Facebook is the most popular social media site in the world, with more than two billion monthly users. You can get free traffic from the site, or pay-per-click traffic at an affordable rate compared with Google AdWords.
Therefore, it is worth taking the time and effort to master all of the marketing opportunities Facebook offers to even small online businesses with a small staff and tiny budget. One of the most important things to master is the difference between Facebook news feed advertising and boosted posts.
Facebook News Feed Advertising
The Facebook news feed is the backbone of Facebook, showing a wide variety of content from people with whom a person is connected. When someone likes your page, they will become a follower. This means they will see your content in their news feed.
Facebook news feed advertising, as the name suggests, are ads that show up in the news feed along with the rest of the content that is being delivered to your connections, and those you specify as your desired audience. Your first step is to create an ad from scratch. It will require an image, title, description, and URL.
In terms of the image, you can either upload one of your own, or use a stock image from their service. You can create up to five ads at a time using five different stock images if you wish to split-test the impact of the image on your audience.
Once you have created your ad, it’s time to specify your target audience. This is where the power of Facebook ads compared with Google AdWords really comes into play. You can specify your audience based on a number of criteria:
- Geographic location
…and more. This allows you to reach a highly-targeted audience for pennies per click.
There are also a number of different ad formats that can really make your ad stand out from the crowd. Ads in suitable formats will also be shown on Facebook’s other important social network, Instagram.
Once your ad is up and running, your reports will start to come in, showing click-through rate, cost and other important data. Use this data to tweak your ad to make it the best it can be.
Boosted or sponsored posts are ads that also appear in the news feed, but with some key differences.
If one of your posts proves to be very popular, you might wish to consider turning it into a sponsored post. You would choose a highly-performing post that had a lot of engagement and reach, and go through the same process of determining the target audience based on the same criteria.
There is a small shortcut of choosing a similar audience to the people who are already using your account, which can help you target people quickly. The sponsored posts will appear in those people’s news feeds.
The key difference is that the ads from scratch offer you a lot more flexibility than the sponsored post in terms of appearance, description, and providing a URL. The other main difference is that once you post the sponsored post, you can’t edit it. The language you used in the post might not be an effective marketing message.
If you struggle to find attractive images for your posts, the stock images in the Facebook Ad Center can help with that issue. You can choose different formats as well, and even add a call to action button.
Your call to action will depend on your goal for the ad, such as getting subscribers or trying to make sales. Determine your goal first, and then you can decide whether a Facebook ad or a sponsored post is the best format to get your message across.