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The Guide to Facebook Advertising for Big Brands

Written by Chadd Powell, Senior Account Analyst

While many brands create pages, and run paid advertising within Facebook to promote their brand, they don’t always know where to turn to get the most value from those efforts. Utilizing your existing page and fans to help you do customer research is often the first place you should turn to tailor your Facebook strategy.


By the end of this whitepaper, you should have a greater understanding on creating and maintaining an effective Facebook Page, using Audience Insights to understand your page fans, and building personas and audience segmentation from those insights.


Here’s what you’ll learn:

● Tips to build and maintain an effective Facebook Page

● How to get insights into your fans and followers using Audience Insights

● How to use those insights to craft personas for future ad targeting




While most brands have at least some sort of page presence on Facebook, many often lack some of the essential features and information that people seek. From missing contact information, poor image selection, and lack of posts and updates, a page can go from being a bustling social media presence to a ghost town devoid of fans and activity quickly.


Given we’re going to later discuss the use of Facebook fans to create personas and craft paid media strategies within Facebook, we first need to make sure we’re making the page as inviting, informative, and useful to people as possible or there won’t be any fans to do audience research on in the first place.


What follows are 3 tips for creating and maintaining a Facebook page for maximum impact.


Tip #1: Don’t Forget Basic Information


First off, make sure you fill in all the basic information on your page. Facebook will run you through many options of things you can include, but make sure you fill out everything you think someone would need to locate you, call, learn about, buy from, or anything else you might want them to do.


Look at ModCloth’s “About” section below. It includes all sorts of relevant information someone would need to learn about them at a glance.



It has all the basic contact information like phone number, directions, address, and links to their site, but it also includes their brand story and important company milestones. People coming to this part of their page may be looking for contact info, but they’re learning about what the company is as well. Even something as mundane as an about page is a chance to tell a story.


Tip #2: Images, Images, and More Images


The one aspect of social media that sets it apart from search engines and other mediums is its heavy use of images. If your page is full of text and relatively few images it’s going to stand out from other pages and not in a good way.

Images are the currency of social media and you want to make sure your page looks vibrant and inviting. It all starts with the profile and cover images that form the basis of your page.


Look at the profile and cover photos from Ikea below. The profile image is a clean and sharp looking logo so you know what page you’re on, without having to read anything else. The cover photo then shows some outdoor patio furniture, both showcasing products and creating a tone.



While the profile image is typically the logo of whatever brand the page is promoting, it’s the cover photo that can set a mood for the page. Do you have a new initiative you want to promote? Swap in a new cover photo. Are you releasing your summer catalog? Swap in a summer oriented cover photo to keep the page relevant.


Beyond the image mentioned above, it also is helpful to have many photos relevant to your brand. Below we see that Ikea has lots of home related photos showcasing the use of their products. It’s easy for someone to start finding design ideas and Ikea products that might help them out.



Photos are a great way to showcase what you do. Make sure to include enough to tell a visual story and keep them updated.


Tip #3: Speak to People Through Your Page


We’ve mentioned that the last thing you want your page to look like is a ghost town with no activity. Part of creating an active page is following tips 1 and 2 above, but beyond that you need to create a space for interaction and ideas within your page.


The primary way to do this is to post updates to the page related to your brand. Keep the content relevant and timely so people will want to comment, share, and like it. If you can do video you should, it’s one of the fastest growing content types on Facebook and one that is easily engaged with.


Let’s look at Wayfair as an example. Below you can see some of the videos from their page.



As a home furniture and accessory retailer, you’ll be interested in how their products can help you in your own home. You might be interested in projects that their furnishings have been used in. You might just want to check out a variety of content to get a feel for the brand. The key is to have enough content to get people interested.


In the screenshot above we can see that Wayfair has videos dedicated to home makeovers and DIY projects. Both things that potential customers and fans might be interested in.


Remember to think about what problems your fans are looking to solve and provide them ideas on how you can help them.


Now that your page is more up-to-date and engaging, it’s time to start learning more about your customers and the best ways to target them. Let’s dive into developing your Facebook ad strategy.




Creating and selecting your target audience should be one of your first tasks when crafting your Facebook ad strategy. How you set up your audiences and target them with ads will have the biggest impact on your relevancy scores and performance metrics.


Here are few ways to find your audience with Facebook Audience Insights.


Finding Personas With Audience Insights


Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful tool that combines Facebook native data and third party providers (Datalogix, Acxiom, Epsilon, BlueKai) to help marketers uncover deep insights about their audience.


