How to Effectively Target Your Facebook AdsClick — there goes 50 cents. Click — that’s a dollar. In the online advertising world, every click can bring you new customers, but costs can quickly add up if you’re not targeting your ads to the right audience. Conversely, you might have a good handle on your target audience but perhaps your ads are not focused enough to produce the results you’re looking for.

This article shows you some of the things you should consider before, during and after your Facebook advertising campaign to make sure your ads are effectively targeted and to get the best bang for your buck.

Determine Your Advertising Goals

Focus on the Goal

Before you ever spend a dime creating or publishing a Facebook ad, you must first ask yourself “What are my goals for this advertising campaign?” Do you want to get more Likes to your Facebook Page? Do you want to drive more traffic to your website or do you want to sell 500 more of your widgets this month? Your answer to these types of questions will have a profound impact on the type of ads you should create and to whom they should be targeted.

For example, if you want to build awareness for your brand, Facebook ads based on “Cost per Impressions” may be a better strategy than “Pay per Click” ads. In other words, if brand awareness is the primary goal of your advertising campaign, you may benefit more from a larger number of people being exposed to your ad, as opposed to a specific number of people actually clicking on it.

Alternatively, if increasing the number of people who Like your Page is your goal, then you may want to include specific copy or incentives in your ad that make this goal very clear to your target audience. Keep in mind that you will spend a lot of time and money trying to hit your target if you don’t first spend some time determining exactly what it is you’re aiming at.

Do Your Research

Do Your Research

Once you’ve considered the desired outcomes for your Facebook ads, do some research to determine what audience will help you achieve those goals. If you sell cosmetics and your goal is to increase the number of Likes to your Facebook Page, then chances are you’ll want to primarily target women in your advertising. However, you may want to segment your audience even further by showing your ads only to women in a certain age group and geographic location. All of this demographic data, and more, can be selected as options within Facebook’s Ad Manager.

Study your competition to see how and who they appear to target with their Facebook ads. Continuing with the cosmetics example above, much research exists on the type of copy, images and even colors that women (statistically speaking) respond to. Try and craft your ads in a very specific way so that they speak to the needs and desires of your target audience. If this sounds a little inexact, it is a significantly more effective approach than simply throwing an ad up on Facebook and hoping your audience responds.

Finally, keep abreast of new developments from Facebook. For example, Facebook is currently offering a discount to advertisers if their ads are designed to link to Facebook Pages as opposed to external websites. The motivating factor for this discount seems to be Facebook’s desire to keep people on its site longer. However, the related data seems to suggest higher click through rates for ads that link to Facebook Pages as well, which could be a win-win strategy, especially if your goal is to increase Likes to your Page.

Deploy, Track and Improve

Deploy Track and Improve

So, now that you know what your goals are, and you know how and to whom you’re going to target your messages, you’re ready to deploy some ads. Hopefully, it will be obvious that your campaign has been a success if you see a corresponding rise in Likes to your Page, increase in traffic to your website or 500 more of your widgets sold since your ads went live. If this is the case, then the conclusions and course of action you should take are clear — your ads are appropriately targeted, so do more of them!

In reality, the initial results of any given ad campaign may be a little more subtle. Use Facebook Insights and Ad Manager to track your ads’ effectiveness. Depending on the data that you find, tweak your ads to try and attract more of your target audience to click your ads, or expand the reach of your campaign so that your ads are seen by more people or for longer periods of time.

Make detailed notes of any changes you make to your campaign and correlate those changes to other mesureable metrics like website traffic, Facebook Likes, or product sales. Fine tune and target your ads until you hit the sweetspot for your business and your budget. Recent studies show that people pay more attention to ads on Facebook, as compared to a variety of other platforms, so using Facebook ads and the techniques described above may be an effective marketing strategy for your business.

Have any other tips about how to target your Facebook ads? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Image Credits: bk1bennett, Jason Edwards, chigmaroff, John Nussey]