Facebook ads. We’ve all seen them and we’ve all clicked on them, whether we want to admit it or not. When done right, they’re a highly effective, and cost-efficient method of advertising. But getting started with them can be an overwhelming process and is riddled with unknowns as it’s very often a small business’s first encounter with a programmatic advertising platform.
Despite the complexity, it’s also the place to be these days when it comes to choosing where to spend your advertising dollars.
With an active user base that’s fast approaching the 2 billion people mark, with more than 200 million of those users in the United States (that’s nearly two-thirds of the entire population!), there is literally no better place to be today if you are looking to reach new customers and put your business in front of the right people – that is to say those who are most likely to buy from you – in a consistent and predictable way at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
[Jargon Alert] ‘Programmatic’ is marketing lingo for a method of buying and selling ad space, in this case a sponsored post in someone’s news feed, in am automated auction system that’s controlled entirely by algorithms.
So, what can a new advertiser on Facebook expect?
Trial and Error
Many people think that advertising will always be a bullseye on the first, or even second try. Create an ad, pick a photo, launch it and watch the sales roll in.
But that’s just not true.
The fact of the matter is that modern digital marketing is all about trial and error, albeit done strategically and – dare I say – scientifically. There are a lot of “levers to pull” and “buttons to push” in the process of building a successful marketing campaign. And that’s just on the technical implementation of it. You also can’t forget the importance of ensuring that your messaging is on target and appealing to your audience.
In traditional marketing there were limitations on the variety and scope of both the messaging and mediums that you could try simply because of basic cost considerations since many methods of advertising relied on print or broadcast channels.
But today we’re living in a golden age of programmatic advertising, which brings with it the opportunity to test a wide range and combination of creatives, messaging and targeting options so you can quickly narrow in on your ideal audience. And in the case of small businesses and practicing professionals, that means connecting quickly with the people who are most likely to buy your products and services.
Where once it was the right course of action to spend weeks or months developing a campaign before launching it to the public, the best course of action in today’s world is to come up with multiple creative and messaging combinations (something we do with every campaign that we build here at Oscar Diggs Digital), and targeting criteria. Then take all the variants and test them directly in the marketplace to see what delivers results.
The Analytics and Data Insights that we can gather in almost real-time from the advertising platforms where we serve and distribute advertisements, like Facebook or Google, allow us to very quickly see what’s working and what’s not and optimize accordingly in a scientific and scalable way. That means you always get the best performance from your ads for the best price, whatever your campaign’s goal might be.
Frequent Billing by Facebook
Like any creditor, Facebook treats new advertising accounts tenderly. What that means is that the billing thresholds are set lower for new accounts and higher for more established ones. If you’re a new advertiser on Facebook and are running your first group of ads, that means you can expect to receive a lot of small invoices in a short amount of time.
While this might be unsettling for some, it’s totally normal and you should never worry about your spending being out of control because the limits you set on a particular Ad Set or Campaign can be manually limited by either you or a marketing partner (like us) to ensure you budget stays within the limits you’ve prescribed.
That being said, if you’ve set a limit of $50 per day on a particular campaign, but have chosen to let the ads run indefinitely; meaning you can turn them off whenever you’d like, but you haven’t set an initial schedule for them (this is a good practice to use when testing or running an evergreen campaign), Facebook may charge you more or less than your set limit on any given day.
This is because Facebook, being a programmatic advertising platform, will automatically capitalize on opportunities its algorithm identifies in order to show your advertisements to the most people possible. That means sometimes you’ll spend more than your budget on any given day (up to 25%), or less. However, over a 7 day period, the total average daily spend will be right in line with the budget you dictated.
Leads Can Still Come In Even After a Campaign Has Ended
You ran your campaign, you spent your ad spend and everything is “off”. Then a new lead comes in. How can that be?
Because of the nature of how Facebook works, and where the Facebook for Business Platform programmatically injects advertising into the newsfeeds of your targeted audience, sometimes people can actually take action on an ad that’s already been served, despite the fact that your campaign has already ended.
This can be the result of somebody having opened the app on their phone, having had their news feed load… but then not yet scrolling their way through it. That’s just one of many scenarios that could be at play, but don’t worry as much of the advertising on Facebook is billed on a CPM basis.
Because you’re being charged for every thousand times your ad is served, it means that you’ve already paid for the eyeballs and anyone who converts into a lead after your campaign has ended (or been paused) has already been bought and paid for.
[Jargon Alert] ‘CPM’ stands for Cost Per Thousand. The “M” comes from the Roman numeral for 1,000. It’s an acronym used in marketing to represent the cost associated with showing an advertisement 1,000 times, or “impressions”. That may mean 1,000 unique people see the add, or 500 people seeing the same ad twice – or any similar combination.
And last but not least…
Humans Are Still Involved in the Ad Approval Process
When you speak about programmatic advertising, algorithms and the like, it’s easy to make the very reasonable assumption that absolutely everything in the process is automated. But when it comes to ensuring that an advertisement meets Facebook’s guidelines there’s still, perhaps surprisingly, an actual human behind the process. At least in many cases.
That means that once you’ve gone through the labor-intensive steps of building your campaign and all the elements of the advertisements themselves, including the use of multiple creative images, copywriting and messaging, and targeting options… your ads will still need to be cleared by a human being before they can begin being served.
Although not common, it can sometimes happen that an ad is disapproved and changes will be required before it can be launched. There can also be a delay (in some cases up to 48 hours) before an ad may be approved, which means it’s always a good idea to schedule the start of your campaigns at least 2 days out and to plan accordingly when it comes to the prep work. Very often you won’t need this buffer, but if you have a major marketing event (like Black Friday) standing behind the launch of your campaign, it pays to plan ahead so you don’t find that you’ve missed a window of opportunity because there was a backlog to chug through on the approval end of things.
Getting used to Facebook and its nuances can certainly be a challenge, but definitely one worth undertaking. It’s an amazingly powerful platform built on top of an algorithm more complex than Google’s. And when coupled with skill, and a strategic approach to campaign development can reap huge rewards for any business.
Whether you want to give it a try on your own, or leverage the expertise and service of a trusted marketing partner, we would encourage you to test the waters and see what this expansive and innovative platform can do for your bottom line by helping you connect with more than a billion people right where they’re already spending the most time online.
Want to see if Facebook Advertising is right for your business?