In this episode, I talk to Facebook expert Andrea Vahl about Facebook advertising. She is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. In some ways this is too big a topic for just one episode, but I think this interview gives a good overview of what is available in terms of Facebook advertising.
Tim Lewis: [00:01:18] Hi Andrea. Welcome to the show.
Andrea Vahl: [00:01:21] Thank you so much for having me. Tim I appreciate it.
Tim Lewis: [00:01:24] Today we talking about Facebook advertising in general. What are the advantages to somebody advertising on Facebook?
Andrea Vahl: [00:01:34] Were one of the biggest things is that because Facebook’s reach has been decreasing lately a lot of people had set up Facebook pages and they are getting frustrated because the organic reach is going away.
Andrea Vahl: [00:01:47] But I actually don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think that what Facebook advertising can do for us is to really pinpoint our specific potential customer with keywords and reach them very exactly with your ads and your offers.
Andrea Vahl: [00:02:04] So I think that it’s actually a really exciting thing to be able to connect with people where they’re hanging out. Make sure that your potential customer is the one that you’re really trying to reach and then hopefully engaging them with your ad and bringing them over into your community.
Andrea Vahl: [00:02:22] And one of the things that works best with Facebook is really using it as a list builder and traffic generator. So getting people over to your list and then getting them over to your Web site so that they can learn more about you and get connected to you a little bit more.
Why Not Just Boost Posts?
Tim Lewis: [00:02:40] So from my experience with Facebook advertising there is obviously the Facebook Advertising Manager and then there’s a Power Editor but there’s also boosting posts. Why should people use the advertising framework rather than just boosting posts?
Andrea Vahl: [00:02:55] Yes boosting posts are obviously the easiest way because they’re sitting right there. Just as want to reach more people: boost your post!
Andrea Vahl: [00:03:01] Facebook is trying to get us to spend our money here and part of their business model right to make sure that their revenues are growing.
Andrea Vahl: [00:03:09] But a boosted post is optimized specifically to get engagement on that post rather than maybe drive traffic. So it’s showing your ad to people who are more likely to click like on the post or comment on the post or maybe share the post.
Andrea Vahl: [00:03:27] Not necessarily the people who are going to click over to your website or do something a little bit more so it’s often not getting as cheap of a Web site as you can get if that’s your true goal.
Andrea Vahl: [00:03:39] You always want to try and optimize your ads around that true goal which is if it’s getting conversions you want to use the Facebook pixel and track your conversions and optimize your ad around conversions.
Andrea Vahl: [00:03:52] Or if you really want Web site traffic you’re going to try and optimize your ad around getting web site clicks and it may not look quite as exciting as other ads that have a lot of likes on them but you’re actually possibly driving traffic at a cheaper rate.
Andrea Vahl: [00:04:07] Now that’s not always true I just have seen some cases recently where actually the boosted post was doing better in terms of cost per Web site click.
Andrea Vahl: [00:04:16] But that’s why you really want to dive into your ads manager area and look at your reports and see what type of ad and test which type of ad is going to drive the cheapest cost per click or cheapest conversion for you and get your ad support set up correctly.
Tim Lewis: [00:04:34] It’s been a little while since I’ve used Facebook advertising. You can advertise just existing posts can’t you? Or you can create what they call a dark post where it’s not shown to anybody apart from the advertising market?
Andrea Vahl: [00:04:47] Yes Dark Posts used to be a little bit more common of a term. It used to be kind of a dark post looked a little differently than a Web site click ad could but it actually since expanded the way a Web site click ad can look and so it actually can look exactly like a regular post now.
Andrea Vahl: [00:05:06] So you’re really better off if you’re trying to get traffic optimizing around traffic. And if you’re trying to get something like conversions making sure you’ve got everything set up right.
Andrea Vahl: [00:05:17] But yeah there’s different ways when you go in there can be a little overwhelming when you go in to the ads manager area to say OK what is my goal here?
Andrea Vahl: [00:05:27] They’ve got a lot of choices and so it can be a little scary but really just think about what you’re really trying to do and choose the option that fits with what you’re trying to do.
Facebook Targeting Types
Tim Lewis: [00:05:38] So from memory those options are basically Web site traffic which is people visiting the Web site, conversions where you’ve added a little bit of code on your Web site to say when somebody signed up to your email list.
Andrea Vahl: [00:05:53] Yep.
Tim Lewis: [00:05:54] There’s probably a few others I’ve forgotten as well.
