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The world of Facebook is booming, and consumers are engaging brands via its platform more than ever.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Facebook Ads

Phillip Reinhardt

Despite plenty of digital marketing shifts in recent years, Facebook is still going strong. There are currently over six million advertisers making headway on the platform—which, itself, is a notable increase from Facebook’s four million user audience of advertisers in 2016.

Supply and demand reign supreme for any modern marketer looking to get ahead—and 2020 is expected to impact both. While larger businesses recreate their digital strategies to accommodate for the platform’s lifetime value, several new openings are expected to emerge for an ever-growing population of Facebook-savvy business professionals: entrepreneurs.

The Social Media Face of Startups and Solo Professionals

In 2020, any entrepreneur who’s resourceful enough can utilize Facebook ads to rapidly grow their consumer-base. Today, approximately 1.6 billion Facebook users are connected with the platform’s small business profiles.

But what’s the opportunity cost of sinking precious resources into social media data marketing for the solo-flying professional? The cost of Facebook advertising in 2020 is still foggy, as plenty of variables constantly impact the platform’s marketing potential. Ranging from as little as 50 cents per click to $10, instances of Facebook ad engagement are unwieldy, at best, in the entrepreneur’s eyes of scrutiny.

Whether you’re a startup enthusiast, a small business operator or even a budding entrepreneur yourself, a little knowledge about Facebook’s advertising opportunities goes a long way. Any proposed average of potential income gain Facebook advertisement should be in the back of the entrepreneur’s mind—at least for now. Remember: They’re an unreliable statistic.

Facebook’s Ad System in 2020

They’re largely unreliable because Facebook advertisements work as an auction-based system. If Facebook blasted consumers with daily ads, there wouldn’t be much of an audience left to make Facebook ads profitable for anyone. As such, Facebook does limit the number of advertisements daily users see–which scares off many fledgling entrepreneurs who were already a little turned off by the platform’s alleged downline from a digital marketing haven to an oversaturated business networking portal.

Despite the rumors, however, 62 percent of marketers still consider Facebook to be invaluable to their strategy. What’s more: The platform recently surpassed LinkedIn as the most popular B2B marketing portal. 43 percent of marketing professionals surveyed by the Social Media Marketing Industry Report selected it as their preferred advertising platform.

Due to Facebook’s B2B popularity and its inherent auction-based design, there’s only so much advertising space to go around. One can’t simply sign up and purchase digital real estate on Facebook for advertisement. They need to bid against other marketers, many of which are entrepreneurs, for ad placement.

Creating a Firm Foundation: Industry Data

Facebook's data tools are readily available, but they'll quickly become invaluable resources for entrepreneurs in 2020.

To get started on an effective Facebook ad campaign, an entrepreneur can sidestep the early pitfalls which take a lot of enthusiastic digital marketers out of the game. Facebook might be packed with businesses, but it’s not collapsing under its own weight.

It’s still one of the fastest-growing networks—hosting an advertiser population that has doubled within the last two years. If you’re one of the two million ad-campaigners who’ve kicked off a strategy on Facebook recently, you probably know how overwhelming the process can be.

Fortunately, you still have options. They’re readily available, yes, but they still hold plenty of value–especially for new entrepreneurs who’re a little strapped for cash. Facebook has several Facebook ad targeting options, half of which are expected to be especially effective in 2020. As for the other half: There’s something to be said for legacy approaches to bolster a growing strategy’s bottom line.

The First Step: Browse Industry Benchmarks

Similar to Google Ads, Facebook’s ad targeting tools have varying success for different marketers. Campaign performance simply differs across its many hosted industries. To get a firm grasp on your own industry’s advertising potential, you should take a close look at several benchmarks in your industry:

-Average cost per click 

-Average cost per user action

-Average click-through rate

-Average conversion rate

While these benchmarks are standard, they shouldn’t be passed up as layperson’s tools—as they’ll be anything but in 2020. This will be the year of valuable Facebook data which rules via an emergent law of averages. In recent years, Facebook has catered to advertisers across eighteen industries. It’s become a useful resource of relevant industry outlooks, sure, but it’s also become an excellent tool for examining relative growth and scale.

