Four years ago today, I was at the South by Southwest conference when my friend Leslie Bradshaw overheard a conversation on hypertargeting with Facebook Ads and chimed in with her thoughts on what she called nanotargeting--a concept similar to hypertargeting but with search criteria so narrow that you can target just one individual among hundreds of millions.

"Cool," I thought. I raced back to my hotel room that night, jumped onto the Facebook ad platform, played around with targeting options, and took out an ad for 31-year-old, married, female employees of Likeable Media living in New York City. The ad copy read, "I love you and miss you Carrie. Be home from Texas soon."

That advertisement had a target audience of one. One person, out of one billion people on Facebook, could see it.

 

In the past few years, Facebook has extended Friends of Connections targeting to its different types of ads. Gone are the days of solely advertising to drive page likes. Unlike other advertising media, Facebook allows you to target your precise demographic with the exact call to action to fit the campaign needs. From driving users to download your app to boosting engagement on your content, Facebook allows you to seamlessly advertise on mobile and desktop. Though there are more than a dozen different types of ads, these are three of my favorites:

1. Driving traffic and leads. Driving website traffic is the most common use of Facebook advertising. Often times companies use these to drive customers to specific landing pages such as a blog or a "Buy Now" page. In the past, domain ads (which appeared on the right-hand side of your Facebook News Feed) were extremely popular. Nowadays, ads using images and videos in the News Feed are much more successful. Take, for example, the block of ads from my News Feed. The Huffington Post ad with a picture of a wedding (and my friend Tessa's recommendation) is way more powerful than Poland Spring's sidebar ad. When you're marketing, remember to think like a consumer. Ask yourself, "Would this catch my attention? Would I click that link or like this page?"

2. Post likes and engagement. Post boosts have become increasingly important since early 2014. As Facebook's News Feed algorithm continues to evolve and Facebook works to bring in more ad revenue, it's become much more difficult to get your business page's content viewed organically. In fact, fewer than 10 percent of your fans on Facebook will see your posts if they're not boosted. This has huge implications for businesses, both big and small. You've worked hard to build your audience, and it would be a shame for them to miss out on your posts. Facebook allows you to boost content right from the post. With just a few clicks, you can have your Facebook post in front of thousands of your fans--and their friends.

3. App installation ads. App installation ads have become increasingly more important for brands and businesses with mobile apps. Americans alone download millions of apps every day. In fact, Apple recently reported a total of 90 billion app downloads in one month alone. App installation ads allow for users to download applications directly from Facebook on mobile phones. Through call-to-action buttons, users are redirected to the app store to complete the download. (If your business doesn't have a mobile app yet, what are you waiting for?)

Want to learn more about how social media marketing can work for your business? I walk you through getting the most out of each platform in my new book, Likeable Social Media 2nd Edition. In fact, I'm so excited about the launch of this second edition that I'm giving away 20 copies for free! Just tweet this and you'll be entered to win. Good Luck!

Now it's your turn. Which type of Facebook ads have been the most beneficial to your business? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.