Facebook Ads: Have You Missed The Boat?

Facebook Ads: Have You Missed The Boat?

Charlie Pemberton
By Charlie Pemberton

Facebook Ads: Have you missed the boat, or is it a sinking ship?

We’ve seen the hesitation a million times before.  Does Facebook advertising really work? Will it bring a positive return on investment for my business? These are both valuable questions to ask. Like anything you want to be sure that you’re not just burning through cash with nothing to prove for it. The reality is, you can’t just throw your money into Facebook ads and hope the platform’s complex algorithm will bring you qualified leads and sales. In the early days of Facebook Ads, it was literally printing money - that easy. But those days are over, and as the competition gets stiffer, it’ll only get harder. The good news is that the Facebook platform has dramatically evolved into an advertising powerhouse since its inception. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have flocked to the platform to try and capitalise on the billions of users on there. And many have seen some seriously incredible results. But have you missed the boat or is Facebook a sinking ship? Let’s jump into whether Facebook ads could be a valuable investment for your business.

First off - Why should I care about Facebook ads?

So let’s say you have a business selling honey. You want to get your organic natural honey in front of as many people who are interested in honey and natural products as possible. But how do you find these people?  Well, the Facebook ads platform is a great place to start as you’ll have targeted access to people who have expressed an interest in certain niches or who may potentially be interested in buying your honey. As with any form of advertising, the goal is for you to reach the types of people who are most likely to become loyal customers of yours.  So in this case, we could target an audience who is interested in organic products, wellness, healthy cooking and wholesome foods. You can also exclude certain people when creating your ads, which could be useful for people who have expressed an interest in diabetes or veganism in this case. By doing so, your targeting can be laser-focused and more effective in creating genuine interest in your business.  In short, Facebook ads are a quick and effective way to get your products in front of these potential customers who are using the Facebook platform. No matter what service or product you’re offering, chances are there will be many people out of Facebook’s ever-growing billions of users that will be dying to get their hands on your goods.

Hold on - Why can’t I just post my content for free?

You can post as much “free” content as you so desire, but unfortunately Facebook has made it increasingly difficult to gain traction with organic posting alone. Back in the day, you may have seen some brilliant results with this organic reach resulting in increased brand awareness. But with the changes to the platform since its launch, you’ll need to be putting money into the platform (through boosting existing posts or creating fresh ads) to get the reach you desire. This doesn’t mean that organic posts are completely useless. Far from it. But the message here is that you can’t rely on organic content as a standalone strategy for driving sales or increasing brand awareness.

Ok, so where do these Facebook ads appear?

We’re going to assume that you’ve used Facebook before. So you would’ve seen these ads in a few different places (which Facebook calls ‘Placements’).  On your usual feeds, in stories, in-stream (during those videos you watch on Facebook or Instagram), in search results, in messages, in articles, in apps and more.  You as the advertiser can choose where your ads will appear, or you can choose the “Automatic Placements” feature when setting up your ads in the Facebook Ads Manager. This puts the responsibility in the hands of the Facebook delivery system, which will attempt to make the best placement decisions based on your targeting parameters in your adset. We won’t get too deep into all of these different ad placements for the time being, so let’s press on.

A quick note on Instagram

In case you didn’t know already, Instagram falls under the Facebook umbrella, so ads you see on your Instagram feed or on stories can also be from Facebook campaigns. It’s important to note that these ads are typically geared towards different types of users, with Instagram being an incredibly valuable advertising channel in itself.  So for the sake of time and space, when we mention ‘Facebook ads’, just know that we are referring to the Facebook Ads Manager platform which includes both Facebook and Instagram. If you’d like to go a little deeper on Instagram, shoot us a message or take a look at our comprehensive Instagram advertising services.

Different Facebook Ad Formats

Now if you’ve tried to run a Facebook ads campaign before or your head is already spinning with the information we’ve run through so far, you’ll probably realise that the platform can quickly get very confusing.  The four main Facebook ad formats that you can choose from are:

Image Ads

Image Ads You’ll be able to use some of your killer creative here to drive potential customers through to your website or app. The key to image ads is to use visuals that will leave people intrigued enough to click through and explore what you have to offer.

Video Ads

Video Ads It’s no secret that video content dominates on social media platforms. The dynamic movement and sound that a video ad can display make this ad format one to take full advantage of. Particularly if your service or product is quite visual, it may need a video ad to demonstrate its use or outline some of the key benefits.

Carousel Ads

Carousel Ads Carousel ads are a great way to showcase a number of different images (up to 10) within a single ad. The great benefit of this ad format is that each image can have its own unique link. This means that if you’ve recently released 6 new flavours of honey on your online store, you can create an image with each one linking back to the relevant product page.

Collection Ads

Collection Ads Collection ads can showcase your different products, making it simple for customers to check out what you have on offer. Unlike carousel ads, the collection ads feature a central image or video, accompanied by four smaller images below. It’s important to note here that not all of these ad formats are able to be placed across all of Facebook’s placement types. So you’ll have to pick and choose carefully based on what type of ad you want to display and the locations you’d like to see it in.  Once you’ve decided on the ideal ad format (you may choose to run a combination of a few different types of ads) you can choose an objective After choosing the objective, you can also choose a relevant call to action (CTA) from the list that Facebook provides (think “book now”, “learn more” and “get quote”.)

