A Social Media Marketer’s Quick Guide to Facebook Ads


Compared to Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising ranks as the reigning champ. You can advertise with them for mere pennies on the dollar, which means you can pimp out your products or services not only effectively, but cost-efficiently too.

Provided, of course, you’ve gleaned a bit of know-how and aren’t flying blind. To really see returns you can bank on, we strongly suggest using the Facebook Ads Manager to run your campaigns.

Granted, using the Ads Manager can seem daunting to the uninitiated.

But, we’re here to save the day. And by saving the day, we mean to teach you stuff.

So, keep reading for a mini-breakdown of all things Facebook Advertising. Or at least… all things that are “need to know” about Facebook Advertising.

After all, we don’t want to break your brain or anything.

FB Ads 101: Have a Goal in Mind

You should always have an objective before you attempt to create an ad. If you have no idea what you’re aiming for, then you can be pretty sure you probably won’t hit it. stellapop-click-to-tweet So, figure out what your goal is for your first ad and the kind of ROI you are going to strive for. Then you’ll have an end in mind and you’ll know what a successful ad should look like.

Facebook ads are used to create business and drive revenue. To do this, definite, measurable goals for the ad are important. They shouldn’t be nebulous or hard to quantify.

For example, your goals might be any (or several) of the following:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Visitors to your site
  • Facebook likes
  • Signups for an event or promotion
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Comments or other interactions on a Facebook page
  • Ad views

All of these are concrete goals that can be easily measured. Not all of them translate directly into cash flow, but they do all advance you towards your ultimate goal of profitability and ROI.

Lowest Hanging Fruit = Building Awareness

The lowest hanging fruit is probably that last example, ad views. This goal is most useful for startups and new businesses that need to build brand awareness. If your goal is trying to get people to get to know who or what your business is about and be curious enough to investigate further, then ad views are useful.

However, don’t stick with this strategy for too long. Facebook Ads need to justify their existence with an ROI. This means it’s important to transition to one of the other revenue-generating options sooner rather than later.

The nice thing about Facebook Ads is that the Ads Manager actually offers these goals and more when creating an ad. It has marketing objectives to select from that allows you to clearly define your goals for each campaign. Leverage this specificity. Don’t blindly boost posts. Goals provide a motive to tweak and improve your ad campaign until it’s profitable.

And on that note, you should always be adjusting and reworking your campaigns. Monitor them closely, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Improve Facebook Ad Performance with Creativity and Well-designed Ads

This includes ads with images, videos, and slideshows. When done well, they all help to improve your Facebook ad performance.

Facebook ads should show both creativity and expertise. Take advantage of Facebook’s ability to incorporate vivid images, animated GIFs, videos, and a variety of enticing, full-screen slideshows and carousels. Experiment with them and find out what works best with your product or niche.

It is also important to understand the limitations and requirements of Facebook ads. For instance, Facebook has something called the “20% Rule,” which limits the amount text and/or logo that can be displayed on an image.

While the rule is a bit more nuanced than it used to be, in short, Facebook prefers ads that use clean, clear imagery. Facebook artificially restricts the promotion of ads that place too much text on the image and will even charge you more for your ad if it slips by the mods.

It is also important to keep in mind that ads display differently on Facebook versus Instagram (which is owned by Facebook). Failing to recognize this can produce ads that are awkwardly cropped, with missing text and/or an overall loss of visual appeal. Visual appeal is probably more important than your copy because your image is what captures the eye of someone scrolling first, long before your ad copy will do its job in hooking them.

This means that design and creativity aren’t trivialities when it comes to advertising. They aren’t fuzzy fluff. They affect the performance and profitability of your ad. It makes a literal dollars-and-cents difference. So, good, visually engaging ads make your advertising efforts more effective and financially efficient, which is the ultimate goal.

Define Your Ideal Customer

Facebook actually provides extremely powerful tools for targeting your ad audience. Therefore, it is vital to understand that audience. This is best done by tightly defining your ideal customer.

One of the crazy things about social media is that people often share way too much information about themselves. This is especially true of Facebook. If you take a look at your friend’s profiles, they likely include their age, hometown, employer, car makes they prefer, their favored political candidates, and even favorite quotes. The list goes on!

This rampant oversharing of information allows Facebook to have an extremely deep understanding of their user base, which in turn gives Facebook advertisers the ability to target their favored audience with unparalleled accuracy. This is great news for you!

When a Facebook ad is created, your audience can be filtered according to parameters like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Relationship status
  • Education
  • Workplace
  • Job titles
  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • Entertainment
  • Liked brands
  • What devices they use to browse Facebook
  • Categories of products they are likely to buy
  • And much more…

However, to take full advantage of these filters it is necessary to take the time to develop your buyer persona. Once you have a solid understanding of the lifestyle and behavior of your ideal customer, this information can be used to target your audience accordingly, using Facebook’s handy-dandy filters.

Leverage and Build on Current Customer Data

If you have an existing customer base, the amassed data can be used by Facebook to create a custom audience. This allows you the ability to easily re-engage those customers on Facebook (provided they have a Facebook presence).

