Facebook Advertising 101

By Stephanie McCormick


Long gone are the days of Facebook business pages gaining overnight popularity without a dollar being spent. If you want your business to thrive on Facebook, you will have to invest in advertising. 

But Do I Really Need To Spend Money?

The short answer: yes. You may have heard by now about the changes to the Facebook algorithm that came into force a few months ago. The algorithm puts a block on the amount of people who will see a business page’s post.

Basically, if you post an image to your followers, this post will only show up in a small percentage of News Feeds, unless it is liked, shared, or commented on (increasing its reach organically).

The amount of money and the way in which you spend it will vary depending on your budget and the objectives you are trying to achieve.

How Do I Get Started?

There are two ways that you can create ads on Facebook – through the Facebook Ads Manager and through Power Editor. If you are new to Facebook advertising, the Facebook Ads Manager has a simpler format to use, and for that reason I will focus on it as a starting point.

Campaign Objectives

When creating an ad through the Facebook Ads Manager, you first choose your campaign objectives. The goals that you can choose from include:

  • Page post engagement – Promoting posts on your page
  • Page likes – Getting your page likes to increase
  • Clicks to website – Getting people to visit your website
  • Website conversions – Getting people to perform actions on your site
  • App installs – Getting people to install your desktop or mobile app
  • App engagement – Getting people to use your desktop app
  • Event responses – Increasing the amount of people attending your event
  • Offer claims – Creating offers for your customers to redeem

Images And Advertisement Copy

The dimensions of the images you use in your ads and the length of the copy that you include in the heading and body of the ad vary depending on the type of ad that you choose. These dimensions change often, in accordance with changes to the Facebook layout. You can find the current dimensions here.

Setting A Budget

Once you have set up your goals for your ads, you then have to decide what your budget for the ads will be. This is chosen in the section known as the ‘Ad Set’. You are able to allocate certain amounts of your budget to a specific focus or objective. You can also set the budget per day, or over the lifetime of the campaign.

Choosing Your Audience

Your ads can also be targeted towards specific people, which can be selected in the ‘Demographics’ drop down menu. People can be targeted in many different ways – by gender, age, interests, location, relationship status, and political views just to name a few. You can also choose to target people that are followers of your page, as well as those who aren’t.

You can further narrow your chosen audience by using the ‘Custom Audiences’ option. This allows you to target people by more detailed criteria such as email addresses, user IDs, and by whether they have visited your website.

Choosing Placement For Your Advertisement

Once you have decided whom you will target and what your goals for the ad will be, you can choose where on Facebook your ad will be shown.

There are three locations where you can choose to display your ad:

  • On the Desktop News Feed
  • On the Mobile News Feed
  • In the right hand column (beneath the ‘Trending Topics’ section)

Desktop News Feed Advertisements

The most prominent of the Facebook advertising placements, these ads show up in a person’s News Feed alongside the content from their friends and the other businesses and people they follow.

Although the words ‘Sponsored Post’ appear on the ad, the posts appear less like paid advertising and more like a genuine news story, as they can be commented on and liked just like any other News Feed post.

Mobile News Feed Advertisements

The large user base of mobile Facebook users can make these types of ads an appealing option for business owners. However, if your business’ website is not mobile compatible, and will not provide people with an easy and enjoyable experience, there is no point driving traffic to it.

Although fewer people may see your ad, you may be better off sticking to desktop advertising, and maximising your customer’s user experience.

Right Hand Column Advertisements

Advertisers are often prone to focusing on the News Feed, and for good reason – it attracts more than 700 million people daily, which is a lot of eyeballs that can be targeted.

However, the recent simplified Facebook redesign has highlighted and emphasised the News Feed content. Facebook hopes to boost the appeal and value of right hand column or ‘sidebar’ ads by revamping them to be larger in size, and more consistent with those that appear in the News Feed. As the ads will be larger, there will be fewer of them displayed, improving the experience for Facebook users. Early tests have revealed up to three times more engagement on the larger ad design.

The update will also streamline the ad making process for business owners. As the revamped sidebar ads will share the same dimensions as the News Feed ads, businesses will not have to upload several images of different dimensions. This means you will be able to upload the same image for both type of ads, saving you time and hassle.

Promoted Posts

Another option businesses have is to promote certain posts on their Facebook page. Promoting or “boosting” a post means to put a certain amount of money towards a post in order to make it reach more people. You can do this by clicking on the ‘Boost Post’ button underneath a post, and choosing an audience, budget, and duration. The money can be anywhere from one dollar to over one thousand.

Like other types of advertisements, promoted posts can be targeted to specific people – by gender, age, interests, and location. You can also choose to target people who already like your page and their friends, or even target people who don’t. This way, you can guarantee that your budget will be entirely spent reaching the people you actually want to reach.

Promoted posts are available to business pages with 50 likes or more. One limitation of these posts is the 20% text restriction that Facebook places on images. So if you’re planning on boosting a post, make sure that text in the image takes up less than 20% of the full image.

Checking Your Progress

The Facebook Ads Manager allows you to see how your ads have fared, compare them to other campaigns you are running, and make changes to your ads along the way. The advanced reporting features graphs, charts, and allows you to export the data about your ad into a spreadsheet. By taking notice of what has worked with your ad and what hasn’t, you can alter your advertising strategy, get the most out of your budget, and achieve your advertising goals.

Connect with Steph on Twitter.

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2 responses to “Facebook Advertising 101

  1. Pingback: How To Create A Facebook Business Page | The Servant·

  2. Pingback: Fantastic Facebook | The Servant·

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