Baseline Facebook Ad Performance

Retail advertisers are a solid go-to example of relative baselines. They average a 1.59 percent clickthrough rate during any given ad campaign run. Apparel nets an approximate 1.24 percent, and fitness gets roughly 1.01 percent of annual clickthrough. The average click-through rate of Facebook ads, specifically, is about one percent.

So, what about the price of admission? Can prospective business professionals gain reliable insight into ad expenses? In general, yes. The cheapest Facebook clicks tend to be related to apparel at 45 cents per click. As for other industries, average click costs remain well below a single dollar. Because 2019 was a big year for startups, we have fresh insight into the DNA dictating the cost-per-click price structure: A lot of industries have cheap click costs, and they’re cheap because they’re run by businesses who’ve amassed plenty of consumers.

This means niche startup entrepreneurs can expect a tough time, getting off the ground. The average cost-per-click of Facebook ads is about $1.72.

The Second Step: Adopt a Mobile Approach

In 2020, digital marketers prioritizing Facebook will need a mobile-first advertising framework to succeed. Mark Zuckerberg recently stated that 90 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile. Considering the link between Facebook and Instagram app portals, it’s easy to spot only one element of a deeply complex meshwork of viable adspace.

Mobile-first ad strategy frameworks will benefit greatly from image size standardizations making headway in 2020. These standardizations will be active across all industries–covering every ad placed on Facebook. At a 5:4 size ratio, the images impacting most marketers are perfectly sized for smartphones, tablets and desktops alike.

Needless to say, advertisers who’re quick to embrace this change will be ahead of an impending tidal wave of digital marketing noise. In 2020, Facebook speculates that more people will have mobile devices than running water in their homes. Despite the sheer consumer mass opening new doors to new strategies, a pitfall exists which will probably swallow up unsuspecting entrepreneurs. Fortunately, it’s a pitfall you can avoid while employing an ad campaign as an entrepreneur.

The Third Step: Avoid Automated Customer Service

Facebook, yet again, has valuable advertisement insight to offer. 85 percent of customer interactions, in 2020, will be managed without human beings. Chatbots aren’t unfamiliar to frequent Facebook users, and Facebook isn’t the only big player in automated customer service. Google provides plenty of resources to help brands optimize their consumer interactions, and Amazon—ever tech-savvy—has upped its automated assistance services as well.

Referencing the digital marketing ‘noise’ from above, the presence of chatbots alongside tech-savvy entrepreneurs has created a competitive industry standard for online engagement. While approximately 37 percent of online users state they’d readily embrace chatbots as responsive emergency service providers, only 13 percent consider them useful for buying heavy price-tag items online–as well as emerging products provided from fledgling brands.

In 2020, artificial technology is expected to make bots much smarter. They’ll engage users with higher quality, fulfill requests with higher degrees of accuracy and make recommendations that are more relevant than ever. Advertisers have always needed to meet consumers when they’re most active—as well as where they’re most active, too.

About 800 million smartphone users are expected to use mobile messaging services as their primary communications channel by the end of 2020. This said, it still pays off to maintain a healthy consumer relationship grounded in non-automated engagement. Facebook Messenger was the most popular mobile messaging app in 2019, hosting over 105 million users per month. At the same time, the number of bots introduced to Facebook Messenger between 2017 and 2018 tripled in size.

A 2020 Forecast for Facebook Advertisers

Facebook remains a highly effective marketing channel for entrepreneurs and fledgling startups growing through ad opportunities.

Facebook’s growth is anchored in its presence across the Internet—a presence that stands toe-to-toe with Google, in some cases. Even if some marketers worry about the platform’s potential decline in user activity, Facebook’s growth is still projected to increase despite a slight decrease in US digital ad revenue. So, where does your brand stand? Facebook might be a power-packed platform for hearty brands who’ve already made their mark, but solo operators and startup enthusiasts can still benefit from its incredible ad placement and analytics tools.

If you’re weighing your options, consider taking the leap into Facebook’s plentiful, must-have resources for healthy business growth and scale. Plenty of other fresh brands have come of age due to Facebook’s healthy supply of communication and data options—and yours could be next.