5 ways to make the most of a small Facebook Ads budget - Blog

5 ways to make the most of a small Facebook Ads budget

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“You gotta spend money to make money” apparently. Usually, we’re told this by people who don’t actually realise what it’s like to have no money to spend in the first place. If you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to scrape together $5/day to spend on your Facebook Ads, remember this: I know how you feel. I quit my corporate job with its reliable fortnightly paycheck to bootstrap my own business from scratch.

Thankfully, Facebook ads has made reaching new audiences cheap and accessible to anyone these days. And you know what? You can do alright with a $5/day budget. Yep, $5. It’s small change. You could make your own lunch. Walk instead of catching the bus. Pass on that 3pm paleo mint slice. Skip your morning coffee… Ok, maybe that’s a bit drastic. But, the point is that $5 a day is chump change. And, if you play your cards right, you might be able to turn that $5 into $10. It’s not quite turning water into wine, but $10 can buy you a drinkable Shiraz.

So, you’ve dug around the couch cushions and found your first $5 (plus a stack of crumbs and 17 bobby pins). What do you do now? How can you make the most of a small Facebook Ads budget?

1. Make sure you’re using the right objective for your goals

Most people make their first foray into Facebook ads with the tempting little “Boost Post” button. It seductively tells you how many thousands of people you could reach by just boosting it by $5. Spoiler alert: it rarely ends well.

Now, boosting does have its time and place. But, generally, there are better ways you can spend your precious caffeine budget. The problem with boosting is that it takes a lot of control away from you and places it in Facebook’s paws. Firstly, you lose many of the targeting and placement options that you have inside Ads Manager. Secondly, you can only choose from the “Engagement” or “Traffic” objectives. Choosing an objective sounds complicated and irrelevant, but, it’s not. It’s simply telling Facebook what you want them to optimise the ad to show for. Do you want them to show your ad to people who love to like and comment on posts, but never click? Well, that’s what they’re going to do when you boost with an “Engagement” objective.

Even once you’ve ventured into Ads Manager, there are obstacles to trip you up. When you go to set up your campaign, it’ll ask you what you want to optimise it for. “Hmmmm” you think as you stare greedily at the Page Likes objective, “I’d quite like to have a few thousand followers at my disposal.”

Here’s the catch: Page likes are a vanity metric that don’t count for a whole lot anymore. The stuff you post to your page will reach only a small percent of your followers, so just because someone likes your page doesn’t mean they’ll see anything you put out there.

2. Make sure your targeting is spot on

“Woohoo! My audience size is 5 million people! My ad is going to reach so many people and I’m going to be rich. I can spend my summer holidaying in the French Riviera! Yay!”

Errrrrr, I hate to be the bearer of bad news… But, not quite.

Just because your audience size is 5 million, doesn’t mean 5 million people will actually see your ads. On top of that, if your audience is so broad, chances are that most of those 5 million people won’t find your ad relevant. Which means they won’t click. Which means you’re wasting precious bus money on people who were never going to buy from you in the first place.

Invest some time in getting to know your target audience. By this, I don’t mean the usual “Female, 18-35, Australia” definition of target audience. Get to know them on another level; Where do they hang out? What brands do they buy from? Who do they trust? Find your ideal customer and stalk them for a week… But not really, because that’s illegal. Maybe just give them a call and chat with them instead.

3. Don’t use unnecessary placements

There are SO many different ad placements available at the moment. Everything from Instagram stories to Facebook Messenger to mid-roll video ads. There are a lot of different ways to encroach on whatever your audience is doing. But, that doesn’t mean you should be using every single placement that Facebook picks for you.

Yes, that does mean unchecking the “Automatically choose placements” box when you’re setting up your ad sets.

If I’m promoting a piece of content, like a blog post or a lead magnet, I usually un-tick every placement except Facebook (and sometimes Instagram) News Feed. But, it depends on your audience and your offer… So, test, test, test! And when you’re done testing, test some mo’.

4. Use retargeting and custom audiences

You know how I said that you should get suuuuper specific with your audience targeting? Facebook can be pretty good at doing that for you. Provided you have an email list or a customer list, or you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website.

Facebook lets you (a) retarget these people so they don’t forget about you (kind of like how whenever you’re 2 glasses deep into the rose bottle you message that Tinder date who ghosted you that one time), and (b) create custom audiences made up of people who look like these audiences.

No, they don’t physically “look” like them. They’re just similar in characteristics. Put simply, Facebook looks at the attributes these people have in common and creates an audience of similar people.

5. Test, track and adjust

I get it; you’re busy. Me too. It’s so tempting to set up your ads and leave them there to run for a week, and never look at them again. But, if you’re not keeping track, you could be turning $5 San Pellegrino into $2 plonk without realising.

There are 3 things you should be doing after you set up your ads: Testing, tracking and adjusting.

Here’s a little secret. Well, it’s actually not a secret, but many people overlook this, so I’m just going to pretend it’s a secret. Here it is: Inside each Ad Set, you can run 1 ad or you can run 15 ads, without it costing you a cent more. And the magical part? Facebook will figure out which of your ads is the most relevant for your chosen audience and optimise your ads so this one shows up the most.

Each time you set up an ad, ask yourself: What can I test here? Create a few different versions and test your ads! Then check back in 3 days’ time (no less!) to see which is working the best. Then test some more. Then adjust. Then test. Then track. Then adjust.

  1. Amy

    September 7th, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks so much for this really helpful blog post, Steph. I understand the theory (ish) but always find the Ads Manager platform so confusing! There are dozens of different groups related to yoga, for example. Are these actual Facebook pages that people like? Anyway, I’m all signed up for the 5 day challenge and looking forward to it!

  2. wildbloomcreative

    September 8th, 2017 at 10:25 am

    They aren’t always pages that they like necessarily – Facebook works out whether you are interested in a particular topic and then they group you based on that 🙂 Glad to hear you’re doing the challenge!

  3. Jennifer callahan

    September 8th, 2017 at 8:12 am

    This is so helpful and informative – now if only you could stand over me while I do, it haha. Thanks for sharing!

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