“Click, click, click.” In the online world, that’s the equivalent of “Ka-ching” – and the sound of advertising dollars being spent. Fortunately, all of your online ad spending and newfound clicks can bring you a whole new set of customers to your business, or new fans to your Facebook page, depending on what your goals are.

These costs however can quickly add up, and if you’re not targeting your ads to the right audience, you may not be getting the ROI you hope to achieve.

To maximize your Facebook ad spending, consider this step-by-step guide before, during and after your Facebook advertising campaign to ensure your ads are effectively targeting the right audience, and to get the best ad bang for your ad buck.

STEP 1: Determine Your Ad Goals

Before spending any time and money creating and publishing a Facebook ad, ask yourself one simple question: “What is my goal for this ad campaign?” Do you want to increase your overall brand exposure? Do you want to get more likes on your Facebook page? Do you want to redirect fans to a contest you are hosting within an app? Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Or do you want to book 100 hotel rooms the week before the holidays? Whatever your answer, it will have a distinct impact on what type of ad you will create and who you will be targeting.

For example, if you want to increase your brand recognition, build brand awareness, and get as much exposure as possible, Facebook ads based on “Cost per Impression”, or CPM, would be your best strategy. CPM ad cost structure is designed to expose your ad to the largest number of people possible. Through CPM you are charged for every 1000 impressions, and this number quickly ads up to maximize your overall exposure to your target audience. Before you know it, your ad will have reached hundreds of thousands of people.

Alternatively, if you want to drive people to your Booking Widget by featuring an ad with a special holiday discount room rate, Facebook ads based on “Cost per Click, or CPC, would be your best strategy. CPC ad cost structure is designed to foster action, which means that you are only charged when a consumer takes action on your ad (ie. by clicking). CPC ads are a great indicator of ROI, and can be measured to determine the immediate impact and effectiveness that a specific ad has on your target audience.

 Pro-Tip:  If you know exactly what you’re aiming for, it will be much easier to hit your target goals.

STEP 2: Research, Research, Research

Once you’ve determined your goals and outcomes for your Facebook ads, the next step is to research what specific audience will help you best achieve them. For example, if you are running a young couples “staycation” promotion for in-state residents, ideally you will want to target men and women between the ages 21-35 who live within a reasonable driving distance to your hotel. This will maximize the number of people who are actually interested in your ad, instead of attracting eyeballs that simply just don’t fit the bill.

Demographic segmentation, geographic segmentation, psychographic segmentation, and a wide range of other interesting segmentation options — including interests and activities — can all be modified to fit your specific target goals. The key is to first determine who it is you actually want to reach. 

 STEP 3: Publish, Track and Optimize

Now that you’ve determined your ad goals and outlined your optimal target audience, you are ready to publish your ads to Facebook, and put them to the test. Monitor your ads closely. Through your Facebook Ads Manager account, you will be able to see how each ad is performing based on a few key factors. Most importantly, Reach and Clicks. Depending on the data results, tweak your ads to attract more of your target audience, and make detailed notes of any changes you make to your campaign. This will allow you to correlate those changes to the performance of measurable data, including page “likes”, web traffic, or room bookings within a certain timeframe.

Fine-tuning your ads is a continuous process, and keeping up with this process will allow you to best achieve your goals, reach your optimal target audience, and stretch your ad budget as far as it can go.