Before There Were Ads on Facebook
I have been on Facebook since August 2007 which seriously dates me, I know.
Facebook-land in 2007 was very different. It was a simpler world. Posts were limited to the number of characters, and while there was a simple news feed, there was no Like button. Seriously! There was life before the Like button. We had to rely on ourselves for affirmations. We could share photos and keep an eye on our friends’ lives. Did you know that there were sane people at the time who had significant concerns about the news feed feature? For some reason, people thought it made stalking easy, but in 2006 Zuckerberg (2018) disputed with, “stalking isn’t cool; but being able to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives is” (This is How Facebook Has Changed…, para. 8).
Facebook ads, originally called Social Ads, were introduced in November 2007 (This is How Facebook Has Changed…, para. 9). An innovative tool that no one realized would become so instrumental to marketers and users of the platform.
You may think it’s crazy, but I’ve used a sponsored ad on Facebook all of one time in the 14 years I’ve been on the platform. I just haven’t experienced the pay-off. Perhaps the learning series on LinkedIn Learning called “Advertising on Facebook: Advanced” will help.
Megan Adams from “Advertising on Facebook…” describes Business Manager as a one-stop shop for business advertising needs across several platforms (2020). It collects all your online marketing efforts for your business in one place. This sounds like an ideal solution to the challenging world of online advertising. It’s suitable if you use more than one platform (i.e., Instagram and Twitter).
Getting started with Business Manager
To get started, you must first have a Facebook account and a Facebook page.
What’s the difference between an account and a page, you may be wondering? A simple way to think of your account (or profile) is for your personal use, while your ‘page’ is for your business use (Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Page…, 2020). There are also Groups, but we won’t get into that here.
I won’t take up space here explaining all the ins and outs of Facebook Business Pages, but know that you need to have one for Business Manager. To get a Page set up for yourself, follow the guide below from Facebook (Create a Free Business Page in Minutes, 2021). Also, keep in mind that whatever account you use to sign into Business Manager will be your primary account (Adams, 2020).
A quirk with Facebook is that you can’t have a business page unattached to a personal profile, which has always annoyed me. It seems Business Manager is their way to get around that issue because it allows you to share content with customers without revealing personal information.
Setting up your Business Manager Account
After you’ve logged into your Business Manager account, you will see an overview of your account.
Step 1: Create Account
You need to enter your business name, name, and email address, to set up your account. There is a potential hiccup at this step. Unbeknownst to me, my payment account had been disabled through my business page on Facebook. After spending some time investigating the likely culprits, I still can’t figure out what caused this to happen. I haven’t used an ad for at least two years. At any rate, I will have to wait until regular business hours to talk to someone and, in the meantime, won’t be able to practice using Business Manager at this time. Frustrating!
Step 2: Managing Assets
Assets refer to ad accounts and the money spent along with the pages connected to your account. It’s in the user’s section where you will page(s), request access to someone else’s page (i.e., a client), and check in on how they’re performing. You can also set permissions for the pages as well as add other people. This allows people on your business team to help manage your account. You can also set up groups for larger companies (Adams, 2020).
Set 3: Notifications
With multiple pages, platforms, and people associated with a business account, managing your notifications is necessary. Handling a variety of notifications can be a stressful part of social media marketing. It may even cause many to give up. However, it appears that Business Manager has you covered. You can tailor when and how you will receive notifications on the various workings of your business social media marketing. Adams stresses the importance of spending time customizing this section (Adams, 2020).
Step 4: Ad Accounts
Adams says that using Business Manager to set up your advertising efforts will be highly beneficial (2020). While she mentions that it’s a time-consuming process, she stresses that it’s worth the effort.
Step 5: Roles & Permissions
Business Manager benefits a business with several people on the account managing pages and ads (Adams, 2020). In the users’ section, click the blue ‘Add’ button to add people to your account. This is the same place where you can assign specific roles and grant permissions. For security, it’s essential to stay on top of managing the roles and permissions of your account (Adams, 2020). It’s easy to lose track of this when people join or leave your organization. Still, with the public aspect of social media, management of this area must become a priority.
Employee Access: for employees who only want to have permission to work on specific projects.
Admin Access: for trusted team members, you allow complete control and access to your business.
Finance Analyst: for the person who will be viewing financial details
Finance Editor: for the person who has permission to edit financial details
To give people permission to work on projects, click on their name, and the settings window appears. In this window, you can see which assets the person has access. You can add more here or customize what they can for each asset/project (Adams, 2020).
