How to Make the Most of Facebook Advertising

facebook advertising

Facebook has over a billion active users every day, ranging from students and parents to business owners and celebrity figures. Even if only a fraction of this number meets your target audience’s profile, that’s still a lot of people who could potentially buy your products, download your app, or read your blog posts.

With that in mind, Facebook advertising offers many benefits to startups and small businesses—and at a relatively low cost. Marketing your company on the platform could do all of the following, and more:

  • Increase your brand awareness and reach.
  • Boost audience engagement and improve your relationship with customers.
  • Lead to more sales of your products or services.

However, advertising on Facebook has to be done correctly if you want to see optimal results. Though fairly simple, it does require a little bit of time and effort, which includes research, planning, testing and monitoring. Below are some guidelines on how to make the most of your ad campaign(s).

Plan Your Facebook Advertising Campaign

It’s tempting to dive straight into creating an ad, publishing it, and hoping for viral-level success. You can’t, however, measure the success of an ad campaign without pre-defining your criteria, goals or metrics.

  1. First, decide what you want to achieve through Facebook advertising: increased product sales, more website traffic, brand awareness, etc. (It all depends on your business goals.) Keep in mind what action you want your audience to take or which landing page you want to direct them to.
  2. Next, decide how to measure the success of the marketing objective(s) mentioned above. Will you monitor new FB page likes, website click-throughs or engagement with posts?
  3. Figure out who your current and/or target audience is. According to this, you can define who will be able to see your ads.
  4. Also, think about how much money you’re willing to spend on FB ads per week, month, etc. The Adverts Manager allows you to select you daily or lifetime budget.
  5. Facebook has a variety of options for ad placements. Think about where you’d like your ad to be seen: in the mobile or desktop news feed, in the right-hand column of the site, on Instagram, in sponsored messages, in audience networks, etc. If you can’t decide, opt for automatic placement.

Identify Your Target

One of Facebook advertising’s most useful features is that you can create unique ads for specific audiences. Targeting your ad lets you try out different styles, content and approaches to see which achieves the best results.

When targeting, you can be as narrow or as broad as you’d like. Audiences can be targeted according to location, age, gender, language, interests/behaviors, connections and more. FB also has a tool called “Delivery Insights,” which enables you to understand how your different sets of ads are performing.

Some examples of how you can target your audience include:

  • Targeting your competitors’ followers
  • Targeting people who live in your area (e.g, if you have a B&M store)
  • Creating custom audiences using a list of your current customers

Learn more about targeting options for core audiences here.

Beautify Your Ad

An advert’s design or image can attract, repulse or bore the ad viewer. Visual content is known to have more of an impact that its textual counterpart. It’s more memorable and shareable, and it’s prioritized by Facebook’s algorithm. That’s why it’s important to have:

  • A striking image
  • Warm colors or complementary colors
  • Appropriate fonts that convey your intention
  • Effective white space & directional lines
  • A cohesive design

Remember that more than 20% of your ad image can’t be taken up by words.

Another important factor to consider is the ad format. You have a variety of options to choose from, and the one you go with depends on your marketing goal(s):

  1. Photo – Using a single photo is clean, simple and impactful (and the most popular ad format).
  2. Video – Video content is proven to be more engaging and tends to produce the best results.
  3. Carousel – Displays multiple images or videos—great for showcasing different products.
  4. Slideshow – Gives your ad a multimedia effect without using much resources.
  5. Collection – This is great for storytelling, e.g., using several images to highlight an event.

Appeal to Your Audience

If you want someone to engage with or click on your ad, you need to have a clear value proposition and call to action. People respond to ads for a variety of reasons:

  • The ad is linked to a social cause and/or appeals to their emotions. E.g., a portion of the profits from the sale of the products goes to charity.
  • Whether it has to do with a worldwide news story or something specific to what your target audience is or does, the ad must be relevant.
  • The ad conveys exclusivity or something special about its product. Additionally, it highlights why your business is different to or better than competitors. Limited stock, for example, creates a sense of urgency. 
  • You’re advertising a special event or offer. People love giveaways, competitions, discounts, flash sales, etc. Facebook enables you to create specific ads for these: Event Response ads and Offer Claims ads.
  • The ad is relatable. The point is not to show that you’re promoting your business. Relate to your audience by demonstrating that you understand what they need or want. Provide value.
  • It guides them to the next step: “Learn more,” “Buy soon,” “Donate now,” and “Try for free” all tell your viewer what they should do.
  • The ad content is compelling—and concise. The text (if there’s any) should be short and sweet. Attention is limited; you only have a few seconds to get people to do what you want them to do. You don’t need to go into much detail, but create enough intrigue so that they click.

Mobile-Optimize Your Ad

Most users access Facebook via their mobile phones, making it essential to optimize your ads for viewing on these devices. If you want to get this right from the start, try creating your ad on a mobile phone. At the very least, though, preview the ad on a mobile device before publishing it.

The urgency for an immediate click is apparent with mobile advertising. Any distraction will kill your ad’s chances, so it’s important to grab (and keep) the user’s attention from the get-go. Here are some best-practice suggestions for Facebook advertising mobile optimization:

  • Make your message short and simple.
  • Favor a striking visual over text.
  • Have only one, clear call to action.
  • Mobile-optimize the landing page.
  • Avoid distracting pop-ups on the landing page.

Conduct A/B Testing or Split Testing

If you’ve got the time and budget, testing the effectiveness of different ads is a clever route to take. Testing allows you to identify which ad delivers the best results and then invest more into promoting that one. You can test different versions of the following ad elements:

  1. The main image
  2. The ad format and placement
  3. The headline
  4. Your target audience
  5. The landing page or CTA
  6. The text’s style & tone

Determining which ad campaign/strategy performed the best depends on the actions that the audience(s) took, not their engagement. When tracking your ad’s performance, remember that while clicks and other forms of engagement are nice, these are vanity metrics.  (Likes or comments can’t compare to product purchases.) The real results materialize as sales, donations, downloads/installs or whatever your ultimate goal is for the ad.

If you’re not getting your audience(s) to take a pre-defined action, then something about your ad’s not working, and you have to go back to the drawing board!


Do you have any suggestions for making the most of Facebook advertising? Let us know in the comments …

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