The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads

With the “small” exception of Google AdWords, Facebook Ads pretty much dominates everything online advertising. And it should be no surprise—70% of the platform’s users log in daily, versus Instagram’s 59%, Twitters 38% and LinkedIn’s 22%.

So, if you’re only just now considering it as a tool for your business, there’s no better time than now. By this point, there are so many tools, tips and tricks out there that obtaining a plethora of valuable insight takes mere seconds.

There’s only one major downfall: there’s so much information available, that it’s hard to know where to even begin.

That’s where this guide comes in. Not only will you find the wealth of useful Facebook Ads information, you’ll also get step-by-steps on how to implement these tactics.

It’s a one-stop shop for everything Facebook Ads, so you can get your business the traffic it deserves.

By the end of it, you’re going to understand what makes up a powerful headline, what copy should ideally read like, and how to pick the best type of ad, and objective, for your individual business goals.

Let’s get started.


What Sets Facebook Ads Apart?

Before we really dive into all the tips and tricks you should be implementing using Facebook Ads, it’s always a good idea to understand the reasoning behind it all. In this case, we know the bulk of Facebook users logs in daily, but… Is that really all that sets the platform apart? What exactly is it that makes Facebook Ads so alluring for entrepreneurs everywhere?

Well, to sum it up into one statement, Facebook Ads is all about flexible targeting. However you want to filter an ad, you basically can, which means you can focus on your exact target audience, without wasting your resources on people who aren’t interested.

And we’re talking super specific. You could be selling fresh, organic produce off your farm, and you’d be able to reach people who are interested in buying exactly that.

Using that example, imagine those filters for a second: local people who are interested in buying your organic potatoes, tomatoes, you name it. People who will go to your farm and tell others about it. People who live in your city, and have already expressed an interest in your farm, because they’ve visited your website before, or at least, know someone who has.

That’s powerful, that’s useful.

But how does Facebook Ads allow you to get specific? Take a look:

  • Custom Audiences - Allows you to target your existing customers.

  • Location - Allows you to target people who live close by, in your area. This could be based on city, state, or even country.

  • Gender - Allows you to target by gender, which comes in handy for products like women’s clothing, or men’s supplements.

  • Interests - Allows you to target by interests, which is open to just about anything. Think photography, fitness, nutrition, literature, marketing, literally anything.

  • Behaviors - Allows you to target based on past behavior, such as people who have visited your website before.

  • Connections - Allows you to target people who already like your business page, or people who share friends in common with you.

Facebook Ad Types

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Pull up any guide on Facebook Ads, and you’ll be told there are two types of ads to use: sponsored posts, and the right-hand column.

But, that’s not exactly true. There’s much more there than meets the eye, so let’s do a deep dive of your options.

Feeds

These are the go-to for anyone who doesn’t know what to pick. In fact, this is a good beginner choice, since it allows you to create a baseline metric to compare other ad forms.

And they come in a variety of styles:

  • The single photo post

  • The single video post

  • The carousel (text and multiple photos/video)

  • Canvas ads (mobile only)

And there’s even 2 types of in-feed ad forms.

Lead Ads

The Lead, full form ads are the ones that allow you to get a prospect’s email and name on Facebook, rather than having to click into another landing page, which frankly, is too much of a hassle for some people. That means your conversion rate on this goes up, rather than sinking.

As a bonus, the form is pre-filled for them with their email address. Saves even more time.

So, the best time to opt for this is when you’re offering a free download to your ebook or white paper (leads).

Offer Ads

The Offer is exactly that: an ad that announces you have something special for your target audience, such as a free travel size product with the purchase of select body wash.

Users will get an email notifying them to use their offer before it expires too, much like how businesses send out emails for their in-store only coupon codes.

Speaking of which, there are three types of offers you could create:

  • Online only

  • In-store only

  • And a hybrid of both

It’s free to create offer posts on your page, but you can also opt to boost them later, which allows you to try out organic growth for as long as you see fit.

Not only is this budget friendly, it’s also quite beneficial for businesses who already have a large following.

And these offer ads are flexible. You can create generic discount codes for anyone to use, or you can create one-per-person codes for those of you looking to reward long-time customers or new members.

Instant Articles

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Think of this as Facebook’s blog, of sorts. It’s designed beautifully, and it’s quite responsive, making it fun to play around with. For instance, you can sell ad space inside of the article, but keep 100% of the revenues for yourself.

But despite its looks and revenue options, it’s still not optimal compared to other things offered by Facebook. As it turns out, it’s weak to perform. Despite being able to keep all the revenue monetized, people have been reporting that it’s not worth the time put into setting it up.

