Facebook Ads on a Budget

Facebook ads on a budget can be effective if you know the right strategy to use. Learn how to create effective Facebook ads that bring results, even if you can only afford the advertising equivalent of a cup of coffee.

One of the most significant changes social media has brought to advertising is affordability. Not long ago, the cost to reach your audience was prohibitive for most. Only the biggest fish in the pond could afford running ads on TV, radio, or print to reach their audiences and stay relevant.

Thanks to social media, today advertising costs less than your daily dose of coffee: the cost  of advertising on social media between 2018 and 2019 was $6.04 to reach 1,000 people.

For successful Facebook advertising, though, especially on a restricted budget, you have to plan before you act. Decide what your intended goals are, understand your audience, and create suitable campaigns that will reap the highest results. Then, you should continuously monitor your campaigns, gauge their performance, tweak and “evolve” them.

The following is a pretty straightforward path for successful Facebook Advertising. Even if you keep your daily spending around the cost of a single latte.

Facebook Advertising Strategy

1. Target Your Audience

Small budget campaigns can work if they are pragmatic: don’t try to reach a global market on a strict budget, or you’ll spread your budget too thin. It’s better to narrow your reach to a smaller, more targeted audience that’s more likely to respond to your message.

Like your existing audience, that you could—and should—re-target. Only 2% – 4% of your site visitors will convert during their first interaction with your business. Don’t disregard the 96% – 98% that did interact with your site, but didn’t bite the bait the first time around. Re-target them and change those numbers to your favor.

Alternatively, you could look into lookalike audiences. Let Facebook identify common criteria in your existing audience, and then offer recommendations for new-but-similar groups of potential customers you could target.

You should also further refine your reach by reaching for audiences that would maximize your ROI. There’s no point in trying to target mobile users on a restricted budget if most of the sales on your site come from desktop users. The results wouldn’t justify the cost—however low that might be.

2. Set Your Goals

The lower your budget, the more you need to know what you wish to achieve before you let your campaign loose. As Robert Kiyosaki said, “Always start at the end before you begin.”

  • Do you want to expand your page’s fan base?
  • Do you want more conversions?
  • Do you want to increase your traffic?

Those are some of the goals Facebook allows setting for your ad campaigns, and you should make sure beforehand that your ads work towards them. Boosting a random post from your company blog doesn’t equal a sale.

Properly setting up your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is nearly as important. You can think of them as the metrics you can use to benchmark the performance of your advertising relative to your goals.

Then, keep an eye on them while your campaign is running, monitoring and optimizing its performance. If something doesn’t work, you should respond swiftly and course-correct your campaign. Try alternate takes on your images, colors, or copy.

3. Create the Most Effective Ads

An easy way to create an effective ad is to repurpose existing content that already performs well. You can use a post on your company’s blog as the basis for an advertisement. Or export a small but recognizable part from the most popular video on your YouTube channel, and use that instead as an animated GIF.

The combination of your ad’s design and message will define its success. Keep these quick tips in mind when planning your campaign:

  • Look at Facebook. All of it. As in, the whole page. Then, choose “popping” colors—or animated content—for your ads that will separate them from everything else on the screen.
  • “Popping colors” should be an objective, but if you use specific colors for your branding, don’t ignore them; build on them. A blue Coca-Cola ad would look alien.
  • Utilize the power of contrast in the ad to grab your audience’s attention. Think of how movies like Pleasantville and Sin City used color “to make some things pop” while everything else was greyscale, and try to replicate the effect.
  • Make sure your images look professional: don’t settle for low quality “because it was free.”
  • “Contrast” doesn’t only have to do with color and brightness. Mixing a “light” with a “heavy” font in your message can boost its impact.
  • Make sure to incorporate in the ad why its viewers should respond: what they have to gain from clicking. Include in the image, not the copy, any factors that make you a better choice than your competition—”factors” like discounts, free shipping, or cheaper bulk pricing. Or find ways to add value to your products instead of relying on discounts and promote that.
  • Display your product in action. Draw attention to its positive defining features. Present its results (the most straightforward way is with “before and after” image combinations).
  • Bet on emotion and empowerment by using intimate photos of events or “hero shots” of individuals.
  • Use a spellchecker.

4. Monitor and Optimize Your Campaign Performance

To make the most out of a small budget, you have to make every single cent count. That’s why you can’t just follow a “set it and forget it” strategy with your low-budget campaigns. You must keep monitoring them, even by the hour, and regularly adjust them for optimal results.

Take note of how different types of ads are better at achieving different results. For example, photo ads are better for driving traffic to a page or site and raising awareness of a product. Check Facebook’s guide on the topic before you decide which one to use.

Smart use of Facebook’s Lifetime Budgets allows you to A/B test your ads with little to no cost, and then scale up those that perform well.

If your advertising budget is over $100, it’s worth using alternate ads or landing pages and UTM parameters in your URLs. Do A/B tests to find which ones perform better. Then, prioritize them over the others. You can use Lifetime Budgets for small-scale “test runs” of multiple ads and then scale according to what works and what doesn’t.

Win on a Budget

With smart thinking and proper planning, even a minuscule budget can work wonders. It’s also worth remembering that Facebook is a social network. So, don’t only use it for promotions, but also as you were supposed to: be social. Interact with your audience to prove that you care about them on a personal level, and remember that even a simple thank you can mean a lot.

Prafull Sharma is the Founder of content marketing agency LeadsPanda. He shares tips to 2x your content marketing results on LeadsPanda’s blog. Do connect with him on twitter @prafullsha.

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