8 decisions you must make before starting a Facebook advertising campaign

 Social media plays a huge role in our lives. Go on. Admit it. How many times have you checked your Facebook or Twitter so far today? It’s nothing to be ashamed of, you’re hardly alone.

Just a quick glance at some of the many statistics available shows how intrinsic social media has become to large swathes of the population (including me).  In August 2013, for example, more than a third of the UK population visited Facebook every day.

Facebook remains the biggest and most pervasive social media network (the film based on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was called The Social Network) and while Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest (etc) may seek to challenge in future, for the time being Facebook remains top dog.

As marketers we know social media – and Facebook especially – is an area where many of our customers spend a lot of their time. So how do we leverage this to advertise our products?

Facebook advertising is the obvious answer. As the reach of organic campaigns (i.e. posting content to a Facebook  business page) lessens, marketers must further utilise Facebook advertising.

While it is potentially an extremely profitable channel there are pitfalls to avoid when starting out, so take a look at these tips on what to consider when starting Facebook advertising.

Top eight things to consider when starting a Facebook advertising campaign

  1.  Objectives – make sure you have clear objectives

As with every marketing channel you need to be able to tell how your ad campaigns are performing.

Before you start planning make certain you have decided which metrics will best indicate the success of your objectives. Options include Cost Per Fan (CPF), Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Clickthrough rate (CTR) are a few examples. The choice you make should depend on the objectives of the campaign, so make sure you know what you’re attempting to achieve before you start

 2.   Tone of brand – your tone of voice is important

You need to ensure your Facebook ad campaign maintains your brand message. To build trust and rapport with your customers your brand needs to remain consistent. So make sure your Facebook ads are consistent with your brand message.

Remember – your ads will probably be seen by a lot of people and just because they don’t click doesn’t mean they haven’t seen your ad. With this in mind you can understand that your ads have a role to play in increasing brand awareness– and sticking on message and tone is crucial.

Do you know your custome

Knowing your customers is crucial to running a successful Facebook Advertising campaign

 3. Do you know your audience? – who are your customers?

This is crucial. One of the greatest advantages of Facebook advertising has the potential to be its biggest pitfall for advertisers. Essentially, it is now possible to be so specific about who your ads are shown to that often it is the advertiser’s lack of customer understanding that lets them down. To this end, before you embark on Facebook advertising make sure you have a detailed picture of your customers. Who are they? How old are they? What are their likes and preferences? Geographic and demographic splits? To make the most of Facebook advertising you must know your customers inside out.

If you don’t know your customers you can end up wasting a fair amount of money putting ads in front of the wrong people and attracting clicks from people who are never going to buy.

 4. Use a wide range of creatives

In Facebook advertising you can use a number of different creatives. To make the most of Facebook advertising you should make sure you have a number of different creatives as different people respond to different things. If you have multiple goals and multiple potential audiences you should split it again and have a couple of creative for each group. It won’t take long for you to build up a picture of what works but the trick is to continue testing and changing. Don’t sit still.

So make sure you have a number of creatives prepared before you get started. Facebook can be quite picky about creatives so it’s always worth having more than one ready otherwise your whole campaign may grind to a halt because of a declined creative. Then you have to run around trying to design a creative at short notice (or pay someone to do it for you).

 5. Where will the resource sit?  – Decide who will be responsible

Don’t underestimate how much work running a successful Facebook advertising campaign can take and make sure you have the correct level of resource allocated. Whether this is internal (depending on expertise) or external doesn’t really matter as long as it is done well. Running a campaign poorly (with minimal optimising and testing) could well mean a loss in ROI which, had it been run properly by a management agency, would have paid for the fee charged

  • In house benefits – you know the brand, cheaper
  • External (managed) benefits – expertise means better results

So whether it’s internal or external just makes sure you don’t drop the ball mid-game and that the allocated resource is sufficient, capable and reliable.

 6. Budgets and timelines – you can spend a large amount of money on Facebook if you don’t have strict timelines and budgets.

Make sure you have chosen and implemented timeframes and budgets on your campaigns before hitting ‘start’. Otherwise you can easily rack up large bills as your ads get plastered absolutely everywhere. One quick takeaway – before you do anything is set a budget so that if anything goes wrong you have a cap on how much you can spend accidentally.

 7. Tracking – Know what’s going on

Tied to knowing your objectives (point 1) you need to be able to track and measure how you’re doing compared to those objectives. Think carefully about what conversion events you would like to track as you will need to ensure you can get pixels placed on your site before launch.

You’ll also need to think about whether you want these stats to appear in third party systems e.g. Google Analytics.

       8Ad types – Know what you’re choosing

There are a variety of types of campaign you can run on Facebook – with different restrictions and possibilities with each. Before you even think about getting started make sure you know and understand the implications and details of all the different types. For instance, if you initially run with a test budget it is important to think about which creative type and placement you want to test with as this will guide your future strategy.

Facebook advertising has fantastic potential – but needs to be done properly

In conclusion, Facebook advertising represents a massive opportunity for many brands. Especially considering the amount of time people spend on social media these days. However, it needs to be done properly and there are a number of things you really need to have considered before you make the jump.

These can be boiled down to understanding the platform, understanding your customers and knowing exactly what you are trying to achieve. Make sure you have tackled these questions before you get started.

 Do you have anything further you’d like to add? Is there something you feel we’ve missed? If you have any questions let us know in the comments section below. We want to hear from you. 

Here at Experian Marketing Services our Alchemy Social platform makes Facebook advertising quicker, easier and more efficient. You can download the platform to use yourself or take on a managed service to utilise the experience of our in-house experts to help you achieve your goals.

Likewise, if you need help uncovering your audience Experian Marketing Services offers a variety of customer insight solutions to help you understand your audience.