The world of Facebook ads is very complex compared to running Google AdWords or Bing Ads. While those platforms relatively narrow set of targeting options, it can still be daunting to learn how to set up an effective Google AdWords campaigns. For Facebook Ads, that learning curve is even steeper.
Today, I’d like to break down how you can navigate the world of Facebook Ad targeting options and show you the most common ones that’ll work well for your vacation rental website. Working with Facebook Ads for the past three years, I’ve used budgets from $100/month to $10,000/month to drive effective ad results.
Note: the screenshots below are using business.facebook.com, a tool for managing your Facebook pages and ads for multiple pages. While anyone can use the tool (it’s free), it’s not needed to manage ads.
Getting Started – Campaign Objective Options
Right from the start, Facebook starts to present a lot of options for you to choose from when getting started.
I’ll explain my five most-used ones and how each could benefit your vacation rental website.
Clicks To Website
The easiest, simplest way to start to get more traffic to your vacation rental website is with Clicks To Website. This assumes that you looking to generate traffic from those clicking on your Facebook Ads over to a website that you host and control. While it is technically possible to send traffic to your VRBO/HomeAway/Flipkey listing page, it’s not something I would recommend as you have no true way of tracking the results of that campaign after the guest has clicked the ad.
Getting started with getting more traffic to the website is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve created your objective, you’ll need to set your targeting options (keep reading — covering those soon).
While not used too much, I have had some success with this Facebook Ad style with new vacation rental companies. Getting more likes on your page from those who are local to your vacation rental destination is helpful as you post content in the future. For targeting options, I’d target those who are interested in travel who live in your destination area.
If you’re looking to grow your page, getting more Likes is key ?. When reviewing how each organic post will do on your page, the number of engaged high-quality likes is going to help you reach more of your guests. Targeting options that work well here are custom audiences as well as website visitors.
Page Post Engagement
If you’ve posted a great deal or special on your Facebook page, then you may want to consider promoting that with Facebook Ads. Looking at the average promotional post, it’s not going to get much reach without a strategy to promote it with Facebook Ads. You can promote an existing Facebook post or create a brand-new post to promote. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that you may need to make sure that less than 20% of your image on the Facebook post is text — the most common reason of why Facebook Ads get disapproved.
Lastly, the most advanced, this requires that you have setup Facebook Ad conversion tracking
Understanding Targeting Options
Once you understand the basics about the campaign types in Facebook, you’ll need to get a handle on how to target your ads. In theory, there are a near-unlimited number of Facebook targeting options. To not overwhelm, I’ll share the most common targeting options that you can use to get more traffic and traction with your Facebook marketing presence. If you want specific campaign ideas, feel free to check out this guide I wrote about Facebook Ad Campaign Ideas for Vacation Rental Marketers.
The most common way you may want to target ads on Facebook is to past guests. You can use their email address or phone number (there are other options, but not relevant to VR) and target your ads to them with a Facebook Custom Audience. Due to how Custom Audiences work, you can segment your past guest list however you wish. You could only target ads to those who stayed for 7+ nights and spent an average of $500/night and show those guests a different ad than guests who stayed for 2 nights and spent $100/night. The more data you collect about each guest with your property management system and the more creative you’d like to be with exporting that information, the more detailed and effective you can make Facebook Ads work for you.
After past guests, website visitors are typically the next-easiest way to target potential guests who you’d like to book. If a potential guest has been on your website in the past 14 to 30 days, there’s a good chance they’re planning a vacation to your destination sometime soon — why not advertise to them? Getting website visitors to see your ad is easier than it used to be – just install the Facebook Pixel into your website’s code on every page (typically through a common file like the footer) and wait for Facebook to collect eligible users that you can show your ads to.
Again, like our example above with guest emails, you can slice up your website visitors and only target ads to those who went to the check out page, visited the search results of your website or looked at specific homes or villas.
Last, but not least is targeting inquiries. Now, targeting inquiries is vastly different in terms of strategy than targeting past guests. You’re trying to convince them that you’re proving to be best option – the guest has not chosen you yet. Typically, you’ll want to target leads that haven’t gone cold yet. Depending on your booking cycle, that could range anywhere from 7-10 days all the way to 3-5 months. Different areas will have different research windows, so know your market and adjust as needed.
Get Going With Facebook Ads
Now that you’ve got a good handle on the next steps, you can get Facebook Ads up and running for your vacation rental business. Get started with a simple $5/day budget on your website visitors sending them back to your vacation rental website and then go from there! Test, track your ad performance with Google Analytics and Facebook Ad Pixels and then learn how to best advertise to your guests. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach on Twitter.