Here is a no-nonsense guide to creating Facebook ads. Answer the questions, follow the action steps, pay attention to each image and you’ll be ready to start marketing on Facebook in minutes.
To advertise on Facebook, you have to set up a company Page for your business. Once that’s complete, you’ll be able to start advertising your business.
The first decision you have to make is if you want to boost a post or create a separate ad. Boosting a post is paying to promote something you’ve already posted to your Facebook Page. This post will focus on creating an advertisement for a specific offer, but boosted posts are effective on Facebook as well and we’ll go over how to do that another time.
This article will help you make decisions about how to setup each ad before you spend a cent on Facebook. Open up a text document and write out your answers to all the questions. That way creating the ad will be a simple copy and paste operation.
Or you could just jump in with both feet and follow along in your Facebook Ads Manager as you read through this post. However, some fore-thought will help you refine and purify your ad for maximum response.
All advertising should be developed with a specific goal in mind. Facebook ads are no exception. Define the results you want to see and create the ad with those results as your focus. You want to trigger a response from people, not just to impress them.
To cut out a clear objective, write down the answer to these questions:
- What do you want your ads to accomplish? Be specific and set measurable goals like website visits, video views, leads or sales.
- Where are people going after they click on your ad? Don’t just send people to your homepage. Send them to an offer page, product page, newsletter signup page, event signup page, or anything that keeps the attention on your offer.
Facebook starts the ad creation process with these pre-set objectives:
- Send people to your website – Anybody who clicks on your ad is directed to a web address you specify. You can direct prospects to a web page focused on your offer.
- Increase conversions on your website – This objective requires a few extra steps. You can put a piece of code (called a “Conversion Pixel”) on your landing page and Facebook will track their behaviour on that page (eg. how many people click a certain button).
- Boosts your posts – Like we talked about at the beginning of the article, you can promote posts that are already on your Facebook Page.
- Promote your page – Advertise your Facebook Page and get more people to “Like” it.
- Get installs of your app – Advertise your app so more people will download and install it.
- Increase engagement of your app – When you want people who have already downloaded your app to use it more.
- Raise attendance at your event – Advertise your Facebook Event Page.
- Get people to claim your offer – A direct way to offer discounts or deals that people can claim directly from Facebook.
- Get video views – Advertise your video so more people see it.
Here’s what it looks like in real life:
For the most part, you’ll want to “Send people to your website,” or “Increase conversions on your website.” This way, when people click on the ad, they are sent to the landing page you create specifically for that offer. You have complete control over how the offer is presented.
Maybe the last time you defined your target audience was when you created your business plan, or maybe it was just last week. Either way, lets do it again. But this time, lets think about who is on Facebook and who you want to see this particular offer.
- Does gender, age, education level, and income matter? (Is it a product for older women, biologists, is it really expensive?)
- What interests your audience most? What do they talk about all the time? What are their hobbies? What kind of pages to they Like on Facebook.
- Can anybody around the world take advantage of your offer or do they have to visit a specific location?
Your product or service should already be designed for a specific need and a certain market, so defining this won’t be too difficult. Think about what segment of your target market this offer is for? If you’re a restaurant owner, are you offering a late night deal that would only appeal to the night-hawks? If you’re a software developer, are you offering a special deal to students?
Here’s what it looks like when you are defining your audience for a Facebook ad:
Facebook has several ways to define your target audience. There are the basic demographic options: age, gender, location, etc. You can further define your audience by telling Facebook what interests, behaviours and connections your target audience has.
Tell Facebook what interests your audience and it will only show your ad to people who have liked related pages and talked a lot about those interests.
Specify what behaviours are typical to your audience, such as types of purchases, apps used, what kind of devices they use, and even their travel patterns.
If you’ve gone through demographics, interests and behaviours, and your audience is still too broad, you can tell Facebook to show your ad to your family, friends, followers and their friends as well.
As you bring more definition to your target audience, the number of people you could potentially reach will decrease. That’s OK. Advertising to the right audience means your ad is shown to the people that are mostly likely to take action.
Use all this audience definition to evaluate your offer. In all likelihood you’ve invested a lot of time into crafting this offer. You’ve endeavoured to make it the best, most attractive solution to your customer’s problem.
To translate those attractive qualities to Facebook, consider these questions:
- What is the crux of the offer? Boil the offer down to it’s most powerful idea. Write it out in one sentence. There should be no doubt in your customer’s mind about what they get out of this deal. Make your point quickly and clearly so people don’t have to work to understand your offer.
- Is it visual? Make sure your image demonstrates the benefit of someone taking advantage of your offer. You could just post a picture of you or your product, but nothing is quite as persuasive as seeing the relief you want on someone else’s face.
- Is it social? Create incentive to share this deal with friends. Facebook is “social” media for a reason. Use that social element as much as possible.
“How much should I spend on Facebook Ads?” I’ve heard this question a number of times. The answer is, “How much of a response do you want?”
Along with the type of audience you are targeting, your budget will determine how many people see your ad. Obviously a larger budget means more people reached.
One of the most beautiful things about advertising on Facebook is how affordable it is. What some people don’t realize is how controllable your spending is as well. You can reach thousands of people for $100. Not something you can do with most print publications. Certainly not with the kind of targeting Facebook provides.
To help you decide what your Facebook Ads budget should be, answer these questions:
- How much is each sale and what do you want your profit margin to be? When you know how much you want to make off of each sale, you can determine how much to spend on each sale. For example:
- If your product is $30, and you want to profit at least $5 from each sale, then your total expenses can’t exceed $25 per sale.
