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Facebook advertising 101: What you need to know

George Groves
Technology Journalist

George Groves is a writer interested in all forms of technology, creativity and digital trends

George Groves
Technology Journalist

George Groves is a writer interested in all forms of technology, creativity and digital trends

Small businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to advertising. But with more users than the other major social networks, Facebook holds many opportunities for business.

Australians are big users of social media, spending on average more than eight hours a week on social networking sites. Despite this, Australian companies are lagging behind the world when it comes to marketing on social.  We’ve looked at the different platforms you can have a presence on, but what’s involved with actually putting money behind a platform?

Given the size of its audience and opportunities for all levels of investment, Facebook could be a good place to begin your foray into social advertising. 

Hand doing a thumbs up appearing from a bush

The case for small business

Internet usage has surpassed all other forms of media consumption in Australia by a large margin, and Facebook plays a large role in this – it’s the most popular website in the country besides Google.

Latest data from Social Media News suggests that 14 million Australians access the social network each month, making it one of the most consumed forms of media in the country according to Roy Morgan research data. Due to the flexibility in advertising options for businesses, Facebook can be far more accessible for small businesses to harness and evaluate.  

And, contrary to popular belief, Facebook isn’t just accessed by millennials. Roy Morgan research shows the single largest age group using Facebook in Australia is 35 - 49 year-olds, while 59 per cent of users are on the site daily.

So whether it’s to raise brand awareness, drive sales or build a community, Facebook has proven itself as a platform for success for numerous small businesses


Having access to the largest set of consumer data in the world gives businesses on Facebook the ability to reach their own custom audience — not just a pre-defined audience segment. Along with targeting options for age, gender and location, businesses are able to deliver ads based off interests, behaviours or even future purchasing intentions. Existing customers can also be reached by importing an email or phone list in the audience manager within the Facebook Advertising management panel.

It’s this level of targeting and available data that Nielsen says gives an average reach accuracy of 89 per cent to narrowly targeted Facebook campaigns, compared to 39 per cent for similar online campaigns such as search engine marketing and display.

Jargon busting

Before you dive in to advertising on Facebook understanding the terms can put you a step ahead:

Example: Jim’s Accountancy

Jim’s Accountancy in Sandown Park in Melbourne’s south east is experiencing a high churn rate with their customers. How can he get more customers through the door using social media?

Advertising goal

Entice new customers with a free financial health check.


For this offer, age and geographic targeting could be used. For instance, people 25 – 34, located in the Melbourne suburbs of Sandown Park and surrounding areas of Springvale, Noble Park and Mulgrave will give the ad a defined audience and reach the people close to Jim’s Accountancy. Like advertising in a local paper, this localised targeting means that Jim’s Accountancy won’t waste money on reaching people who are too far to take the offer.


Performance and evaluation

By looking at the reach, impressions and click-through-rate (CTR) we can gain an understanding of whether the campaign was effective. CTRs on Facebook vary by ad type, but the average is around 1.8%.

And once customers come in the door, use your traditional business metrics to see how they compare to customers from other areas.

Five tips to get more out of Facebook advertising

  1. Have clear goals. Know what you want your campaign to achieve before it goes live. Defining your ideal outcomes will aid in the development of messaging and targeting
  2. Select the right ad type. Once goals are defined, select an ad type to match this. A Post Boost for a photo gallery will help build brand awareness and engagement on your social channels, but may not be the right choice for driving traffic to your website
  3. Define your audience. Use Facebook’s expansive targeting options to ensure the right people are seeing your ad to eliminate wastage
  4. Keep your message and creative on point. This is especially important when encouraging users to click through to a website or undertake a certain activity. Make it as easy as possible for the viewer to read, interpret and act on your ad
  5. Measure your success. It’s vital that once you’ve launched your campaign, you check in to see how it’s going. Monitor your click-through-rate, cost per click, reach and engagement to ensure your money is being well spent
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Please note: Jim’s Accountancy is a fictional business, as is the situation described. Ensure that you seek appropriate advice when advertising on Facebook if you feel you require it.

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