May 12, 2020

Do Facebook Ads Work For Small Businesses in 2020?

Image of two people in an office building a Facebook Advertising campaign.

It’s the question all small business owners want to know. Put simply, yes they do. But unfortunately many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking it’s as easy as clicking ‘boost post’ to get results.

To truly understand whether or not Facebook Ads will work for your small business we need to dig a bit further and acquire more knowledge to make an informed decision.

Factors That Will Impact Your Results

Have you ever tried Facebook Ads for your business and concluded they don't work for you? Have you written them off? Are you weary of trying them because you’ve heard about someone else’s negative experience?

I've heard this time and again, but after a little investigation in most cases the reasons for lackluster results are obvious.

The reality is that many business owners fail to find success with Facebook Ads because they have failed to optimize their campaigns in a few key areas. I’m here to tell you that if done the right way you can and will see a massive difference!

In order to get results from Facebook Ads for your small business, you need to ensure you consider all of these primary factors:

  • Campaign Objective
  • Audience & Targeting
  • Messaging & Creative
  • Budget and Bidding
  • And Placements

It really only comes down to optimizing your campaign in these areas. This article is not a comprehensive guide to Facebook Advertising, however it does address some easy ways you can prepare yourself for success with your next campaign. 

Before you get started, take the time to lay the groundwork and you will reap the benefits later on.

Who Is Your Ideal Audience?

This is really the first question that needs to be asked before taking the plunge into advertising on Facebook. Take a deep look at who your business caters to and as ask yourself "What are their needs and passions? Where do they spend time? And what are their interests and hobbies?"

These questions will help you define not only the type of people you’re looking to attract but where you can find them.

Your Customers Are On Facebook As We Speak

Right now, there are over 2.6 billion monthly active users on Facebook worldwide as of the first quarter of 2020. That’s about a 3rd of the entire population on earth as I write this!

In Canada specifically there are about 24 million Facebook users, or in other words 64% of the entire population. This number is projected to grow at a rate of approximately 200K new users each year.

Graph showing the number of monthly active Facebook users in North America as of the 1st quarter in 2020. Sourced from Statista.com
(Graph shows the consistent growth of Facebook in North America year by year)

So there’s a really good chance your customers and / or clients are on Facebook right now. But maybe not, so truly understanding who you are trying to reach when it comes to advertising on Facebook is paramount.

What is Your Main Goal with Advertising on Facebook?

The next question you need to ask before launching your first Facebook advertising campaign is what’s the number one goal you’re trying to achieve? Fortunately for small business owners alike, Facebook offers 11 different campaign objective options.

Although these options are only a starting point. Your results will be dependent on your level of preparation before you hit go. 

Let’s take a closer look at all the different advertising objectives you have as a small business owner and which ones make the most sense for you.

Different Types of Facebook Advertising Objectives

The very first option you have when setting up your Facebook advertising campaign is which marketing objective you want to achieve.

Screenshot of the first window within the Facebook Ads Manager creating a new advertising campaign. The image shows all of the marketing objective options available within the Facebook Advertising platform.
(Screenshot of the first screen you see after creating a new Facebook campaign)

Facebook breaks down your marketing objectives into 3 different categories based on the traditional marketing funnel to help guide your campaign in the right direction. Each marketing objective is listed below:

Awareness

  • Brand Awareness
  • Reach

Consideration

  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • App Installs
  • Video Views
  • Lead Generation
  • Messages

Conversions

  • Conversions
  • Catalog Sales
  • Store Traffic

Whether your goal as a small business owner is to drive in store traffic, increase online sales, or simply generate local awareness within your community, Facebook ads have you covered.

Which Facebook Ads Campaign Objective Is Best?

This is a loaded question because the answer completely depends on which business objective you are trying to achieve. Below are some various types of small businesses and different objectives that can achieve results.

For Bricks and Mortar Retail Store

Brand Awareness: Increase local awareness for your business by reaching people who are more likely to be interested in it.

Engagement: Get more post engagements, page likes, event responses or offer claims.

Store Traffic: Drive more visits to your physical store by showing ads to people who are nearby.

For Online Sales

Traffic: Send more people to your website, or Messenger for a conversation.

Engagement: Again, more post engagements, page likes, or offer claims.

Conversions: Drive valuable actions on your website, or in Messenger. You decide which actions you want Facebook to optimize for.

For Professional Service (B2B) Business

Lead Generation: Drive more sales leads, such as email addresses, and phone numbers from people interested in your business.

Messages: Get more people to send messages to your business in Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram Direct.

Conversion: Allow Facebook to optimize a revenue generating action on your website, such valuable form fill.

Do you research and choose the right objective from the start and you will increase your chances of success.

Test, Test, And More Tests

Successful advertising on any medium relies heavily on data and key metrics to make informed decisions and determine if a campaign is successful and worth investing more money into.

If you cannot realize a link between your Facebook advertising efforts and an increase in your revenue then you want to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.

The essence of scientific advertising is based around leveraging real data and numbers to make important decisions regarding your campaigns.

Unfortunately not every campaign you launch is going to be a winner so it is up to you to test, experiment and repeat to find out what works and what doesn’t. 

The 2 Types Of Facebook Advertising Experiments

Facebook offers two different ways you can experiment with your ads to find the winners.

A/B Tests

An A/B test, or split test is the most widely used testing method on Facebook because it allows you to test two ads head to head with only one variable changed. Perhaps you want to test your ad creative such as your headline, copy, video, or image. Does one perform better than the other? 

Maybe you want to try testing different placements (where your ads appear) or pin two different audiences against each other to find a winner. A/B test can make or break a campaign!

Image of the 'Create A/B Test' box within the Facebook Ads Manager.
(Facebook makes it easy to create a split-test)

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)

A randomized controlled trial is a newer and slightly more complex method for testing your Facebook advertising campaign performance. This testing method measure the incremental increase in the variable of your choice compared to a control group (similar to a placebo).

The goal with this type of experiment is to understand at a deeper level what the true impact of an advertising campaign has had on your business. And ultimately which campaign allows you to achieve a specific incremental result (store visit, online sale etc) at a lower cost.

There’s so many things that can alter whether or not Facebook advertising works for small businesses. It is absolutely vital to implement tests regularly to once again improve your chances of success in 2020.

Start with a simple A/B test, and reiterate as long as you need to in order to create a winning campaign.

Recap

Facebook commands the attention of billions of people all over the world every single day. And as a business owner you have the ability to unlock the power of the world's largest social network to help grow your business with only a few clicks of your mouse. 

Yes, Facebook Ads work for small businesses in 2020 and are easily one of the best places you could spend your marketing dollars…

But…

It is up to you to ensure you have done the prep work and taken the time to craft a campaign that has the highest chances of success because like anything, results are not guaranteed.

Although we have only scratched the surface on the subject of Facebook Advertising, I hope I have provided a better outlook that will set you on the right course moving forward. 

If you have any more questions about Facebook advertising or would like us to provide feedback on a campaign you're about to push live, do yourself a favor and schedule a call with us to make sure you’ll get the most bang for your buck!

By
Chris Hewitt

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