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Reaching new heights: how Facebook drives results for businesses

You know Facebook as the platform that is creating a more open and interconnected world by providing people the power to consume, produce, and share media on a mass scale. But what about the side of Facebook that has transformed the way businesses connect with customers?  With over 1.86 billion monthly active users (as of Q4 2016), and a strong suite of apps and services, Facebook Advertising is providing small and medium-sized businesses with the largest and most cost-effective advertising opportunity since paid search.

Digital advertising, a necessary outlet for companies looking to generate leads, is best optimized via Facebook’s people-targeted platform that enables businesses to build presence, create awareness, drive discovery, generate leads, boost sales, and earn loyalty.

Undoubtedly, you’ve encountered ads on Facebook and Instagram similar to these:

However, beyond the FB-Insta ecosystem, Facebook offers businesses Audience Network — an advertising mechanism that enables brands to extend their ad campaigns to other sites while using the same target data (@aecharl describes this third-party targeting in her post). Not only does Audience Network allow businesses to follow the user around the web, but it also solves the issue of ad fatigue on the Facebook News Feed.

So how does it all come together?

Facebook’s ad auction is the real-time bidding platform designed to show ads based on users’ individual browser and behavior data. Businesses choose their target audience (say, women between the ages of 25-32 living within a 10 mile radius of Boston, MA) and then the system selects the best ads to run based on the ads’ maximum bids and ad performance making them relevant and effective.

Geotarget FB Women Boston.png

What sets Facebook apart from other digital marketing platforms?

1. Remarkably Specific Targeting Capabilities

The way in which Facebook can hyper-target users is unlike any other player in the space. Whether it be gender, age, geography, marital status, languages, education, politics, or interests, companies can optimize their advertising campaigns to the most relevant audience. 

list of fb demographics.png

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Just about anything a user puts into their profile can be used as a filter for ads. For instance, if a business wants to market specifically to 23-year-old, spanish-speaking, single women who live in Boston, graduated Boston College, work in healthcare, vote Democrat, and love the movie
Godfather, they can! The Audience Details ensure they are reaching exactly who they intend.

And Facebook will help find that sweet spot for potential reach:

Facebook Broad Audience.png

Following an ad campaign, Facebook offers an easy solution to finding new qualified leads. Once a business finds an audience segment that converts at a rate in line with their ROI goals, they can use the “lookalike audiences” feature in which Facebook leverages that custom audience definition to find new users that have similar attributes through friendship connections, Facebook page likes, and install data from mobile apps. This process removes the guesswork that other platforms rely on for user acquisition.

2. Sophisticated tracking across devices and channels.

Facebook further sets itself apart from other advertisers with its suite of products including Ads Manager, Power Editor, and Ads Insights that bases metrics on the actions of real people, not simply cookie tracking. By having access to tracking metrics (such as impressions, likes, shares, and Click Through Rate, among others) along with an easily digestible interface, businesses can identify if an ad is underperforming, and use that data to modify content in real-time. The FB team also offers split testing for multiple ads to assess which ads will get the best results.

Ultimately, data analysis is the key part to any optimization exercise, but requires access to meaningful information that Atlas, Facebook’s ad server solution, provides for the cookie-less world of mobile apps. By leveraging anonymous Facebook identity data to correct inaccuracies in cookie tracking, Atlas can connect offline purchases and conversions to digital ads. In addition, Facebook Blueprint gives businesses the opportunity to empower themselves through their training and certification program designed to help advertisers achieve best results on the Facebook platform.

3. Facebook leads the way on the mobile front.

Facebook’s largest competitive advantage is in the mobile advertising space as it is the only platform where businesses can actively target specific individuals rather than hoping to show up in people’s searches or on their devices. Their ability to track user behavior on mobile is enormously powerful considering that (A) about 75% of Facebook user’s access the platform via mobile and (B) 1 in every 5 minutes that people are on a mobile device is spent on Instagram or Facebook. In addition, Facebook designs mobile ads so that they appear naturally within users’ newsfeed through:

(1) Mobile Sponsored Stories that highlight friends who liked or interacted with a brand

(2) Mobile Page ads that transform brand posts into a Call-to-Action

(3) Mobile app install ads that lead to downloads

4. Affordability

To advertise with Facebook Ads requires a minimum spend of only $1 per day. Plus it is money well spent as Facebook has the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions in history. As of 2014, they averaged $0.25 per 1,000 — 1% of what you could expect to pay for TV advertising.

