How to Succeed at Facebook Ads without a Big Budget

ThinkstockPhotos-179693002_webPlenty of businesses have found success through Facebook since the social media giant launched over a decade ago. In the past few years they’ve expanded their advertising offerings to include some of the most advanced and unique targeting available in all of digital marketing.

Without a huge budget, though, many retailers struggle to find success with Facebook ads, especially when they face the tough decision to keep management of their campaigns in-house or to work with an agency – many of which don’t have their best interests at heart.

Here are a few major considerations to keep in mind as you wade into the world of Facebook ads:

Can You Attract and Retain Talent?

The first impulse of many growing businesses is to build out their internal marketing team and keep the management of Facebook advertising in-house. Before you do this, however, ask yourself a few questions to make sure you can attract and retain top talent:

  • Do I already have the required expertise and manpower?
  • What’s my turnover rate?
  • Does my location limit my talent pool?
  • Is my budget big enough?

In many cases it might be best to outsource to an agency. It can be cheaper than hiring a full-time employee and the results will be better than leaving it to someone with no experience. Plus, establishing an institutional relationship with an account team at an agency can actually provide more continuity than burning through several in-house managers.

Do You Have the Tools and Platforms?

There are several tools and platforms out there than can make Facebook advertising a lot more efficient but for many businesses, the cost is prohibitive. Agencies can provide wider access to such bidding and campaign management platforms and their cross-client approach gives them a broader basis of data and experience to draw from.

Keep It Relevant

As with lots of paid marketing, it can be easy to burn through money. The key to making your spend go as far as possible is to narrow your targeting so the only people who see your ad are relevant potential customers. Targeting page fans, lookalike audiences similar to past purchasers, specific interests related to your industry, and previous visitors of your site can help guarantee your ads have maximum impact. Make sure messaging is appropriately targeted at each audience. One or two blanket ads will likely decrease the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Test, Test, Test

One of the keys to succeeding without a huge budget is to quickly figure out what works and invest in it. The only sure way to do this is to test different ad creative and targeting parameters. A/B testing is your friend and can ensure you get a much higher return than indiscriminately running a bunch of ads. Often you can learn quite a bit from a limited spend of only a few thousand dollars. Make sure your in-house employees have the knowledge and capacity to do this sort of analysis or that your agency has the incentive to properly optimize your campaigns.

Beware of Percentage of Spend

If you do decide to go with an agency, beware of the percentage of spend model under which most of them operate. This means you pay them a set percentage of however much money you spend on Facebook ads through them. The reason many agencies have a $50,000 spend minimum is so they can guarantee themselves a minimum agency fee. At most agencies this would be somewhere in the ballpark of ten percent of total spend, or $5,000 in this case.

What these agencies aren’t telling you, though, is that frequently the same results can be achieved at a much lower level of spend. They simply push a $50,000 minimum in order to justify their own agency fee.

It might actually be more cost-efficient to pay a flat fee of $5,000 a month to test $10,000 worth of ads and then slowly invest more in what works. Under a percentage of spend model agencies have no incentive to test ads at a lower level of spend or optimize programs to reduce cost.

When choosing an agency, make sure their financial incentives line up with your desired outcomes. There are plenty of great agencies that can help you achieve results without forcing you to spend unnecessary money.

Learn more about our Facebook advertising services or contact us to speak with one of our marketing experts.

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