Manage Ads and Campaigns
Ads Manager is the dashboard where you will be accessing the ad campaigns you create. To start a new campaign, select the Create tool (Adams, 2020).
Adams shows the intuitive nature of creating a campaign beginning with choosing a marketing objective (2020). With each selection you make, Business Manager asks additional questions to drill down the specifics you need to create a successful ad campaign. After you’ve selected things like the type of ad you want, your budget, and who your audience is, you can move on to the section where creativity can flow.
When creating the ad, there all kinds of sections with which you get to play. Of course, you begin by identifying the business page, but then you select how you want the ad to appear, the images, and the meat of the ad, which is the text. This is where you can let loose those copywriting skills we’ve been learning about in our previous workshop (Adams, 2020).
When you’ve confirmed, the design is complete, and your ad will appear in the dashboard.
Ads Manager Dashboard
The dashboard is the hub of all the ads you’re running. You can view and manage the various metrics of your campaigns (Adams, 2020). If you have several campaigns operating in multiple places, you can see how helpful it is to have one place to go to manage them all. It takes an arduous process, simplifying it and making it manageable. Furthermore, I can see how it would even be fun.
If you’re uncomfortable or unfamiliar with using Business Manager to manage ad sets, you can lean on Excel. Adams says you access excel in two ways: copying and pasting or importing (2020). Start the process by selecting the campaign. Once you’ve copied/pasted, or exported into Excel, you’ll be able to view all pertinent data for your campaign.
You can change aspects of the campaign or even duplicate and create new campaigns. However, note that Business Manager needs to create a unique ID for new campaigns, so delete the repeated ID number in Excel.
Once finished working in Excel, export or copy the data back into Ads Manager.
Tags help you with the vital task of organizing the several ad campaigns you have running (Adams, 2020). After selecting your campaign, you click the three dots at the top, and you’re brought to this edit and create tags pop up.
Creating and managing campaigns will be essential in developing tags to track insights into ads and any traction you may be getting.
A pixel is a small piece of code created by Facebook placed on your website and tracks conversions. It’s a powerful tool for tracking the metrics you need to hone your campaign efforts.
Creating your Pixel
- Go to business settings
- Click “all data sources”
- Click Pixels and then add
- Create a name, enter your website, and then click continue
Adding the Pixel Code to your Website
After selecting the setup option, a pop-up window appears, which provides choices for your pixel code.
You can choose from:
- Add Code using a Partner Integration
- Manually add the code
- Email instructions to a developer
Adams says the easiest method is to choose “email” (2020). This will generate an email with all the pertinent information needed so that you can either send it to the developer or even a tech-savvy friend.
Return to the pixels manager page, and you can see everything about your pixel (Adams, 2020). When you click Custom Conversions, you can tell the pixel what you want to track in the conversions section. This makes it possible for you to see how people respond to your ads and convert your views into buyers.
Creating a Conversion Ad
From the ad manager dashboard, you create a marketing objective and then select conversion. After you have it set up, head over to the budget section. You can customize cost control, daily budget, and schedule.
You can learn when and for how long a customer clicks and then delays the time to purchase in the conversion window. It’s easy to see how valuable data is needed to assist in performance in this or future campaigns (Adams, 2020).
As we know, analyzing the data from our marketing efforts is an essential aspect of managing strategic performance in advertising. Data is how we can create, direct, curate, and pinpoint what is needed to make more conversions with marketing campaigns (Adams, 2020).
In the analytics dashboard, you’re able to view and track several metrics:
- Number of users and whether they are unique or repeat
- Session length (duration of interaction on the website)
- Growth metrics
However, the dashboard is a simple overview; to see deeper analytics, you can click on the full report (Adams, 2020).
As you keep scrolling down, more metrics appear, such as engagement and demographic information.
Adams says that it’s through customer audiences that you can specifically target your customers. This is where we can put into action the research we’ve done on our customers and personas we’ve developed during that research.
Create your Audience
There are several options when creating an audience in the dashboard. Sources can be personally owned, including a website, customer list, app activity, or even offline activity. I’m thinking of when I used to teach workshops. They would’ve been an ideal activity to track audiences.
Other than personal customer sources, Facebook sources are available for use.