In fact, Instant Articles has shown less reported earning than through mobile web, while consuming 25% more content.

So, feel free to try this out, see what you think. Don’t take everyone’s word for it. But perhaps, don’t dive in with two feet from the start, just to be safe.

In-Stream Videos

These are mid and pre-roll ads, which means you display the ad before a video begins, and then halfway through it. Most of them run anywhere between 5 to 15 seconds, because anymore than that, and people get antsy.

That means your message needs to be good enough to make its mark in that short time frame, which is a lot of pressure, but also, not anything new. Studies show you need to get people’s attention in 7 seconds with a regular website.

Maybe this is why there isn’t a real case study where someone really dug into their results with in-stream videos. Then again, it could also be because YouTube is the reigning king of video content.

Again, feel free to experiment with this one, but don’t forget to do the bulk of your video advertising on YouTube.

Right-Hand Column

As the name suggests, these are ads that show up in the right column of the Facebook feed. They’re smaller, but they can’t be scrolled past, which means they are always on the screen, no matter how much time it takes the reader to process the information.

That explains why so many marketers use this column for retargeting.

But there’s a little bump in the overall theory of using the right-hand column: heat map tools consistently show that people notice whatever is in the middle of the page, not so much what’s on the right.

Although there isn’t enough research available on this to be able to pinpoint the actual reasoning for this, it could be that the right column has simply become known as an ad dump location. Even content on the left seems to capture more attention.

Audience Network

These are the ads that get shared beyond Facebook, on their ad networks, such as Smart TVs and apps.

It’s ideal for video content, since some of the network objectives, like brand awareness, are video only.

However, you aren’t able to know anything about the types of content you’re being displayed next to, which means it could be your competitor, or it could be a more unsavory ad, and you’d be none the wiser.

Messenger

These are an absolute must, because every entrepreneur on the planet swears by them. They’ve been shown to increase conversions and response rates by quite a bit.

And there are three different types, to suit your needs:

Destination ads - show up in your newsfeed, but engages customers without directly selling. It will offer the option to send a message instead.

Sponsored messages - these ads allow you to deliver special messages directly to people’s inboxes, so for instance, if you’re rewarding members, or trying to retarget.

And home section ads - gets displayed in the home dashboard of your messaging application, and generates organic conversions by interacting with them.

Whichever type you choose, messenger ads are designed around direct human interaction. Rather than send out a ton of impersonal notes to people who may or may not be interested, these types of ads focus on engagement, and making individuals feel like they’re worth the time and effort simply for being who they are.

Nothing is more powerful than validating someone by 1) understanding their needs, 2) offering to help them with that, and 3) doing it in a way that suggests that they are of the utmost importance to you and your brand. It makes your business look much more human, rather than money hungry.

And as a bonus, you do earn more money this way. But you also gain valuable insight on your target audience, and build a stronger connection with them.


Facebook Ads Strategies

So for your strategy to work, for your ad style to really have the best shot at converting, you’re going to need to do one thing: sit down and rethink your offer.

And by rethink, I mean actually go over it in detail, and know what it is you’re trying to promote. Is there an event you’re trying to fill, or are you trying to increase traffic to your store, or website? Maybe there’s a free trial?

Your answer will determine your approach here, so before continuing on, you should be very clear in your offer.

For instance, if you’re working on getting more store traffic, you may want to create an offer ad, not a single photo post. But if you’re trying to fill an event, you may benefit from making the event on Facebook, and then advertising it in the platform’s ad product.

On the other hand, if you have a brick and mortar store, you’d love the Store Visits objective. If you have more than one location, you can add that information to your FB page before launching a campaign.

If you’re trying to get people to join your newsletter, you could try out the Lead Generation Form, which again, is partially filled with information, including the email that people used when signing up for Facebook.

In other words, think about what your overall goal is, then select the elements that the platform offers that are related to that specific goal. If you can simplify from there, great, because it’s always a good idea to use 1-2 things in tandem. Anymore than that, and you run the risk of taking on more than you can stay on top of.

Copywriting That Sells

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Here’s the thing no one tells you about copywriting: it functions as a guide, it tells people where they need to go (your store, for example), but it’s nothing without images.

The reason why is because much like a story, everything is elevated when there’s more than one element delivering the same message. It’s the whole reason why illustrations, stock images, even video content, exists.

So, if you’re spending resources like time and money into Facebook advertising, you need to put in the effort. Create amazing copy, and pair it with equally amazing images that excite and persuade.

