Large corporations have spent years generating awareness and recognition for their brand online. So at first glance, it may seem like they have a leg up when it comes to online advertising. If you feel like that puts you, the local businesses owner, at a disadvantage, that’s not exactly so.

Your Facebook Ad Strategy Silver Lining

The way to compete effectively with the big guys, when it comes to bidding on Facebook ads, is to adopt a totally different social advertising strategy than what they would employ. Because when you’re paying per click, your dollars are precious.

We’ll get back to your strategic silver lining in a minute. First, here’s a some background info on budgeting and bidding.

How Budgeting Affects Bidding

One of the top questions we receive from our clients is, “How much does it cost to advertise on Facebook?” Put most simply, it’s up to you. Before you can even think about bidding on Facebook ads, you’ll set a budget for each campaign you intend to run (Facebook calls these “ad sets”). These budgets help you control your costs for Facebook advertising. They’ll cap your overall spend before you get too in the weeds with your spend per individual ad result.

The two types of budgets you can choose from:
  1. Daily: These let you tell Facebook how much moolah you can afford to part with on each ad set, per day.
  2. Lifetime: These let you tell Facebook how much cash you can part with over the entire lifetime of an ad set.

Having trouble deciding on a budget? Here’s a shortcut. The more targeted and confident you are, the more you can risk allocating. This is because you can be slightly surer the results you generate are going to be relevant for your audience and generate traffic for your business. Facebook offers more valuable advice on optimizing your budget for the highest conversion possible.

You also get to decide how your budget is distributed during each campaign’s timeline.

Once again, you have two options:
  1. Even Distribution, or Pacing (aka “Standard Delivery”): This delivery option allows you to pace your ads out evenly during the course of a campaign. This is the most recommended distribution/delivery option.
  2. Accelerated Delivery: Your ads will run as quickly as your target audience will allow. Basically, if your ads are being generated, they’ll do so as quickly as possible until your budget is met. Pro tip: If you use this type of delivery method, but want a little more control, consider pairing it with a daily budget instead of a lifetime budget. Otherwise, this type of delivery will only be effective if you’re advertising a time-sensitive offer or promotion.

Bidding on Facebook Ads: Your Advantage

If you’re short on time (who isn’t), Facebook offers tons of assistance for choosing your bids. In the Pricing section, they’ll even estimate what you should bid for each result in a “Suggested Bid” section. The suggested bids they offer are based on an amount of investment they think will help your ads reach as much of your target audience as possible to achieve the results you want.

Hear that? I said, “the results you want.” This is where a majority of local business owners get lost. Hopefully, a click isn’t the end-all, be-all for your Facebook ad strategy. Ideally, you should know exactly what action you want your target audience to take that will put money in your pocket. Knowing how much money that action would generate for your business is the most important step in understanding how much money you should be willing to spend on that initial ad click.

Pro tip: If you remember one thing from this blog, here it is — spend less money per ad than you think the ad will generate. That’s ad optimization at its finest!

Let’s get technical.

The suggested bid is just a starting point. From there, you’ll use a bid range to home in on the exact amount you want to bid for each ad. Here’s Facebook’s example scenario:

For example, let’s say the suggested bid for your ad set is $7, the bid range is $4–$10 and the result you’re optimizing for is worth $6 to you. In this example, you can bid $6 more confidently, knowing that it’s near the suggested bid, but not below the low end of the bid range.

4 Secrets the Big Guys Don’t Want You to Know

We mentioned earlier we could help you get an advantage when competing against the bigger brand names. Here’s where we’ll make good on that promise by letting you in on some secrets they’ll wish you didn’t know.

1. Ignore CTR.

Large companies have the time and luxury to analyze several ad metrics and adjust their bids and ads accordingly. Metrics like impressions and click-through rate (CTR) are what small businesses should consider “vanity metrics.” They mean absolutely nothing to your bottom line, so obsessing over them when you could be allocating your time elsewhere is a waste of your resources and talent.

Stay laser-focused on your overall return on investment (ROI), and ensure you’re not paying more for your ads than they’re generating.

2. Give it time.

Large companies typically adjust their advertising on a daily or weekly basis. That’s because they’re spending a heck of a lot of money on their ads, and they have entire teams (sometimes even pricey ad agencies) dedicated to generating new graphics, writing exciting ad copy and thinking up smart spending strategies for each campaign.

When it comes to your business, be willing to give each campaign a couple weeks or even a month before you analyze the results. Be patient. There’s no room for snap judgments here.

3. Don’t church it up too much.

How many types of Facebook ads are there? What are the best Facebook ad formats? From carousels, to video slideshows, to canvas options, we don’t recommend getting too fancy. Your advantage as a local business isn’t high quality promotional value, it’s accessibility.

To appear most accessible and genuine to your target audience, stick to a single image or single video format. This also helps your ad seem less like an actual ad and more like any other post your audience will see as they scroll through.

4. Use the Learn More button, regardless of your actual call to action (CTA).

When you build your ad, you get to choose a CTA button that contains the text you think will encourage someone to click through your ad. According to AdEspresso by Hootsuite, the “Learn More” button provides a much higher return, on average, than any other Facebook ad button options. So regardless of your CTA, using this button can deliver greater rewards.

If you’re worried about confusing your audience, include your desired CTA in the ad copy to make it clear exactly what they’re in for should they click through your ad.