Later, I'll go over how to run online ads on sites like Google, Bing, and other outlets. For now, I'll focus on running these ads on Facebook, because Facebook ads work a little differently than ads on other major sites.
On the right side of your Facebook newsfeed, you'll see a column of small boxes under a banner marked “Sponsored.” These are paid ads that are posted by companies looking to reach their audience. When you create an ad on Facebook, your ad will appear in this same area. You can target the people who you would most like to see them—the people who you feel would be most interested in your site, and would be more likely to click on your ad. (Remember earlier in this part, when I talked about creating a demographic profile of your audience? Facebook ads are a prime example of why that's important.)
To get started advertising on Facebook, go to Facebook.com/advertising . You'll have the opportunity to build your ad (using a headline, a few lines of copy, and a small image) and a few options for running your campaign. These include the following:
As you build your campaign, you'll notice along the right side that Facebook will show you how many people you'll be reaching with your ad. At the start, before you've made any adjustments, your potential reach is huge—well over 100 million. As you get more targeted, you'll see this number drop—potentially dramatically. This is usually where people recoil and say, “Wait, why would I want to only reach a few million when I can reach over 100 million? The more people, the better, right?” Wrong. You'd do far better promoting your ad to five million people who are genuinely interested in your message (and whose clicks might really matter to you) than to 100 million people who you don't actually care about in terms of your business. Remember: Each click will cost you money, so you want them all to count.
Also, think carefully, and creatively when writing your ads. Facebook doesn't exactly give you the space to wax poetic about your website; they limit you to only 90 characters (plus another 25 for the headline). You'll probably find that in the first few ads you write, you'll have a hard time keeping your ads below the 90-character threshold. After all, it's your site, you're proud of it, and you want to tell people all about it. But work hard at keeping your ad as short as possible. I've found that the most success I've had with Facebook ads has been when I've given a very short, simple directive, without going into a lot of detail. For example, one of my best-performing Facebook ads for my video network simply said, “Click here if you like online videos.” It was short, simple, and to the point, wasn't overly promotional, and asked people to take a simple action—and it got a great response.