Every major social network now has its own advertising platform but Facebook is arguably the best in terms of features, insights, and audience. Facebook is a great place to start with online advertising but it’s such a crowded space that you need to stand out. Every business that’s advertising on Facebook is competing for the same attention, so it’s helpful to have some advice that will give you a leg up on the competition and make the most of your ad spend.

1. Create unique ad sets for each audience

With Facebook advertising, you can create two different ads and deliver them to two completely unique audiences under the same campaign. The result is better targeting.

Whether you’re selling cars or kitchen supplies, different things appeal to different people for different reasons. You may want to target the same product to a woman to buy for herself or to a husband to buy for his wife. Different ads, different audiences, different creative, but the same product.

2. Create landing pages for your ads

If you’re advertising to people on Facebook, it’s unwise to direct them to a product or sale page as soon as they click on the ad. That’s best saved for search ads where someone is looking for something specific. On Facebook, where you’re trying to sell to people who may be interested in what you’re selling, you want to present potential customers with a landing page that educates them on the product before asking them to buy.

Landing pages make sense because Facebook advertising isn’t cheap. You’re going to spend money on your clicks and you want each one to count. Simply sending them to a basic website or product page without clearly outlining why they should buy is a waste of money.

3. Create great images

Written copy for Facebook ads is undeniably important. Unfortunately, the same amount of attention isn’t always given to the images used in these ads. Visual content is what will get people to stop scrolling before they read the ad copy to get more information. The imagery is a lot more influential than the text.

Facebook doesn’t allow you to use images that are more than 20% text, so it’s clear that images are designed to grab attention, not display a message. Take advantage of this valuable real estate within your ad.

Pro tip: Use the Text Overlay Tool to upload images and check whether they’ll be approved, denied, or reach a limited audience based on the text in them.

4. Establish a bid strategy and budget

Just like gambling, it’s critically important that you set a bid strategy & budget and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending way more than you intended. Facebook makes this easy by allowing you to use Optimized CPM.

This is a handy tool that gives Facebook permission to bid for ad space based on the constraints and goals you provide. This generally allows you to maximize your budget and avoid overspending. Until you get an idea of how much ad space costs and how to allocate your budget, it’s best to let Facebook take care of this aspect of your campaign.

5. Vary your ad types

Variety is the spice of life. Not every company can use every type of ad format but it’s at least worth testing them all to see what works for you.

Instant Experience Ads

Instant Experience ads might seem overwhelming. They’re a jumble of videos, images, text, calls to action, and other interactive elements, but statistics show that they’re worth the trouble. They allow you to create an immersive and engaging experience for customers that translates to conversions.

The creation process itself is also extremely templated and is merely a matter of dragging-and-dropping creative elements. Templates include the following:

  • Get New Customers (best for customer acquisition)
  • Sell Products (best for eCommerce)
  • Showcase Your Business (best for driving brand awareness).

The other advantage of Instant Experience format is to remove barriers that might derail your customer’s buying process. You landing pages or lead forms open directly within the Instant Experience without needing to send customers elsewhere and risk losing them.

Lead Ads

Like Instant Experience ads, Facebook lead ads are a mobile-only solution, and they were created so advertisers could avoid sending prospects to cumbersome mobile landing pages. Lead forms are great for collecting any information that could be used for remarketing; names and job titles, phone numbers, addresses, demographics. Because your lead form opens right within the Facebook app, your prospects don’t need to go to your website to provide that information.

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads are tailor-made for displaying multiple e-commerce products (or multiple parts of the same product) in a single, swipeable ad.

Carousel ads give advertisers the ability to display up to 10 images or videos (with 10 different CTAs) in one ad, and link to different landing pages from each panel. They’re effective on both desktop & mobile and are available for most Facebook ad objectives, which means that you can still take advantage if your objective isn’t online sales.

Video Ads

500 million people watch video on Facebook every day and studies show that customers who view videos are 1.8 times more likely to make a purchase. The drawback is the time and effort that it takes to create video content as opposed to images or graphics for ads.

Facebook video ads can be up to 240 minutes (4 hours) long. While it’s best to keep ads short and sweet, it’s also nice to not be too restricted so that you can fully relay the story or the message that you want to.

One thing that you definitely want to do is add captions to every video you put out, especially ads. According to Facebook, captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%. Stats aside, you’ll make it easier for users to consume your content when they aren’t in a situation where they can watch a video with sound.

6. Implement a Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a single snippet of code which, when implemented on your site’s pages, allows you to track conversions (site traffic, content downloads, or product purchases) and track them back to your ads.

7. Use insights & analytics for better targeting

Facebook’s Audience Insights is one of the best tools you have at your disposal. It allows you to learn about specific audiences before risking your budget or targeting them. It works by analyzing available Facebook data and showing you exactly who your target market is based on people who already like your page.

Instead of taking a shot in the dark, you can know exactly which users are likely to follow through with your ad’s call-to-action. It saves a lot of time and money, allowing you to focus on the quality of the ad and avoid wasting time on targeting.

Facebook Analytics comes with a number of useful features that allow you to see how prospects and customers are interacting with your website, app, page, etc.

Remarketing

Retargeting campaigns, on average, have higher conversion rates and a lower cost per click (CPC). It’s so effective because it allows you to target users based on an action they’ve already taken on your website or social accounts. This gives you the advantage of knowing how they’ve already interacted with your brand, and where they are in your sales funnel.  

