We’ve talked 'til we’re blue in the face about the importance of social media, and for good reason. Where else do you have more potential to grow your event? Up until now, we've pretty much stuck to organic social media efforts, but that's still leaving a whole lot of opportunity on the table. Facebook ads in particular can be a highly effective way to target a larger audience via social media and grow your registration numbers.
Unless you are some sort of secret Facebook ninja on the side, you may be at a loss for how to get started. No worries, we've got you covered.
Welcome to A Guide To Facebook Ads For Races: Part 1.
How Do I Target The Right People On Facebook?
So, depending on the end game for your Facebook ads, there are a few different ways to find the Facebook-ians you want to target.
To Drive Race Registrations
If your sole purpose in running Facebook ads is to drive traffic to your online race registration page, then a great way to do it is to target people who have already liked your page.
Now, you might be thinking “Why do I need to run an ad if they like my page? Why can’t I just post it to my audience?” Unfortunately, the hoodie-wearing geniuses over at Facebook realized that they were missing out on our hard earned dollars by allowing us to communicate with our audiences whenever we want (how dare we!), so they’ve made it about a zillion times harder (and by a zillion times harder, I mean damn near impossible) to get our messaging to our athletes unless we pay for it.
But lucky for us, running a Facebook ad campaign to your followers is pretty cheap. And since your followers are “warm traffic” and you know they’re already bananas for you and your race, running ads to get them to register for your event will have a HUGE ROI.
To Get “Likes”
If you’re running a “Like” campaign (meaning that you’re trying to get new people to like your page), then a solid strategy is to target competitor audiences. Because if people like your direct competitor, they should totally like you, too. You know, since you’re better and more awesome all around.
Now, keep in mind if you want the best results you can’t just target every race that ever existed on the planet. Because someone who’s all about them Ironmans isn’t necessarily going to be super jazzed about your 5k fun run. You’re going to want to look for another race that’s on the same level as you (so similar branding, similar locations and/or similar athletes) and then go after their audiences like a marathon finisher goes after those free bagels at the finish line.
If you want to take it a step further, you can use Facebook’s Audience Insight Tool. The Audience Insight Tool is awesome for expanding your reach. So say you know that the athletes that you’re going after all like Race Number 1. You can type Race Number 1 into the Audience Insight Tool, and Facebook will spit out other races/pages that the audience of Race Number 1 likes. You also get all sorts of awesome data like demographic breakdown, location and purchase habits (kerching!).
How Do I Choose Images For My Ad?
I have a confession to make. I’m graphically challenged. Seriously, I couldn’t create an attractive graphic if the future of the free world depended on it (however, if the future of the free world depended on me taking down some zombies, I’d be all good).
And if you are graphically challenged, you need to pay attention. Because choosing the right image for your Facebook ad can mean the difference between having so many athletes trying to sign up for your race at once that your race registration website dang near breaks down OR investing some serious dinero into your ads and not seeing one new race registration come through your doors.
So for the graphically challenged among us, here are some tips for choosing images for your ad:
Dare To Be Different
The last thing that you want to do is use the same stock image of an athlete running into the sunset that every other race in the universe is using. If you want to stand out, you’ve got to dare to be different.
Choose The Right Colors
You want your ad to visually pop. Use contrasting colors that make a statement.
...Or Use No Colors At All
Another option is to use no color: sometimes a lack of color is the biggest statement of all. Because Facebook is beyond saturated with images and content, sometimes using a white background can actually help you differentiate yourself from you brightly colored neighbors.
Use The 20% Rule
Apparently, Facebook is all about proportion. If you’re including text in your image, Facebook will only give you the go ahead if your text takes up 20% or less of your total image space. So trying to fit all of your race details on your image? Yea, that’s a no-go.
Also, make sure you size your images correctly - 1200 by 628 pixels and you’re good to go.
So that’s it for A Guide To Facebook Ads For Races: Part 1. Coming soon: how to write great ad copy, why you need to split test to get the most bang for your buck and how much you should budget for your campaigns. (I realize that sentence read like a bad radio outro, but cut me some slack. I’m teaching you about Facebook ads.)