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TECHNOLOGY

Facebook Really Wants You to Advertise

The social network is trying to make it easier than ever for small businesses to buy ads. Here are 3 questions you should be thinking about.
Sample Facebook posts from Warby Parker and Newcastle Brown Ale--two brands with exceptional Facebook presences.
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Should your business be advertising on Facebook? The social networking company thinks the answer is yes--and they want to make it as simple as possible.

So far, their efforts seem to be paying off: the company's earnings release noted that Facebook had surpassed 1 million active advertisers. This included 300,000 small businesses using promoted posts in the third quarter; the number increased by 66% just by the next quarter. 

Facebook's latest move to woo entrepreneurs looking to advertise is the just-launched Facebook for Business, which is intended to make it easier than ever for small businesses to get started creating targeted, inexpensive, quick-to-create ads.

Is this something that's right for your company? Here are three things to consider.

What's Special About Facebook Marketing?

It's where the potential clients are. Because ads can be targeted in highly specific ways--married men in Chicago, fans of Breaking Bad, 33-year-olds with children, Dunkin' Donuts employees--it's possible to aim for the exact audience you want.

Facebook can also serve as a branding tool. Increasing the prevalence of a company's name can help it seem popular and ubiquitous, and having a well-maintained, professional looking page can increase trust.

What Are the Ad Options?

Depending on your type of business, there are various options for ads. A marketplace ad, which appears in a side column of a user's newsfeed, can be used to drive traffic, increase page likes, or multiply app downloads. It's not unlike a classifieds ad in print. It's a simple ad that remains static throughout its life, so it's an easy make-and-place design. 

A sponsored story is created organically, whenever someone interacts with the company page. A newsfeed message appears if a user's friend installs an app, likes a post, or makes a comment. It works on the bandwagon principle: a friend did it, so it must be popular.

One new product, mobile app install ads, has recently risen in stardom. These ads, for mobile devices only, encourage the download of other apps. This can be helpful for new developers who have created a product but don't know how to get people to try it out. Now, they can direct their ads to certain devices, categories, and platforms. 

I've Got $500. What Would That Get Me?

50,000 clicks. Advertising is simple and inexpensive, costing only $0.01 per click (CPC). The process allows for budget control on different schedules (daily, monthly, lifetime) and enables additional optimizations, such as paying for ad views or page likes. With CPCs, you pay each time someone clicks on an ad or sponsored story. 

Facebook makes it fairly simple to test out ads for a few weeks, or up to a certain budget level, using a unique attribution link, which is simple to create. By the end of the probation period, you can determine how much traffic is coming from those ads as compared to another service and decide if it's worthwhile to continue.

Even without a designated social media or marketing employee, most of the promotions can be created quickly. The account and ads could be ready less than ten minutes, enabling a campaign to be up and running in the same time as a coffee break.




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