Have you been noticing more and more advertisements showing up on the right side of your Facebook timeline?

If you haven’t, log onto Facebook quickly and take a look, I’ll wait…

The businesses advertising on Facebook aren’t just big corporations with gigantic advertising budgets. They are small businesses, just like yours, trying a new way to drive fan engagement and grow their social presence.

But for today, I sat down with Ashley Silva, digital planning manager at Constant Contact, to discuss Facebook Ads and the opportunities that they offer for small businesses.

What exactly are Facebook Ads and how do they work for small businesses?

Facebook Ads are those advertisements that you’ll see on the right side of the screen when you log onto Facebook. You’ll notice them throughout Facebook: on apps, photos, groups, pages, timelines, and your home page.

These ads are served to Facebook users based on specific targeting criteria. That includes anything from demographic or age information, to the interests that you have listed on your profile.

What would you say are the biggest benefits of running a Facebook Ad?

Facebook advertising offers a number of benefits. But the greatest has to be the ability for advertisers to target very specific audiences. Being able to target specific groups will give your business more exposure to the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

For businesses looking to drive more “Likes,” targeted ads serve as a great way to build a fan base and increase traffic. It can really be a turning point for some businesses, especially those who are just starting out or have been putting in the work on Facebook but haven’t seen the results that they’re looking for.

How can a business decide whether or not advertising on Facebook is right for them?

I think it’s a worthwhile test for almost any small business.

It’s low risk because ads are relatively inexpensive and Facebook’s Marketplace tool gives advertisers full control of their advertising budget, which makes it ideal for a small business looking to test the platform on a small scale.

It’s high reward because it not only lets advertisers reach a highly targeted audience, but serves as an effective message testing platform. By that I mean, it gives advertisers a platform to figure out which types of messages or offers will resonate best with their audience.

Whether you’ve been on Facebook for awhile or you’re just starting out, there are advertising opportunities on Facebook that are worth trying for your business.