Facebook at work

66% of global Facebook users are active on the platform every day, equating to 1.1bn daily users. Each of these users spends an average time of 50 minutes a day across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. These people aren’t just using a platform for browsing, they are social media addicts!

And they could also be your customers. If your business targets anyone that users a computer or a smartphone, it’s likely that your target audience forms part of the 1.1bn daily Facebook users and is spending a large amount of time on the platform, whether they’re sharing and engaging with content, or browsing for the latest news.

Many of these users will be using the platform on a mobile device during commuting hours, lunchtimes and mid-afternoon coffee hours. Users are normally ‘off-duty’ or in a relaxed state, and are therefore more likely to be receptive to new ideas, such as an introduction to your product or service.

An active business presence on Facebook has the potential to hit your target audience wherever they may be, whatever they may be doing. You may already be working to target these users through organic Facebook activity, sharing content or scheduling statuses for these key times in the day in the hope of putting your product or service before prospective customers. However, this organic activity is estimated to reach less than 10% of your following.

If you want to accelerate this process and extend your reach, you could consider paid Facebook activity, such as boosted posts or Facebook ads. This will allow you to execute a highly targeted, wide reaching strategy that hits your prospective customer base at the right time and ultimately leads to more relevant traffic to your website and an increase in conversions.

A paid Facebook campaign will be highly targeted in its audience and timing. Facebook enables you to select your audience, the people who will see your boosted posts or ads, by interest, age, gender, hobby and location, and other factors such as if they have visited your website previously. You can then schedule your activity to hit this targeted audience at the times when they are most likely to be online and when your products and services are likely to be most relevant; this will differ between audiences.

A simple paid Facebook strategy can be implemented in three steps using Facebook Ad Manager, accessed through Facebook for Business:

1. Build your audience

The first step is to build the audience for your boosted post or Facebook advert. You have the choice between a ‘saved audience’, which is a pre-set audience created by Facebook’s targeting criteria, or a ‘custom audience’, which is created by you.

If you select the interest audience option, you will be able to tick boxes that match the hobbies, demographics and interests of your business’ target consumer.

If you choose to build a custom audience, you can upload a list of emails or data from previous conversions and Facebook will create a ‘lookalike audience’ that contains users that resemble previous customers. This is a good option if you want to upsell or cross-sell your product or service.

2. Boosted post or ad?

A boosted post will appear in your page feed just like any other status and therefore doesn’t resemble advertising activity. Boosted posts are ideally suited to short term campaigns, such as announcing flash sales or a competition and generally achieve a higher reach than adverts. They are a cost effective way of increasing engagement.

Facebook adverts run in the background and will not appear on your business’ page, unlike boosted posts, and do not invite engagement in the same way as boosted posts. The biggest benefit of Facebook adverts is the ability to split test multiple ads of different designs at different times of the day for different audiences.

For example, you could run a split test to find out whether your target audience respond better to an image of a competing product or a lifestyle image that relates to their interests.

3. Measuring success

There are two strands to measuring the success of a paid Facebook strategy.

The first is the measurement of engagement with your boosted posts or ads on the Facebook platform, including click through rate (CTR), which is the percentage of people who see your ad who then take the action of clicking on it. This enables you to evaluate if your targeting and advert design is appealing to your designated target audience.

The second stage is tracking and measuring how your audience behaves once they have reached your website. Metrics include bounce rate, which is the number of website visitors that arrive at your site and leave without taking any further action and enables you to evaluate the relevancy of your landing page. Your advert should be a preview of what your audience will find when they arrive at your landing page.

Engagement with your boosted posts, including CTR, can be tracked through Facebook Ad Manager, while visitor activity on your website post-clicking, such as page views and bounce rate, will be tracked through Google Analytics. If you wish to track through Google Analytics, it’s important to make sure that your Facebook adverts are UTM tagged.

As with every marketing technique, it’s important to set meaningful KPIs at the start of your campaign. For paid Facebook activity these are likely to be engagement and conversions.

The Facebook for Business platform features many advice articles and forums on this topic, it’s a great place to start when setting up your first paid Facebook campaign.

By Becky Carré, PPC account executive at Impression