Online advertising has grown considerably in the past couple of years. If your business is not allocating any budget online, odds are you are feeling the pinch. With all of the options for advertising online, such as Google AdWords and all of the other social media platforms, Facebook might be the easiest to use if you wanted to dip your toes in.

With that being said, Facebook has evolved into a pretty complex marketing tool. A few years ago, Facebook allowed advertisers to run down a list of targeting options from the target customers’ location to what interests they had. Nowadays, you could find yourself with a few questions.  This article will provide some insights as to why your Facebook campaigns may not be working the best these days and other newer features to consider when creating a new Facebook campaign for your business.

Before launching a Facebook advertising campaign, it’s important to start off by thinking about what your end goal is for the campaign. Most people who are using Facebook are there to catch up with old friends, post braggadocious vacation photos, or admire the newest addition to their friend’s family…that cute, new puppy they adopted. What this means is that your ads need to be able to catch someone’s eye rather than get scrolled by.

One thing Facebook is a huge stickler for is the use of imagery in ads.  Like the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” However, try not to use a thousand words over the top of your picture. What I mean by this is that your image should contain less than 20% text or better yet, none at all.  Facebook is trying to help you create an eye-catching ad without letting the target (customer) know it is an ad.  If your image is enticing, you will draw that customer out of “puppy-mode” and into your business.  In the case of this BBQ ad, you can clearly see the image of the BBQ will draw you in much better than the logo of a company that clearly looks like advertising.

Another common mistake is narrowing your targeting down too far. Adding demographic targeting, location and interests can really add up quickly and turn an otherwise promising campaign into a non-converting campaign.

For example, say you are a BBQ restaurant owner who knows your key demographic is 40-60 year old males. Now you start building your campaign on Facebook and entering the target info focused on 40-60 year old males who live in your city and have an interest in BBQ. You only put in a few criteria. However, you may have narrowed your target too far to produce working results. Let’s say your city is 100,000 people. Then you narrowed it to men between the ages of 40-60.  That brought the possible targets down to 10,000. Now you include that out of those 10,000, they should have an interest in BBQ.  That might bring that total down to fewer than 1,000 with just two – three targeting options.

To run a better campaign, open up the targeting to women, as well (who tend to tell their husbands/significant others where to go).  Don’t narrow it down to just BBQ as an interest either.  Open it up to include restaurants as an interest. Get some new people who may not have tried BBQ before. With these new targeting options, you might end up with an audience of 10,000 – 15,000.

The last thing I would like to touch base on is not necessarily a new feature but one that is oftentimes overlooked as an option.  This is using a custom audience and a Facebook Pixel. Does your business have a mailing list that you send emails to? Perfect! Facebook allows you to import a .csv file of your contacts directly into their advertising software.  Once loaded into the Ads Manager, you have the ability to create not only a target of your current email subscribers, but you can create a lookalike audience which has the same interests as your email subscribers. Now other people on Facebook who have similarities to your subscribers will be served ads.

Another way to serve ads on Facebook is by using a Facebook Pixel.  This allows you to remarket to customers who have been to your site along with other sites and actions you specify. Let’s say a customer got to your site, browsed around and left without making a purchase.  You now have the ability to display that product they were looking at in their newsfeed.  The Facebook Pixel allows you to bridge the gap between online research and talking directly to your customers while they are on Facebook.

As I’ve mentioned, if you’re looking to dip your toes into online advertising, Facebook is a great place to start. Don’t let fear of change get the best of your business. Start advertising online today!