Facebook Advertising: Getting Started with Advertising on Facebook
Looking to advertise on Facebook? Learn about Facebook advertising cost, examples, how it works, and discover why Facebook is a great platform for advertising.
Along with advertising in search, social media is a cornerstone of digital marketing. Whether you’re a new brand trying to build an audience or an existing company that wants to better connect with your current customers, using social media as a marketing tool provides several benefits.
But how do you know where to focus your efforts? If you’re a paid media manager, you only have a certain number of hours in the day and a specific dollar amount to budget. Uncovering the best social media advertising platform for your business is highly subjective. What works for one company may not work for yours. In fact, one of the most important parts of using social media as a marketing tool is to know that you don’t have to have a presence on every platform.
Let’s examine the information you can use to make smart decisions about the best social media platforms for advertising your brand and talk about tools to make managing those ads even easier.
One of the first things to do when focusing your social media advertising efforts is to find the majority of your audience. If your existing customer base and target audience don’t often use a platform like Twitter, there might not be a good reason to invest time there.
Uncovering your audience’s preferred platform is important but pay attention to what social media platforms you have accounts for. As new platforms pop up—especially in the wake of Twitter’s recent changes—you may be tempted to create new accounts for them. But not every platform succeeds or makes sense for businesses. Consider creating accounts to claim them and then monitoring them for activity. Just don’t exclude those spaces where your brand is already thriving.
Before you invest another dollar into a social media campaign, examine your goals. How does paid advertising fit into your overall marketing strategy? Are you trying to build a following on a platform or court conversions among a specific group?
Because paid social media advertising requires investing time, money, and creative energy, knowing ahead of time what goals to pursue is essential.
Becoming active on social media isn’t just a decision that companies make because it sounds fun. Focus on the business objective(s) you have for joining and actively using these platforms. Business objectives for using social media can include:
Expanding brand awareness
Remarketing to previous or incomplete customers
Almost all social media platforms offer advertising objectives that can help you meet your short- and long-term goals.
Long-term goals are objectives that may take time to accomplish. If you’re using social media advertising, these can include building lasting relationships with customers and improving retention. Increasing your brand awareness can be a long-term goal as well. Examples of platforms that make sense for long-term goals include Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Because these platforms are community-driven, organic and paid social media campaigns have a chance to thrive.
On the opposite end, companies with short-term goals may want to use a more time-sensitive approach that favors fast-moving platforms like Twitter and TikTok. Examples of short-term goals can include things like driving traffic to your website, increasing engagement, promoting limited-time offers, and testing or optimizing ad creative.
Prioritizing social media platforms just comes down to budgeting. It’s important to realize that one person cannot (and should not) be responsible for everything. If you don’t have the tools, team, time, or budget to build out assets for a social media platform, it might not be worth pursuing.
Depending on the platform(s) you choose to use for your advertising and marketing efforts, you may be responsible for creating videos, images, graphics, ad copy, and more. Companies that lack the creative resources to make compelling videos may not want to focus their energies on platforms like TikTok or YouTube. Instead of handling these things in-house, they may want to outsource the creation of these assets. But that leads to another issue…
Companies often lack the financial resources to equally pursue social media advertising on all platforms. That means being selective about where you focus your advertising dollars. Even if you outsource creative for organic social media messaging, you’re still paying for it. In this case, you need to prioritize where you spend money. Focus on campaigns that provide a decent return on investment, and don’t be afraid to A/B test different headlines, ad copy, and creative to see which offers the greater return on ad spend (ROAS).
One person can’t focus on everything alone, which is where delegation and outsourcing come in. Time is a marketer’s most valuable resource, and there’s never enough of it to do everything you want to do. Taking the time to carefully review reports and compare KPIs can help inform your decisions: if you’re not seeing results or growth on one platform but explosive growth elsewhere, it may be time to focus your attention on the latter.
Main stakeholders at your company usually have opinions on what success means, and it’s essential to take that into account. They may want to see growth in specific areas, or they may want to prioritize ROI for your advertising efforts. Focus your energy on the platforms that you know will have a positive impact, and be prepared to speak to reasons why a particular social media channel may not be a good fit for your brand.
The amount of time your company has been around can play into which social media channel makes sense to use, too. Established brands may want to venture into areas with large user bases that are already familiar with their products. Advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be a good fit for companies in this position because they have built-in name recognition. For B2B brands seeking funding from active entrepreneurs, becoming active on LinkedIn or even Twitter can be a good fit.
Several social media platforms are beginner-friendly, with easy-to-use interfaces and straightforward ad creation tools. When thinking about a beginner-friendly ad platform, consider not just how easy it is to make ads, but also find an audience to see them. Facebook, for example, boasts over 2 billion users and is one of the most popular advertising platforms. Because Facebook’s parent company Meta also owns the Instagram social media platform, it’s relatively simple to create ads that run on both.
One of the defining discourses around social media is the division of active users based on age. If your target demographic sits within a generational divide, you should probably consider targeting your social media efforts on those platforms.
While you might think TikTok is the leading attention grabber among social media users in Gen Z, you’d be surprised. YouTube actually stands out among the competitors as Gen Z’s most used platform. Of course, Instagram and TikTok aren’t that far behind. Facebook and Twitter do lag behind these three with a notable dip in users.
If you’re marketing to Gen Z users, it makes sense to spend your energy, time, and money creating engaging video content that speaks to them.