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So, what can Facebook Ads do for our entrepreneurial IS6621 constituents?


aaeaaqaaaaaaaakjaaaajdk1mjm2zgq5ltgymgitngmwmy04mzg5lwu4mty1odg5nzc0mgFor their upcoming launch, EchoMe can leverage Facebook Ads to increase brand awareness, cultivate social exposure and most importantly drive downloads. The native Call-to-Action download ads on Instagram and Facebook are likely to produce the best results for acquiring new users. In addition, event targeting unique to Facebook is a great way for EchoMe to promote future silent disco events. Not only can you get people to join the event (sometimes for as low as $0.15 per user), you can also reach the friends of people who have already confirmed their attendance.

Kate Hoerner Fitness — @StudentKatieHcropped-kateh-logo-3.png

By spending even just $1 a day for a month, with Facebook ads, the site could increase social exposure and reach, as well as capture leads through inbound marketing tactics. Additionally, the list of people who have signed up for Kate Hoerner Fitness can be used to re-target those users with relevant content including fitness tips, recipes, and workouts.

People Over Pixels

Despite the fact that Facebook drives 22 billion ad clicks per year, there continue to be business owners who doubt the power of Facebook Advertising. The reality is that Facebook Advertising is one of the most cost-effective and results-driven ways for small/medium-sized businesses on a strict budget to market their product or service.  If you have any questions about digital marketing or know of any Facebook Ads success stories, feel free to share in the comments!



  1. Thanks for including Kate Hoerner Fitness in your post! I definitely use Facebook Ads and I believe they are hugely important in online business. Like you mentioned, the ability to choose a specific audience is invaluable. I’m able to really narrow down who sees my ads, thus targeting my niche market. I would argue it’s a good way to combine outbound and inbound marketing in one strategy.

  2. isabel_calo1 · ·

    Awesome post! Very well laid out and researched. I honestly always wondered how Facebook ads were so relevant to me sometimes. I understand that if I search something it usually pops up but didn’t realize a company could target their ads so specifically to me. Its good to know that the info I give Facebook can be used by these companies…maybe I should take out some details

  3. This is a great post that captures the basics of Facebook advertising! I started using the advertising platform in 2012, and it has evolved many times over since then, getting better and better with each day. It is truly a powerful platform for businesses, but as more and more of them go online, it is becoming cluttered and expensive as well (which I’m sure Facebook doesn’t mind).

    An interesting fact about Facebook mobile is that it only displays Newsfeed ads due to its layout on the mobile screen – and those are the most expensive ads on Facebook. At the same time, accessing Facebook on mobile ensures you are not distracted by anything other than your Newsfeed and the ads in it – a definite win-win for Facebook.

  4. joeking5445 · ·

    Wow! I did not know that facebook had that many filters to target audiences. While I am on facebook, I do feel like the adds are really tailored to different parts of my life. I was also amazed at how affordable facebook ads are vs. other mediums. This really shows why printed mediums have been struggling. There advertising is less effective than social media platforms. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great post and really eye-opening as far as how much data Facebook has on us and the ways they use it to make money. Also, this is really a great case for the importance of having sophisticated data analytics for businesses these days. It would seem as if there’s no such thing as too much data.

    My wife works for a small business that could definitely use targeted Facebook advertising as a way to connect with their customers better, so I’ll give her the link to this post!

  6. Great post! As someone who works in marketing, Facebook marketing is super important and the tracking makes it super easy. Additionally, Facebook pixels have really contributed to the ability to track and capture leads. The targeting feature is really wonderful, too.

    Great post! I look forward to reading more from you!

  7. terencenixdorf · ·

    This is really cool so thank you for sharing! I never knew how in depth and specific Facebook advertising was. I honestly always assumed that it was based on cookies but this clearly shows otherwise. My older sister actually works in advertising and has to come up with multiple ads per campaign that are showcased on social media. Your post here explains why her team needs to create different versions of the same ad because of how targeted each one needs to be. Also, it was awesome of you to give shoutouts to fellow classmates who could use this in their entrepreneurial hopes.

  8. What a great post. I specifically liked the way you channeled advice to the people who have presented in this class. To me #3 is the one that FB really has gotten right in recently. There was considerable doubt whether they could crack mobile when they went IPO. The story of the switch is really pretty interesting – they realized they backed the wrong horse with mobile and had its engineering staff completely retrain.

  9. zfarkas17 · ·

    This was a great post. I liked how you clearly outlined this post was. I had no idea Facebook ads were so cost affective. I also thought it was cool how you put in some relevant information for some of the past presenters.

  10. Really nice walk-through of the process. I used Facebook ads to promote the auditions for my comedy group at BC and it’s fantastic how with a small budget and a few criteria about the audience, you could really get in touch with a specific group of people. Only problem I ran into was people who might list their location differently (Boston, MA vs Chestnut Hill, MA vs Newton, MA) but overall for the $5-10 we spent, we saw a measurable difference in turnout.

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