There are more than 1.2 billion active monthly users on Facebook. If you haven't taken advantage of talking to these users through Facebook ads, perhaps it’s time to get started.
Facebook lets you target ads for just about any group of people you can imagine. But before you pony up, there are four key factors to consider:
1. What do you hope to accomplish?
Determining your goals first will help you focus on what kind of ad to create on Facebook. For instance, do you want to:
• Build your audience
• Increase you engagement, or
• Encourage people to visit your website?
Based on your answer, you will advertise either in people's new feeds, promote your wall post, or place a stationary ad on the right column of users' home pages.
Whether you advertising via Facebook ads or promoted posts, don't forget to include a call to action. Ask potential customers to do something in order to increase their engagement. Make your offer tangible so they will immediately understand why they should click on your ad.
2. Who is your audience?
If you want to get the most for your money, target narrowly.
The size of your audience will be influenced by your brand and location, no doubt, but you also must consider the following:
• Location: Choose specific cities, states or countries where your ads will be seen. Perhaps your brand is launching a new location; you can target your ad to residents in that city or within a specific geographical radius.
3. What's your budget?
• Demographics: Choose an age range and whether you want to target men, women or both. For example, if you're advertising a contest, are winners only eligible over the age of 18? You can set those perimeters.
• “Likes” and interests: Enter a specific interest, and Facebook will match your ad with users who have included that interest in their profiles or “liked” other brand pages related to that interest area. Maybe you are hosting a charitable giveaway. You can target people who are already interested in charities on Facebook, increasing the likelihood of engagement.
• Connections on Facebook: Identify whom you'd like to target. Do you want to target just fans of your page? Or just users who aren't fans of your page? Or just the friends of your fans who haven't liked your page?
• Advanced targeting: Additional options include level of education, whether to target people on their birthdays, language, and relationship status.
When setting budget limits, determine what you're willing to pay per action to get results from new customers. Once your budget is set, use Facebook's tools to set a lifetime budget or a daily dollar goal.
Don't forget to budget for any third-party software applications you many need for contests or giveaways. These tools aren't expensive, and they can make your work easier.
[RELATED: Prove the ROI of your digital efforts after hearing these top-rated case studies in March.]
are two great choices that can help you fan-gate contests, easily retrieve information from contestants, encourage shares and tweets for bonus entries to cross-promote on various social media platforms and beyond.
4. How will your ad be designed?
This is where you can save lots of money. Using your imagination and becoming the copywriter, graphic designer, and photographer can save you hundreds of dollars.
• Destination: Choose between an external URL (such as the third-party applications we mentioned above or a page on your company website) and a unique Facebook page.
• Image: Pictures are the most important leverage you have, other than targeting. It is worth trying your ads with different pictures throughout the campaign.
• Text: You have 90 characters, use them wisely.
• Timeframe: There is no magic length. Ultimately, what the ad is used for will determine how long the ad should last.
Now that you're ready to start advertising, what kind of campaign will you be pushing?
Kate Matthews is an account coordinator with Intermark Public Relations, the largest PR agency in Alabama, headquartered in Birmingham. A version of this article originally appeared on agency’s blog, adStream.