How to use Facebook ads


Facebook advertising best practices

For many businesses, advertising on the social network Facebook has proven to be a very successful model.  Facebook’s model is to be pretty rigid in terms of what you can and can’t do on your ad.  They’re all the same size and shape.  The format for all ads is exactly the same.  There are specific character counts for both the headline and the body copy.

So you have to work pretty hard to capture someone’s attention, considering all the sameness. The ads are inexpensive but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do them well.  If you’re going to invest the money, be sure you consider these suggestions.

Start with the end in mind: Like any marketing, you should set your goals up front.  How will you define and measure success?  Know what niche you’re targeting and what you want them to do.

Decide – click or view: You can pay for Facebook ads in one of two ways.  You can either pay for impressions or for clicks.  If you’re just looking for awareness, impressions may make more sense.  If you want to drive people to another website or a specific product’s landing page, then clicks will work better.  (Do the math to double check your choice)

Already be there: Ideally, you would couple your Facebook advertising with a robust Facebook fan page.  You should also change the standard URL that Facebook assigns your page to a custom URL.  You can do this for free once you have 25 likes for the page.

Visuals: Facebook allows you one photo per ad.  The maximum size your photo can be is 110 pixels wide by 80 pixels tall.  You’re much better off to pre-size your photo yourself, rather than have Facebook do it for you.

You want to have a picture that pops off the screen and that’s tough at 110 pixels.  Be sure you choose a photo that is dramatic and isn’t too busy.  You’ll get bonus views if your image is unusual, very local (if that’s your target)  or even something shocking or impossible.

Hit the target: One of the biggest benefits offered by Facebook ads is the ability to hyper target your ads.  You can target by geography (down to a specific city), by gender, age, education, and even marital status.  Beyond that, you can also target your ads by keywords.  You can be so specific that, for example, the only people who see your ads are married women who live in Colorado Springs, are between 25 and 33 and love both black and white photography, horses and iPads.

What this means is there is very little waste.  You can pinpoint exactly who matters. You can also narrow the field too much. Be sure to think through those decisions carefully.

Less is more: You only have 135 characters for your body copy so choose every word with great care.  Don’t waste any words on giving them contact information (they’re going to click on the ad if they want to reach you) or details that aren’t critical to getting them to take that next step and click.  Like in all advertising – asking a question can be a very compelling way to get someone’s attention.

Testing 1-2-3: One of the best things about Facebook ads are all the analytics they provide at no charge.  You can track and test your ads over and over again until you’ve reached the pinnacle of effectiveness.  Run multiple ads in a campaign and see how they perform against one another.  Watch for ads that start to slow down.  Change something simple like the headline or image to see if the ad’s activity picks back up.

Facebook ads can be a potent tool in your marketing arsenal so make the most of them by following these suggestions.

If you’ve used FB ads — what was your best secret?

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8 comments on “How to use Facebook ads

  1. Karl Sakas says:

    Agreed on the importance of testing — easy to see which ads are getting clicks and which are getting ignored. I usually see dramatic differences, and then kill/pause the ads that aren’t working.

    Facebook has recently relaxed the minimum “Likes” to get a vanity domain — I got one last month right after creating the page. Be careful, because you can’t change the name after you claim it.

  2. Tony Scott says:

    Aside from the things you discussed, which I totally agree by the way, Facebook ads could be more practical as it probably reaches the highest number of visitors everyday. Well, thanks for the pointers and hope to read more from you.

    1. Tony,

      That’s especially true if you buy the clicks version of the ads. Lots of exposure.


  3. jason walker says:

    Still to be convinced myself about Facebook ads, mainly because none of my friends click on them.

    But maybe they aren’t target audience!

    1. Jason,

      We did a campaign for a regional bank. We bought traditional media, we bought traditional digital media (like the newspaper’s website ads) and the Facebook ads outperformed all the other ads by over 20%.

      So I can tell you — given the right audience and the right ad/offer — they work.


  4. Anthony says:

    I appreciate the tip on narrowing the market. I am still learning on useful features for facebook ads. Your tips and suggestions really gave me an idea on what features to use. Thank you for the valuable info.

    1. Anthony,

      Glad to be of assistance. Hope it helps!


  5. Adrian says:

    I have not tried promoting my site through facebook ads. I might as well venture into this. I commonly see these ads on the right side on my facebook page, sometimes they get annoying so I might try doing one that is appealing to the people.

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