1. Getting very specific about your audience.
Facebook has such impressive targeting capabilities, it’s getting scary. After the basics like gender, age and location, you can dive deep into people’s interests and life stages. For example, you can target people in the market for a specific car make or model, or appeal to parents of newborns, or target people at specific income levels, plus interests and lifestyles such as frequent travelers or readers of Entrepreneur magazine. Hone in on your audience by specifying as many demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle characteristics as you can.
Use Facebook’s Lookalike Audience tool to find the top one percent that looks like your existing audience. In my experience, it can make a big difference in your targeting, because Facebook evaluates tens or hundreds of characteristics and signals, which we humans simply cannot do.
Related: 3 Deadly Sins of Facebook Advertising
2. Placement is about content and context.
Facebook now boasts many placement options, from good old timeline and right sidebar to Instagram, Audience Network and Instant Articles. Audience network is simply a network of partners, such as various applications that will show your Facebook ads in their apps.
You can select which placement you want to advertise on and which one you won’t. This matters because different placements hint at different contexts and activities. A mobile news feed is obviously suggesting a person who is on the go, so you know not to offer him or her a 30-minute video or a large app to download. A person scrolling through a desktop news feed might be looking for casual entertainment and information. Instant Articles hint at people who like in-depth reading.
Think about both the content of your ad and the context of your audience.
Related: A Small-Business Guide to Facebook Advertising (Infographic)
3. A/B testing is simple and effective.
But don’t take my word for any of this stuff! Go out and test everything! A/B testing is super powerful, yet super easy to do on Facebook these days. You can A/B test anything you’d like. Experiment with budgets and bidding strategies, placements, different audiences, even different images and copy in the ads themselves! See what truly works for your business and your audience. How do I decide which audience to target or where to place my ads? I test all of these things for myself.
Related: 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Facebook Advertising
4. Facebook Pixel brings it all together.
Facebook Pixel is the snippet of code you need installed on your site to drop cookies on your visitors to retarget them later and find similar audiences. This little helper makes your Facebook marketing so much more effective by tracking conversions on your site. Implement specific Pixels to see how many people bought your products as a result of Facebook ad, how many leads you got from form submissions, or how many people abandoned shopping carts before completing their purchase.
Related: 5 Tips on Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign
5. Advanced options create limitless opportunity.
Once you are comfortable creating Facebook ads, dive into advanced options. You can schedule your ads to run during specific days and times. For example, you could run an ad for a lunch special at your restaurant to people in a 5-mile radius during lunch hours. Talk about relevancy!
You can also specify to show your ads only to people who are connected to Wi-Fi. If you have a large file download or a video you want them to watch, make their life easier and your chance of conversion higher. If you have an app for iOS, go a step further as you can specifically target people on iOS devices.
Facebook packed a ton of value in a seemingly simple tool. If you haven’t experimented with Facebook ads, or tried it and didn’t see the results you wanted, don’t get discouraged. Keep trying. There are so many ways to set up your promotions with different audiences and media that you just have to go through some trial and error to figure out the perfect mix that works for your business.
You don’t have to spend a fortune either. I started testing different ads with a $5 daily budget. Once you find what works for you and brings you value back, you can increase the budget or run a few different ads simultaneously.