Planning for Facebook Ads

Unless you’re incredibly lucky, the success of your Facebook and/or Instagram advert very much depends on how well you’ve planned it.  It may sound obvious, but if you’re new to social advertising, it is surprising how much there is to get right before launching a campaign.

During this past year, I have invested a lot in training and business development. Six months into running my VA business, I took a swerve and a deep dive into Facebook Ads. Why? Because I am a bit of a nerd and I love the planning, data and analytics that are involved in running a campaign. I also love the vastness of the audiences, the ability to laser-target your ideal client and the power of aligning all the key ingredients to create a high-performing advert.

If that sounds appealing and you’re thinking about having a go at Facebook and Instagram ads in your business, read on. In this article, I share a few ways in which you can start laying the foundations for achieving, what all marketers want, a great ROAS (return on ad spend), before you’ve even opened your Ads Manager.

First off, go to Business.Facebook.com/create to set up your Business Manager.

Next, install the Pixel. Say what? The Pixel is a piece of code that sits on your website and allows you to track your web visitor and ad activity. Either follow the instructions on Facebook (go to Settings, Data Sources, Pixel) or ask your web developer nicely. The sooner you get it installed, the sooner you can start to build relevant data for your target audiences.

Quality check. You may have heard of ad accounts being rejected for one reason or another. To run ads, you will need to own and verify your domain. Facebook will also check that you have the correct policies on your website, so do make sure these are in order and that your Facebook Page is optimised and active to avoid running into issues.

Planning

While all that’s cooking, start planning! What do you want to achieve with your ads? And who do you want to see them?

Objective

What’s the end result you want to achieve? Do you want to generate awareness, leads or sales? Knowing this will help you to select the correct Facebook Objective for your campaign and will also have a bearing on your budget, because the higher the intent, the bigger the budget you are going to need.

Budget

People often ask how much they should spend. Think about it this way. How many leads or sales do you want and how much would you be comfortable spending on them? Budgets vary wildly, starting at £5 a day to a long way beyond.

Audience

Get crystal clear on your target audience. Who are they? Are they male? Female? How old? What are their interests? What are their pain points? How can you empathise and solve their problems? Spend a good amount of time plotting this out as it will help you to ninja-target your Facebook audience (or audiences – you may have more than one persona) once you get inside the Ads Manager.

Sales funnel

What journey do you want/need your ideal customer to take? Rarely is this a one-step process, although not impossible. Planning this journey or funnel will guide your thinking on your budget, your copy and your creative, as well as help you to build the right kind of audience to re-target lower down the funnel.

Copy

Plan your copy based on the different personas you have created. You’ll need an attention-grabbing headline to stop the scroll and some enticing copy that empathises and appeals to your audience pain points. Emojis help to grab attention and testimonials and story-telling are great ways to engage and get your message across. Do be very careful not to use language that relates to health or body image, or emojis that are a short form of these, as they are likely to get your ad banned (which can be reviewed, but these things take time).

Creative

It’s been said that 80-90% of the performance of an ad is down to the image. Don’t rely on one or two creative hooks as you’ll be missing out on segments of your audience. Quantity AND quality are both important, so build up a good bank of creative that speaks to your different audiences at different levels of your funnel. Videos and carousels are increasingly popular and tend to work very well as long as they are an attention-grabbing length and on point with their messaging.

Metrics

How will you know if your campaign is a success? Make sure you research the key metrics for your niche so that you have a benchmark for what “good” looks like and can see whether your ads are hitting the mark. There is a lot of data available within Ads Manager, which can be overwhelming to the untrained eye, so it’s really helpful to know which key metrics you’re looking for.

Marketing with Facebook ads doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, as long as you are aware of all the moving parts and plan accordingly. Boosting posts without reason and launching campaigns without prior planning is likely to leave you feeling frustrated and annoyed at the expense, even if you did select a low budget. However, if the idea of ads still brings you out in a cold sweat, then you may want to consider bringing in an expert to either give you further guidance or do them for you.

Sarah German
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Sarah German

Sarah launched her VA business in 2020 following redundancy and a change of direction to support work/life balance. Sarah now works with a team to provide social media and administrative support to a variety of small businesses. Having immersed herself in Paid Ads during this past year, Sarah now also provides training, 121s and full Paid Ads management services, specialising in Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. With a past career in retail merchandising and customer insights, both being extremely detail-focused, a key part of her service is auditing and optimising social media accounts in preparation for launching new Paid Ads campaigns.