Dental Facebook Marketing 101: Facebook Ads for Dentists

It’s time to dive into one of the most effective and under-utilized opportunities for dentists who want to grow their practice. We’re talking Facebook Ads.While many dentists know that creating quality organic Facebook content is key to any marketing strategy, many are still missing out on the huge opportunities provided by Facebook Ads.The magic of these ads lies in the power they give practices to hyper-target audiences according to demographics, behaviors, and interests.On top of that, the flexibility to easily run A/B tests, edit ad campaigns, and learn about your audience provides unparalleled potential when it comes to connecting with new patients.This guide will take you step-by-step through the process of setting up a Facebook ad with tips to optimize your campaigns and exceed your marketing goals.

The Metrics of Success

Because they are so versatile, Facebook ads are most successful if you clearly define what you want your ad to achieve.Let’s start with a few bigger picture goals. Whether are boosting a post or creating a multi-ad campaign, Facebook ads can:

  • Drive patients to your dental practice's website
  • Increase awareness of your practice’s brand
  • Fill scheduling holes created by last-minute cancellations
  • Promote a new service or procedure
  • Boost visibility and engagement for organic posts
  • Increase your Facebook following
  • Highlight patient testimonials

Depending on your ad, your objective can go from broad (“I want more 20-somethings to know about my practice”) to hyper-specific (“I want mothers of elementary school kids within 20 miles of my practice to use a back-to-school promotion code for a discounted cleaning”).In order to know how effective an ad is, set and track your goal before running it.Now let’s get down to the specifics. How do you actually measure the success of a Facebook ad?Facebook advertising is supported by a massive amount of data and analytics, which is fantastic in that they help you easily track your ad’s impact.Before creating an ad, these are the key metric terms you need to know:

  • Total impressions: number of times your ad appeared on a screen
  • Cost-per-click: amount you paid for a person to click on your ad
  • Click-through rate: percentage of times people saw your ad and clicked on a link
  • Cost-per-conversion: amount you pay for a person to complete a specific action
  • Conversion rate: percentage of people who took that specific action out of the number who clicked the link

When starting out, these five metrics are good to monitor as you track your ad's success.Be sure to also keep an eye on industry standards. For example, studies show that the average cost-per-click is $1.72 for Facebook ads, with healthcare ads coming in around $1.32 (great news for dental practitioners!).It’s easy to get lost in the social media jargon, but keeping your metrics in mind and returning to them frequently will help accelerate your progress.

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How to set up a Facebook ad for your practice

1. Go to Facebook Ads Manager

In order to access Facebook Ads Manager, log in to your Facebook Business Page.When it comes to running ads on Facebook, you'll learn to love Ads Manager.This is the tool you will use to create, run, and manage all of your ad campaigns.You can access Ads Manager through the “Promote” button on the left side of your Page, the top “Insights” tab, several other CTAs on your Page, or through Facebook’s direct link.

2. Choose your marketing objective

After clicking to create an ad, you will be sent to a page where you will determine your campaign's objective.The three categories ads fall under are: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Let's go over them really quick, so you know exactly the campaign you're looking for.

Awareness Objective

Awareness campaigns are at the top of the Facebook advertising funnel.You are generating interest in your practice and becoming more visible patients’ feeds.Think of an awareness campaign as your introduction to new patients. They just learned (or became aware) that your practice is nearby!For local dental practice with smaller budgets, boosting awareness will likely be your best bet for most ad campaigns.

Consideration Objective

Consideration is the middle ground.You are trying to reach people who might already have an interest in your practice and want to learn more.The consideration phase is where you educate folks on just what makes your practice so incredible!

Conversion Objective

Conversion is the most specific and direct marketing objective.With this objective, you want people to take a specific action — make an appointment, go to your website, sign up for your newsletter.In other words, the conversion phase tells people exactly what you want them to do. No more being coy!After selecting your objective, you can give your campaign a name.If this is your first ad, click the “Set Up Ad Account” button — in the future the button will simply prompt you to “Continue.”

