For any business, Facebook and Instagram provides a cost-effective, low barrier to entry platform that can demonstrate virtually instant results.

However, while a lot of businesses are on Social Media, there are far fewer who are advertising on it.

As of last year, out of the 70 million business profiles that existed on Facebook, only 5 million were registered advertisers.

That means there are 60 million or so businesses who are missing out on the opportunity to harness one of the most helpful advertising platforms on the platform.

As more small business owners move towards a more “advertising” approach, there are a number of crucial things that they need to know before getting started.

1) Be objective about your Social Media ads

The 13 Facebook advertising objectives that you can achieve with any ad

There are 13 main objectives that you can buy ads for on Facebook.

These cover off pretty much all of the objectives you would want to achieve with any social ad. 

They align to the 3 (or 4) stages of the purchasing funnel – from brand awareness to 3 incredibly useful conversion objectives.

We won’t go into detail about all 13 here. But when choosing you ad objective, think carefully about this and be single minded about what you want to achieve.

Facebook strongly optimises your ads to what you ask it to. So if you optimise for Engagements, don’t expect mass amounts of sales.

Similarly, if you optimise to drive people to your website, don’t expect loads of Engagements (as you’re driving people away from your ad).

When you’re more single minded about your ads, it allows you to be more focused and effective with the message you’re putting out to your target audience.


2) Get your targeting right


If you’ve managed to read any news about Facebook recently, then you will understand that Facebook ads can be incredibly targeted and tailored to a specific audience.

There are limitless combinations and possibilities with ad targeting, particularly when cross-matching interest and demographic targeting.

The key thing here is knowing which sections of your audience are responding best to your ads. If your targeting is too broad, then your ads are less likely to resonate with your target audience.

Rather than bundling up audience interests into one audience pool, look to narrow your audiences by their interests. If you think that your customers like fashion and travel, don’t create an audience pool with both interests in their equally (as below).

Instead, narrow the audience and target people who like both fashion and travel. That way you show your ad to people who share both passions, rather than people who only like one but maybe not the other.

When your audience is too broad, your ads may not be relevant to all of them. This targeting will show your ads to everyone who has an interest in luxury OR shopping OR travel. Therefore the audience pool is massive and very broad. 


Yet when you start narrowing your audience, you can find people who are interested in a number of interests at once, making them a smaller, more focused audience to reach.

3) Use your existing customer data


Acquiring customer data and information can be a challenge. Rather than let cyber-dust gather on this very valuable information, you can increase its worth and value by creating Custom and Lookalike Audiences (LaL).

Instead of targeting cold customers, you can input an email list of your current or past customers to target with your product and services.

You can also create Lookalike Audiences from these lists, and Facebook will find new audiences who (as the name suggests) look like those on the list.

By this, I mean that they exert similar characteristics, demographic info and usage habits on Social Media that would make them inclined to target.

This can be an incredibly effective way of prospecting new customers to target allowing for immense scaling opportunities when done right.


4) A click or a sale is just the start


While driving sales are of ultimate importance to any business, there is so much that you can do with sales data after one is made.

Not only can you create Custom Audiences from sales information to target people who are similar to ones buying from you.

But you can use Retargeting to sell additional items to ones that you have already bought from you.

If you sell additional or complementary products or services, then using Retargeting ads can cross or up-sell other products they may not have purchased initially.

This allows you to get much more value from your customers and their data, rather than just their sales revenue. 


5) Invest in fewer, better pieces of creative


Because of the wealth of targeting options and combinations available, you can go a lot further these days with fewer ads.

By using one creative asset, you can show your ad to a number of different audience variations, without running the risk of spamming your audiences with the same creative time and time again.

With quality asset production becoming increasingly expensive and the competition to stand out much greater, investing in fewer, bigger and better assets can be a worthwhile strategy.


6) Understand your data


Data is the key to unlocking ad improvement. Simply understanding the volume of data that can be analysed is challenging enough.

Actually analysing it and turning into something you can use to improve can be a very time intensive and expensive task.

However it is absolutely crucial to understanding how you can improve your ads and the money you’re spending.

By understanding how to analyse your ad data, what you do next becomes much more of a science than an art.

At worst, this approach can improve your Social Media advertising.

At best, it can potentially transform how your business operates.


7) Test everything from A to B 


As a small business, identifying what’s working and why is one of the most important aspects of any advertising. Getting to these learnings requires effective testing. There are 3 broad categories that you should be looking to test:

  1. Your ad objectives – how your ads are delivered
  2. Your audiences – who they are going to
  3. Your creative – what you say when you reach your audience

By testing out these 3 areas, you can start to get a much clearer idea of what ads are driving your business forward, which audiences respond best to them and why.

You should be looking to test with every ad you run as it will double the possibility of unearthing a better insight about your audience.

Give it a go 


The amazing thing about Social Media advertising is that it’s not hard to give it a go. 

Within 5-10 minutes you can create an ad and put in front of people. If done (reasonably) right this will start to drive performance that your brand or product needs.

And it can start to tell you where your brand sits amongst your target audience. 

While it’s complicated (for which there are always experts on hand to help hint hint ->  give it a go and see where you get to.

You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.