I’m doing some online shopping and put a few things in the cart—this cute floral sundress and strappy sandals, but close out of the window before making any purchases. Then I open up Facebook to see what people are up to—but wait, why is that cute outfit I almost bought right next to Aunt Cindy’s vegetable garden? And is that that bathing suit I was looking at last night? Is the web stalking me??

The answer is yes. But before dialing 911 or grabbing a baseball bat, let me explain.

Codes can be placed on a website that will track which page a user navigates to, and can report the data back. This is why that summer outfit you almost bought is following you around the web; the store wants you to keep seeing their product so you’ll buy it. Facebook advertising has become a cost effective way for small business owners to stay connected with their audience and drive sales, but it can be overwhelming at first. Here are my top 7 tips to master Facebook advertising:

  1. Choose your ad type. There are several types of ads to choose from, and it’s important to choose the one that matches your ad goals. The most effective ad types are:
    • Event promotion – helps to increase event attendance or sell online tickets.
    • Special offers – promotes a specific special your company is offering and allows customers to actually claim that offer through Facebook.
    • Promote your page – this is the most common ad placed and will generate page likes for your business Facebook page. On average, page likes will cost $1-$2 each.
  2. Grab some attention. When placing ads on Facebook, you have the opportunity to upload an eye-catching image to draw in your audience. Your Facebook ad should be designed to 1200×628 pixels in size and must contain less than 20% text relative to the overall image size. Make sure to keep your ads short, sweet, and visual.
  3. Decide on who to target. You can build and target an audience who you want to see the ad with the tools Facebook provides. You are allowed to target Facebook users by location, age, interests, and much more! Facebook targeted allows you to really reach your designed audience, but keep in mind that the more specific your audience, the more costly your Facebook ad may be.
  4. Boost that post. Another very effective type of Facebook advertising is a boosted post. This is great to promote content on your Facebook page that you want more people to see. Pick the post you want to boost and target your audience with Facebook’s tools or use a custom audience (see tip 6); or you can simply boost to your fans and friends of fans. Extra tip – 4b: When boosting your post, you should see an increase in likes of that post. If you click on those likes, you can invite anyone that hasn’t previously liked your page to now like it. This is a little known great way to increase page likes!
  5. “Stalk” your website visitors – Remember the story about my online shopping experience? Well you can use this to your advantage as well! Facebook provides a tracking code called Pixels to tag anyone who visits your website. Pixels can be accessed through the Facebook Ads Manager of your business page. Once the tracking code is installed, you can then run Facebook ads to specifically target those visitors.
  6. Create a custom audience. Custom audiences are key to targeting Facebook ads. There are two primary ways to build a custom audience.
    • From an email list – you can upload a list from Mailchimp, Constant Contact or other email provider and run ads specifically to people found on that list.
    • From your website – using pixels (tip 5) you can build a custom audience of website visitors and target anyone who has visited your website or specific pages on your website.
  7. Create a lookalike audience. Once you build a great custom audience, how do you expand that reach to other similar Facebook users? That’s where the Facebook “lookalike audience” feature comes in. This allows you to target ads to people with similar characteristics to your custom audience.

If it’s your first time using Facebook Ads, this very well might seem overwhelming! If managed properly, Facebook Ads can be an extremely useful to small businesses; I’ve found it’s been beneficial for several of my clients and I’m sure it can help your business as well.

Oh, and the next time you feel like someone or something is watching your every move on the Internet, they are! But it’s for good reason. And I was going to buy that summer outfit anyway (but the ad on Facebook may have helped).