3. Select your audience

As previously mentioned, knowing your audience is the crux of running a successful Facebook ad campaign.So, who do you want to reach?

The elements of your audience include

  • Basic demographics
  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Interests
  • Specific preferences like “health and beauty” or “health and wellness”
  • Think about what your patients actually use Facebook to find
  • Unlike Google AdWords, you are targeting real human interests, not just keywords
  • Behaviors
  • Purchasing behaviors
  • Income
  • Child’s age
  • Device usage
  • Connections
  • Determine if you want to run your ad to people already connected to your Facebook page or exclude them

Custom Audience

At the top of the “Create New” window, there is also an option to choose a “Custom Audience.” With this, you can create a custom audience of people who already have a relationship with your practice.Your custom audience may include a current patient list, email list, phone number list, people who already like or follow you on Facebook, or people who have interacted with your website.Custom audiences are good for running special promotions to current patients, or you can also exclude these audiences to ensure that you only reach new potential patients.Try to keep your audience size around 50,000 to 100,000 people, which you can track on the right side of the page.This will vary depending on the size and location of your practice; however, you generally want the arrow to be pointing right in the middle of the scale to increase your potential reach.

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4. Select your placements

The placements section allows you to edit where your ad is shown (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger).Automatic placements are recommended by Facebook, but if you find later that certain ads aren’t performing, you can always edit this section.

5. Set your budget

Now that your audience is ready to go, it's time to decide how much you want to spend on the ad and how long you want it to run.For this, select between a “daily” or “lifetime” budget.A daily budget is how much money you will allocate to the ad per day that it is running.The lifetime budget is the total amount you would spend if setting your ad on a schedule with a defined start and end time, which you can also set in this section.Once you set your budget, click “Continue” at the bottom right.

6. Create your ad

Time to get creative!This is when you decide the format and content of your ad to submit for approval.One option at your disposal is creating an ad by using a post that has already been published to your Page. Just select the “Use Existing Post” from the dashboard.You can also create ads for existing posts by “boosting” them directly from your Page.If you are creating an ad from scratch, there are five layout options to choose from — carousel, single image, single video, slideshow, or canvas.While compelling single images are the gold standard, more marketing professionals are turning to videos for ad campaigns with over half claiming that videos provide the best ROI.It's important to note that 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off. So when making a video for your practice, be sure to add captions.No matter which format you choose, Facebook has a set of best practices and rules for running ads.Following these guidelines makes it easier for your ad to get approved quickly. It also impacts the reach of your ad.

Video guidelines

  • No longer than 60 seconds
  • 9:16 to 16:9 ratio
  • 4GB max
  • 125 characters of text max
  • 240 minutes max
  • Use highest resolution possible
  • Most file types are supported

Image guidelines

  • Use images with little-to-no words
  • An image that gives more than 20% of its real estate to words won’t be approved
  • This image text check tool can help you determine if the ad will pass the test
  • 1.9:1 image ratio
  • 1200 x 628 pixels in size

Text guidelines

  • Write a headline to grab attention
  • Provide text to clearly and concisely state what you are promoting (90 characters or less)
  • Add a call-to-action button like “Read more” or “Book now”
  • Use the news feed link description to clearly instruct people where the ad will take them

7. Choose your ad placements

Facebook lets you decide where you want your ad to be placed (Facebook, Instagram, mobile devices, etc.) and allows you to preview how they will look.Click on “Ad Preview and Placements” to see how your ad will look in the Desktop News feed, Mobile News feed, and Right Column.After you have finished making edits to your ad, you are ready to place your order for approval.The process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of days. You will get a confirmation email once your ad has been approved.And that’s it! You now have a whole new stream of dental practice marketing!Facebook ads have proven to do wonders for both local and large dental practices.With practice (and plenty of A/B testing) running Facebook ads can quickly become one of the easiest and most effective ways to take your dental marketing to the next level.Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.