How to Create Facebook Ads for Your BusinessMuch has been made of the fact that Facebook now has over 750 million members. While this is clearly an impressive number, it’s unlikely that your product or service appeals to everyone on that list. So how do you reach only those members who may be interested in what you’re selling? The answer is Facebook ads.

Facebook ads allow you to finely target your audience. Only those people who meet certain criteria (like geographic location, age, Likes) get to see your ads. A more targeted audience results in a higher likelihood of success. Here are some things to keep in mind when you create Facebook ads for your business.

Define Your Goal

Facebook Ads - Define Your Goal

Like any good marketing strategy, you should consider your desired outcome before you even think about creating or placing your ad. Ask yourself: “What exactly do I want to achieve with this ad?”

For example, are you looking to make actual sales from your Facebook ads, or is building brand awareness more important? Perhaps you’d like to increase your fan base, and use targeted Facebook ads to get more people to Like your Facebook Page? Whatever you decide, the answer will ultimately establish the concept and direction that your ad should take.

Define Your Target Audience

Facebook Ads - Define Your Target Audience

We’ve already established that targeting 750 million people on Facebook is probably overkill — not to mention very expensive! So, consider only the most important characteristics of your target audience.

Many people include a lot of information about themselves when they create their Facebook accounts. When you’re defining your target audience, the object is not necessarily to include as many people as possible. Instead, focus inward, so that your message goes out only to the people who will be most receptive to your ad.

You can target people on Facebook according to the following criteria:

  • Location, language, education, and work
  • Age, gender, birthday, and relationship tatus
  • Likes and interests
  • Connections (current fans of your Facebook Page)
  • Friends of connections (friends of your current fans)

Remember, keep the goal of your ad in mind when choosing the most pertinent characteristics of your target audience. For help in defining your target audience, refer to Facebook’s Targeting Options page.

Consider Your Budget

Facebook Ads - Consider Your Budget

Facebook ad pricing is based on either a cost-per-click (CPC), or a cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) model. You decide whether you’d prefer to pay Facebook each time someone clicks on your ad, or alternatively, for every 1000 impressions (or views) your ad receives.

In either case, you first decide the total amount of money you’d like to spend for your campaign, along with the maximum amount you’d like to spend each day. The CPC and CPM rates will fluctuate, based on the criteria you select for the target audience of your ad.

The benefit of a using a CPC model is that you only pay when someone actually takes action (clicks) on your ad. The potential drawback is that it may require several impressions of your ad before someone actually clicks on it, which may make the CPM model a more favorable choice.

Refer to Facebook’s Campaign Cost and Budgeting page for a more detailed explanation of the payment models available for your Facebook ads.

Create a Compelling Ad

Facebook Ads - Create a Compelling Ad

Now that you know the goal of your ad, and who you’re going to target, design your message accordingly. For example, if you want more business owners to Like your Facebook Page, then use language and imagery in your ad that reiterates that goal.

Perhaps the most important consideration is the image you use for your ad. It has to be compelling enough to grab the viewer’s attention. Next, you’ll need a compelling headline that acts as a call to action for your ad. After all, you don’t just want people to view your ad; you want them to click on it.

Think about where you’d like people to end up once they click on your ad. Consider a Facebook Landing Page if your goal is to increase Likes on your Facebook Page. Direct people to an ecommerce website if you’d like them to actually purchase something from your ad.

Facebook suggests creating different versions of your ad to see which types of messages are more effective for your target audience. For a complete list of the technical requirements for Facebook ads, refer to Facebook’s Designing Your Ad page.

Have any tips on maximizing the impact of your Facebook ads? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image credits: Hans Dorsch, Jessie Terwilliger, Mark Smiciklas, pshegubj, Juliana Coutinho]