Andrea Vahl: [00:05:54] What is kind of challenging is that they’re always testing new things. Facebook’s always trying to optimize what things are available for people based on their needs.
Andrea Vahl: [00:06:04] So now there are also ads like brand awareness or reach or engagement which includes that kind of page post engagement or getting likes or things like that to your page or there’s also lead generation or store visits.
Andrea Vahl: [00:06:19] So sometimes there’s looks like a lot of choices but usually I’m telling people most often you’re sending people to your Web site or you’re trying to get a conversion somehow either just with conversion that happens on your Web site.
Andrea Vahl: [00:06:33] Lead generation ad is a little bit different where it’s all captured within Facebook and it kind of captures the e-mail information and you get a downloadable file rather than sending someone off Facebook.
Andrea Vahl: [00:06:46] So are a couple of different options in that space but if you’re just trying to send traffic to your web site I would stick with the traffic one for now and make sure that one is working for you in terms of the best cost per click.
Tim Lewis: [00:06:59] Well you mentioned this in passing a second ago but there is a concept called retargeting on Facebook and there’s also this Facebook pixel which can be used to helpping retargeting and also that conversion thing. Can you talk a little bit about what the Facebook pixel is and how that retargetting works?
Andrea Vahl: [00:07:18] Yes the Facebook pixel is just essentially a little bit of code. You put it on your Web site.
Andrea Vahl: [00:07:24] You can do some things with it so that you’re tracking when someone’s buying something or when someone’s opting into your e-mail list or if they’re doing other activities that you want to track after they get to your Web site you can kind of set that up.
Andrea Vahl: [00:07:37] It’s just this little bit of code you put on your Web site and it essentially has two jobs. One is making sure that it’s capturing and kind of seeing all the traffic that’s come into your web site.
Andrea Vahl: [00:07:50] And the other one is also tracking the conversions and you have to kind of set that up to tell it what the conversion looks like. And the retargeting is really kind of taking that traffic that comes to your Web site and you are essentially then capturing that in a way.
Andrea Vahl: [00:08:08] So say someone comes to sign up for your newsletter or something like that and they don’t get a chance to you or they might go I don’t want to do that right now.
Andrea Vahl: [00:08:18] With the Facebook pixel you’ve already kind of essentially captured that visitor into a group that you can then send an ad to later and you could say hey I want to send an ad to all the people who came to my Web site but didn’t opt in or all the people came to my Web site didn’t buy.
Andrea Vahl: [00:08:36] I’m going to send them an ad to make sure that maybe if they just didn’t have a chance to do it or if they were thinking about it and then went and thought about something else I can send an ad to that group of people and reconnect with them.
Andrea Vahl: [00:08:48] And the really cool thing about that is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to reach that very warm audience of yours that audience that is familiar with you that have experienced a little bit about you with your web site and you’re reconnecting with them.
Andrea Vahl: [00:09:04] And those are the ones who are more likely to convert them into a sale and so you can really save a lot of money that way.
Andrea Vahl: [00:09:12] But you just have to make sure that your Facebook pixel is set up and then you’ve got the audiences set up and the the conversions set up the way you need to have in there that you can do all that fancy stuff on the back end.
Tim Lewis: [00:09:25] There is a minimum size I think before you can build one of these audiences in terms of how many people need to be in it?
Andrea Vahl: [00:09:31] Yeah. So there’s a thousand people would be the minimum. A lot of them. Sometimes the audience size could be 20 people but you can’t advertise to a group that’s smaller than a thousand.
Andrea Vahl: [00:09:42] So you can build several custom audiences and kind of put them all together and then you can advertise to that group. Your audience builds from the moment you install that pixel.
Andrea Vahl: [00:09:53] So that’s why it’s important to get the pixel in as quickly as possible so that you can start building your audience that you can retarget to.
Tim Lewis: [00:10:02] Another feature though I’m going to tell you to talk about, I am aware that people can create audiences from email lists as well as from the web. How does that work?
Andrea Vahl: [00:10:14] Yeah. So that’s another really another form of retargetting
Andrea Vahl: [00:10:18] So usually when I talk my retargeting you’re really retargeting that warm audience of yours you can target an ad to only your fans you can target an ad to only your website visitors or visitors of certain pages your web site you can also retarget your ad to people who have signed up for your email list.
Andrea Vahl: [00:10:36] So all you do is upload those e-mails that you have from your email list and you have to make sure that you have permission to market to them. That’s a list that you’ve gathered. It’s not something you’ve scraped or not something that you’ve purchased.
