How We Used Facebook Ads to Build Lines out the Door

Facebook Ads

I recently used Facebook ads to help launch a restaurant in Perth, Western Australia. The results were amazing and here’s how we did it.

The State Building in Perth is 135 -years old and had been dormant for over 20 years. But in Fall of last year, the building was redeveloped to include a 48-room luxury hotel and six restaurants … including Petition, a bistro and craft beer bar.

Within two weeks of our grand opening, queues were out the door. Digital media – especially Facebook ads – played a significant part in creating a buzz about the opening. I’ve boiled down our specific efforts so that you can replicate some of these for your business.

Get the Word Out in Advance

We made it a big point to start digital promotions six weeks in advance. One of the main ways to get the word out in advance of an event or launch is through digital. And within digital, Facebook ads are the most effective:

  • Your demographic is already there.
  • Posting an ad is simple and temporary.
  • You can target your demographic very precisely.

Focusing on Facebook Ads

When Facebook fan pages first arrived, everyone was obsessed with one question, “How many likes do I have?” But page likes aren’t what’s important. At the end of the day, social media is only valuable if it converts into brand awareness and ultimately sales.

Many people don’t realize that you can drive business on Facebook purely by spending a bit of money on ads … and only pay for ads that actually drive clicks to your website or that engage your post or page.

For the launch of Petition, we allocated $1,000 per month on Facebook ads. We were starting from scratch and had zero name recognition, but you may not need to spend that much to achieve your specific goals.

Our focus was to target people who didn’t know us yet, but who really loved craft beer. We knew that our demographic was affluent individuals in the greater Perth area with interests in craft beer, organic produce, and boutique spirit producers.

So, we created a “saved audience” on Facebook.

How to Create a Saved Audience in Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads | Petition ToolsTo get started, go to the Ads Manager for your Facebook business page. Click Tools, Audiences, then under Create Audience, create a Saved Audience.

First, set the location where your ads will be served. Perth was our location, but the starting radius of 25 miles was a bit too wide. If you think about it, we’d be asking people to drive at least 30 minutes to come drink a beer. So we lowered the radius to 20 miles which focused our audience to people within a reasonable driving or public transportation distance.

Next, we focused on age and gender. We knew that young people don’t typically spend a higher amount of money on craft beer. We also know that the 65+ demographic was not our core. So, we focused on ages 24-64 which focused our ad even more.

Adding these demographics helped us shave a 130,000 people off our potential audience. This isn’t bad at all. It’s actually GOOD to narrow down your audience and only spend money on people who are likely customers.

Facebook Ads | AudiencesWe still had a potential audience of over 800,000 people, so we then focused on more detailed targeting. The detailed targeting section of Facebook ads is very powerful, but always check your potential audience size to know if you’re on the right track.

Mistake #1 is to be too generic. As an example, we’re building a craft beer bar so we should target people that like beer, right? Wrong! Look what happens when you select just that one target.

petition-screenshot-3That number is nearly 10x the entire population of the country of Australia, let alone a 20-mile radius of Perth. So the “beer” target was much too big and too general. Instead, we focused on only targeting very specific craft beer brands. Because of that we were able to focus our audience down to 87,000 people.

Facebook Ads | Potential AudienceFinally, we also used exclusions. In our case, there was overlap of people who just love beer regardless of the brand. So we excluded large, general beer brands to tune it even more. Here’s an example of our exclusions:

Facebook Ads | ExcludeThis shaved off an additional 4,000 people from our Potential Audience which helped us focus on purely craft beer enthusiasts

The Results

Facebook Ads weren’t the only marketing tactic we used in the launch of Petition, but they were one of the most critical digital tactics. It wasn’t long before we had people literally lining up outside the door to get in.

You may not have $1,000 per month to spend on Facebook ads, but even if it’s only $200 per month, find a way to get started and focus on really honing down your demographic. It can be an incredibly effective way to grow your business. Go for it!


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Andrew has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and photography and has helped generate over 400,000 social media followers across various projects. In 2013 he beat out 124,000 other applicants in Australia's Best Jobs in the World social media campaign.