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Over the past couple of years, Facebook has emerged as the leader when it comes to social networking.  Originally a community designed for college students, Facebook has expanded its user base to allow any individual or business to join.  Many companies are hesitant in promoting their business on Facebook because they feel that their target market “isn’t using it”.  This might have been true during the first few years of Facebook’s existence, but any company who is not on Facebook is missing out on a great marketing opportunity.  Facebook advertisements, in particular, offer a great opportunity for a business to reach the specific demographic that they wish to target.

What Are Facebook Advertisements?

Facebook advertisements, to put it simply, are those rectangular advertisements that you see on the right side of the page (see screenshot below).

All of these advertisements are implemented by an actual Facebook user which means that you need a Facebook account to be able to create one.  The advertiser is able to create their own ad copy, determine their budget, include a call to action (in the form of a link), and select the specific target market that they wish to reach.

Designing Your Advertisement

To access the Facebook advertisements page, you will need to visit this URL. This link will direct you to Facebook’s advertisement page.  The first step is to create your advertisement copy.  This should reflect the particular destination URL that you are promoting.  It is also highly recommended that you incorporate an image within your advertisement as ads that contain a picture tend to gain more exposure.

As you are creating your advertisement, Facebook will allow you to preview your ad.

Reaching Your Target Market

One of the benefits of using Facebook advertisements lies in the ability to reach a very specific target market.  Taken from Facebook users’ profile data, an advertisement can target a particular demographic that would be relevant to your ad.

Think about all of the advertising opportunities this presents.  If, for example, you sell men’s soccer shoes in New Jersey, you can target males in New Jersey who list soccer as one of their activities.  If you are opening a sushi place in Miami, you have the ability to target people in Miami who list “sushi” as one of their interests.  The possibilities are almost endless.  The key is to first assess who would have an interest in your website, product, or service and use that information to select your target audience.

If you are planning on targeting a very specific demographic, you might think that your advertisement will not be reaching enough people.  As you are selecting your target audience, Facebook will tell you how many potential users you will be reaching.  Taking the two aforementioned examples (sushi and soccer shoes), we can now determine that the sushi restaurant can potentially reach 31,600 people on Facebook who like sushi and live in Miami.

The person selling soccer shoes to individuals in New Jersey can potentially reach 63,820 people by using Facebook advertisements.

Setting Your Budget

The last step is to set your budget.  Facebook provides the option of paying per impression (CPM) or pay-per-click (CPC).  The pay per click option is often the most cost-effective as an impression doesn’t necessarily translate into someone actually viewing or clicking through your advertisement.

Make sure that you monitor your campaign on a daily basis as the “suggested bid” tends to fluctuate regularly.

With Facebook advertisements, much like any other form of advertising, it is imperative to test different strategies to see which is the most effective.  Eventually, you will find the ideal ad copy, target market, and budget combination that will help you to maximize your success on Facebook.

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