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How to Run a Budget Facebook Ads Campaign

Published by Kenny Novak on 10/21/2014


With the increasing cost of boosting posts and the lowering organic reach on Facebook, many marketers are shifting their focus more towards advertisements and Facebook’s PPC.  The danger of PPC, of course, is the cost.  It’s easy to nickel-and-dime yourself into far exceeding your returns.  The way to keep your costs down is to put a lot of time and energy into planning.

Determine Goals

The first thing you need to do is determine your goals.  Are you looking for new fans, new subscribers, traffic to your website, website conversions, app installs or something else?  Different actions have different costs.  Jon Loomer has a few price guidelines:

  • Bringing in new Facebook fans is going to cost somewhere around $1 per fan, depending on a number of factors.  The competition in your niche, the recognition of your brand and the keywords you target will all affect this.
  • Bringing in new email newsletter subscribers is going to be about the same, with $1 for each new subscriber.  The action of subscribing to a Facebook page or to a newsletter isn’t all that different.  You can lower this cost by hitting upon a high-converting landing page.
  • Bringing a user to your website for a visit is relatively cheap, with $1 bringing you anywhere from 2-10 users.  This will very likely vary depending on your content, your audience and the trending topics in the news that day.  Record experiments for yourself and see if you can focus on the cheaper visits.
  • Product sales have a widely varying cost, and part of that depends on the product you’re trying to sell.  Someone selling a cheap mobile app will have a much easier time getting you to purchase than someone selling a car.  This will, however, be your most expensive form of advertising.

Traffic is cheap, conversions are expensive, and every factor along the way can affect the expense.

Analyze Your Presence

The more established you are already, the easier it will be to grow.  You have more information to go on when targeting an audience.  You have enough people to snowball into a larger audience with relative ease.


Your fans are an ideal target for your Facebook ads, unless you’re trying to bring in new fans with your advertising.  Even then, you can target lookalike audiences when you have sufficient data.

When you have a larger, more established audience, that audience is going to feel better about clicking through to your website, and they will feel better about converting as customers.  This means when you’re established, you’ll have lower costs all around for your ads.

Consider Your Niche

Your niche is important for determining the costs associated with your ads.  Highly competitive, general niches will be very expensive for individual clicks, because there is a lot of competition.  Just take a look at some of the most expensive niches to target.  High value, high conversion necessities; in other words, niches where a single conversion can bring in a massively positive ROI, so the company can afford to spend more on advertising.  You, as a consequence, needs to spend more to keep up.

Your product has a similar effect, particularly on the cost of ads designed to bring in conversions.  When your product is a high value item, your potential audience is going to be much lower.  Very few people browsing Facebook are looking to buy a private jet, for example.  On the other hand, when you sell one jet, you make a massive profit, so you don’t need to worry as much about targeting those users with expensive ads.

It’s more of a problem in low and middling value items.  These are the sales where you need to survive through volume, rather than individual sales.  If you stray more than a few cents in one direction or another, it can wipe out your profit.  You may need to increase the cost of your product, or manipulate other factors to increase the conversion rate on your ads.

You can take advantage of Facebook retargeting to decrease the cost of your conversion ads as well.  Anyone who clicks a conversion ad but doesn’t buy is a potential target for a future, cheaper ad that will encourage them to buy.  Plus, they were already interested enough to consider it, so giving them another chance is surprisingly effective.

Ways to Lower the Cost of Facebook Ads


First, you can refine your audience.  When you’re targeting all of America, you’re connecting with a huge number of people who don’t care about your goals, company, brand or product.  The more you can refine your audience targeting, the cheaper your ads will be.  This is because a smaller, more focused audience is more likely convert, allowing you to spend less per conversion.

Second, you can test variations on your image and text, your ad copy.  Sometimes, all you need to do is add a thin border to your image to increase your ROI through some subtle, subconscious factor.  Sometimes a completely different image is in order.  You can experiment with this with small budgets, so long as you keep those ads from running away with your entire ad budget.

As for your ad text, the same thing goes.  Subtle changes in wording or entirely different phrases can help, or they can hurt.  There’s no way to tell what change might help without experimentation, however.

Third, you can turn your eye to your landing page.  In the case of earning Facebook likes, this landing page is your Facebook page.  In other cases, it’s a landing page on your website.  Much has been said about optimizing web landing pages, considering everything from button colors to coding to imagery.  You have much less leeway in optimizing Facebook itself, but you can still make some changes.  A better cover photo, a better profile picture, a better featured post, a better featured app; these are all contributing factors to your first impression.  Put your best foot forward, for the sake of new users.

Finally, you can consider the freshness of your ads.  Even the best ad will begin to fail after too many people have seen it too many times.  Small variations to the ad copy won’t help you at this point; you need a total refresh.  Keep your ads fresh and new to make sure the maximum number of people pay attention each cycle.