Andrea Vahl: [00:10:50] It is truly one that you have built and then you upload that list to Facebook and then you say I want to send an ad to just those e-mail subscribers so that’s a great way to reach your warm audience as well.
Andrea Vahl: [00:11:06] And now they have a couple of really cool new features that are brand new, well are video retargeting isn’t quite brand new, but you can also build an audience of people who have watched your videos on Facebook.
Andrea Vahl: [00:11:18] So that’s another form of retargeting. You can reconnect with those people and they’re going to be a little more familiar with you because they may be seeing you maybe seen you talking and you can send an ad just to those people.
Andrea Vahl: [00:11:31] And brand brand new, still rolling out, is engagement retargeting so you can now retarget an ad to anyone who’s ever interacted with your page.
Andrea Vahl: [00:11:42] They’ve maybe clicked like on a post, they’ve maybe come to your page, they’ve commented, done something interactive with your page and it’s kind of an exciting new thing because that actually is a big game changer for people who might have boosted posts and gotten engagement but maybe not connected as people where they became a fan or something like that.
Andrea Vahl: [00:12:06] Now you can reconnect with that warm audience and hopefully they’d seen you and they’ve connected you with you in some way on on Facebook before and you can retarget that group.
Advice for low cost advertising on Facebook
Tim Lewis: [00:12:17] This is obviously the Begin Self-Publishing Podcast so primary audience of this podcast are people self publishing books.
Andrea Vahl: [00:12:22] Right.
Tim Lewis: [00:12:23] And I mean I’m not meaning to stereotype my listeners because I don’t mean necessarily know if this is true but for lots of authors are generally on a low budget.
Tim Lewis: [00:12:31] You if you have just say two hundred dollars to invest in Facebook advertising for a book. What would you spend it on?
Andrea Vahl: [00:12:40] So I have run ads for a lot of different authors. It’s very challenging to be cash positive to have positive ROI for books because they generally have a lower price point.
Andrea Vahl: [00:12:53] You know even if your book is running a little bit higher 10 dollars or euros whatever, wherever you might be, you know even if it is a higher price point sometimes it doesn’t necessarily get you a positive ROI from that.
Andrea Vahl: [00:13:10] So with the authors I think it’s more important to get people connected to you and to your page to your web site rather than sending them straight to Amazon because on Amazon you’re getting a web site click and you aren’t necessarily capturing that in any way you can’t put your pixel on Amazon site of course.
Andrea Vahl: [00:13:31] So if you’re sending them to your Web site you’re capturing that group in a little way and challenge is because if you send me your Web site where you might have a little more information about your book and then they have to click over to buy.
Andrea Vahl: [00:13:43] That’s a couple of clicks but at least allows you to capture your audience who is interested enough in your book and maybe it’s about giving away a couple of free chapters, or a chapter or something like that.
Andrea Vahl: [00:13:56] Something that’s more of a list builder and this can depend on if you’re planning on writing more books in that same genre they might be interested in signing up to find out more about a series of books perhaps and that can be a good strategy.
Andrea Vahl: [00:14:11] So really you know if you had say you had $200 to invest I would probably spend at least half of it sending people to your Web site.
Andrea Vahl: [00:14:22] If you don’t know which demographic is performing well for you then I might take out some of that and do some testing. So maybe we’ll take out say $50 to test a couple of different demographics and see which one responds better.
Andrea Vahl: [00:14:38] And then I would spend the other part of the budget on just sending them over to Amazon and watching your back end sales and seeing if you’re correlating a bump with the traffic you’re sending over there. So I would test these different demographics on different days so that you can say OK this demographic actually seemed to correlate to a bump in sales for me.
Andrea Vahl: [00:15:00] You’re not going to be able to track exactly how many sales came directly from the ad but you can kind of watch and gauge and then you’re going to know more about the best demographic who will convert a little bit better for you.
Andrea Vahl: [00:15:13] So yeah that’s I would spend at least half of it sending people to your web site either as a list builder or maybe to more information about the book where they can then click over to Amazon to buy it.
Andrea Vahl: [00:15:24] And then spend some of it just on testing and some of it sending people straight to the Amazon page or whatever whatever the check out is.
How can you target Facebook Ads?
Tim Lewis: [00:15:35] We haven’t really talked about targeting. I mean obviously there’s quite a considerable number of targeting options on Facebook ads. Can you just quickly take us through what’s available in terms of talks on Facebook ads?
