How To Run A Facebook Ad Campaign

The thing is running a facebook ad campaign is actually super easy. Optimising it and not paying a fortune for clicks, that's the crux of the matter. Don't worry though! Let's explore how you run a great facebook ad campaign.

1. First thing's first, set up an ad account on Facebook.

Facebook makes this super easy, just add a form of payment. Once you've done this just across to "create an advert" in the dropdown menu near your profile image. Something like this will appear:

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You gotta choose want you want to do now. For my work, I click "send people to your website" but this is because we cannot track conversions on our website. The website is convoluted and, honestly, there is no way to track a university application to its completion. Also, we don't do offers. You might want to explore the conversions for your website if you have a book to sell for example. Try to have another way of measuring click throughs if you can (we use google analytics) and don't only rely on Facebook's own stats. The way I see it Facebook has an interest in giving you good stats so it's good to have a double check on your own. For the purposes of this post we're going to click on sending people to a website.

2. Next give your campaign a name.

You can name it literally anything but for the purposes of seeming like an adult, and for usefulness months later when you have no idea what you did last time, I tend to to name things based on what they are using the campaign name, date, and target audience so for a book you might write BOOKNAME_INT_IND,VIET_MONTH16_CATS or something similar.

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3. Setting your audience requires a little bit of thought.

Sometimes for a campaign you'll need to run several ads to target different behaviours or just different groups. So, for example, for a book you might target influencers (librarians, book bloggers and teachers) separately from those who are your target audience as they might be looking for different things.

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Location is a great tool but try not to be too specific if you don't need to. Theoretically you can target based on pinpoint location (and I've defs used this before) but narrowing your audience too small can often result in spending a lot per click. Too broad an audience has a similar result. Occasionally the audience you want is really small, and that's okay. Sometimes you don't even want the people to click on the ad anyway (for example if you had a phone number you wanted people to call) and that's cool too brah. If you don't need to be that specific, though, as a rule don't be that specific. Best thing to do is watch the handy graph on the right and try and get the needle pointed as in the middle as possible. You may have to take Facebook's direction on this as it knows how many people are in the group you have specified.

Age is pretty self explanatory but where it gets interesting is in detailed targeting. Facebook is scarily detailed with this section but you can definitely use it to your advantage if you're trying to hone in on a particular kind of person. If you know your book most appeals to people in college studying for a degree in marketing, who also donate to charity, and love cats Facebook can find those people. As you hover over the options it will tell you how many people fit into each category.Screenshot 2016-06-12 22.35.38

Interestingly, there's a little button below this section that allows you to exclude people based on criteria too. You can also target people who like your page, apps, or events. Because Facebook owns Instagram it now also serves your ad to Instagram as seen in the placement section.

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4. Once you've chosen your placement it's time to set up a budget.

Fairly self explanatory but remember that if you only set up a daily budget as per new rules Facebook may over spend slightly where it sees fit. In order to not run into trouble, when I'm on an intensely tight budget I also set up a lifetime budget to ensure no matter what the end result is below or equal to my budget. I also set a start and end date because I'm not made of money, yo.

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5 Making creative for an ad is fairly easy so I'm not going to linger on it.

You can upload pictures and preview the text you write to see how it will look. If you want fancy graphics you can use something like canva to make cool images. You can alter the way things appear for Instagram by either cropping a picture you choose or uploading a new square image. New rules mean you no longer need to worry about having less than 20% text (if you were unaware of this rule ignore this sentence) so you can go wild with text on a picture should you wish -- handy for book covers!)

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6 Look at the stats.

It'll take a little while before your advert goes live (Facebook needs to review your content and request before it will go live) but provided you've not broken any laws this should be fairly quick. Then, it will take a while for the stats to appear as Facebook needs to base its stats upon actual views and clicks and whatnot.

I'm not going to lie to you. What you'll see when you go to manage your advert is going to be the most user unfriendly thing in the world. Something like the below will be served in a table in between all the madness. There are a lot of ways to get to different things but let's focus on the most important stuff for now yah? I feel like I could write a completely separate post on how to find your way though these tables. Facebook, if you're reading this, I AM AVAILABLE TO HELP WITH A REDESIGN. I cannot tell you the number of times I've fallen into a loop looking for how to edit copy on these tables (click on the title of the ad and then it's targeting then it's name again and you'll see your post on the left hand side I think??).

The key to focus on is cost. The way most online advertising works is that you pay per click, Facebook is no exception. In general I like to keep cost below £0.30 (sometimes I'll get it down to £0.01 but that's a story for another day when we can talk about quantity vs quality when it comes to lead generation and if £0.01 cost per click is as good as it seems). As you can see the campaign below was a little more than that! I'd say in general you'll want to rethink your content or audience the closer to £1 this gets. While you review these stats do keep in mind that some areas just cost more to target (Russia, Japan, and Bangladesh are sometimes particularly expensive for example) and so sometimes it can't be helped.

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7 Look more at the stats.

If you click on the title of your ad on the left side of the above table you'll see another very similar table. It actually contains a very good and simple score. The relevancy score is a factor of how many people saw an ad vs engaged with an ad (scored out of 10) but it's a very good way of measuring how well your creative is doing. I'd suggest checking on this a day into your ad and then adjusting as necessary. As you can see on this example the score is low! The ad only ran for a day as an experiment but I used these figures to correct the creative I was using.

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8 Reflect and adjust.

Know that you can adjust your ads as you go along. The ads are very flexible and although they will need approval again you can basically change anything from the schedule (you can choose not only how long an ad will run but at what times it will be seen but only if you set a lifetime instead of daily budget -- useful if you want to hit the lunchtime crowd or only the nightowls), to the creative, to what you're willing to pay for a click (although I wouldn't suggest the latter because Facebook is really clued up on bidding for links so I'd just let it do its own thing).

While you're reflecting don't forget your ad is like any other post and can be commented on! Read those comments to see what people are thinking. Are they tagging others? Commenting at all?

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9 Use each and every campaign as insight.

At my work, when I started the marketing department had never run social media campaigns for themselves. I used the early days of ads I created as data gathering exercises as well as ads. Because of the way our marketing cycle works things come around annually and now I have a wealth of data to build campaigns on each year. I'm able to refine creatives and better understand my audience with report generated from these ads (you can generate reports automatically if you click on the adverts manager tab at the top of the page and select adverts reporting).Screenshot 2016-06-12 23.15.52

10 Don't be afraid to ask people what they think

One of the many blessings of the modern age is the presence of groups online who only talk about their marketing experiences. Don't be afraid to approach these groups (I've found great ones for my work on Facebook and LinkedIn) and ask them what they find works in an ad. Ask about their experiences. Learn, discuss and question. Sometimes doing Facebook ads gets so lonely imho that somebody asking about how I do stuff or what they should be doing is enough to kick me out of lurking on a Facebook group. The internet is full of lovely people and we all love you so never be afraid to ask for help.

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