As recently as 2022, Millennials say that Instagram is their favorite app to use. Millennials are particularly fond of Instagram Stories, with almost 60% of Millennials using it.
Generation X may be the smallest generation, but they’re still active social media users. Their favorite platforms are Facebook and YouTube. As a sometimes overlooked audience, Gen-Xers are used to marketing that doesn’t speak to them. If you’re able to harness a compelling message on Facebook, you can make them feel seen and earn their business.
Baby Boomers also love Facebook. 96% of Boomers use Facebook at least once a week. That means if you’re planning on marketing to people who are 55+, a robust Facebook advertising budget can go a long way. And with targeted demographic tools, you can create and tailor ads to those from this generation.
Want to learn more about using Facebook to reach Boomers (and other audiences)? Check out our guide to nailing your first campaign, Facebook Ads 101.
Every social media platform has something to offer small businesses. Certain platforms are more cost-effective depending on your advertising goals and audience demographics. Facebook’s scale often provides the largest audience, and you can use easy target strategies and budget optimization features—including targeting Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)—to maximize your return.
If your product focus relies more on visuals, consider taking your ads to Instagram, which also offers good targeting and optimization tools.
YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are all heavy hitters in the world of video advertising. YouTube is the largest video-sharing platform, but TikTok offers excellent in-app tools to create and share short-form content. Its highly engaged audience also means your content might go viral as people engage with it.
Instagram reigns supreme here, although Facebook is another good option. The number of ad formats Instagram offers is perfect for companies who want to display products, create videos, and partner with influencers.
Curious about Instagram as a tool for sharing your products? Learn which image-based ads succeed most with our guide of Instagram ad formats.
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all excellent options for retail businesses who want to create advertising campaigns to showcase their products, but Facebook’s audience once again makes it an excellent tool for business promotion. In addition to its detailed ad-targeting and diverse set of ad formats, Facebook also provides the chance to build a community around your products.
We haven’t talked much about LinkedIn, but if you’re a service-based brand, it’s an excellent place to show your expertise and build relationships with potential clients. LinkedIn ads excel in lead generation and building your professional network. If your company isn’t on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on opportunities for thought leadership and promotion.
When it comes to showcasing creativity and building community around your work, a few social media platforms stand out. Instagram’s highly visual nature lets photographers, designers, and artists showcase their work. Even video creators can benefit from newer features like Stories and Reels.
Pinterest is another space for design-focused creatives to thrive. Because users can curate boards for inspiration, it’s an excellent place for artists and designers to show their work (and find a little bit of inspiration at the same time).
For video creators, TikTok and YouTube are excellent. TikTok’s explosion of engagement over the past few years can help ensure a content-hungry audience for your brand or small business’s video content.
If you’re a brand that wants to build community, you have options. Facebook is an excellent place to build out community thanks to its full suite of tools. Create a group for enthusiasts or connect with customers directly in the comments on your posts.
If you like the rapid-fire nature of discourse, Twitter can be an alternative option, although its recent policy and user changes have left some brands frustrated.
If you’re a B2C company that wants to find a large audience for your ads or organic content, Facebook and Instagram offer some of the best perks. Facebook’s huge user base and diverse demographics allow you to create a business page, target ads, and engage with your fans.
Instagram’s heavy focus on visuals allows you to show off your full lineup of products and partner with influencers to help sell them, so consider adding it to your marketing portfolio as well.
Instagram is a staple of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands for a reason. Its powerful ad tools and focus on visual marketing allow these companies to create shoppable posts and tag their products while showing off exactly what they can do.
Facebook’s comprehensive set of tools makes it another great fit for D2C brands. Engage with customers through comments and messages and run targeted advertising campaigns to reach the users you want to sell to.
LinkedIn is the choice of professionals for B2B organizations and with good reason. It’s an excellent place to find thought leaders and foster discussions. LinkedIn’s set of lead generation ad tools makes it perfect for networking with potential clients.
The best social media platform for your brand is the one that helps you build your business and that you enjoy using. It’s not the newest one or the one you hate to use. It’s where your customers are posting and engaging with your products.
If you’re not sure which social media platform makes sense for your brand—or if you even need to be on social media—consider seeking out a trusted platform to help you make those decisions. AdRoll offers a full suite of tools to help you manage your social media advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. We can help you optimize your budgets, keywords, and audience targeting to get the best bang for your buck and ensure you get the most return on your advertising investments.
Your brand can benefit from social media in several different ways. Some people use it to help generate leads for their sales teams. Other companies may use it to drive product launches and promotions through paid ads. Still, other companies may lean heavily on it to foster connections and community among their customers and fans.
Social media is a powerful tool, and it’s definitely one you should consider paying close attention to.
Each individual social media platform has its own audience targeting tools. Most of them allow you to segment audiences by:
Existing customer lists
Social media advertising has several benefits over traditional methods of reaching customers. In addition to its wide reach, social media ads are cost-effective ways to target specific audiences. Finally, using social media to advertise gives you the ability to accurately track and measure your results with clear KPIs.
Social media provides several different ways to measure success, and the metrics you track depend largely upon what’s important to you and your brand. For example, you can track your reach, conversions, cost per click (CPC), ROAS, and more.
Social media also allows you to see and compare your audience demographics to help determine whether you’re reaching the right people or not. Knowing which KPIs are important is an essential step in measuring the effectiveness of any social media campaign.
Last updated on July 22nd, 2023.