Published: September 21, 2017

Facebook Advertising Primer for Financial Institutions

people on laptop mobile phone


Facebook advertising is a cost-effective way to reach out to your customers and potential customers where they live. It may be especially attractive to the financial industry. Here's why:

Even though financial advertisers have the highest cost-per-click (CPC) rates on Facebook at $3.77 per click, you might still be quite satisfied with that number. Why? The three most expensive keywords on Google are the terms “Insurance,” “Loans,” and “Mortgage” — each costing about $50 per click. Let's do the math: Would you rather pay $3.77 for a click on Facebook, or $50 for a click on Google?

average cost per click on facebook

source: WordStream 

What Will Facebook Do For You?

The number one advantage of using Facebook ads is the opportunity for detailed targeting and personalizing. Facebook requires a great deal of data from every person who sets up an account—location, age, and interests are just some of the things people willingly put in their profile that can be helpful to advertisers. Additionally, Facebook aggregates all sorts of other data such as net worth, income, home buying plans and other financial information that your bank or credit union can use for targeting.

All of this data makes it easy for Facebook to target ads that will seamlessly mesh with their users' profiles. So if, for example, you're a man in your 40's who loves to deep-sea dive and cook gourmet meals, you might see ads for beach resorts, subscription meal services, and men's clothing in your sidebar. As these are things that interest you, it's more likely that you'll click on these than you would on, say, an ad for a ladies' athletic wear.

Facebook ads aren't disruptive. Unlike the social ad platform on YouTube, your Facebook experience isn't interrupted by an obnoxious ad that you can't click away from until the mandated fifteen seconds. This makes it more likely that you'll click if you find it interesting, because it feels less like an ad and part of the natural Facebook experience.

This may be obvious, but before you get started you must already have a Facebook Page for your bank or credit union. Next, there are many types of Facebook Ads to choose from and it seems like Facebook the ad formats every single day. With that in mind we're going to give you the basic getting started guidelines and best practices, rather than a step-by-step "how to." 

Choose Your Marketing Goal

In any marketing endeavor, no matter what tactic, you should have a clear idea of what you're trying to accomplish with the tactic. Facebook starts here, too, and gives you a menu of marketing objective options to choose from:

facebook ad marketing goal


Choose Your Audience

Who are you creating this ad for? This should be one of your first steps when planning any sort of marketing piece. With Facebook ads, you have several options here:

Core Audience: you can choose an audience based on a set of demographics like age, location, interests, and behaviors (what device do they use, what have they purchased).

Custom Audience: this option lets you upload a list or use a list you've cultivated through retargeting efforts or who use your mobile app.

Lookalike Audience: you can use your customer information to find people who are similar to them on Facebook.

Not sure where to start? Check out your page's audience insights area to find out more information about who likes your page and is interacting with your page.

Choose Your Budget

Even if you have a small advertising budget, you can still get started. You set your budget limits, so you only spend as much as your budget allows and no more. The ads work like an auction and the cost associated with your ad being shown to someone is determined by the auction.

How do you determine your budget for Facebook Ads? There are a couple of ways you can do it. 1) Daily budget or 2) Lifetime budget (along with your budget cap). 

For most ads you'll also have a minimum range that you have to spend per day, otherwise your ad will not get shown. There are many factors that will determine how many people see or click on your ad—your budget, the type of bidding you choose, your audience (broad or narrow), etc.

Creating Your First Ad

You can create your first ad a couple of different ways. If you simply want to Boost a Post (something you've already posted to your Facebook Page), then go to your Page and click Boost Post. Facebook will also give Page Admins notifications that a particular post is performing well and will give you the option to Boost the post. This is a good way for beginners to start experimenting with paid social media posts.

Or, you can try out Ad Creation through the Ads Manager. This starts you at the Pick a Marketing Objective wizard and guides you through the ad creation process. You get more options and control this way.

As of publishing time for this post, you can now run ads on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network through Ads Manager.

Note: we recommend setting up the Facebook Business Manager to manage your campaigns. We'll cover that another day.

Examples of Ad Formats

The current options for choosing the format for your ad are:

Text only: This is more of an option for a boosted post. If you go to Facebook Ads and click on Ad Formats, it doesn't even mention the text only option.

Photo: A photo post is practically the most basic kind of ad you can run now. You can also post this photo ad on Instagram.

Video: Facebook is all about Video right now. According to their analysis, over the last year on a global scale, daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts has quadrupled and time spent watching video on Instagram has increased by 80%. And this growth seems likely to continue: 45% of people surveyed in the US and Canada told us they expect to consume even more video on their smartphones in the future, and Cisco predicts that by 2020, over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video. Just as a test, I spent two days looking for ads and boosted posts on my Facebook feed, and at least 80% of the ads I saw featured video content.

Carousel: Facebook claims that Carousel ads perform better because they're bigger, they're interactive, and they're flexible. You have more space to tell your financial institution's story, not just one product or promotion. Users can swipe through a carousel of images or videos on "cards" to see more. This works great for showing multiple banking products, telling your brand story in a visually narrative way, or for explaining a complex process.

Slideshow: We know that video takes time and resources to create. If you can't spend on video, you can still use the power of video with a Slideshow—a video-like experience that uses your own images, stock photos, sound and text to tell your story. The slideshow tools make it easy to put a creative ad together in just a few minutes. One creative way to use Slideshow ads is to test your content to see what resonates with your audience. Then, spend the time and resources to create video for the most successful message/content.

Collection: This ad type seems to be used more by retailers and e-commerce to display products and encourage online shopping via Facebook. Buying behavior is changing. People spend more time learning about products, researching companies, and comparing/evaluating before they ever get to your website. They expect fast-loading, seamless experiences on their phones—and Facebook is actually penalizing ads/Pages that link to slower-loading websites. Collection is one of their solutions to this problem (while keeping users spending more time on Facebook and less time clicking away). You can create one ad that makes it easier for consumers to discover, browse, purchase products or take advantage of offers without clicking off of Facebook. You can browse different styles of Collections here for a better idea of how they work. 



Objective Based Ad Types

Lead ads: These types of ads are designed to capture leads! The benefit of using lead ads are that you reach the right people and get higher quality leads. The forms do a lot of the heavy lifting for you and boost conversion rates because Facebook can fill in a lot of the blanks and the user feels very little friction.

Dynamic ads: Facebook dynamic ads automatically promote products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app or elsewhere on the internet. Simply upload your product catalog and set up your campaign one time, and it will continue working for you.

Link ads: Like the name suggests, these ads link to your website, a landing page, an event registration page—wherever you want the user to go. Get more clicks and visits with link ads.

creative hub cpm mockup


Creativity Is Key

If you're feeling overwhelmed with all of your options, take a moment to experiment. Your virtual playground is in Creative Hub, where you can preview existing ads, see what works for others in your industry, and even mock up your own ads and preview them on different devices.

creative hub mock up facebook ads


Facebook's virtual buffet of ad options means that the ad that's right for you is in there somewhere—dig in, and find the ad that will best suit your needs.

Do you have questions, or need some help determining which ad option is best for you? Get in touch with us.