Start by going to your Facebook Audience Insights and clicking on people connected to your page. Under the demographics tab, you should see an age and gender breakdown of your Facebook fans, like the chart below. This chart helps to quickly visualize the gender and age group composition of your Facebook audience.



Let’s take a deeper look at one segment of the total audience. Keep scrolling down and you will see that Facebook has paired your audience’s interest data based on purchase behavior, brand affinity and other activities to create mini-personas.



For example, a popular lifestyle of this audience is Raisin Grandkids, which is “older singles and couples notable for their active grandparent status. Every household shows the presence of children.”




Let’s say we wanted to create this audience in Facebook, so we could target specific posts and ads – how would we create it? First off, let’s think about what was included in that mini-persona.



● Active grandparents

● Singles and couples

● Presence of children in household


What could we surmise from this information?


● Age = let’s target 50+ just to be safe

● Gender = Male & Female

● Marital status = married & singles

● Household = children are present

● Geography – let’s just assume a national presence


Start targeting all these characteristics, until you have a complete picture of your audience, like the one shown here.


Facebook found 200-250K monthly active people that match our criteria for “Raisin Grandkids.” Now that we have an audience built, let’s dive deeper into Facebook Audience Insights to get a fuller understanding of this audience.




The more customer insights we have and understand, the better we can deliver and target our messaging. Facebook updates this data daily, so the results are always fresh.



Since we inputted the demographic targeting, let’s start with Page Likes.




Top categories provide a broad overview of the types of pages this audience likes on Facebook. This will come in handy if you wanted to target specific pages, in hope of reaching this audience.



You can also monitor these pages to see what type of posts or engagement they’re getting from their audience. Plus, use this information to target websites on Google’s Display Network or through your programmatic vendor of choice.


Second, Facebook provides the top 10 pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, page size, and the number of people in your audience who have already liked that page.



In this example, our audience is 5.5x more likely to like the AARP Facebook Page than all the Facebook users. From here, start putting together the types of websites/news/products/organizations/games this audience is likely to interact with.




Under the locations tab is a list of the top locations for this selected audience, with the likely chance of them being in this group on the right.



This will be useful information, if you want to narrow your geo-targeting to specific regions, states or cities.




Activity is the number of times the selected audience performed these actions on Facebook. It is based on Facebook user activity and environmental data.



This is great information to analyze before setting up ads, because you want to understand the behavior of this audience. Do they engage with posts by liking, sharing or commenting? Do they click on ads? If so, do they redeem promotions?


At first glance, I would expect to see good results from relevant ads, because this audience is heavily engaged on Facebook, compared to average users.


● They like a lot of pages

● They comment and like posts more than they share

● They like to click on ads, but don’t redeem promotions





Next, try to understand what and which type of devices they prefer. It appears 55% of the audience uses a hybrid of computers and mobile, which means our device targeting should be set for both in order to reach this audience.



Moreover, 73% of the audience primarily uses their mobile device. Of those mobile devices, there are more Android users than iPhone users. This will be important to review when optimizing the campaign.




Within the Household tab, Facebook provides household income levels, homeowners vs renters, household size, home market value, and spending methods.


For the sake of ad targeting, we’re most interested in their spending methods. Based on this data, this audience primarily uses cash to make purchases.



This is interesting, because ecommerce websites may want to hold off on shopping ads and try to gain their trust and interest with engaging blog posts or videos.




The last tab of information Facebook provides for this audience is the Purchase behavior. We know this audience primarily uses cash when spending money, so let’s see how they shop online.



There are basically two types of audiences here – high retail and high online spenders vs low retail and low online spenders. For an ecommerce retailer, it may be wise to weed out the low online purchasers to really hone in on the people who are more likely to make an online purchase.


Lastly, what does the purchase activity look like for this audience?


The Raisin Grandkids audience is more likely to make business purchases, buy clothing and pet products, and spend money on food and drink.



Now that we have all this persona data, let’s compare it with Google Analytics data to see how this audience performs.




Go to Google Analytics and create a new segment based off some of the same demographics we targeted in Facebook. At a basic level, let’s see how this audience performs by age and gender.


Here’s what my new segment looks like:



After saving this segment, start analyzing the data by looking for performance trends across device, age and gender.


I can quickly see this audience outperforms the average site visitor and 63% of the conversions happen on a desktop with an 11.2% conversion rate. This is definitely worth remembering when choosing device placements for your ads.



