In our last Facebook 101 post we gave an overview of Facebook's potential for advertisers and provided a basic strategy. Today, we'll walk you through the process of setting up your first Facebook ad campaign.
The first step in setting up a Facebook Advertising campaign is creating your advertising account. If you have a Facebook Advertising Account Manager, they can create this for you. If you don’t have a Facebook Advertising Account Manager, you can request support here.
Here's what your Ads Manager looks like with a newly-created account, without any campaigns in it yet:
One note: if you have a Fan Page for your company, you should request that your new advertising account be linked to it. This way not only will you be able to create ads, but you will also have access to Facebook Insights, which can tell you a bit more about the user interaction with your Fan Page.
Once your advertising account has been created, you need to establish a funding source. It is quick and easy to add a credit card as a funding source, and there is no minimum monthly spend to do so. If you prefer to pay by invoice (net 30), Facebook requires a minimum monthly spend of $10K. This process, unfortunately, is not quick and easy.
There is no option within the account itself to set up Invoicing; your Facebook Advertising Account Manager must grant you access to the “Apply for credit” option. After you’ve submitted your credit application, it can take anywhere between 3-10 business days (in our experience) for Facebook to process the application and approve your invoicing.
It is important to figure out how you’re going to be paying for your Facebook advertising early on in the process; otherwise, progress could be stalled until it is sorted out. Although you can get an idea of how you will want to target users and even start the ad creation process, you cannot complete the creation of a single ad until a funding source is established. If you are paying by credit card, you can input your billing information as the final step of the ad creation process.
Once you’ve established a funding source, here’s how you get started. First, click the green “Create an Ad” button at the top right corner of your screen. The first section of the ad creation page deals with the creative content of your ad. You can choose to either land users on an internal Facebook page or on an external URL. You have more options if you’re promoting Facebook content as opposed to external content.
Let’s talk about promoting an external site first. If you’re choosing this option, you have the ability to write your own Ad Title (25 char limit) and Body Text (135 char limit). Facebook previously only allowed text ads, but found that ads with images had significantly higher CTR. A higher CTR of course meant more money for Facebook, so now images are a requirement for ads. You can choose an image of almost any dimension (smaller than 5MB), but when displayed the image will be resized to 110 x 80 pixels.
If you’re promoting within Facebook, you have the option to promote your Fan Page, Event, or App. If you don’t have a Fan Page, Event, or App, you must link to an external destination. Note that your Fan Page must be linked to your advertising account in order to promote it using Facebook ads. If you’re promoting an internal Facebook page, you have the ability to create Sponsored Stories instead of Ads. For the purposes of this post I will focus on Ads, but we’ll touch on Sponsored Stories in a later post.
If you’re choosing to promote internal content, the Ad Title is automatically inserted for you based on the name of your Fan Page / Event / App. You can still choose your ad copy messaging in the Body, but you cannot edit the title. Facebook will automatically suggest an image from your Fan Page, but you can upload your own if you prefer.
If you are promoting your Fan Page, you have the option to choose which Tab to land users on (e.g. Wall, Info, Photos, etc). With the recent redesign of Fan Pages, “tabs” no longer exist as such at the top of your page – they have moved to the left rail to mirror personal pages – but Facebook still refers to the different pages as “tabs” in the ad creation process.
Now that you’ve settled on the creative aspect of your ad, here’s the fun part: targeting. You can target by location, demographic, likes & interests, connections, relationship status, interested in, language, education, and workplace. You'll notice on the right rail an "Estimated Reach" that automatically updates to let you know how about many users are eligible to see the ad you're creating.
For Location, you can target by country, state/province, or city. You can always target multiple locations, but you cannot go a level deeper when targeting multiples. Let me explain: you can target multiple countries, but then you cannot target individual states. You can target multiple states, but then you cannot target multiple cities. Additionally, you are limited to 25 target locations per ad. [Sidebar – you can’t actually reach all 600M+ Facebook users with one ad – if you were so inclined, you’d have to make several ads each targeting 25 countries]
For Demographics, you can target age and sex. For age, you can select a minimum and/or maximum between 13 and 64, or you can target any age. Also, you can opt to use either “broad age” targeting or exact age targeting. Broad age targeting will allow your ad to be shown to a user who would otherwise be eligible but is slightly (1-2 years) outside of your target age.
