Facebook is the ultimate targeted advertising platform. Facebook allows you to target specific audiences that will be interested in your store, page or whatever you are advertising for. But what is the best way to utilise Facebook ads? Which ads will get the best response? This article will explain.

The Facebook Ads Manager can be found here.

The standard Facebook Ad is a simple photo and text link. These can be effective if your graphics are up to scratch – something like a big 50% off banner if you’re promoting a sale. But increasingly, people don’t respond to these ads because they are obviously adverts and we are experiencing a shift away from traditional advertising. Facebook continues to add more formats for adverts – try experimenting with them when you are comfortable doing so and have more experience.

Facebook allows you to optimise based on what you are aiming for. Conversions track customer actions such as checking out on a store or adding an item to their basket. Optimise for conversions if you are running a store or offer, optimise for link clicks if you are looking for traffic etc. Facebook does a good job explaining what each option does. When creating an advert, we have to create an audience to target.

You need to tailor your ads audience appropriately. Consider the following:

  • What countries are you selling to? Don’t forget to target the correct language as well.
  • What age groups are you targeting?
  • Is your ad going to appeal more to men or women? If it leans towards either gender, advertise exclusively to it.
  • What interests does your target audience have? If you are selling workout supplements, advertise to people who are interested in health and fitness, NOT video games! Use interests to further narrow your audience.
  • Consider the disposable income of your audience. If you’re selling an expensive product, target people above 25 – they are more likely to be in a career.

You can also combine interests to narrow your audience further. You may want to do this if you are selling a more unique product. For example: if you were advertising an app aimed at tennis players, you would set the interests as tennis, then under the narrow audience options enter smartphone users. You can search for habits as well – I usually target active credit card users if I’m selling something.

Facebook will give you a useful little gauge of your audience size:

Ensure your audience is in the green section.

Don’t just leave the default settings for the ad placement. I always design my ads around appearing in the newsfeed. I would turn off audience network and Instagram ads (If your ad is based around a good photo you might want to experiment with it). I also turn off the option to display on the sidebar. We want our ads to appear in the feed. Another thing to take into account is what operating system you are advertising to. If you are selling iPhone cases, make sure you don’t waste money advertising to android users!

In terms of content, make sure to use keywords for selling. Stress value and quality. Be concise as people are likely going to skim read an advert only! Emojis are a good way to draw attention to an advert, provided it isn’t out of place for your product. If you want to learn about how to create perceived value, check out this post. Remember to cater your post content to your audience. Try to make it blend in with normal Facebook content when possible.

The Ads manager will give you a break down of how many of your engagements were paid for, and how many were organic. Organic engagements are created when somebody is friends with someone who shares or reacts to your ad, and see it through their reaction on their Facebook feed rather than as a sponsored post. We need to learn to advertise by creating a viral post that also promotes your product or website. This is how we achieve maximum engagement, and in turn, get the greatest amount of organic reach.  This means that if we create a viral post and pay only a small amount to promote it, there can be a large snowball effect from organic shares.

Here is an example of a couple of posts I shared getting an impressive reach:

The PPE Cost is the lowest the ads manager can measure

These posts were aimed at getting Facebook page likes, so they were funny images rather than straight up adverts. Facebook allows you to invite anybody who has reacted to your post to your page. People have no reason to share an advert to their friends or followers. If we create an interesting post that contains a link to our product or service, they are far more likely to share.

How can we make a post interesting? Try one of the following:

  • Funny picture – This is easily done when promoting a quirky product.
  • Joke/Reference in the text – if you can relate your product to something recognisable that people have fondness for, they will engage.
  • Giveaway – if you are giving something away, people are like to share or tag their friends.
  • Relevant Video – if you are trying to promote a store that sells pet supplies, share videos of puppies or something that people will enjoy.

What if you simply can’t make your post interesting?

If you are straight up selling something or advertising a service:

  • Discounts – make your offer very clear – people aren’t interested in full price!
  • High Quality Photos – if your advert is low quality people expect a low quality service.
  • Simple Text – be straight to the point, people will glance over and you need to transfer information to them in this short period.

There is also a benefit of simply creating and paying to advertise viral posts simply to grow your Facebook page without any other motive. A larger Facebook page gives you more people to advertise to and will grow trust among potential customers.

How much shall I spend?

This will depend on what your objectives are. If you are completely new to Facebooks ads, expect to waste some money at the start as you adapt your ads and get more experienced in what will work and what won’t. At the start, don’t spend more than £5/$5 a day. Even this can be too much. If your budget is small, you can use the minimum of £1/$1 a day. Facebook will give you an estimate of how much reach an advert can expect to get. Remember, you aren’t just advertising – you are paying for DATA. Use this to optimise your adverts!
I would suggest running 4/5 advert variations for 1-2 days and see which one gets the best response.

From here, analyse the data – if you are getting much better cost per engagement for a certain demographic, try running an advert aimed just at this demographic. Don’t be too concerned with whether the ad is charging per click or per impression. Although it may seem better to charge per click, the reality is the clicks will be rare and costly, leading to similar results if you pay a tiny amount per impression.

Remember, the key to Facebook ads is optimisation. As soon as you decide something isn’t working, flick the switch and stop the advert. Don’t be discouraged by bad engagement – use it as a learning experience. Run multiple ads and optimise your best-performing ones.


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