Late last year, I started hearing rumblings that Facebook was working on a series of free training resources for marketers. Since I run a website that once derived most of my revenue from training courses, this certainly got my attention.
While it may not have been the deciding factor for changing my business model, it was the first time I started thinking about whether producing training courses was optimal. There ultimately were many other factors that led to my decision (course shelf life, hours of work to create, revenue peaks and valleys), it put the wheels in motion.
Well, Facebook has now started rolling out these materials, and I can tell you that they vary in quality. Some of the materials, though, are actually quite good — especially considering the price (free).
That doesn’t mean you don’t need a site like mine and the products I provide (that’s crazy talk). The training Facebook is rolling out remains slanted towards beginners. Honestly, I appreciate this since this is not my target audience, and quality beginner education has long been a need.
Here’s an overview of much of what was recently rolled out, in order of usefulness.
Blueprint is by far the most valuable part of these new training offerings. Facebook offers a series of 41 course lessons covering wide ranging marketing topics.
Courses are broken down into the following categories:
- 01. Introduction to Facebook
- 02. Best Practices
- 03. Facebook Pages
- 04. Purchasing Ads
- 05. Managing Your Ads
- 06. Advertising Objectives
- 07. Targeting
- 08. Campaign Optimization
- 09. Reporting and Measurement
- 10. Additional Insights
- 11. All Courses
And here’s a list of all courses offered within Blueprint:
- A/B Testing
- Ad Policies
- Ad Reporting
- Ads Create Tool
- Ads Manager
- All Content [Curriculum]
- App Engagement
- App Installs
- Boost Your Posts
- Brand Best Practices
- Brand [Curriculum]
- Brand Measurement Solutions
- Business Manager
- Buying Channels
- Campaign Structure
- Clicks to Website
- Creating a Facebook Page
- Creative Best Practices
- Data Driven Marketing [Curriculum]
- Digital Buyer [Curriculum]
- Digital Planner [Curriculum]
- Direct Response Best Practices
- Direct Response [Curriculum]
- Direct Response Measurement Solutions
- Event Responses
- Facebook Exchange
- Facebook Terminology
- Introduction to Facebook Pages
- Mobile SDK
- Offer Claims
- Page Likes
- Power Editor (Advanced Advertisers)
- Reporting & Analytics [Curriculum]
- Sight, Sound and Motion
- Successful Campaigns
- Targeting – Core Audiences
- Targeting – Custom Audiences
- Targeting – Lookalike Audiences
- Video Views
- Website Conversions
- Welcome to Marketing on Facebook
Here’s the view of an individual lesson overview…
There is a brief lesson description and expectation for how long it will take to complete (most say 15 minutes). Click the “Enroll” button to enroll in the lesson and add it to your courses.
You’ll then get a view that looks something like this…
This lets you know when you started the lesson and how close you are to completing it.
Click the “Launch” button and a new window will come up that guides you through the lesson. In the original view, you are presented with a group of modules for that lesson.
Click to view any of those portions of that lesson…
At any time, you can go back to view which courses you have completed and which are still in progress.
I’ve gotta admit that I’m impressed with these offerings. Facebook struggles to educate, but this is a really nice course format. If you’re looking for a free resource for beginner Facebook marketing training, Blueprint is a great place to start.
Within Facebook for Business is a Learn How to Succeed with Facebook section.
It’s broken up into the following:
- Your Facebook Page
- How Facebook Ads Work
- Measuring Results
- Creating an Ad
The “Your Facebook Page” link provides helpful lessons on the following topics:
- Facebook Page Basics
- Set Up a Page
- Page Admin Tools
- Page Settings
- Build Your Audience
- Create Posts on Your Page
- Boost Posts to Reach More People
- Make Posts More Effective
- Have Conversations
- The Pages Manager App
The “How Facebook Ads Work” link provides these topics:
- Facebook Ad Basics
- How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost?
- Your Facebook Ads Bill
- Choose Your Ad Audience
- Reach Customers You Know
- Create a Custom Audience
- Track Actions On Your Website
- Remarket to Website Visitors
- Find People Similar to Your Customers
- Write Your Facebook Ad
- Choose Photos for Your Ad
Click the “Measuring Results” link for these topics:
- Facebook Measurement Basics
- Page Insights Basics
- Page Insights: Likes
- Page Insights: Reach
- Page Insights: Visits
- Page Insights: Posts
- Page Insights: People
- Ads Reporting Basics
- Ads Reporting: Ad Performance
- Ads Reporting: Campaign Structure
And finally, here are the lessons covered within “Creating an Ad:”
- Facebook Ad Creation Basics
- Page Post Engagement Ads
- Page Like Ads
- Clicks to Website Ads
- Website Conversions
- App Install and Engagement Ads
- Event Response Ads
- Offer Claim Ads
- Video Views
- Local Awareness Ads
These tips aren’t quite on the level of a structured course like Blueprint, but they are still plenty helpful.
