Facebook pay per click (PPC) is an advertising model where you pay every time someone clicks on one of your ads that appears on Facebook. Your ad might be an organic post that is promoted to a new, or existing audience, or a post that’s set up as as ad, and targeted to specific audiences as defined within the Facebook interface.

Ads on Facebook can be used either to promote content (often with the hope of gaining organic value through engagement, i.e. likes and shares), or a product or service by directly clicking through to the website you’re promoting, in order to generate a lead, or make a sale. They can also help to grow your fan page — by growing your community, you’ll have a higher reach when you post organically.

As well as being highly targeted, Facebook ads are a cheaper alternative to Google AdWords, which, for many advertisers, is becoming too expensive. On Facebook you could be looking at an average cost per click 5-10 times less than Google AdWords. You’re also allowed to use imagery in your ads, and can target key elements of any person’s profile, and people who are connected to them. So, for instance, you might target a 25-35 year old male, who likes sports, fitness, and protein shakes: that’s how granular you can get.

A good paid Facebook strategy calls on understanding the advertiser’s overall goal: what are you trying to achieve? Do you want to sell something, drive leads, or boost engagement? As time goes on, you’ll also need to optimise your efforts around what works, and what doesn’t. Like any other paid media channel, Facebook PPC works best as part of a holistic strategy that includes other key digital channels, such as AdWords, Bing, Yahoo, or LinkedIn.

If you’ve just started out, and your brand is not yet well recognised, Facebook PPC might be a particularly good option for you: not only is it cheaper than AdWords, it can help you get your brand in front highly-targeted, relevant audiences.