Promoting your restaurant with Facebook and Instagram ads is a surefire way to acquire new customers. But with millions of restaurants vying for attention, how can you guarantee your restaurant stands out?
Restaurants have to be promoting themselves with targeted and beautifully designed, paid Facebook and Instagram ads, particularly in tight markets like the New York metro area, where the crowded restaurant scene is highly competitive.
If you have a Facebook page and an Instagram account for your restaurant (and why wouldn’t you?), you might be disappointed in the reach and engagement of your posts. Organic reach for posts on Facebook pages is dismal. By some estimates, just 2% of a restaurant’s fan base will see its unpaid posts. The best way to make sure that your content reaches as many people as possible is with a paid promotion.
Boosting Your Post
Most restaurants know how to boost a post, mainly because Facebook is constantly suggesting it. But simply boosting a post is Facebook basic advertising 101. There’s little to no strategy behind what you’re doing and the post you’re boosting may not be very effective.
You are far better off planning an ad campaign and creating it in the Ads Manager.
Video ads perform much better than static image ads for restaurants. There are several different formats for ad campaigns, but we’ve found video is important for restaurants because it gives them a chance to showcase several offerings in an engaging format.
You can choose to run the ad both on Facebook and Instagram—simultaneously or separately. We often find that Facebook aims your ads almost exclusively to Facebook users and therefore the ad is hardly delivered on Instagram. So, you may want to consider running two separate campaigns—one on each platform.
When you run an ad on Facebook, the platform gives you the ability to select your own audience. We always recommend selecting your own ‘custom audience’ over targeting people who have liked your page because it is cheaper, and you know exactly who and where you are targeting.
Audience targeting on Facebook and Instagram can get incredibly precise. In general, it’s safe to say that a restaurant should be targeting its ad campaigns around a geographic radius based on the restaurant’s location. Since our goal is to cultivate “regular customers” for our clients, we stick to a fairly close area, usually 3 to 10 miles depending on how densely populated their area is. Depending on the demographics of your customer base, you might also want to target by age or personal interests such as healthy eating, wine, fine dining, craft beer, etc.
If you’ve never run Facebook or Instagram ad campaigns before, keep your audience fairly broad at first and let Facebook do its magic. Facebook will detect which audience segments are engaging more with your ad and will start filtering more of your budget toward that population. It’s an excellent way of gathering intel on who your actual target market is, which you can use for later campaigns.
Thinking It Through
The types of ads you use will depend on your objectives as a restaurant owner. We feel strongly that “Click to your website” is the appropriate objective for restaurants. People who take action by following a link to your website to view your menu have more serious intentions than someone who is simply “liking” a photo. If they care enough to visit your website, capitalize on their visit! Is there an offer you can make in exchange for their email address?
To help you judge whether your ad campaign is performing well, Facebook offers many metrics in its reporting. Some of the most important things to look at are the number of link clicks and impressions, as well as the Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Thousand Ad Views (CPM). You want to keep both CPC and CPM as low as possible.
Recently, we ran a campaign for a newly renovated restaurant whose owners wanted to get the word out about all the changes in both decor and menu. We ran video ad campaigns on both Instagram and Facebook within a seven-mile radius. The total budget for the month was $350. We ultimately drove 1,400 people to their website for .25 per click. Our CPM was under $8.00. Total for all clicks was over 4,000. That means likes, shares, comments and tagging friends. Where else can you get that kind of bang for your advertising buck?
Image quality is an important, yet often overlooked element of any ad campaign. Quality and professionalism really matter in the restaurant industry. While it’s certainly possible to take incredible images with an iPhone, if you don’t think you’re up to the task, you need to commit to finding a photographer who can capture appetizing images and videos of your best menu items.
If you would like more information about how to acquire diners with Facebook and Instagram ads, then reach out to our team at Market to Foodies. We specialize in restaurant marketing for the digital age.