<< Part 3. Nuts and Bolts


  • The total cost of “The 12 Days of Giving” for Spaah! was $281.21.
  • A targeted Facebook ad campaign helped increase participation among the key market of female IU students.
  • The ad, plus a Sponsored Story, ran the duration of the giveaway.

Costs. The main cost for “The 12 Days of Giving” was the gift certificate prizes. Though they totaled $400, Donna reports they cost Spaah! about 55% of the face value when redeemed, so that’s $220. They were mostly emailed to winners, so the delivery cost was negligible. We spent $12 to ensure winners saw the notification messages. Finally, we ran a Facebook ad campaign with a budget of $50, but only used up $49.21. Thus, other than my marketing consulting services, the total cost of the giveaway was $281.21.

Facebook ads. Remember how I mentioned the main strategy for Spaah! and its target market of female IU students? This is where that comes into play. A Facebook ad campaign helped increase participation among this audience in “The 12 Days of Giving.” Creating a Facebook ad is simple. Start here, and don’t forget to follow Facebook’s advertising guidelines.

  1. Select your goal (in Spaah!’s case, it was to increase page likes) and your Facebook page.
  2. On the next page, upload your ad photo(s). Facebook lets you choose up to six, which I highly recommend you do since it’s free and gives you more information on which photos drive the highest click through rate (CTR) and number of likes. In my case, I knew from previous ad campaigns that an image of Spaah!’s logo outperformed other options, so that is the only image I chose.
  3. Write your ad headline, which must be 25 characters or fewer. I went with “12 Days of Gift Cards”.
  4. adWrite your ad text, which must be 90 characters or fewer. I wrote “Win a gift
    certificate to Spaah! Voted Bloomington’s best day spa 7 years in a row.” The first sentence attracts ad viewers to click, while the second had performed well in past ads since it gives credibility.
  5. In the Sponsored Stories section right below the ad text, make sure the box is checked. This will create an additional version of your ad that features users’ Facebook friends sponsoredabout them engaging with your business page. In my experience, these ads have higher CTRs than standard ads because people trust their friends.
  6. Next, choose your audience. Facebook has an array of options. Use targeting to your advantage but don’t narrow down the pool too much. Spaah!’s potential audience with the following specifications was 6,600 people:
      • Live in United States
      • Age exactly 18 and older
      • Female
      • Currently In college
      • Studying or studied at Indiana University
      • Not already connected to Spaah! (so we wouldn’t spent money advertising to Spaah!’s current Facebook fans)

    Note: I did not choose “Live in Bloomington” since college students don’t always change their place of residence to their college town. Doing this would have excluded 2,000 people.

  7. Name your campaign
  8. Choose a budget. I chose a lifetime budget of $50.
  9. If relevant, choose start and/or end dates. I got the ads up and running on December 7th, two days after the giveaway officially started, so I did not choose a start date but  did choose an end date of 3:00 pm on the last day of the contest, December 16th.
  10. In the final Bidding and Pricing section, you probably want to choose “Bidding for Page Likes.”
  11. Click “Place Order.” If this is your first ad, I can’t quite remember when Facebook prompts you for your payment method, but you can edit that here.

Facebook will then approve or disapprove your ad within a few hours. Sometimes it’s within a matter of minutes. From Facebook’s Ad Manager, which you should see after placing an ad order, you can click on an ad and then “Create a Similar Ad” to create other ad headlines and text combinations to see what gets the best results, like how you can try different photos. I recommend trying a lot of combinations; the results might surprise you and defy your assumptions!

Key Takeaways

  • Use Facebook ads to reach your target market and thus help achieve your goals.
  • Try many photo/headline/text combinations of Facebook ads to see which drive the best CTR and number of likes.
  • Use Sponsored Stories to drive more ad engagement.
  • Use Facebook’s audience targeting tools to reach your targeted audience, but don’t shrink the pool too much. Err on the side of being more inclusive.

Part 5. Results >>

A Facebook Contest Playbook. Part 4: Costs
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