Share |

« Back to NoveList Blog Home

Facebook Ads: How to Attract the Right Audience

Post by Danielle Borasky
Posted May 29, 2013 in

NoveList SpotLight Image

Facebook offers a number of options for targeted ads or sponsored stories as a way to increase followers and engagement on your library's Facebook page. Sounds great, right? Except there are few things you need to do to be sure that you are reaching the right audience.

Here are a few tips for crafting Facebook ads that reach the right people -- those people who want to engage with your library.

Note: If you aren’t familiar with Facebook advertising, you might want to start by reading this overview of the different kinds of Facebook advertisements and options available. Another great overview for libraries is this one on using Facebook to attract patrons to your digital collections.

1. Choose the right kind of ad

There are a few different kinds of advertising options on Facebook. Two of the main options are sponsored stories (these are the ones that typically appear in your news feed saying “Jane Smith likes Brand X”), and ads (these are straight-up ads that typically appear to the side of the screen and include a small image and text). Choose carefully because ads sometimes end up annoying people rather than attracting them. In particular, some Facebook users complain about sponsored stories because they appear in users' news feeds. If you think that your audience might consider these an unwanted intrusion into their Facebook experience, then try focusing instead on ads. Note that when you create an ad, you have to *intentionally remove* sponsored stories from your purchase. Look for the small “remove” link next to Sponsored Stories.

2. Choose a compelling visual image

When you design your Facebook ad, consider using something other than your logo image -- unless you happen to have a truly amazing logo that looks good at a small size (100 pixels wide by 72 pixels tall) AND conveys exactly the message that your ad needs to convey. Think about what will catch a users’ eye (images of people, surprising or funny images, etc.). Look for bold, bright colors and simple images. Avoid detailed images with lots of text. Also avoid choosing a completely unrelated image (even it’s funny and eye-catching) – you want people to click because they are interested in YOU not because they saw a crazy image. Want to get see what others are doing? Check out the Facebook Adboard.

3. Select basic options for targeting

After you design your ad, there are several ways to target Facebook ads to the right audience. You can choose from user demographics (age, gender, geographic location, educational background, etc.), user interests (topics/groups the user has liked or mentioned), and user connections (“friends of your friends”, and more). This is a really powerful tool, but don't get too complicated. Want to target parents for your upcoming summer reading program? Choose options for adults in your zip code who are parents of young children.

4. Test a few different options

Facebook allows you to create several versions of ads and run them at the same time, so take advantage of this. Try the same image with different text. Or the same ad targeted to different audiences. Do your own little A-B test and see which ad performs better. Then delete the ones that don't perform well and keep the ones that do.

All the tips above assume that you know your audience. With Facebook, as with any marketing or communications effort, it’s key to know who your audience is and what they will respond to. Base your decisions on that knowledge and you’ll be off to a great start.


Danielle is the Marketing Coordinator at NoveList, and spends her days thinking of ways to impart the awesomeness of NoveList to others. Since joining the NoveList staff, she reads more than ever before, especially YA fiction.