By @TheMarkDalton

I have been preaching the value of Facebook targeted ads over the past number of weeks now. Bottom line is that Facebook targeted ads gives the greatest ROI on the planet at the moment. They are seriously undervalued by Facebook and are a bargain to run.

A lot of businesses, large and small, are running Facebook ads of some kind at the moment or are considering it in the very near future. If you have never run a Facebook ad or have never thought of running a Facebook ad then you need to go back and re-adjust your social media strategy.

However, a lot of businesses, particularly small businesses, are not targeting their ads. They are pretty much running them on default settings and not putting in the work of thinking about who they are targeting and how they are targeting their ads.

Facebook is a powerful tool, just to give you an idea of how powerful it is and how much traffic it can supply to your website – last month approximately 61% of traffic was from Facebook alone. So far this month we are on course to completely smash the number of page views set in the first month and Facebook currently accounts for a whopping 58% of traffic. Twitter by comparison accounts for 6% and Google results through SEO is just 1% (these numbers are for Mark Dalton Media, not ITN).

These numbers are organic data only. No ads run on any of these social media accounts yet (that is changing this week with Facebook ad campaigns starting up) and it gives an idea of how important your social media optimisation for your content is as well as how important it is to run ad campaigns to maximise your reach. As we should all know by now if you have been reading the blog posts, organic will only get you so far.
So the next time you go to run a Facebook ad campaign, what should you think about when you come to filling out all those fields to target certain people? That’s right, it is not a case of just sticking whatever you like in there, you need to consider several different aspects of targeting before you hit the publish button on your ad.

1. Location targeting
You can target ads down to incredibly accurate and small locations if there is a certain area you really want to reach. You can select locations by country or even by city. I would encourage you to think about cities as well as targeting whole countries.

So putting Ireland down as a target location is fine, but think about where in particular you want to reach in Ireland. Target an area where your brand may not be well known. So if you have established a strong brand presence in Dublin, why would you target all your ad campaigns for Dublin?

Your brand has a strong presence there, people are familiar with who you are and what you do so start reaching out elsewhere. Target Kerry instead for example, that way you can land in front of an entirely new audience.

You can also use radius targeting, so if you want to select a really small area. Lets say you only want to target ads for the Dundrum area of Dublin because you trade at a local market and you know people visit the shopping centre at the weekends. While they are shopping they check up on Facebook and there appears your advert.

Location, location, location!

2. Keyword targeting
Keywords are crucial, anyone who has run SEO on a business website in the past of any kind will know just how important keywords are. Facebook targets keywords based on interests.

Think about your business, your brand and your product. Now think about as many relevant keywords and phrases as you can and start plugging them into your ad. Remember though, keep them relevant!

There is nothing worse than loading up your ad with slew of random keywords that have nothing to do with your ad. It will be found out by Facebook and more than likely won’t get approved.

So if you are promoting a sci-fi fan page you may want to use keywords like “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” because these are people who you will definitely want to reach out to when you are looking for new community members.

A client of mine runs a handmade plaque business, she would look to use keywords like “crafts” or “personal gifts” so she can reach a certain audience interested in her relevant content.

3. Age targeting
This comes down to your target market. What age do you want to appeal to? Think about the current target market you have offline, your regular customers. If you have a store then think about the demographic and typical age group of people who visit to browse and buy your products. You may want to target that age group online.

However, I would recommend you target different age groups through a range of different campaigns. Just because you have an idea of the demographics of the target market in your offline business does not mean you will want to go after the same customers online. You can look at it as a chance to reach out and connect with an age group that may not typically come in your store.

Experiment with it a bit without going completely wild. If you run a consultancy business for example then you would never target the 14-18 year old age group, what sense would that make? So play around within reason and you could be pleasantly surprised.

4. Ad appearance
Think about how you want the ad to show up in people’s feeds. Edit the text to a copy you are happy with and which sounds appealing. Something people want to click on and check out more.

Make sure you have a call to action in the text of the ad and edit the images in the ad so that it looks the best. Don’t just run with all the default settings. Put a bit of time and work into your ads so that they will have the maximum reach possible and will look their absolute best.

5. Ad cost
This one is completely up to you. The great thing about Facebook ads is that it is completely down to you when it comes to cost. It is flexible to what you want. Simply choose how much you want to spend daily and then set how long you want the ad to run for.

Some people might like to set a big budget to try and grow fast, others will run multiple campaigns for their page each month on a smaller budget. Me? I like to run a lot of campaigns over small budgets. I don’t like running a long campaign on a larger budget because I feel it just stagnates pretty quick. I like to change it up and create new ad campaigns often, at least one per month and run it on a low cost budget for a week.

Final thoughts
Running an ad campaign requires a bit of thought and effort. The great thing about Facebook ads is that it is now easy and fast for anyone to setup and run an ad campaign for their Facebook Page. While that is a good thing it can also be a curse because now people are just not thinking about it as much as they should.

People are just clicking the promote button, setting the basics and running it. Go into detail, look at every field on the form and think about every field on the form. Think about who you want to target and why you want to target them. Think about their interests and load up on relevant keywords on top of the pre-selected ones.

Remember, its your business! Get it right by making every single cent count!

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