up in the right sidebar on desktop or within the mobile newsfeed and link to your Facebook page. They can also show up as sponsored stories, which deliver the ad to your audience target with a recommendation from one of their friends. These are great to run if you want to boost your Facebook community. Page post ads may also increase your community, but not as efficiently from a budget standpoint.
  • Mobile App Install Ads: If you’ve got a mobile app and want to increase downloads, these are a great option. Your ad shows up in the newsfeed and when a user clicks “download now” it takes them directly to the app download store.
  • Offsite Ads: These ads show up in the right sidebar on the homepage and will take you to a website off the Facebook platform. Traditionally, these ads show lower engagement rates than ones that keep you within the platform, but they are great for driving traffic to your website or blog.

 

There are a few more we didn’t cover. Facebook also allows you to create ads for sponsored results, specific events, poll questions, check-ins, games played and specific offers.

Reasons to Use Facebook Advertising
When crafting your Facebook advertising strategy, you should be mapping back to clear business goals. Here are just a few examples of Facebook ad campaigns that might apply to your brand. 

  • Community Growth: If you’re just starting out on Facebook or want to see a boost in fan growth and engagement, launching a Facebook Like campaign is your best best. Create a series of Like ads and support the campaign with a series of weekly promoted posts. The Like ads will help to quickly grow followers, but the promoted posts will help to lock in engagement by getting your content in front of your new fans quickly. 
  • Events & Announcements: Planning an event or announcements and want to get your community engaged? Instead of just linking to your press release, consider developing a series of content pieces that will engage your readers and provide value. For example, say a car company was launching a new SUV model. Instead of announcing the new car in one post, the company could release a full series on road trips across the country. Each blog post could be promoted with a corresponding image, helping to increase the value of the new product by drumming up excitement for a shared interest – road trips. 

 

Still confused? For a quick backgrounder on the history of Facebook ads, check out this informative Slideshare by Hubspot

 

Ready to get started? Head over to Facebook advertising, where you can test out different targeting in the Power Editor and launch your ads. For promoted posts, you can also launch these ads directly from your page. 

Nervous to go it alone? We recommend working with an approved Facebook ad vendor. They’ll help you develop ad copy, targeting parameters and will work to optimize your campaign once it’s up and running.

Don’t forget about your content! Lastly, while a Facebook advertising budget will help increase impressions, it does not guarantee engagement. Your Facebook content strategy is still just as important to ensure that you are promoting content that your audience wants to consume and share. Always solidify a strong editorial calendar first, and then distribute your paid dollars to your top performing content.

Have you begun to navigate social advertising for your brand? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. 

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