Andrea Vahl: [00:15:49] Yeah there’s a lot of really interesting ways to target your ads so you can target based on categories so like say you wrote about romance or mystery or something like that.
Andrea Vahl: [00:16:01] Those categories will be quite large. And so you could test those out or if there is an author in your genre who is very well known and who has a large following on Facebook you can target the fans that person.
Andrea Vahl: [00:16:19] So say you wrote about fantasy and you wanted to target the fans of J.K. Rowling you can do that. You wrote about romance you could target Danielle Steele or Joan Collins or something like that.
Andrea Vahl: [00:16:30] Someone who is very correlated with your genre who might be the type of person who would be interested in your book and you could even say this book is perfect for fans of Harry Potter.
Andrea Vahl: [00:16:42] You know so that they’re catching their eye because you already know that they’re a fan of J.K. Rowling or Harry Potter and you can target them.
Andrea Vahl: [00:16:53] If you write nonfiction books where you’re targeting based on maybe small business owners who need to know about your book.
Andrea Vahl: [00:17:02] You could target by job title you could target by income level you can get very very specific even if they own a home or rent home so you knew that your audience was the type who would be homeowners or something like that you can target really really granularly with Facebook ads and it’s very powerful.
Facebook Ad Copy
Tim Lewis: [00:17:23] So we’ve talked about the targetting, we talked about conversions and retargeting what about actually we also think people think about putting in the actual ads? Should they have graphics and how does that work?
Andrea Vahl: [00:17:36] So there’s lots of different types of ways you can design an ad these days and it’s kind of fun but also a little bit overwhelming because there are there all different types of media, you can have videos, you can have slideshow videos, you can have carousel ads which are multiple images or you can split test different images or have a single image.
Andrea Vahl: [00:17:55] So there’s lots of ways to design your ad. I really have typically found that often a single image does best. I think that if it’s a video ad sometimes people get caught up in watching the video.
Andrea Vahl: [00:18:09] If it’s a carousel ad they’re might be kind of clicking around a little bit and not actually doing the thing you want them to do. So I often find that a single image works best which is great news for people who just want to try one thing.
Andrea Vahl: [00:18:24] But you definitely want to optimize your image so that it is twelve hundred pixels by 628 pixels so it’s kind of that that 1.91-1 ratio is the official ratio there so you can have different sizes if it still fits that ratio.
Andrea Vahl: [00:18:40] But that’s going to be the optimum size so that nothing gets cut off and things like that a lot of times that I see authors do as they don’t just use their Amazon link and it’ll cut off their book image so it doesn’t look very good.
Andrea Vahl: [00:18:54] So you want to have that ad image created by you so that you’ve got a little bit of text in there that maybe says something exciting about the book with your book image and covers are not supposed to count in terms of text.
Andrea Vahl: [00:19:08] Facebook kind of limited lifted their text ban. But they still don’t like ads that have too much text in them.
Andrea Vahl: [00:19:15] Or you can have something that’s a little bit more natural you know maybe it would be like a picture that would be from a scene in the book perhaps maybe you find a good stock photo that kind of represents something that might be happening in the book and you put that on there with no text and it’s a way to have someone make the story real a little bit.
Andrea Vahl: [00:19:37] And it looks a little bit more like a regular post if it’s just an image so it’s important to test the different images. But I definitely find that a single image ad often does the best in terms of cost per click and cost per conversion.
Tim Lewis: [00:19:54] And you can see it with figures on the actual advertising framework. You can see how they actually perform.
Andrea Vahl: [00:20:01] Yeah exactly. You just dive into the reports and compare which one is doing better for you and make sure you’rr comparing the right things like cost per website click and things like that.
Andrea Vahl: [00:20:13] And you can really dive into all the stats and see which ad is going well and then you just stop the underperformers and keep running the one that’s working best for you.
Tim Lewis: [00:20:23] Well I think we’ve covered a complicated area in a short amount of time.
Andrea Vahl: [00:20:27] Yeah.
Tim Lewis: [00:20:28] How can people find out about you and the things that you do?
Find out about Andrea Vahl
Andrea Vahl: [00:20:32] Yeah I just come over to my Web site. It’s andreavahl.com and I’ve got some free videos over there that you can kind of learn about Facebook ads and I also have a whole course on Facebook ads as well. That is really good if you need to dive in and learn a little bit more.
Tim Lewis: [00:20:54] Thank you very much for being on the show.
Andrea Vahl: [00:20:57] Great. Thanks Tim.