Dynamic Ads

This one is brilliant for eCommerce companies. When you select Dynamic Format & Creative at the ad level, Your ad format and destination will change based on who's viewing your ad. For these ads, you will have needed to first set up a catalogue (if you have Woocommerce or Shopify, this is quite easy to set up as a dynamic feed) - this catalogue tells Facebook all of the information about all of the products you sell on your site. From here you can define Product Sets - think of these as collections. When creating a dynamic ad, you will need to select the Catalog for your store and the Product Set that you want to promote. This then gives the Facebook algorithm more autonomy to dynamically change the layout of your ad and the order of which ads are displayed in order to deliver better performance. You may have noticed this being used in the context of dynamic remarketing happening on your feed before - you were looking at buying that new skateboard or those new pair of shoes and now they are following you around the internet! Dynamic ads can be very powerful at delivering relevant content and products to your target market.

Enough messing around. How much do Facebook Ads Cost?

Alright, so you’re slowly getting your head around the platform. Don’t worry if you’re a little lost at the moment, that’s what our Facebook advertising services are for after all.  But let’s get into some more of the nitty-gritty now as we know you want to know how much these ads cost. Or more importantly, is paying for Facebook ads worth it? Facebook ads work on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. In this respect, Facebook doesn’t charge you until people click on your ad. This CPC number is generally quite affordable on Facebook when compared to other digital advertising platforms. But you shouldn’t get bogged down on just the CPC. What you should be more concerned with is the return-on-ad-spend (ROAS). You could have all the clicks in the world, but if no one is converting after they click on your ad, then you’re wasting your money.

Working on a budget

As much as we’d all like to get the best results for as little money as possible, you unfortunately won’t make it very far with a $200 a month budget. Sorry! We only say this because we don’t want you to waste your money. Ever. The phrase “you gotta spend money to make money” rings true with Facebook ads. Ultimately, you should be concerned with profitability and ROI, not so much about how cheap your ads are going to cost. A $500 monthly ad spend resulting in $2500 in sales for your business sounds a whole lot better than a $200 ad spend resulting in $500 worth of sales.  Of course, you don’t need to be spending tens of thousands of dollars each month. Your budget will obviously vary depending on your products, services, and overall gross profit that your business has to work with.  At the same time, there is no “magic number” that people should be spending on Facebook ads. Measuring, adapting and readjusting your budget as you keep a watchful eye on your Facebook ads can allow you to consistently optimise your ads to deliver a solid ROI for your business. Measurable and Targeted

Measurable and Targeted - A win/win for businesses of all sizes

There’s an old saying in the advertising world, coined by the marketing pioneer John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  Well, the benefit of putting your money into Facebook ads is that you know exactly where every dollar from your pocket is going.  Thanks to the detailed analytics and data that Facebook provides, you can tell which of your Facebook campaigns are effective, or which creative resulted in the highest click-through rate. From impressions to clicks or conversions, everything is measurable. This means that you can see what works and what may need improving, helping you to constantly optimise your campaigns to achieve results that will make your competition quake in their boots. We know that this takes a little more than a quick once over as you eat your lunch. Our Facebook ad specialists are here to take that extra stress and work out of your usual routine. Also, check out our blog if you're wondering how the new iOS14 update will affect your Facebook ads.

Ok, but do Facebook ads work for small businesses?

The short answer is: ABSOLUTELY.  The long answer is: when done strategically and consistently.  As soon as you stop putting money into the platform, your ads will come to a grinding halt. To top it off, that spike in leads or sales that you saw while running Facebook ads will also drop off. To see consistent growth, you need to be consistent in your marketing efforts. That one-month-long campaign where you advertised your honey on a measly budget just won’t cut it I’m afraid.  Targeted Facebook ads require carefully worded copy in combination with a design that stops people in their tracks as they’re scrolling. With a precise unique selling point (USP) that gives a sly wink to a pain point or want of your ideal customer, you’ll be well on your way to making Facebook ads a profitable venture in your marketing efforts.

*Cracks Knuckles* Put us to work!

If this all sounds like a lot of work to you… you’re not wrong. Time slips away from you each and every day when you’re running a business. To get valuable results using Facebook ads you need the time and effort to accurately optimise your campaigns. If you’ve just wiped that bead of sweat that has slowly started to form on your forehead, don’t worry. We’re here to help. If you’d like to get the ball rolling with your Facebook ads and help to get your business flourishing on this extremely valuable platform, then get in touch with the Facebook ads specialists at Dilate Digital today. Dilate Digital are Facebook Partners

Dilate Digital are Facebook Marketing Partners

We are proud to be a Facebook Partner agency, which gives us exclusive access to resources, support and workshops with Facebook professionals. This keeps our skills fine-tuned and ahead of the game in this highly competitive market. In return, we can put these skills into practice across our clients’ campaigns. When you contact Dilate Digital, we can help to outline whether Facebook ads could be a valuable marketing channel for your business. At every stage of the process, our team work tirelessly to achieve the ROI that you’ve been dying to achieve.  Jump on a call with Dilate today on . Feel free to send through an enquiry and we’ll get back to you quicker than the time it took to read this blog!

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