Veterinary hospitals are seeing their Facebook reach decline, just like most businesses. Facebook has been very good to veterinarians, allowing us to reach pet owners where they spend time online for for years, free of charge.
As that free ride starts to end, how can veterinary hospitals still utilize Facebook to stay in contact with current and potential clients? Facebook Ads seem to be the answer.
Remembering that Facebook is out to make money with ads, however, it is VERY important to educate yourself about ads before using them.
Facebook ads can be effective and efficient, but only when used correctly. Otherwise, they can easily become a waste of time and money. Let’s go over the basics of Facebook ads for veterinary hospitals!
QUESTION 1: What are Facebook Ads?
There are many types of ads on Facebook, all serving a different kind of purpose. When I log into my Facebook account, I see a bunch right off the bat. Let’s take a look at the ads, and then I will describe which types they represent:
1.) Newsfeed Story, with the goal of getting clicks to their website. A newsfeed story appears almost like a normal post, except it says “Suggested Post” in the top left corner. Not only that, but newsfeed stories allow the business to add cool call-to-action buttons, like the “Learn More” one seen on this example.
Newsfeed stories are seen on both desktop and mobile – which is a key difference from right column ads. Not only that, but they are created “behind the scenes” on Facebook, so this is different than simply boosting a post, which is detailed in #4.
2.) Right Column Ad, with the goal of getting likes on their page. This is Zest soap trying to build the audience on their Facebook page. It is important to note that Right Column Ads are ONLY seen on the desktop version of Facebook, not mobile.
3.) Right Column Ad, with the goal of getting clicks to their website. (Too bad I already bought that pet carrier for my pup, but anyways…) Again, this type of ad is desktop-only.
4.) Boosted Post, with the goal of getting more interaction on the post. (Example at right.) This is the type of ad that most veterinary hospitals seem to be familiar with.
Boosting a post allows you to get more “reach” from it, meaning more people will see it than they would if you didn’t spend the money.
QUESTION 2: What Types of Facebook Ads Could a Veterinary Hospital Run?
A veterinary hospital has the option of running any of those types of ads from their business page. However, you might be stumped as to what you could actually do with an ad.
Here are some ideas:
- Promote an Open House to people in your local area by running a Newsfeed ad that links back to your website, where all of the details about the event will be house.
- Promote a specific service to your current clients, like dental cleanings, by running a Newsfeed ad that links to a blog post on your website that describes the details of the procedure.
- Build your Facebook audience, if you’re newer to Facebook, by running a “Like” campaign, targeted to people in your local area.
- Remind current clients to book appointments with Newsfeed ad targeted to them, linking to the part of your website where they can book an appointment. (See example below.)
QUESTION 3: How Much Do They Cost?
A lot of veterinarians and veterinary practice managers have asked me how much Facebook ads cost. The answer is: AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU GIVE FACEBOOK.
Facebook will obviously take any money you give them to put toward ads, but they will not always spend it wisely. Facebook is always telling me to boost posts to reach 100,000 people.
As a small business, I do not need to reach 100,000 people. During busy days at my veterinary hospital, we already feel like 100,000 people are calling us and coming through the door. I wouldn’t want to find out what actually having that many people come in would be like!
On average, I advise veterinary hospitals to spend between $5-10 on Facebook ads daily, depending on your goals. You can obviously get more aggressive about it, and it might be worth it, but really that’s about as much as you need to get going!
The important part of spending money on Facebook ads is TARGETING your ads to the right audience, so you don’t waste money. Not only that, but you need to tell Facebook how to spend your money. (I recommend optimized CPM, if you see that option when setting up an ad.)
QUESTION 4: How Can I Target Ads To The Right People?
This is where it gets interesting. Now, you might feel discouraged because your Facebook posts aren’t reaching the big numbers of people that they used to. But that isn’t because people are suddenly not using Facebook. It is because Facebook wants businesses to pay to reach their huge audience.
I am constantly surveying my veterinary clients about their social media usage, and of those who use social media, around 75-85% are on Facebook.
The audience is there, but you need to know how to target ads to find them. You can target ads in SO many ways – really the possibilities are pretty endless.
Here are some ideas of how your veterinary hospital can target ads:
- By uploading your current client email list and matching that list to Facebook accounts
- By targeting to people who already like your page
- By targeting to people in your area
- By targeting to people who like other pet-related businesses in your area
- By targeting people who have purchased pet-related products online
QUESTION 5: How Can I Learn More About Ads?
As I mentioned before, the best way to use Facebook Ads efficiently and effectively is to educate yourself about them. I have created a FREE COURSE about Facebook ads.
Click below to join the course, which is a 3-part series. All parts of the course are ON-DEMAND. My Basics of Facebook Ads is the 3rd in the series, so it will be emailed to you a few days after you start Course 1. (All courses come right to your email, for you to watch again and again!)
Join my free online course by clicking here.
If you have more questions about using Facebook ads for your veterinary business, please comment below, or contact me here!