More importantly, this data can then be used to reverse engineer a Lookalike Audience. A Lookalike Audience is created when Facebook “looks” at the commonalities within your list of customers you’ve provided and uses the information to identify other Facebook users who fit that profile.

Ads can then be targeted at your Lookalike Audience without having to go through the process of manually defining your audience. Again, experiment, because sometimes a Lookalike Audience may perform better than your hand-selected audience, and sometimes it may not.

No matter what your approach, be careful not to get too specific. Leave a little wiggle room and remember, it is possible to go back and tweak the ad campaign after a day or two. Tweak and test, tweak and test.

Use, Tweak, and Test Your Data

Once you start running an ad, your ad will begin to accumulate its own data. You can then begin to use that information to test your ads and refine them. This is done by utilizing the following steps:

  • Mine your audience insights for target data.
  • Align your ad with your campaign landing page.
  • Test one ad element at a time (i.e. your headline).
  • Experiment with different ad placements (i.e. newsfeed right column, newsfeed desktop and newsfeed mobile).
  • Use the Power Editor to target new people with “like” campaigns.
  • Refine your targeting with conversion audiences (i.e. Exclude People Who Like Page).
  • Use geographic targeting. Bid higher where it makes sense and use other geographic areas on a seasonal basis or exclude them entirely.

Create and Use a Facebook Pixel

A Facebook Pixel tracks all kinds of important actions that are taken on your website and allows you to leverage those actions to acquire new customers.

By using a Facebook Pixel, it is possible to run conversion campaigns and product catalog campaigns and compare them to see which ads perform the best.

Create Your Facebook Ad

There are two main kinds of Facebook Ads you can start with for now. Every Facebook ad works differently depending on the type of ad, and some types serve different audiences better than others. You’ll only find which works best for your audience by experimenting, but only do so when you have the budget for it. Don’t experiment with a budget you don’t have or can’t afford.

1. Sponsored Posts

These posts appear directly in the Facebook Newsfeed. Users see these ads as they are scrolling by, and they feature as prominently in a newsfeed as posts from close friends do.

2. The Right-Hand Column

This ad appears in the right-hand column of the Facebook feed. These ads are smaller, but they can’t be scrolled past like sponsored posts in the News Feed. Marketers often use right-hand column ads for retargeting purposes.

Tips for Creating Your Facebook Ad Copy

  • Use Facebook targeting to narrow your audience down and write to that audience directly.
  • Write different Facebook ads for different people or targets (i.e. graphic/video of the person jogging outdoors might be targeted towards fitness as an interest).
  • Ensure your Facebook ad copy goes with the visual and doesn’t create a disconnect. For instance, don’t use a visual of a dog if your ad is about lawn mowers.
  • Keep the focus narrow, with one call-to-action per ad.
  • Keep your copy concise and lead with value and benefits over mere features (i.e. one stop for real estate marketing and website technology makes your life easier).
  • Use simple words in your copy that are easy to understand. Limit jargon or flowery language. Keep your message limited to include your offer, its benefits, and what you want them to do next (CTA).
  • Use Facebook Ads Reporting to keep an eye on how your ad is performing, and study further to understand how to react appropriately to the data it provides.
  • Always remember that successful ad campaigns require testing, adjustment, and reworking. Test, tweak, rinse, repeat.

Understanding Facebook Ads Reporting

In order for an ad to generate an ROI, it is necessary to have an understanding of the data provided in Facebook Ads reporting, and how to respond to it accordingly. Facebook provides excellent tutorials to learn exactly that.

As you can see, creating a Facebook Ad doesn’t have to be daunting. The process is relatively simple, and once you learn it, you use the same process over and over again. And the more you test, tweak, rinse, and repeat, the more experience, and knowledge you will gain, and the more effective and profitable your ads will become.

Action Steps for Your Next Facebook Ads Campaign

  1. Set a goal or ROI for each ad or an overall goal/ROI for the campaign itself.
  2. Develop your creative based on promotions, offers, and your target market.
  3. Create a landing page to drive the traffic from your ads to. This page will contain:
  4. Your opt-in prospect or lead generation information (i.e. their name, email address, and any other relevant info).
  5. Headline or copy that speaks to a pain point your target market suffers from.
  6. Clear and concise phrasing and word usage.
  7. Language and messaging that utilizes exclusivity and incentives to encourage conversion.
  8. Next, create a description of the ultimate customer persona, based on criteria outlined in the “Define Your Ideal Customer” section above.
  9. Put together any historical customer data you already possess.
  10. Once you understand your target goal/ROI and your ideal customer, you can start by creating four targeted ads.
  11. Once the ads are approved, let them run for 7 days. This will help them receive a higher reach and more clicks.
  12. Test your ads based on the data within each ad and adjust accordingly.
  13. Monitor your reporting during the campaign, and remember… test, tweak, rinse, repeat.

See Also:

Data Analytics Strategy: The One “Must Have” for Every Brand Leader

How to Get Your Social Traffic into Your Sales Funnel

How to Build Buzz Around An Event or Product Launch

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