How Facebook Ads work: A 5 step guide for financial advisorsArticle added by Amy McIlwain on July 24, 2012
Amy McIlwain

Amy McIlwain

Denver, CO

Joined: August 26, 2010

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Before you waste thousands of dollars on print ads, fancy e-marketing campaigns or flyers, take some time to seriously consider Facebook Ads. Their simplicity, cost-effectiveness and efficiency is unmatched in the online world.

Have you ever noticed the ads on the right side of your Facebook homepage? If not, go to your homepage and take a look. You may find yourself taking special interest in these ads. I bet it seems like they are directed to you and your interests, right? This is no accident.

The efficiency of Facebook Ads is made possible by Facebook’s Reaching and Targeting Initiative, which captures specific profile information and ensures your ad reaches the right audience. Eureka! This means that Facebook, the social network giant, has given you the opportunity to advertise your brand to millions of consumers online with precise targeting.

Why should you use Facebook Ads? In case you missed the memo, there are nearly one billion people worldwide on Facebook. Each month, those billions of connections form a digital map of people’s real world networks of family, friends, co-workers, hobbies and even products. For an advertiser, profile data is a gold mine for reaching customers. User profiles outline important demographics such as status updates, birthdays, occupations, hobbies, location and relationship status. Because Facebook Ads can access this information, you can target exactly the right people.

As an advisor, are you looking to reach 55+ engineers who like to travel, play golf and live within a 20-mile radius? How about 45-55 year-old single women who need financial advice? Facebook can put your targeted message in front of these people. It eliminates the guessing games and puts an end to wasting money on reaching the wrong audience. This opportunity is way too good to pass up, so let’s get started.

Step 1: Choose what to promote

What do you want to promote? Do you want to promote your page, event, app or a website outside of Facebook? If you decide to promote your page, you can take several routes. You can promote:
  • A new ad about your page
  • A post on your page
  • When people “like” your page
  • When people “like” your page post
If you want to drive more traffic to your website, consider promoting your brand with a link to your webpage and/or Facebook page. You may also consider promoting an important event or article. Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure your ad aligns with your marketing goals.
Step 2: Target the right people

Who is your target? Think about the profiles (timelines) of the people you want to reach with your ads, and select criteria based on what your audience is interested in, instead of what they might be looking to buy. With Facebook Ads you can target by:
  • Age, gender, birthday and relationship status
  • Likes and interests: Select likes and interests such as “golf”, “church” or “travel” instead of “the Bible," “golf clubs” or "Costa Rica"
  • Friends of connections
  • Connections
When you select a criterion, you will be given an “estimated reach,” which tells you exactly how many people, within your demographics, will potentially see your ad. If you have the goal of reaching a broad, widespread audience, then aim to have a higher estimated reach number. If your goal is to get a more localized return, aim for a more narrow reach.

Step 3: Design your ad

Just like any form of advertising, trial and error is inevitable. Create multiple versions of your ads with different images and body copy to find out which combinations are most effective. Here are some tips for creating effective ads:
  • Include your business or page name, a question, or key information in the title
  • Provide a clear call to action and highlight the benefits (not features) of your brand
  • Use a simple, eye-catching image that is related to your body copy and title
  • Target different audiences to determine which groups are most responsive to your ads


Step 4: Budgeting

With Facebook ads, you have several budget options:

CPC vs. CPM:
You can pay a cost-per-click (CPC), where you get charged when people click on your ad or a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) where there is a cost per 1,000 times your ad or is displayed. Whether you choose the CPC or CPM option depends on your goals. For example, if you want to increase brand exposure, you should select the CPM option. If you want to increase “likes” or traffic to your page, you should select the CPC option.

Daily budget:
Set the maximum amount you want to pay each day – once you hit your daily budget, your ad will no longer show. For example, if you set a $5 per day limit and you select a CPC option with each click being 50 cents, then your ad will no longer show once you get 10 clicks on the ad.

Bid price
Bid prices fluctuate. Set a bid with the suggested range, and check your Ads Manager often to update it when the suggested range changes

Step 5: Metrics

After you launch your ads, you can check out detailed metrics and reports to help you improve your performance. Continue to check your Ads Manager after you launch your campaigns to create, edit and optimize them. With your ads manager, you can:
  • Get basic data about your ads, such as impressions and clicks
  • Learn about your audience’s age, gender and location at an aggregate level
  • View specific time periods to learn how your ad performance has evolved
Take note that Facebook Ads are designed to increase brand exposure, drive more traffic and build your online community. If you are looking for bottom line results, you may want to shift your Facebook goals from building revenue to building rapport. But before you waste thousands of dollars on print ads, fancy e-marketing campaigns or flyers, take some time to seriously consider Facebook ads. Their simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency is unmatched in the online world.
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