- This is important because lets say you spend $100 on Facebook Ads, 20 people click the ad, 10 people express interest in your product but only 4 people actually complete the purchase, that means each sale cost you $25 ($100 / 4 sales).
- It will take some testing to find out what your response rates are like, but without knowing how much you’re willing to pay for each sale, you are in danger of loosing money.
- How much are you willing to spend in total? When starting out, give yourself a definitive limit. This will allow you to test the ad, the audience and Facebook’s ad controls. Once you are comfortable with how Facebook works and your ad has proven effective, you can increase your budget.
- How long do you want the ad to run for? I recommend setting a time limit in the beginning so you can test your ads. But once you have a proven ad, you can run it continuously. To control the spending on a continuous ad, you can set a daily budget.
- How large is your audience? With a larger audience, you don’t have to spend as much to reach as many people. If you notice that you’re not getting as many clicks as you would like, try expanding your audience before you increase your budget. Just remember that a larger audience may mean reaching people that aren’t as interested in your offer.
- What is your objective? Are you aiming for engagement or sales? Are you hoping to make money directly from this campaign, or do you want to build your audience? As a general rule, I would pay less for engagement objectives (website clicks, page likes, video views, etc.), than for direct sales or leads.
- However, if you have a powerhouse sales funnel that is proven to convert a high percentage of your engaged audience, than it might be worth it to spend more on engagement.
Here’s what it looks like when you’re setting a budget for your Facebook Ad:
- You can set a “Per Day” or “Lifetime” budget. “Per Day” sets a dollar limit that will be spent each day. You can give the ad a time limit with “Per Day,” or you can let it run continuously. If you set a “Lifetime” budget, you have to tell Facebook how much you want to spend in total on this ad.
- You can tell Facebook when you want your ad to start and end, or you can let it run continuously.
There are some advanced options as well.
- Clicks to Website – Facebook will show your ad to people who are more inclined to click through to a website. You pay per click (CPC).
- Clicks – If you aren’t directing the ad to a specific website, but you want them to click on the ad still (page likes, shares, comments), this is your option. You pay per click.
- Daily Unique Reach – If you want new people seeing your ad each day, select this.
- Impressions – Facebook will show your ad to as many people as many times as possible. You pay per 1000 impressions (CPM).
- Depending on what you’re optimizing for, you can choose to let Facebook automatically bid, or you can set a maximum amount Facebook is allowed to bid.
- A bid is the amount you will pay per click (CPC) or per 1000 impressions (CPM). Starting out, let Facebook automatically bid. As your ad runs, you will be able to see exactly how much your average bid is. Your CPC or CPM will be different based on your audience, the length of time your advertising, and the quality of your ad.
When trying to decide which image should accompany your ad, here is the number one question you need to ask:
- What’s the best visualization of your offer? For example, if your advertising a special on large pizzas, show people eating the pizza.
Be inspirational and capture real life as often as you can. If you want to put text on top of the image, make it unique. Don’t repeat what is already being said in your ad. Don’t put too much text in your image anyway, or Facebook will reject the ad.
Practically, your image should be:
- A minimum of 600 pixels wide.
- No more than 1 MB in size.
- Static. No animation.
- Less than 20% text. Too much text in the image and Facebook won’t allow the ad to run until the image is fixed.
Here’s what it looks like when you are read to add the image:
You can choose an image you’ve used before or upload a new one. You’ll notice that Facebook recommends a size for your image as well (on the right hand side).
To illustrate what is too much text and what isn’t, in the picture above you’ll see two images I’ve used previously for regular posts. The image on the left was approved for an ad. The image on the right was rejected because it had too much text.
If you have answered all of the questions above, coming up with the copy for your ad won’t be difficult. Here’s what it will look like when it actually comes time to write your ad:
Here are some tips for writing simple but powerful ad copy:
- Turn the crux of your offer into a plain language headline.
- Is there a story behind this offer? Tease it. Let them click on the ad to get the full story.
- If the offer is time sensitive, make sure that is clear. Urgency is a powerful motivator.
- Use an interesting stat or fact. Use information that is shareable. People are more likely to click on your ad or share it with their friends if there is useful or curious information in it.
- Lay out clear next steps for the reader. That can simply be “click here.” Depending on the type of ad you choose, Facebook may give you a button such as the “Learn More” button above.
Facebook gives you the option of showing the ad on mobile only or desktop newsfeeds as well. Starting out, allow Facebook to show your ad everywhere. It will resize the image to fit each device.
You can see how your ad will look in different places and on different devices. The right side of the picture above is “AD PREVIEW AND PLACEMENTS.” Underneath is each preview.
Launch Your First Facebook Ad
Once your happy with the copy and how the ad looks in the preview, click the green “Place Order” button.
Now your ads get reviewed by Facebook’s editorial team to make sure everything abides by their guidelines. Once the ad is “Active,” you’ll be able to track it’s performance through your Ads Manager.
Here’s what your ad will look like in Ads Manager:
You’ll see that I created two ads in the picture above. I like to run two ads side by side that are similar, but different in specific ways. That’s how you test ads. In this case, everything was the same except the picture. I wanted to see which picture was more effective.
Testing like that will give you all the intelligence you need to build successful Facebook Ad campaigns.
Having your objective, audience, offer, budget, image, and copy ready to go before you create a Facebook Ad will make the creation process much quicker. Plus, planning each ad out in detail will give you the best chance of succeeding.
This is just the beginning.
Creating Ads on Facebook is one of the topics covered in my presentation called “Making Social Media a Business Asset.” You can have the full presentation (264 slides divided into 3 PDF files) for FREE. Just click on the image below and sign up.