Broad age targeting is the default setting; check the box that says “Require exact age match” if you do not want to allow broad age targeting. There are certain restrictions placed on ads served to users under 18, so if you’re advertising sensitive content you might want to check with your Account Manager to make sure your ads are appropriate for younger users.
Selecting Likes & Interests will probably take up the majority of your time when creating ads. You may have some idea of what your target demographic is interested in, but unfortunately, there’s no way to pull a list of potential interests from Facebook.
You must manually input potential interests and find which ones Facebook will recognize as valid targets. There seems to be some sort of threshold, since I’ve found the ability to target Fan Pages with 1,000+ fans, but not below that range. You can target a maximum of 200 interests per ad.
Connections on Facebook can only be utilized if you have a Fan Page and have linked your Advertising account to your Page. You have the option to display ads to anyone, or you can use advanced connection targeting. The advanced option allows you to display ads only to either users who are already connected to your Page, or users who are not connected to your Page.
Advanced Demographics targeting gives you a few more options beyond age and sex. You can target users on their birthday, which means on any given day your ad will only be displayed to users who have listed their birthday on Facebook, and will only be displayed on their birthday.
You have the option to target users who are interested in either men or women (default is all). You can also target users who have listed a specific relationship status: single, in a relationship, engaged and married (default is all). Lastly, you can target users based on their default language setting. If left blank, you target all eligible users regardless of their language.
The final targeting option is Education & Work. For education, you can target users in high school, in college, or college graduates. Targeting users in high school is broad, but you can enter specific colleges and majors for both graduates and current college students.
With current college students you have the additional option to target specific graduation years. Targeting specific workplaces lets you show your ads only to users who have listed specific companies or organizations as their employer. Similarly to Likes & Interests, adding workplaces is a manual process and not every company is a valid target.
3. Campaigns, Pricing, and Scheduling
Now that you know what your ad will look like and who it will be shown to on Facebook, you need to decide where the ad belongs in your ad account, as well as how you’d like the ad to be delivered.
If this is your first ad, you need to create a new campaign, otherwise you can use an existing campaign. Campaigns need a Budget, which can be either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. If you choose to use a daily budget, your ads should serve evenly throughout the day. You can also Schedule your ad to start and stop at a specific time and date – or, if you have long-term advertising plans, you can select the option to run your campaign continuously starting today.
Facebook gives you the option to Pay for Clicks or Pay for Impressions of your ads. Facebook suggests using CPC if you’re more interested in having people click through to your website/page and want control over the cost to drive each user to your desired destination.
If it is more important to you that users see your ad and you’re less concerned with whether or not they take a specific action after seeing the ad, Facebook recommends you use CPM pricing on your ads. As a side note, CPM suggested bids are much lower than CPC suggested bids.
Once you decide between the two options, you must also set a Max Bid for your ad. The Suggested Bid should help guide your decision. According to Facebook, this estimation is based on the range of bids that are currently winning the auction among ads with similar targeting options to your ad.
Your Max Bid must be less than your daily budget. Like Paid Search advertising, you will never pay more than your Max Bid. Facebook’s auction process calculates the minimum price a winning ad must bid, and in most cases that price is less than your maximum.
Once you have sorted out what sort of scheduling and pricing will dictate how your ad is served, you’re ready to go! Click “Place Order” and then “Commit Ads” on the following screen, and you should see your new ad populate your new campaign in your Account Manager screen. Your ad should go through a “pending” stage while it is being reviewed, but this only takes a few minutes. Congratulations, and good luck!
Tune in next time as we examine the Facebook-specific metrics you’ll be digging through to evaluate your advertising performance!