How effective are Facebook paid ads

Facebook Advertising - The Complete Guide

As of July 2019, Facebook had more than 2.4 billion active users worldwide.

This impressive number makes it clear: Facebook is one of the most important marketing platforms for almost every company. But the constantly changing Facebook algorithm can become a problem if you want to keep in touch with your fans in a purely organic way.

This is where Facebook Ads can help. Thanks to micro-targeting functions, you can reach your exact target group - based on demographic data, location, interests and even behavior. In this way, you always deliver your message to precisely the people who are most useful to your products or services.

This is not only worthwhile in terms of your advertising budget, but also in terms of conversions and return on investment. You only pay to reach the most valuable potential customers. But before you start advertising on Facebook, it's a good idea to research the different types of ads and targeting options to get the best results.

In this comprehensive guide to the subject Advertise on Facebook we explain everything you need to know about Facebook Ads - from planning your first ad to developing sophisticated strategies for ad campaigns on Facebook.


Facebook Ads types

Advertise on Facebook - a step-by-step guide

Facebook Ads specifications

Facebook advertising tips

Strategy recommendations for Facebook Ads

Download this free guide and learn how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four easy steps.

Facebook Ads types

Photo Ads

Start your promotional activities with these simple Facebook ads. A photo ad can be created with just a few clicks by boosting an existing post with a photo from your Facebook page.

Photo ads are simple, but they don't have to be boring. For example, if you've thought socks a rather bland topic up to now, look at how funny and surprising Happy Socks has put into their photo ads.

Video Ads

Video ads can show your team at work, using your product, or just something inspiring. For example, the video in this Noon Facebook ad does not say anything specific about the service offered, but makes the viewer want to know more.

Carousel Ad

A carousel ad presents your product or service with up to ten photos or videos. You can use this format to show various advantages of your product, to introduce several different products or to create a panorama image like this one from all photos.

The IT company Paessler AG used Karussell Ads to advertise their free card game "The Game Against Downtime". Each picture of the carousel showed a card from the game, which is based on the game "Cards Against Humanity", but has IT motifs. The result: 51 percent lower cost per lead compared to the company's previous advertising campaigns.

Slideshow Ads

Slideshow ads on Facebook provide an easy way to create short video ads from a collection of still images or existing video clips. They provide the same eye-catching motion as video, but require much less bandwidth, i.e. H. they load quickly, even for users with slow internet connections.

You can also add text and music to these Facebook ads. If you don't have your own pictures available, just use stock photos from the Facebook collection.

Collection Ads

This ad format is only available for mobile devices and lets you showcase one or more products that the customer can buy with one click.

Collection Ads can be combined with Instant Experiences (more on this later) so that users can purchase your products without leaving Facebook. This enables simple online shopping even for users who are on the go and may not have a fast internet connection.

Instant Experience Ads

The format formerly known as canvas fills the entire screen and loads 15 times faster than a mobile website outside of Facebook - like this Facebook ad from Cirque du Soleil.

If you work with the Facebook Pixel on your website (which we advise you to do), this is automatically added to the Instant Experience ads, which can therefore be tracked seamlessly.

Lead Ads

Lead ads are also only available for mobile devices because they are specifically designed so that users can give you their contact information without typing too much. They are particularly well suited to attracting newsletter subscribers, enabling users to order test versions of your products or generally giving them the opportunity to request more information from you.

Philosophy used lead ads to promote its samples in the UK, generating more than 9,000 potential customers.

This ad format is particularly well suited for feeding the sales funnel.

Since this ad format is so well suited to feeding the sales funnel, we have developed our own guide to the use of lead ads on Facebook, which tells you everything about the optimal use of this important type of ad from Facebook.

Dynamic Ads

With dynamic ads, you can target specific products to those customers who are most likely to be interested in them. For example, if someone visited a product page or added a product to their shopping cart on your website but didn't make the purchase, dynamic ads for that product will appear in that person's Facebook feed. With this very effective Facebook marketing strategy, the potential customer is reminded to complete their purchase.