If it seems too complicated, or daunting, don’t worry. Take a look at these easy steps to keep in mind as you design your ad campaign.

Narrow Your Audience

It may sound counterintuitive, but the best approach when writing Facebook ads is to act as if you’re writing to one person. Focus on this person’s needs and wants, and give them all of your attention.

This is the ideal customer, this is a simplified version of your entire target audience. And that means that if you can convince this one person, then you can convince everyone.

More so, when it's read, it will come across very personal, very direct, and highly targeted. Each and every person reading your ad will feel like you’re speaking to them directly, which is a very powerful move on your part.

Different People, Different Ads

You may be an entrepreneur selling, say clothing, but all of your customers go to you for different reasons. Maybe one of them is looking specifically for your men’s clothing, while another one is only interested in the shoes you’re selling. And even yet another is looking at activewear, or pajamas.

Different people, different needs, and therefore, different ads.

That’s where filters come in: each ad can be targeted based on interests, which means you’d benefit from using an activewear ad to target people who have listed fitness as an interest. And if you’re selling trendy men’s clothing, you’d benefit from targeting adult males between the ages of 18-30.

Flow Is Everything

Remember: visuals work when they go with the copy. If you’re creating an ad, and choose to post a picture of a cozy bedroom, but you’re really writing about mental health, that might not be cohesive. There’s nothing about the image that relates to the topic at hand, so it creates a very disconnected, confusing message.

This is why you want to select images that are instantly recognizable. If you’re writing about fashion, or the latest clothing items in your store, then you should post an image of a model wearing your pieces. If there is new content on your blog, and it’s about nutrition, then there should be images of nutritious food in your ad.

All of your images needs to be 100% relevant, whether they’re stock images or original content. However, it’s always smart to post your original content whenever possible, especially if you’re selling physical items. You want people to really see what you have to offer.

One Solid CTA

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The best Facebook ads have one solid CTA, no more, no less. That means if you want your store to have more traffic, then that call to action should be “shop now.” If you want to get more eyeballs on your latest blog post, then it should be “read now.”

And your copy should reflect that one goal. If you’re selling shoes, and your images are of some of your latest shoe additions, then you shouldn’t write about your handbags and accessories in your copy.

Otherwise, customers won’t know what to do. You’ll be selling one thing, but promoting a variety of other things, and your button won’t have a defined destination. When your customers click that button, where will they be taken?

Paying Extra Attention to Your Headline

Since we’re talking about your CTA and all, let’s transition into the headline. Think of your headline as half of your CTA, the persuasive one. The other half is the action text listed on your button.

That means it’s imperative to get it right, because that’s your chance to get people’s attention. You need to create something demonstrative of value, so much so, that if your ad were to consist solely of a headline, an image, and a button, it would still convert.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Make the first word a verb, to signify action.

  • Use the word “to” in order to announce what your audience will be getting in return for their action (“Read this post to learn the 10 most high-converting marketing tricks of 2018”).

  • Focus on one solid idea, not two or more. If you’re wanting people to learn about marketing, focus on that and only that, not marketing tricks and SEO tips.

  • Always use numbers and special characters where applicable. This draws the eye much more than spelling out the word percent, and shortens your copy.

  • Speaking of which, keep your headline short: five words or less, to be exact.

Keep It Simple, Yet Valuable

What’s the number one way to repel audiences? Long ad copy. We associate long-form copy, and several paragraphs, with blog posts and articles. Even ebooks and newsletters. But ads? They shouldn’t have more than 1-3 sentences, spaced out.

In fact, everything should have its own objective:

  • One sentence to essentially state a problem in a positive way, such as “Looking successful is easier than you think” (this is your headline; see the section above for more detail).

  • Another to offer a solution (e.g. “Hire a personal stylist”).

  • And a final one state where that solution is found (by hiring your styling services).

Now, it doesn’t need to follow this outline. This is one of many variations. Some companies opt for one punchy sentence (headline) that directly tells readers what is being sold, with images of the product. Then it’s just the CTA button and a super short item name.

Whatever you opt for, make sure you don’t go beyond 3 sentences tops. Everything needs to count.

Speaking of Simple, Your Tone Should Be Easy

Remember when you were in school, and had to read those academic database journals to get quality sources for term papers?

It was a terrible time, because many of them are written in such a complex language, that it’s just not worth the effort. It’s so much easier to find a normal, yet educational article, that already used the scholarly journal for references.

Well, the same goes for copywriting. It’s easy to get caught up in your data, in your numbers. It’s easy to assume that your tone should be a certain way.