The most common form of Facebook remarketing is called Custom Audiences, which allow you to target five different user segments:

  • Customer File: Match email addresses, phone numbers, and Facebook user IDs to existing Facebook accounts and target those accounts.
  • Website Traffic: Target people who have visited your website, or visited specific pages of your website.
  • App Activity: Target people who have launched or interacted with your app or game.
  • Offline Activity: Target people who have interacted with your business in-store, by phone, or through other offline channels.
  • Engagement: Create a list of people who engage with your content on Facebook or Instagram.

With each of these segments, you have the option of adding behavioural, demographic, and interest targeting to refine your audience. Don’t just settle for getting your ads in front of prospects and customers who have previously interacted with your brand. Layering traditional Facebook targeting on top of those lists can help you reach the most qualified prospects.

Whether you’re targeting to users who have simply visited a certain page on your website or showing ads of a big sale to high-value customers who purchase regularly, these users already have some sort of connection to your business. That familiarity will make them more willing to click on that ad and see what you have to offer. It will also make them more likely to convert.

Whichever types of custom audiences and retargeting campaigns you choose to create, remember to use what you know about that specific audience to tailor your messaging to appeal to them.

Lookalike audiences

Creating lookalikes is the practice of leveraging the information you’d use to create Custom Audiences to instead create audiences that have similar characteristics but represent a new segment of potential customers. These audiences haven’t yet interacted with your brand but they’re similar to those who have.

Like Custom Audiences, lookalike audiences are best utilized in conjunction with layered targeting. Adding layered targeting to lookalike audiences an effective way to control audience size in case you’re worried about going over budget or going too broad.

Behavior, Interest, and Demographic Targeting

If you’re a newer business with marginal website traffic, you probably have little in the way of remarketing options. If that’s the case, your best bet is going to be what’s called layered (or manual) targeting, which is the process of creating audiences based on:

  • Behaviors: Reach users based on purchase behaviors, intent, device usage, and more.
  • Interests: Reach users by looking at their interests, activities, the pages they liked, and closely-related topics.
  • Demographics: Reach users by location, age, gender, language, relationship status, and more.

The key is to start broad and gradually narrow to more qualified, refined subsets.

8. Create mobile-first content

Mobile usage is only increasing, so you need to bring the content to users where they’re most likely to interact with it. Content that’s created for desktop won’t always translate well to mobile, but content created for mobile will typically work well on desktop. It’s important to keep mobile in mind when you’re creating content so that it will reach the audience you might be struggling to connect with.

Ensure that your content meets mobile best practices. Including more vertical video in your campaigns is a good example because mobile users can easily expand the video and watch it full-screen without having to turn their phone. It’s not traditional, but you want to make it as easy as possible for people to consume your content.

9. Get Familiar with Sizing & Spec Requirements

It’s a waste of time, energy, and users’ attention to use the wrong size of an image in an ad. Here’s a breakdown of the ad specs you should be aware of:

  • Image ads:
    • Size: 1,200 x 628 pixels.
    • Ratio: 1.91:1.
    • Text: 90 characters.
    • Headline: 25 characters.
    • Link description: 30 characters.
  • Video ads:
    • Format: .mov or .mp4.
    • Ratio: 16:9.
    • Resolution: at least 720p.
    • File size: 2.3 GB max.
    • Thumbnail size: 1,200 x 675 pixels.
    • Text: 90 characters.
    • Headline: 25 characters.
    • Link description: 30 characters.
  • Carousel ads:
    • Image size: 1,080 x 1,080 pixels.
    • Image/video ratio: 1:1.
    • Text: 90 characters.
    • Headline: 40 characters.
    • Link description: 20 characters.
  • Slideshow ads:
    • Size: 1,289 x 720 pixels.
    • Ratio: 16:9, 1:1, or 2:3.
    • Text: 90 characters.
    • Headline: 25 characters.
    • Link description: 30 characters.

Sticking to these specs will ensure that your ads display correctly and won’t frustrate your audience.

10. Track Sales, Not Vanity Metrics

The true measure of success in any ad campaign is your return on investment (ROI). Clicks and social engagement are important but what really matters is how much money you make, not how many people share your ad. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting thousands of shares and clicks. If you are not getting sales, something is not working. It may be your ad. It may be your landing page. It may be your audience. But whatever the case is, you need to stop the campaign and figure out what’s going on or you’ll keep losing money.

We’re not saying that clicks and engagement aren’t important. They can provide valuable insights into what people respond to, which you can use to adjust your creative on your next campaign.

If you don’t use Conversion Tracking, you’re going to have a hard time determining which ad is actually leading to revenue. As a result, it’s very easy to make the wrong decisions when managing your ads. This is extremely important information. Even if you’re making sales, if you don’t track which ad is leading to revenue, you’ll lose money.

11. Pay attention to ad placement

Different placements will impact your campaign differently. Mobile users, for example, might be less likely to purchase than desktop users but more likely to engage. Instagram placements consistently cost more than Facebook across the board, but they also yield higher engagement on average. Similarly, on-platform newsfeed ads will perform better than right column ads on Facebook, but the newsfeed ads offer more potential that can lead to higher CTRs.

All placements are enabled automatically, but you can edit this accordingly when creating your ads.

Conclusion

Creating a killer Facebook ad campaign is all about understanding the platform and utilizing the features you have at your disposal. Once you determine who you’re targeting and how much you’re willing to spend, you can then focus on the finer details.

  1. Create different ad sets
  2. Create landing pages
  3. Create great images
  4. Establish a bid strategy & budget
  5. Vary your ad types
  6. Implement a Facebook Pixel
  7. Use your insights & analytics data
  8. Create content with mobile in mind
  9. Ensure that you use the right file formats & sizes
  10. Track sales, not likes, clicks, and shares
  11. Think about ad placement