Story Packs are Facebook advertising templates for three different industries:
Why spas? Yeah, I really don’t know. But these are still pretty interesting.
For each industry, Facebook provides three ad examples for People, Place, Things and News. Here’s an example for restaurants…
Facebook provides three examples for creating ads featuring people for restaurants. They give examples of highlighting a staff member, recognizing a regular customer and sharing a featured product.
Not really sure how the Pick of the Day is people-focused, but it’s still a good suggestion!
Facebook also recommends highlighting the atmosphere or neighborhood as reasons to stop by. Otherwise, share a fun fact that people may not know about the restaurant.
For Things, Facebook suggests focusing on unique facts related to the menu.
And finally, Facebook recommends using ads to share announcements, specials or events.
I’d consider these story packs to be more inspiration than templates. Facebook expects you’ll replace the images and text with your own, but that’s kind of silly since they’re basically saying to replace the ad.
Great inspiration, though, and good reminders about ways we can get creative with our ads.
Creative Tips is a section that allows Facebook to give you basic ideas associated with three different things:
- Making Your Ad
- Choosing Images
- Writing Copy
Facebook then provides visual examples for each…
Making Your Ad
- Know Your Business Goal
- Know Your Audience
- Pick a Topic
- Pick an Interesting Subject
- Shoot for Quality
- Some DIY Photography Tips
- Tone of Voice
- Stick to What’s Important
- Write With the Customer in Mind
This is beginner-level stuff that is good as intro reading and reminders for what we should do, but it’s not something you’ll likely refer back to more than once.
The Inspiration Gallery is exactly what you’d think it would be. Facebook handpicks several brands that they feel are doing a good job with Facebook ads and highlights their work.
Three ad examples each come from the following brands:
- Edo Salon
- Cowboy Up Men’s Salon
- The Bun Shop
- Farmgirl Flowers
- Arlington Club
- Goldy + Mac
- Buca di Beppo
- Loopy Mango
It’s interesting. It could be helpful if you’re stuck and need some inspiration. But overall, not a reference you’ll likely frequent.
Ad Images Cheat Sheet
When I first heard about Facebook’s Ad Images Cheat Sheet, I was admittedly a tad nervous because the piece of content that has long been my biggest content driver is an image dimensions infographic. I worried that Facebook did the same — or even improved upon it.
Nope. Not even close.
Here it is, in all its glory…
Really? That’s all you’ve got, Facebook? This looks like a reference that was thrown together in 30 minutes.
Some nice suggestions, I guess. But hardly a “cheat sheet” of any sort.
Ad Copy Cheat Sheet
Created with the same style as the Ad Images Cheat Sheet, the Ad Copy Cheat Sheet offers about the same in value: Not much at all.
Here it is…
You can do better, Facebook. You really can.
Get More Advanced Training
As I said at the top, I’m glad that Facebook created these resources. Many of them are quite valuable and are great for new advertisers. It gives me a viable destination that I can send people to who are in need of that type of education.
Maybe you want more, though. Maybe you want a dynamic, real-time training. Maybe you want more than just guides, but a community of other advanced marketers. In that case, the Power Hitters Club is perfect for you.
The PHC isn’t for everyone. But if you’re advanced or committed to becoming advanced, it’s something you need to consider.
Membership includes the following:
- Weekly Exclusive Blog Posts
- Weekly Members-Only Webinars
- Private, Members-Only Facebook Group
- PHC-Only Rewards Program
- Workshops for Only $20 (Non-Members Pay $147)
An example of an exclusive blog post for PHC members only is one I wrote this week about the new Facebook Page Plugin. You may not have heard, but the Like Box is going away. This is no small deal as the Like Box on my site has led to 1,259 new fans in 2015 alone.
That Like Box is being replaced by the Page Plugin. So I created a tutorial to step you through how to install it on your site.
Have you tried out Facebook’s new training resources? What do you think?
Let me know in the comments below!