We’ve been carrying out a number of Facebook advertising campaigns recently, which have led to several interesting discussions with clients. We’ve found that some queries come up time and again, so this post addresses some of the common questions.

Why should I consider Facebook advertising, isn’t it just for kids?

Facebook is a maturing platform that attracts people of all ages, backgrounds and demographics. And for businesses, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching your ideal customer. For example, if you have a natural beauty ecommerce store, you could use Facebook advertising to target women aged 35-65, who like natural and green products and who live within the UK and Ireland.

Just 15 years ago reaching a targeted audience like this with print advertising would have cost thousands. But now you can get started on Facebook with a £100 budget.

Recent innovations at Facebook have taken customer targeting a step further. Now you can upload a list of your current customers and say to Facebook ‘Go and find me more people like this’.

This so-called ‘look-a-like’ audience is created by examining attributes like age, interests, gender etc. This is really powerful; it allows you to get your message in front of the people who are likely to be most receptive to you.

Why pay for Facebook advertising?

A common question goes something like this, “We have 10,000 likes on our Facebook page, why advertise when I can just send out a free post and everyone will see it.”

Unfortunately Facebook doesn’t work like that anymore. The changes in the Facebook algorithm mean that as few as 2% of your followers will actually see your organic Facebook posts.

The best way to reach your ideal audience is by using carefully targeted adverts. You could set up adverts to target your followers, or people who have not had contact with your brand before. In short, many brands are now seeing Facebook as a pay to play platform.

Can Facebook work for business to business?

We’ve had a lot of success with businesses that sell to consumers but that doesn’t mean Facebook wouldn’t work well for businesses selling to other businesses.

You just need to be aware of people’s motivations when they are on Facebook. They’re generally there to catch up with friends and check out what’s happening, rather than looking to make an industrial purchase. This is what differentiates it from a platform like LinkedIn where people are there to make business connections.

If you’re looking to get in front of business people on Facebook, you could start by targeting them by job title or company (if it’s a large organisation). Offering them something for free or at low cost to start with could work well, depending on your service or products.

For instance, if you sell CRM software then your initial offer on Facebook could be a free trial, or a pdf download that highlights how small businesses using CRM software make 36% more profit.

How many people do I need on a customer list to create a ‘look-a-like’ audience?

Before you create a ‘look-a-like’ audience, you first need a ‘custom audience’. A custom audience can be created by uploading your customer/contacts list. Facebook state that you should have at least 100 people on your original list and your adverts should run if 20 people are matched.

In practice, many marketers have found that their ads do not run with numbers that are this low. We’d recommend you start with at least 1,000 names. This gives Facebook much more data to work with and will help in building a more targeted look-a-like audience.

Does Facebook work as well as Google AdWords?

Many of our clients are already running successful AdWords campaigns, so it is natural to try and compare the relative effectiveness of these campaigns. But answering this question is quite difficult because it depends on the goal of the campaign.

An example is one of our clients that sells ride-on lawn mowers. Their Google AdWords campaign targets people who are actively searching for information to help them buy the right type of lawn mower. They are ‘in the market’ to buy. The Facebook campaign for the same company targets the ideal type of customer, but importantly these are not necessarily people that are on the tip of making a buying decision.

In this example,  although the Facebook campaign may have a lower conversion rate, it’s doing two things: Firstly it’s building brand recognition, which could be important in the future when customers are ready to make a high-value capital purchase such as a ride-on mower. Secondly, the Facebook campaign was highly targeted to the local area around their depots so there is the added possibility of generating walk-in traffic.

Another example is a client of ours that sells sports tours. They were already reaching the maximum number of people that were searching on AdWords for cricket tours. Setting up a Facebook campaign let them reach a new audience of cricket lovers who had not previously considered going on tour.

Although the conversion rate of the Facebook campaign was lower, it delivered a significant number of new enquiries.

How much budget do I need?

The great thing about Facebook is that you don’t need a massive budget. Most of our clients have started with around £500 to ‘test the waters’. For many companies this could deliver over a thousand clicks to their website, which would be more than enough to get an idea of how the campaign is performing.

Want to know more?

Want to find out how many targeted people you could reach on Facebook? Call us for a free consultation on how to use Facebook to expand your business.