For example, when I got the maximum monthly number of free New York TimesArticles, I was presented with Facebook Ads with a subscription offer in my newsfeed.

Messenger Ads

Photo, video, carousel and dynamic Facebook ads can also be booked to appear in Facebook Messenger. With this you can reach 1.3 billion Messenger users a month. To do this, simply select Messenger as the desired placement when creating your ad (you must also select the Facebook feed, however).

This is what a Facebook ad looks like in the Messenger app:

You can also place "click-to-messenger" ads on the Facebook feed. These Facebook ads offer a call to action button that automatically opens a messenger conversation with your Facebook page so that users can get in touch with one of your sales or customer service representatives.

Advertise on Facebook: a step-by-step guide

If your company already has a Facebook Page (which we also advise you to do), you can go directly to the Facebook Ad Manager or Business Manager to create your Facebook ad campaign there. If you don't have a company page yet, create one first.

In this article we explain the steps necessary for the ad manager. If you prefer to work with the Business Manager, you can find out all about it in our blog post about the correct use of the Facebook Business Manager.

Step 1: Choose your advertising goal

Log in to the Facebook ad manager and click under Campaigns on Createto start a new Facebook campaign.

Facebook offers you 11 marketing goals - depending on what you want to achieve with your Facebook ad. These marketing goals correspond to the following business goals:

  • Brand awareness: Present your brand to a new audience.
  • Range: Show your Facebook ad to as many members of your target group as possible.
  • Traffic: Increase traffic to a specific website or app.
  • Interactions: Reach a wide audience in order to increase the number of likes for posts or your page, to get more commitments for your events or to motivate users to take advantage of a special offer.
  • App installations: Encourage more people to install your app.
  • Video views: Get more people to watch your video content.
  • Lead generation: Introduce new potential customers into your sales funnel.
  • News: Get more people to contact your company on Facebook Messenger.
  • Conversions: Get people to take a specific action on your website (like subscribing to your mailing list or buying your product).
  • Catalog sales: Link your Facebook Ads to your product catalog to show users advertisements for the products that might be of most interest to them.
  • Visits to the store: Drive traffic to your physical stores by showing advertisements to people nearby.

Choose a campaign goal that matches your business goals for this Facebook ad. Remember that for conversion-driven goals (like purchases) you pay per action, but for exposure goals (like traffic and video views) you pay per impression.

In our example we choose the destination Interactions (Commitment). Some of the options in the next few steps may differ slightly depending on the destination you choose.

Step 2: Choose a campaign name

Scroll down to label your Facebook ad campaign and choose if you want to set up an A / B test. You can also optimize your campaign budget here. This option can be useful if you have multiple Facebook ad groups, but for our example, you can ignore it.

With the goal of "Interactions", you also choose whether you want to concentrate on post interactions (engagement), likes on the page or event confirmations / cancellations. We decide here for the "I like" information.

Now go on Set up an advertising account.

Step 3: set up your advertising account

If you have already set up an advertising account, you will be redirected to the selection of the target group.

If this is your first Facebook ad, you need to fill in some important account information here. Include your country, preferred currency and time zone. Then click on Further.

Think carefully about this information. If you want to change them later, you will have to set up a new advertising account.

Step 4: Determine your target audience

At the top of this page, give your Facebook advertising campaign a name and choose which page you want to promote.

Then scroll down to set the audience for your Facebook ads.

The first option is to add a “Custom Audience”. These are people who have already interacted with your company on Facebook or elsewhere. In this post, however, we will focus on the audience settings.

Since we have created a special guide that deals with creating custom audiences on Facebook, we will focus here on audience settings.

First select the location, age, gender and language of the desired target audience. Keep an eye on the target group size in the box on the right - this way you can see how many people your Facebook ad can reach.

