Facebook is like that bar all of your friends frequent on Friday nights. You don’t really like the place: It’s noisy, random people strike up conversations, drinks are too expensive, and mundane activity seems to always become a photo opp. It’s hard not to leave the bar without feeling a general sense of dissatisfaction, but you keep returning because it’s where all your friends are hanging out.

This is a common feeling found among both users and advertisers alike. Many users dislike a variety of features, privacy settings, frequent user interface updates, and, of course, the mother of all profile changes: timeline. As of late, the general consensus among advertisers is an overall grumbling discontent. Premium ads are too costly, marketplace ads aren’t effective enough, and no one really understands the point of sponsored stories. Advertisers are sitting there like zoo animals, frustrated that they can’t reach what they really want — the food on the other side of the cage. That food is, of course, Facebook’s massive gold mine of user information. Nope, gotta keep your grubby paws away from that for now.

Although conversions and lead-generation opportunities are definitely possible, Facebook advertising is best used in brand-awareness campaigns. Think about it: When users see ads on their Facebook accounts, they aren’t necessarily at the point of purchase, but they are still easily influenced by and willing to interact with brands.

Just a couple weeks ago, Facebook agreed that clicks don’t matter.

Let’s get real: Whether you like it or not, as an advertiser, you will continue to spend money on Facebook ads, because that’s where all of the eyeballs spend their days. My advice is to quit expending energy ranting on the Internet, and educate yourself on the platform’s options. If you are one of the frustrated masses not seeing desired results from your Facebook spend, then maybe you need a new strategy. Make lemonade out of your dead-end lemon ads by considering focusing more of your Facebook spend on ads that engage and interact with users, instead of instant conversions like your Google counterpart campaigns.

So stop angry blogging, regroup, and follow these seven tangible ways to get the most out of your time on the Facebook ad bandwagon.

Understand Your Own End Game

What exactly do you want from your Facebook ads? Are you looking for conversions, lead generation, brand awareness, or even building a platform for all of your brand minions to sing your praises? Throwing ads up on the sidebar and seeing if they stick isn’t going to work here. Social media has only recently become a respected and serious form of advertising, which means that the trails are still a little rocky. You might need to blaze them for yourself with concrete goals and key performance indicators for both the long and short term.

Develop ROI Goals

Decide how your success will be measured. Is it click-through rate, impressions, number of likes, conversions, sales, or lead-generation information? Set realistic return-on-investment goals that work in tandem with all of your other objectives. Keep in mind that ROI doesn’t necessarily translate into dollar signs right away. Brand-awareness tactics, such as impressions and likes, may not yield revenue right away, but they should considered an investment in the influence of future customers and brand champions.

Recognize Your Ad Options

Facebook actually offers about six major variations on ads; you have options. They are broken out like this:

PREMIUM PRODUCTS

Placement: homepage (right side), news feed

  • Premium ads and sponsored stories from page posts
    • Text: drive engagement
    • Video: launch a product, drive awareness, drive video consumption
    • Photo: launch a product, drive engagement
    • Page post (question): drive engagement
    • Page Post (link): drive offsite, drive sales
    • Page Post (events): drive to an event
  • Premium sponsored stories (voice of friend)
  • Premium ads

MARKETPLACE PRODUCTS

  • Marketplace ads and sponsored stories from page posts
  • Marketplace sponsored stories (voice of friend)
  • Marketplace ads

The premium ad, sponsored stories from page posts, has been broken out in detail to illustrate the specificity and most effective functionality of each ad type. Educate yourself on all of the ad types and their best-case uses. This will help create a campaign that targets the right people in the right places, at the right time.

Settle The Debate On CPC Vs. CPM

Choosing cost per thousand impressions (CPM) can be a great form of brand awareness, because if you show something to someone enough, they just might click through eventually. But just know that you run through 1,000 impressions faster than a box of Thin Mints because there are so many people online at any given time. Cost per click is generally thought to be a more cost-effective way to allocate your ad spend. Either way, it comes back to your overall goals.

Test Multiple Versions Of Creative

Don’t get frustrated when an ad doesn’t perform the way you want. Just like your Google campaigns, Facebook ads need creative testing to find out what works with your audience. The nice thing about Facebook is your options. If text ads just aren’t doing the trick, try a photo, video, or sponsored stories.

Be More Strategic With Landing Page Choices

You’ve done enough creative testing, played with your ad types, and finally inspired a potential customer to click on an ad. That’s only half the battle. Where you take your customer could either make or break the deal. The best place for your ad’s landing page is on your brand’s Facebook page, or a product, contest, or other interactive application relating to the ad. If you are really looking to drive conversions, take users to a specific point in the path of purchase on your brand’s website. Keep in mind that you can create an app on your Facebook page that has the ability to capture user information with a lead generation form, while keeping them on your brand’s Facebook page.

Take Advantage Of Targeting Alternatives

One of the coolest things about Facebook advertising, and a huge reason why malcontent marketers are still there, is the very specific targeting options offered. Take advantage of this! Gender, marital status, age range, and geo-targeting are all available for your ads. If you are questioning whether or not geo-targeting is right for your brand, consider whether your product is national or local. National brands do better without any geographic filters, and local brands and companies would definitely benefit from a little extra work put into creating geographic targeting.

So even though there might be several bars on the block, you’re probably still going to stick it out at your friends’ favorite dive. Just because you are stuck there, doesn’t mean it has to be a bad experience. The same goes for Facebook advertising. Move away from counting clicks by changing your goals and strategy to see success.

Heather Sundell is the marketing manager for The Search Agency.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.