Paying to post – advertising on Facebook

It is estimated that in 2017, nearly 36 billion USD will be spent on social network advertising. Facebook is one of the biggest platforms for advertising online after Google, and with adverts appearing naturally in a user’s feed you might have already engaged with a post not realising that it was, in fact, an advert. Over the past couple of months, I have worked with Development, Admissions and the School of Medicine to run various Facebook adverts from the University’s official Facebook account.

The separate adverts for Development and the School of Medicine had different objectives and show the various ways social advertising can help to achieve marketing objectives. While Development’s objective was to raise awareness of their own Facebook page during graduation week to new graduates, the School of Medicine’s aim was to increase applications for the new ScotGEM course.

If you are unfamiliar with social advertising, I have listed my top three advantages for paying to post on Facebook.

Target who you want to target

So much personal information is shared on Facebook, and this helps us to design adverts which target-specific audiences. Facebook allows for adverts to be tailored to age, location, interests and much more based on information collected from user’s profiles.

The ScotGEM adverts in July were designed to target the profiles of those most likely to meet the course entry requirements. The advert was only shown to people who had graduated in the last three years from five Scottish universities with an interest in a selection of science subjects. This meant that we were getting the best value for money and increasing the chances of those viewing the advert engaging with it.

It’s relatively cheap

Compared to traditional advertising, Facebook can provide cheaper and more effective results. Facebook allows you to define your maximum budget by either a daily or lifetime spend. This means you can run your advert knowing that you won’t be spending more than you have budgeted.

£70 was spent on the Development advert which ran for six days during graduation week. This resulted in 136 new page likes which is just over 50p spent for each new like. In comparison, development took six months to receive the same amount of new page likes organically.

Real-time analytics make it flexible

One of the benefits of advertising on Facebook is you can access detailed reports on the performance of your adverts both during and after your campaign. Facebook Ad Manager allows you to easily find out information such as what time people clicked on your ad, what type of device they used and their location. Having the ability to edit ads while they are still running also means that you can react in real time to your analytics to improve the performance of your ad.

I am currently in the process of creating guidelines for advertising on Facebook alongside a request form. In the meantime, if you are interested in advertising on Facebook through the University account, then please get in contact with me on jc331@st-andrews.ac.uk, and I will be happy to discuss your requirements.

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