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Facebook advertising 101: What you need to know

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Small businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to advertising. But with more users than the other major social networks, Facebook holds many opportunities for business.

Australians are big users of social media, spending on average around six hours a week on social networking sites. Despite this, Australian companies are lagging behind the world when it comes to marketing on social. We’ve looked at the different platforms you can have a presence on, but what’s involved with actually putting money behind a platform?

Given the size of its audience and opportunities for all levels of investment, Facebook could be a good place to begin your foray into social advertising. 

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The case for small business

Internet usage has surpassed all other forms of media consumption in Australia by a large margin, and Facebook plays a big role in this – it’s the most popular social media site in the country, with 17.1 million users logging on every four weeks.

Across generations, Facebook commands a consistently high usership. According to recent Roy Morgan research, 82% of Gen Z (those born between 1991 and 2005) use the social media platform, plus 86% of Gen Y (1975 to 1990), 87% of Gen X (1961 to 1975) and 86% of Baby Boomers (1946 to 1960). Due to the flexibility in advertising options for businesses, Facebook can be far more accessible for small businesses to harness and evaluate, with broad appeal across multiple demographics.  

So whether it’s to raise brand awareness, drive sales or build a community, Facebook has proven itself as a platform for success for numerous small businesses

Targeting

Having access to the largest set of consumer data in the world gives businesses on Facebook the ability to reach their own custom audience – not just a pre-defined audience segment. Along with targeting options for age, gender and location, businesses are able to deliver ads based on interests, behaviours or even future purchasing intentions. Facebook for Business provides advertising features ranging from Dynamic Ads to targeted Audience Networking. It’s this level of targeting and available data that gives Facebook advertisers across all industries a 0.90% average click-through rate (CTR) – effectively increasing their ROI.

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Case study: Jim’s Accountancy

Jim’s Accountancy in Sandown Park in Melbourne’s south-east is experiencing a high churn rate with their customers. How can Jim get more customers through the door using social media?

Advertising goal

Entice new customers with a free financial health check.

Targeting

For this offer, age and geographic targeting could be used. For instance, selecting people 25–34 who are located in the Melbourne suburbs of Sandown Park and surrounding areas of Springvale, Noble Park and Mulgrave will give the ad a defined audience and help it reach the people close to Jim’s Accountancy. Like advertising in a local paper, this localised targeting means that Jim’s Accountancy won’t waste money on reaching people who are too far to take the offer.

Performance and evaluation

By looking at the reach, impressions and click-through rate (CTR), we can gain an understanding of whether the campaign was effective.

And once customers come in the door, use your traditional business metrics to see how they compare to customers from other areas.

Five tips to get more out of Facebook advertising

  1. Have clear goals. Know what you want your campaign to achieve before it goes live. Defining your ideal outcomes will aid in the development of messaging and targeting.
  2. Have the right ad type. Once goals are defined, select an ad type to match them. A Post Boost for a photo gallery will help build brand awareness and engagement on your social channels but may not be the right choice for driving traffic to your website.
  3. Define your audience. Use Facebook’s expansive targeting options to ensure the right people are seeing your ad and to help eliminate wastage.
  4. Keep your message and creative on point. This is especially important when encouraging users to click through to a website or undertake a certain activity. Make it as easy as possible for the viewer to read, interpret and act on your ad.
  5. Measure your success. It’s vital that once you’ve launched your campaign, you check in to see how it’s going. Monitor your CTRs, cost per click, reach and engagement to ensure your money is being well spent.
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Originally published June 30th 2015. Updated November 29th 2019.

Please note: Jim’s Accountancy is a fictional business, as is the situation described. Ensure that you seek appropriate advice when advertising on Facebook if you feel you require it.

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