This is an amazingly comprehensive tool that can develop our customer profiles and build targeted campaigns from the information we gather (Adams, 2020).
Create the Website Audience
The example Adams uses in the video is a “Cart Abandonment” strategy (2020). You choose your audience by selecting that anyone who already visits our website. We use the pixel to capture these specific customers. You can tailor your choices by selecting the various options, such as the time spend on our website (Adams, 2020).
Once you successfully create the audience, you can choose to make a lookalike audience or start an ad targeting them (Adams, 2020).
What are Lookalike Audiences?
According to Adams, Facebook uses the data collected from our audiences and campaigns to help us create a lookalike audience (2020). These audiences have similar demographics or “look like” other people who are already visiting and using our website.
You can begin by uploading a customer list that has already been successfully converted. You can then instruct Facebook to identify other Facebook users who match the demographics of your customer list. Adams says you know this lookalike audience will likely be responsive since they match many of your current converted audience (Adams, 2020).
Advanced Advertising Techniques
As Adams explains, Split Testing is when you compare two of your ads against each other. To create an effective test, she recommends changing only one of the variables (2020). She goes on to say that the point is to create two different ads but achieve equivalency in impressions and audience. However, you wan to ensure the audience doesn’t see both ads (2020). This is a test because you want to determine if there is any statistical difference in the responses of the two ads. You can determine which ad is more effective.
The ad creation menu looks like the other ad creation menus we’ve learned about so far. The difference is there is an option in the left sidebar to create two ads: Ad A and Ad B. You will duplicate the ads identically, but you will change one variable in each ad, thereby testing which options to use.
Testing ads are a necessary step to do continually. It allows you to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Using the data from the pixel code to point ads at people who have been to your website previously but didn’t complete a purchase is called retargeting (Adams, 2020). They have spent time on your website and have put something in their cart but abandoned it before completing the purchase. You can use the pixel to find these customers and retarget an ad to them.
By targeting customers who’ve made specific actions on your website, you can create a dynamic ad (Adams, 2020). Adams says if you have ten products or services on your website, you should start implementing dynamic ads (2020).
The first step is to set up your catalogue of products or services through the assets column. In this step, it’s vital to ensure that the product photos are clear and of high quality. You can also segment the products into categories (Adams, 2020).
Once the catalogue is populated, the next step is to create an ads catalogue campaign. It’s here you choose the catalogue of products for which you want to create an ad. Note: the only way this will work is by using a pixel (Adams, 2020).
Adams says dynamic ads are a great way to market several products at once (2020). It also helps you retarget customers who haven’t completed purchases in which they’ve shown interest. In a sense, you can create an ad that follows people around, giving them opportunities to complete the purchase. The key is to do it in a helpful manner, rather than a harassing one (Adams, 2020).
Adams reveals her enthusiasm for social media marketing through Facebook (2020). She points out that it’s true; the playing field is frequently changing. Instead of being discouraged from participating, she says to consider it an opportunity to learn. With rapidly evolving technologies and regulations, a social media marketer can have an exciting and growing career (Adams, 2020). Adams shared with us some helpful resources to assist in keeping us up to date on the changing trends:
My Take-Away (Conclusion)
iOS 14 Update Impact
During my additional research, while writing this blog, I came across a post from Facebook warning us about the new Apple iOS 14 update. The post explains the effect of social media marketing. According to the post (2021), Apple has designed an App Tracking Transparency framework whereby people can opt-out of tracking (How the Apple iOS 14…). New limitations will be introduced, such as ad creation limits and delivery status changes. There will also be reporting restrictions, making many of the conversion ads created by pixels a little more challenging to design. Retargeting will be impacted explicitly due to the newly imposed targeting and dynamic ad limitations (How the Apple iOS 14…, 2021). The post provides some tips to mitigate the impact: How the Apple iOS 14 release may affect your ads and reporting.
Adams, M. (2020, January 14). Advertising on Facebook: Advanced. Retrieved from Linkedin Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/advertising-on-facebook-advanced-3/increase-sales-with-facebook?u=2109516
Facebook Profile vs Facebook Page: 10 Things You Need to Know. (2020, 12 16). Retrieved from WebSolutions: https://www.websolutions.com/blog/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-managing-personal-and-business-on-facebook/
How the Apple iOS 14 release may affect your ads and reporting. (2021). Retrieved from Facebook for Business: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/331612538028890?id=428636648170202