Now it's the turn of detailed targeting. Remember: You can maximize your ROI with efficient target group creation - and with paid Facebook Ads you have tons of options to choose your target group precisely. In two fields on this screen you can define your target audience as precisely as you want:

  • Detailed targeting: Use this field to include or exclude users based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. You can go into great detail here - and, for example, select people who are interested in meditation and yoga, but who exclude people who are interested in "hot yoga".
  • Links: Here you can select or exclude people who already have a connection to your Facebook page, your app or one of your events. For example, if you want to reach new people, select “Exclude people who like your page”. But if you want to present a special offer to existing fans or introduce a new product, then select “People who like your site” - this is how you can reach people who already know your brand.

Check out these eight basic Facebook audience tips to learn more about this topic.

Step 5: choose your Facebook ad placements

Now scroll down further to choose where you want your Facebook Ads to appear. If you are just getting into Facebook advertising, this is Automatic placements the easiest option. Facebook then automatically places your ad on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and the Audience Network - depending on where the best results can be expected.

Once you get a little more experienced, you may want to get your Facebook ads more specific. Edit placements offers you the following options:

  • Equipment: Mobile, desktop, or both
  • Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network or Messenger - with several sub-options in each category (e.g. newsfeed, right column or stories).
  • Specific mobile devices and operating systems: iOS, Android, or both

Step 6: set your budget and schedule

In the next step, you decide how much money you want to spend on your paid Facebook ads. You can choose between daily and running time budget, set a start and end date (if you want to cancel your ad for later) or put your Facebook ad live right away.

With the extended budget options, you can determine how you want to invest your money much more precisely.

Scheduling your paid ads is probably the most efficient way of using your advertising budget: this way you can determine that your ad will only be shown when your target audience is most likely on Facebook. However, you can only set a start and end date if you have selected a runtime budget.

Once you have made your selection and are satisfied with the displayed target group size, click on Further.

Step 7: create your Facebook ad

First select the ad format you want, then enter the text and media components for your Facebook ad. The formats available depend on the initially selected advertising target.

Use the preview function at the bottom of the page to ensure that your Facebook ad looks good in all potential placements (mobile, desktop newsfeed, right column, etc.). If you are satisfied, click on the green one To confirm-Button to place the order. Then wait for an email from Facebook to approve your ad.

Facebook Ads specifications

Facebook Ads Specifications for Photo and Video Ads

There are many details to consider when preparing photo and video ads. Since these details can often change, it is best to find out more in advance on Facebook.

... we have summarized you in a separate post about Facebook Ads specifications for photos and videos.

Download this free guide and learn how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four easy steps.

Download the free guide

Facebook Ads specifications for text and supported destinations

When planning effective Facebook ads, you should pay attention to the number of characters allowed, because longer texts will simply be cut off.

You should also know which types of Facebook Ads are suitable for which of the advertising goals described above.

Photo ad

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Supported campaign goals: all but video views

Video ad

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Supported campaign goals: all but video views

Carousel Ads

  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Supported campaign goals: all but interactions and video views

Slideshow Ads

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Supported campaign goals: all but video views

Collection Ads

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: not specified
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Supported campaign goals: traffic, conversions, catalog sales, visits to the store

Instant Experience Ads

  • Headline: no strict limit - use text blocks based on the Facebook templates
  • Link description: see above
  • Text: see above
  • Supported campaign goals: all except lead generation, catalog sales, and news

Lead Ads

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Supported campaign goals: lead generation

Messenger Ads

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: not specified
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Supported campaign goals: brand awareness, reach, traffic, app installations, conversions, catalog sales and news

Facebook advertising tips

If you want to get the most out of your Facebook ads, keep these important strategies in mind:

Experiment with targeting options

Start with a limited audience, which you then expand further by adding interest categories one at a time. For example, you can start with a target group that is particularly interested in "Rhine wines" and expand this to include "wine tasting", "food and wine" etc. after a few weeks. This will give you a pretty good idea of ​​how expanding your audience will affect your bottom line.

We cover this method in detail in our article on the correct handling of Facebook target group insights.

You can also take advantage of audience targeting by creating different Facebook ads for groups that meet different business goals. For example, you can address existing customers differently than people who have never heard of your company or offer promotions that build on existing relationships.

