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How Does Facebook Advertising Work?

Why Should You Advertise on Facebook?

Facebook’s massive reach, with nearly 3 billion active users, is a key advantage for advertisers. However, successful marketing targets the right people, not everyone. Facebook excels in detailed targeting, leveraging user data to help advertisers deliver precise messages. This capability attracts nearly 10 million active advertisers and generates $28.6 billion per quarter. The effectiveness and profitability of Facebook ads are undeniable—if you know how to use them properly.

How Do Facebook Ads Work?

Facebook ads now come in several varieties. You can promote your Page, posts on your Page, actions users took, or your website itself. Despite Facebook’s increasing focus on native ads and keeping traffic on its site, you can still be successful in sending users to your website.

There are also several ad formats including images, videos, carousel (multiple images), Instant Experiences, and collections.

Facebook ads are targeted to users based on their location, demographic, and profile information. Many of these options are only available on Facebook.

After creating an ad, you set a budget and bid for each click or thousand impressions that your ad will receive.

Users then see your ads in the sidebar on Facebook or in their newsfeed.

As marketers, our main goal is generally to drive traffic to our own websites. Building your Facebook presence is great, but when you bring someone to your website, you control the medium, and this gives you the best chance of converting on your goals.

Facebook’s other ad options are great for driving engagement and brand awareness, but ads driving users off-site are still the best option for direct response advertisers looking to make a sale.

Tips for Creating Facebook Ads

Facebook advertising has great potential but it isn’t as easy as just creating a bit of copy and watching the sales come in. Getting Facebook Ads right takes a considered approach and lots of optimization until you find the perfect strategy.

 Target Your Facebook Ads

At the beginning of this article, we asked: why advertise on Facebook? The two main reasons were reach and Facebook’s almost unparalleled targeting.

The problem is, lots of businesses don’t take advantage of the targeting that’s available to them. They go for a bigger is better approach, when in reality, what matters is getting your products or services in front of the people who need them the most.

The number one mistake most marketers make with Facebook ads is not targeting them correctly.

Facebook’s ad targeting options are unparalleled. You can target by demographics and create custom or lookalike audiences to target users similar to your best customers. You can also use retargeting ads to target users who interacted with your page or visited your website.

On Facebook, you can directly target users by:

  • location
  • age
  • gender
  • interests
  • connections
  • relationship status
  • languages
  • education
  • workplaces

Each option can be useful, depending on your audience. Most marketers should focus on location, age, gender, and interests.

  • Location allows you to target users in the country, state, city, or zip code that you service.
  • Age and gender targeting should be based on your existing customers. If women 25-44 are the bulk of your customers, start out targeting them. If they prove to be profitable, you can then expand your targeting.
  • Interest targeting is the most powerful but misused feature of Facebook ads. When creating an ad, you have two options: broad categories or detailed interests.

Broad Category Targeting

Broad categories include topics like Gardening, Horror Movies, and Consumer Electronics. Recently, Facebook has added newer targets like Engaged (1 year), Expecting Parents, Away from Hometown, and Has Birthday in 1 Week.

Broad interests may seem like an efficient way to reach a large audience. However, these users often cost more and spend less. You’ll also need to install the Facebook pixel.

This used to be an ineffective way to reach audiences; however, the addition of the Facebook pixel and dynamic ads makes this far more effective.

It is worth testing, but detailed interest targeting is often more effective.


Detailed Interest Targeting

Detailed Interest targeting allows you to target users based on information in their profile including “listed likes and interests, the Pages they like, apps they use, and other profile (timeline) content they’ve provided” (according to Facebook).

You’ll find the best ROI using Detailed Interest targeting.

Facebook has an amazing array of interests to target from Harry Potter to underwater rugby. The hard part is choosing the right ones.

When targeting detailed interests, Facebook provides the size of the audience and other suggested likes and interests. You won’t have any competitive data, but once you select interests for an ad, Facebook will show an aggregate suggested bid.

Many marketers target the largest groups possible. This is a mistake as these groups are more expensive and less targeted.

Rather than target broad terms for your niche like “yoga” or “digital photography,” focus on specific interests. Research which magazines and blogs your customers read, who they follow on Twitter, and which related products they buy.

If you use laser-focused interests like these, you’ll reach the people who are most interested in your topic and the most willing to spend money on it.

For example, if you wanted to sell a new DJ course, don’t just target the interest of “disc jockey.”

Instead, create ads targeting DJ publications like DJ Magazine and Mixmag. Then create another ad targeting DJ brands like Traktor and Vestax.

Combine smaller, related interests into a group with an audience of 50,000 to 1M+. This structure will create ads with large audiences that are likely to convert


Facebook Lookalike Audiences

In addition to targeting users directly, Facebook gives you the ability to create Lookalike Audiences.

These are Facebook users that are similar to your current users. You’ll need to have Facebook Pixel or other custom audience data, like an email list. Then, you can ask Facebook to find similar users.

They are highly customizable, for example, you could create a “new customer” ad, then exclude current customers from seeing your ads.

Running ads for your business is a great way to boost visibility, attract more customers, and increase sales.

We specialize in social media marketing that drive higher conversions for your business. Set up a free consultation with us!

2. Include Images

Facebook is a visual place. How often do you stop to read a post that’s made up completely of text versus one that contains video or images?

The most important part of your Facebook ad is the image. You can write the most brilliant copy in the world, but if your image doesn’t catch a user’s eye, you won’t get any clicks.

Don’t use low-quality images, generic stock photography, or any images that you don’t have the rights to use. Don’t steal anything from Google Images. Unless you’re a famous brand, don’t use your logo.

Now that we have the no’s out of the way, how should advertisers find images to use? Buy them, create them yourself, or use ones with a Creative Commons license.

3. Write Great Copy

After seeing your image, users will (hopefully) read your ad text. Here you can sell them on your product or service and earn their click. Despite the 40 character headline and 125 character body text limits, we can still grab attention by capturing users with a compelling headline, spark interest by showcasing the key benefit of your product, create desire with a special offer or discount, and conclude with a strong call to action.

4. Track Your Facebook Ad’s Performance

Facebook Ads Manager provides a huge amount of data on how people interact with your ads. However, once people click to your website, it doesn’t offer the same level of insights, so you’ve got to use an analytics program like Google Analytics.

By tagging your links using Google’s URL builder or your own tracking tags, you can easily keep track of how traffic from your Facebook ads interacts with your site. This will allow you to see how effective your ads are based on aspects like lead generation, number of sales, and total revenue.

5. Create a Realistic FB Advertising Budget

start by determining the number of impressions needed to achieve your sales and revenue goals. Ask yourself:

  1. What is the price of your product or service?
  2. How many units do you want to sell?
  3. What is your current conversion rate?

For example, if your product is $100, you want to sell 10 units, and your conversion rate is 1%, you’ll need 1,000 sales to make $10,000. With a 1% conversion rate, that requires 100,000 impressions. Multiply 100,000 by your average cost per click (CPC) to estimate your budget. Divide this amount by your campaign duration to set a daily budget.

Finally, choose an objective, like Conversions or Link clicks, to optimize your ad delivery on Facebook.

Despite the learning curve, Facebook advertising can be a great marketing channel for the right business. The most important points to remember are: target specific interests, use eye-catching images, give users a low-friction conversion, and track everything.

By following these tips, you will be able to grab people’s attention on a crowded platform and use your Facebook advertising to encourage people to take action.

We specialize in social media marketing that drive higher conversions for your business. Set up a free consultation with us!