Facebook Ad Basics for Bloggers

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Interested in getting started with Facebook ads but not sure where to start? Here are some Facebook ad basics for bloggers to get the most out of your ads

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Every so often I post things a bit outside the normal fitness, health, and recipe posts on The Fit Cookie. Some of those occassional posts that I enjoy writing are posts about blogging and social media.

While that’s not the main focus of my blog and I don’t claim to be an expert at those things (there are way better bloggers out there!), I still really enjoy sharing blogging tips and things that I have picked in the almost 6 years that I have been blogging. Side note: can you believe The Fit Cookie has been around for 6 years already?! Crazy, it doesn’t seem that long 😉

Over the past few months I have been spending a bit more time learning about Facebook ads, using Facebook ads, and experimenting with them a little bit. I’ve done reading, taken webinars, and have learned a few ways to create effective Facebook ads on a small scale. As things change, I’ll keep learning more, but so far I’ve liked most of the results I have had using Facebook ads.

This is not a comprehensive guide (and we don’t talk much about pixels here either), but rather a collection of tips for beginners that will help you get started with Facebook ads. These tips are also set up in the order that you’re likely to see them when you create ads in your Ad Manager. So let’s dive in!

Ad Goal

Right when you start to create your ad in Ads Manager, you’ll set up your ad goal. If you want people to purchase something on your site, you’ll want to pick Conversions. But but there are other options and Facebook explains them well, so you can pick the one that fits best with what you want to accomplish with your ad.

Boosting posts and avoiding the Ads Manager can be a good way to get started, but if you want to get more out of your ads eventually, you’ll want to get familiar with Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Budget

Typically you want to start with at least $5 a day for regular ads, but if you’re boosting a post, don’t worry about that daily budget too much, I just set a lifetime budget of what I want to spend ($10-15 or whatever). If you run full ads, spending less than $5 a day might not give you the results you want.

There are 2 options: lifetime budget or daily budget. If you choose a lifetime budget, Facebook will still spread the ad spend pretty evenly across the days (as far as I have seen), and it helps if you to stick to your budget.

Audience

When you choose your audience, you’ll want to choose a niche INTEREST BASED audience that is similar to yours or the product you are working with. For example, I ran an ad for my Nature’s Path giveaway post, I targeted people who like the KIND Bars page, and we had pretty good conversions on that ad.

Audience size

When you choose your audience, you want to pick an interest group that is more than 100,000 but less than 1.2 million. Example: Skinnytaste fits my niche as an interest audience but it’s way too big (2.5 million). I try to find smaller interest-based audiences that are more niche that fit closely with my brand.

Facebook has a little audience meter on the right side bar when you’re creating ads and helps you figure out if your audience is too big or too small. The only thing is that if you are targeting ads to only people who live in a small town (like mine), Facebook will probably tell you your audience is too small, but you can ignore that.

The Audience Insight tool within the Facebook ads area is an awesome way to explore audiences you can target and even see what your own followers and readers are interested in. If you go into Audience Insights and create a custom audience that gets saved, then it’s already there when you go to create your ad or boost your post.

Pick just ONE audience interest at a time so you know what audiences work for you and what audiences don’t. If it’s not working, you know what to avoid, and if it is working, you can keep using it. For examaple, when I ran an ad for my latest HIIT post, I targeted women who liked Oxygen Magazine, and that’s it.

Ages

When it comes to audience ages, you’ll want to focus on a 20 year age range unless you know for sure that your target audience is much smaller or larger. Looking at my Google Analytics and Facebook audience insights, I know that most of my readers and followers are aged 25-45, so I target those ages. I don’t want to spend money targeting 60 year olds or 18 year olds if they don’t make up the larger part of the people who enjoy reading my stuff.

Countries & Languages

For countries and languages, pick the ones you want to target. I like to pick the bigger English speaking countries (US, CAN, UK, AUS, NEW ZE etc.) and I still target all english as a language since everything I write is in English. If you write in Spanish and English, then you’ll want to target those groups too. Only target the countries that will connect with your content or your audience might be too broad. Audience specificity is important to make the most of your ad dollars!!

Important note: if you’re advertising a blog post with a giveaway, make sure that you are only advertising in the countries that the giveaway is open to. For example: don’t send ads to Canada if the giveaway is only only open to US residents.

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Gender

You’ll want to really think about people you’re trying to attract to your blog. Since the majority of my readers and followers are female and I write more for women, I just target women, I don’t worry about targeting men with my ads. Obviously if your ideal audience is equally both genders or only men, you’ll want to pick which one fits your ideal audience.

Ad Placement

Facebook gives you different options for placements in Facebook, and they want you to trust them to let them place your ads wherever they see fit. But if you want to make the most of your ad dollars, you should only place your ads in the newsfeed (it will go to mobile and desktop) and maybe on Instagram. The other placements aren’t going to give you the traction that you want.

Since Instagram and Facebook ad sizing is completely different from each other, it’s better to create an ad specifically for Instagram rather than trying to do both with one image/ad layout.

Ad Images

For your ad images, it’s best to pick images that are attractive (obviously), but bright colors and eye catching images do best. You want to make sure that your ads stand out since you are competing for attention with other ads and everything else on Facebook that people are looking at. Facebook has a free image library for people creating ads, so if you don’t have a great image for ads, you can look through their library.

When picking your image, think about what your target audience wants to see and what styles they gravitate to. You may need to do some experimenting with different ad images to see what resonates best with people (you can do this with ad copy too).

If you’re using text to the ad image the image, use just 2 or 3 colors (black and white don’t count) so it doesn’t look too busy. And text can’t cover more than 20% of the ad image.

Ad Results

Your ad is now running, good work! You can check it every so often to see how it’s doing, but don’t feel compelled to check it every few minutes. One of the metrics that you’ll want to keep track of is your click through rate (CTR). Facebook ads has an app that makes it easy to do quick checks on how your ads are performing.

A good conversion rate for ads is at least 1%, some do better than that but you don’t want your conversion rate to be below 1%. If your CTR is less than 1%, then you’ll want to change some things with your ad, like the image, your ad copy (text), or audience.

You’ll also want to check your relevancy score to see how well your target audience is responding to your ad. This number only shows after your ad has been seen by over 500 people. It’s measured from 1 to 10, you want that number close to 10!

Here’s a list of the industry averages for Facebook ad CTR’s if you’re curious how other industries perform: Average Facebook ad CTR rates for your industry.

Summary

There is a lot of stuff here, so I’ll recap below:

  • Ad goal: choose conversions if you are selling items on your website, but if not selling, choose a goal that fits what you want to accomplish
  • Budget: try to set a budget of at least $5 a day
  • Audience interests: choose 1 interest-based audience to run ads to at a time
  • Audience Size: your audience should be between 100,000 and 1.2 million people in size
  • Age: target a 20-year age range in audience
  • Gender: target your ideal audience gender demographic
  • Placement: choose only newsfeed placements for Facebook ads
  • Images: use eye catching and attractive ad images that only use 2-3 colors in the text overlay, and the text doesn’t cover over 20% of the image
  • Aim for a high relevancy score (on a scale of 1 to 10) on your ads
  • Aim for a CTR of 1% or higher

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