But the reality is that copywriting is exactly what you’re reading now: informative, but casual. No flowery language, no complex wording, no dictionary or thesaurus in sight.

And it highlights three main things: what you’re offering, why it matters (benefits), and where to get it (CTA).

Never Hide the Numbers

Imagine for a second that you’re taking a tour of a home in your ideal neighborhood. The real estate agent is showing you the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the living room. It’s nice and bright in there, plenty of natural light. The kitchen’s been redone, and looks like a proper chef’s workspace. The ceilings are vaulted in the main hall, and there’s a cozy little office area in the finished attic, complete with a circular window and a view of a lake.

It’s your dream home, in your dream neighborhood, and the real estate agent is already asking for a signature. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line…

But wait a second… How much was the house again? It was $2,000,000 and it’s way, way out of budget.

Notice, suddenly you’re not interested in everything the house has to offer anymore. You’re just thinking about the numbers, wishing you’d known that upfront, before becoming invested in something you cannot actually afford.

That is the pain you’re causing potential customers whenever you hide your price tags. They shouldn’t have to go looking for them. They shouldn’t have to get their hopes up, only to experience disillusionment later. Instead, they should have the freedom to skim through your website and tell if you’re out of their budget, without having to do anything other than scroll down.

Gain Some Insight

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Much like it is in personal situations, where you’re too close to a situation, too involved, to really see the big picture, it can sometimes be beneficial to get someone else’s take on your marketing efforts.

Have someone you know will be honest with you take a look at your Facebook ads. Which one makes them want to click, and which ones don’t seem to leave a lasting impression?

If you don’t know anyone with the honesty or experience to handle the task, feel free to hire a freelancer, or consultant, to take a look at them. They specialize in working with different brands all the time, so they’ve seen, and written, their fair share of ad copy.

Test Your Ad

Finally, you’ll need to test your ad. It’s time consuming, but no one said it wouldn’t be worth it. After all, once you know you’ve taken all the steps necessary, you’ll be able to confidently launch an ad campaign, knowing full well that your best effort is out there on the table.

If it converts, it’s validation of a job well done. And if it doesn’t have the impact that you wanted, then you’ll know it’s time to rethink your approach. Maybe the offer was off? Maybe what you have to offer isn’t exactly the type of item people want to click on, because it’s not enticing enough? Or better yet, maybe your image has absolutely nothing to do with the copy?

It could even be as simple as targeting the wrong people, since Facebook filters are so specific and all.

Whatever it is, you’ll be able to know when something just isn’t working. And you have the power to go back and correct things as you see fit.

What may help is running two different ads. Different images, same copy, so you can see which one makes more of an impression. Another approach is the same image, but slightly different copy, like a question instead of a statement.

Build Your Business With Facebook Ads

The potential for success on Facebook is huge, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. With such competitive advertising tools, the only actual rival it has is Google AdWords, which isn’t even too similar.

As a marketer, you’re wise to learn about, and implement the use of such a powerful, flexible platform. But starting somewhere, such as by reading this guide, is a solid first step.

There’s plenty to takeaway here, but if you’re looking for a place to really begin, start by looking within your business first. What can you announce to the world about your brand? What are you offering that sets you apart from competitors?

Furthermore, why is it noteworthy? What issue does it solve, and how does it do it?

Think about your target audience and get seriously honest about those answers. Think about their needs, their issues, that you have solutions for.

Because as an entrepreneur, that’s your main goal, above all else: to solve problems. You’re not selling shoes, you’re selling cohesive style that adapts to all of life’s situations, including attending job interviews. They’re not ebooks to read that you’re offering, they are collections of knowledge that can help people improve the way they conduct their business and earn revenue.

Once you have a clear perception of your offer, you’ll know what strategy to implement, what type of ad to select, and what to say in your punchy headline. Everything will begin to fall into place.

So, next time you’re debating on advertising, wondering if Facebook can build your business, let it be known that you can use it for almost anything. From newsletter signups to product launches. It’s an amazingly valuable tool that you can get as generic or specific with as you want.

Just make sure to test your ads, and reiterate accordingly. No one ever gets it 100% right the first few times, so don’t beat yourself up too much if you keep having to change things around here and there.

Facebook Ads Or Bust

Based on all of this, it’s clear Facebook ads doesn’t have much in the way of competition. The platform does so much for entrepreneurs and customers alike, that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. That means it’s up to you to up your FB advertising game.

Out of all the tactics listed in this guide, which one do you think would have the most impact on your advertising, and why?

Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!