Facebook advertising has evolved from a basic concept to a complex form of content promotion that requires strategic thinking on how to target specific audiences to increase page growth, sales, site traffic, and overall brand awareness.

There have been several developments in the world of Facebook advertising. Starting in 2009, Facebook launched its own cost per click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPM) self-serve platform which enabled page owners to promote their brands on Facebook. The self-serve ad service made it possible for businesses to promote their brand by leveraging data that lived on Facebook such as demographic, location and interests. These parameters assisted advertisers in creating a strong targeting campaign that attracted relevant users to follow their brand. Following the launch of the self-serve platform, Facebook implemented engagement components and promoted page posts in early 2011 that enabled an advertiser to not only advertise on the side rails of Facebook but to also take advantage of promoting their brand and content directly in a user’s news feed. These types of ads, referred to as Social ads due to the engagement functionality, would display which pages your friends liked as a form of “social recommendation”.

As the social network giant continues to try and court advertisers they continue to create new methods to promote content and target relevant audiences on Facebook. From their humble CPC origins, their wide variety of advertising opportunities now require a keen understanding of each type and what they can do to help a business achieve their marketing goals. Here is an overview of the popular ad options currently integrated into Facebook advertising:

  • Right Sidebar Ads – These ads live on the sidebar of Facebook and consist of text and eye-catching images to drive traffic to fanpages and websites.
  • Promoted Posts – A post created, edited, and advertised by a page administrator. Promoting your page posts gives your content a boost in newsfeed exposure and has a greater potential to reach out to fans and non-fans of your page.
  • Sponsored Stories – These ads work in tandem with the Right Sidebar Ads and show social interaction in the form of an advertisement. Choices of content to advertise with this include when a page a reader likes posts something new or when a user’s friend likes an individual post.
  • Offers – These ads allow page administrators to create and promote coupon-like offers that Facebook users can redeem either online or in-store.
  • Mobile Advertising – Options for these ads include selecting sponsored stories to appear in a user’s mobile news feed and mobile app ads that prompts a user to install an app to their mobile device.
By knowing where the current and potential audience is, and understanding how each of these ads can impact that audience, businesses and websites can create a comprehensive advertising plan to maximize their online dollar spend and return on that investment.