How to Advertise on Facebook to Increase Website Traffic

May 12th, 2008

How to advertise on facebookI tested out Facebook Ads recently and thought it was an effective strategy as well as very easy to set up and maintain. If you ever want to test out online advertising to increase your website traffic and get more customers, I’d recommend starting with Facebook Ads.

Facebook advertising is an effective way to attract targeted customers. That is, if it complements your business and you can segment out your target audience (your ideal customer) within Facebook. Compared to Google Adwords, MSN Ad center and Yahoo paid advertising, it is more simplistic and less time-consuming. Facebook can be a good way to get your feet wet and test the waters and also be on the forefront of online marketing.

Getting Started
You can set up your Facebook ad campaign within minutes. All you need is your personal Facebook account and a credit card handy. Log in and select on the left-hand side of your profile page “Ads and Pages” and then select the green button “create an Ad”. The wizard will take you through the steps.

Starting an ad in facebook

First Step – Define Your Landing Page:
If you want to advertise on Facebook to drive traffic to your website, you don’t need a Facebook page or a Facebook group. You can specify the ad when clicked, to go to your URL (i.e., http://www.sitemasher.com/) or alternatively you can link it to your Facebook page or group. You can use a Facebook page as a company microsite, blog, news, or even forum. For my campaign though, I thought it made sense to go directly to our corporate site and not our Facebook group.

Defining facebook ad

Second Step – Choose Your Audience:
Facebook advertising can be filtered by personal profile interests with its advanced targeting feature. For example, I ran an ad to recruit web designers and developers to join our pilot program. I was able to serve the ad to both Canadian and U.S. members who had web design and/or developing stated within their profiles. Since that is our target audience (developers as well as web designers), I was able to really filter who can see our ad and not waste our budget. So anyone who is logged in with those interests may see our ad served on the left-hand side of Facebook.

You can also target by age, gender, and location. Facebook has more than 70 million active users, so it is highly recommended to filter your ad serving unless you have very deep pockets or a product or service that everyone will love.

Selecting audience in facebook
Third Step – Create Your Ad:

Write a short and sweet compelling text ad and title. I recommend having a very concise call to action (i.e, sign up, buy or win) so that your audience gives you the desired results; or if they are not interested, they don’t click on your ad. You have a choice to add a graphic element, which I highly recommend – so that it catches the member’s attention. You can simply use your logo or have a graphic designer create a graphical ad to complement your message/and or campaign. The graphic needs to be a size of 110 by 80 pixels. Sometimes you will see long skyscraper ads in Facebook, but I couldn’t figure out how you can submit one that size. I believe the longer skyscraper ads are being served by a third-party advertising program and not available through this Facebook ad signup process.

create your facebook ad

Fourth Step – Set Your Budget:
Facebook advertising offers two choices: One is CPC based (cost-per-click – you bid and pay for each click on your ad) and the other is CPM based (cost-per-thousand – you bid and pay for every thousand impressions/views your ad shows up on Facebook). Bidding is how much you are willing to pay for the ad; it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be that – most times, it is less. I bid on the cost-per-clicks; I personally find that CPM is not the most ideal way of controlling a budget or understanding the true value.

setting facebook budget

It’s important to realize that Facebook advertising will have a lower click-through rate versus Google Ads – so don’t compare it apples to apples. On Facebook, people are not really looking actively for anything specific like they may be on Google Search. They may click on your Facebook ad because they may be interested as it targeted to the profile and they may want to wander off of their profile page.

Also, don’t be disappointed that your click-throughs are low, take a look at the Facebook analytics, your impressions may be high (how many times your ad showed up), which can be good for your brand awareness.

What I think about Facebook Ads

Although I do give Facebook thumbs-up for its ease and profile targeting, I think it does have room for lots of improvement. I think the analytics can use some work, it would be nice as an advertiser to see what key words in the profile promoted the ads, which key words had click-throughs and what were the matching average demographics (i.e. ages and sex) of the profiles that had the ad triggered for their pages. I also find the billing a little quirky; I get billed $15 here and there and it would be nice to have one billing invoice per month and ability to have multiple accounts. It would also be nice if the ad sizes could be longer like the skyscraper ads that are being served within Facebook but somehow are not accessible through Facebook ads.

If you want to share similar experiences on this topic, I encourage you to leave a comment!

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