To see more granular metrics, break it down by age and gender. 53% of their goal conversions come from females 45-64, and the highest conversion rates come from males and females over the age of 65.



Since the audience is already saved, the next step is to create a campaign for this audience. Based off of the Google Analytics conversion data, I would recommend creating different ad sets to measure performance for each age group and gender (ex. 65+ Female and 65+ Male).


Now that the campaign and ad sets are in place, here are a few tips to keep in mind with your ad creative and optimizations.


● Craft specific messages to entice the audience to click through

● Select images that will appeal to this audience

● Don’t be afraid to try different ad styles, like video ads or carousel ads

● Consider using placement targeting (remember character limits are different)

● Review primary devices used by your audience

● Choose the appropriate CTA, based on where the audience is in the funnel

● Set up an ad schedule of when your audience is most likely to be online and when they’re most likely to convert (they can be different)


Combining Facebook Audience Insights with Google Analytics provides a lot of data points that can easily be connected into a full buyer persona.


Taking the time to understand your audience and gain deeper insights into their interests and behaviors, will help improve your ad performance and increase ROI.


1. Lookalike Audiences: Create new audiences based off email lists and website audiences to find new customers.


2. Don’t neglect your fans: Using audience insights, segment your Facebook fans into small audiences to deliver tailored messages.


3. Don’t guess, use Google Analytics: You already have a lot of data points in Google Analytics.


Analyze your website visitor data in Google Analytics to glean valuable insights about your customers. Use this data for demographic, device, location and behavioral targeting in Facebook campaigns.




Now that your audiences are in place, let’s work on getting more granular. Facebook offers many targeting options to drill down your audience, such as:


● Devices

● Demographics

● Interests

● Behaviors

● Locations


Use these options to target and build personas, by layering different targeting options.


As David Ogilvy said, “Do not… address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”


One thing to keep in mind is demographics, interests and behavior targeting are considered “OR” statements, unless you take advantage of “AND” statements. For example, let’s say you want to run an ad targeting people with an interest in “travel” and “beaches.”



Facebook will build one audience, including everyone who has an interest in “travel” and everyone who has an interest in “beaches.”

However, if you narrow your audience with “And” targeting, you can find the overlap of people who like “travel” and “beaches.”


It’s also important to note that you can exclude people based on their demographics, interests or behaviors.





Below is an example of ad sets broken down by men or women desktop users over the age of 45 with an interest in tourism (we ran another campaign with the same criteria, but only for mobile users).



By narrowing our targeting to specific devices/demographics/interests, we found that men outperformed women with 46 more conversions, but at a 28% higher CPA over the same time period.


With this information, we shifted budgets to meet the client’s goals.


Here’s another example of how ads performed in the News Feed versus Right Column.



1. Desktop vs Mobile: Create ads specifically targeting device placements. You could even subdivide desktop by News Feed and Right Hand Column.


2. Men vs Women: Run more targeted ads by breaking out men and women.


3. Geo-Targeting: You can also add/exclude locations from your campaigns to focus on your target market.




Show your ads at the right time, by knowing when your audience is online. Analyze your website traffic and audience insights to find the optimal time(s) to show your ads.


There’s no sense in showing your ads 24 hours a day, if your target audience is only online from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Find out when your audience is most active on Facebook and if there are certain days and hours you should schedule your ads to be more effective.


Consider funneling your time period down even further by analyzing when you’re audience converts. Just because your audience is on Facebook early in the morning, doesn’t mean they’re ready to purchase.


Here’s an example of website conversion peaks and valleys over a 30 day period. I wish it performed like the first week, with a steady increase, but that’s not realistic for this audience.





Next, review to see if there are any conversion trends by day. Maybe Fridays performed better than Mondays. With this information, you can make sure to allocate budget accordingly.



Custom Daily Schedule: If you know what time of day your audience is online, run a daily schedule. Selecting a Lifetime Budget, rather than the default Daily Budget, will allow you to run a custom ad schedule.




These are the things you should be familiar with now:


1. Tips to build and maintain an effective Facebook Page


2. How to get insights into your fans and followers using Audience Insights


3. How to use those insights to craft personas for future ad targeting


But of course, this is not a comprehensive list of everything you could know about Facebook Advertising, but it’s a good start. As the world of Facebook constantly changes, there’s always something new to learn. So keep reading, keep experimenting, and make sure you are actively taking part in PPC communities, events, and resources.