Getting started with Facebook advertising should be simple. Add a post to your Page's News Feed, click the "Boost Post" button and throw some money at your campaign. Or, if you want to advertise on the social network's sidebar, simply upload your desired text and image. Facebook even has a tool that can handle placement bids for you.
Unfortunately, these simple setup steps -- which many advertisers never move beyond – barely scratch the surface of what's possible with Facebook Ads. For the best targeting and bidding options, you need to start using the Power Editor plugin.
Here are four features to check out once you've installed the plugin in your account:
1. Fan targeting.
According to research firm Webtrends, targeting fans only with Facebook ads can increase click-throughs by more than 700 percent. There are situations where you'd want to expand your reach beyond existing followers -- if, for example, you're trying to increase your number of Page "Likes." But in most cases, sending posts to current fans that don't already see them due to the News Feed algorithms can produce some of the strongest overall campaign results.
The only way to target your ads to existing readers is through the Power Editor plugin. Look for the option under the "Audience" section of the Ad creation screen.
2. Partner Categories.
In April, Facebook launched the "Partner Categories" feature based on data provided by the Datalogix, Epsilon and Acxion data research agencies. Essentially, these 500 categories represent groups of Facebook users that can be served different types of ads based on their past online browsing and purchasing histories. For example, ads created using these groupings can be targeted specifically to people who have a history of purchasing coffee in K-Cups or those who have donated to veterans' relief charity programs.
Again, you'll need to use the Power Editor to access Partner Categories. Once you've created an ad within the Power Editor, navigate to the "Audiences" tab and select the "Partner Categories" drop-down menu from within the "Categories" section. Browse through the different options available until you find a Partner Category that suits your audience.
It's important to note that these groupings shouldn't be your only attempt at targeting. Most of the categories shown still contain millions of Facebook users, so be sure to take advantage of other targeting tools as well to narrow down your potential reach.
3. Saved Audiences.
Whether or not you use Partner Categories, you still have dozens of options for targeting your Facebook ads. This includes demographic information to broad categories, and from existing connections to job titles. If you'll need to replicate your targeting selections in the future, use "Saved Audiences."
The Saved Audiences feature can cut the time needed dramatically by allowing you to save your targeting selections and apply them to future ads with a single click. This can be done using the choices you've made on a past ad or by scratch from within the Power Editor. Once your audience has been created, select the "Use Existing Targeting Group" option within the Audience section to automatically apply your targeting preferences.
When saving audiences for future use, try using "Custom Audiences" to create ad targeting groups based on existing customer email or phone number lists over and over again while creating multiple ads.
4. Bulk Ad Creation.
One final reason to use the Power Editor is its ability to simplify the bulk ad creation process. No matter what type of campaign you're running, it's a good idea to create multiple ad variations in order to split test your results. Setting up these variants using the self-serve ad tool can be incredibly time-consuming, but the "Duplicate" button in the Power Editor's Ad creation section makes campaign setup go much more smoothly.
And while you're in there duplicating your ads and making the necessary changes to each version for future testing, pull in the Saved Audiences you created. Combined, these two feature tips can help you get your campaigns up and running in the shortest amount of time possible.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.