If you have a local business, you can even target your audience by zip code. You can also do this if you know that a particular city or neighborhood is generating a particularly high number of conversions.

Professional tip: When choosing your targeting options, don't make too many assumptions about your target audience. Since moving to Europe, I've seen a lot of Facebook ads that go very well with my new place of residence. The problem with that: they're in Dutch, a language I don't (yet) master. Advertisers pay for being served Facebook ads that I don't understand. This could easily be avoided with the right language selection.

Work with the Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is a small piece of code that can have a big impact on your Facebook advertising campaign. If you integrate this code into your website, you can use it to track conversions, target people who have viewed a product on your website, and create “lookalike audiences”.

Even if you're not ready for some of the sophisticated strategies the Facebook Pixel can use, install it now. Then you will have your tracking and remarketing data ready when you start optimizing your Facebook ads.

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to use the Facebook pixel to get it on your website right away.

Use top quality photos and videos

Do you know what puts a lot of people off? Blurry and pixelated photos. Or shaky videos that make you seasick while watching. Your message counts most of all - but it is the visual material that catches the viewer's attention and makes a good first impression.

These free stock photos websites bring you high quality images for your Facebook ads.

When you offer a product, Facebook recommends that you do not use simple product photos, but rather those that show how people use your product and benefit from it.

Test everything

Don't guess what might and might not work in your Facebook Ads. Test each new idea against previous Facebook ads to see if anything has changed for the better in the metrics that are important to you.

After all, Facebook ad best practices are constantly changing - but only you know what your target audience really wants. And in that regard, the only way to stay up to date is to test everything.

Because this topic is so important, we have a complete guide for you that just goes into using social media for A / B testing.

Watch and optimize your performance

Keep a close eye on how your campaigns are doing in the Facebook Ad Manager dashboard. If a campaign doesn't perform as well as you want, reduce your budget and invest the money in a working Facebook ad.

Are you just starting out with your Facebook advertising activities? Then you should first try out several Facebook Ads with a small target group and a low budget. Once you've seen which ad works best, put that at the center of your campaign.

You can find more information on this topic in the following posts:

There are also tools that simplify and even automate this process.

Solo marketers, agencies and SMEs can use AdEspresso to create, manage and optimize Facebook ads quickly and easily.

Of course, if you work for a larger company, we recommend Hootsuite Ads. With this solution, you can create and test hundreds of Facebook ads within minutes from the same dashboard on which you monitor all your social media channels. Thanks to easy-to-understand analytics, you can see at a glance which of your ads are the best.

You can then allocate the budget for poorly performing ads to these Facebook ads (even if these ads are on a different platform). With the help of preset triggers, you can also automatically increase budgets or start new advertising campaigns as soon as a certain goal is achieved. The automatic daily recommendations further increase the performance of your social media ads.

Find out what Hootsuite Ads can do for your business. Make a request today a demo.

Strategy recommendations for Facebook Ads

Are you ready to go - but you don't yet know exactly what you should actually promote with your Facebook ads? We have put together three campaign strategies for you that will give you ideas. If you're looking for more ideas, check out our handy compilation of successful Facebook ads.

Facebook Advertising Strategy 1: Convert Proven Content into Video Ads

Every brand has some great pieces of content that are generating the most traffic month after month. Short videos that you put together from this top content perform as Facebook ads.

Before creating such a video, think about how you will convey the most important messages of your content in pictures and short texts. Then use one of these social media video tools to create your video or create a slideshow video in the Facebook ad manager.

The secondary use of good blog content as social media video is one of our tried and tested strategies. For examples, see the Hootsuite Facebook page. Our video team also repurposed this blog post for creating social media ads into two Facebook videos:

5 More Tips for Successful Social Ads

Now that you've learned these important tips, here's how to use the various types of social media ads to achieve real business objectives while maximizing your spend 💰

Posted by Hootsuite on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Professional tip: Check out our video strategy kit for marketers. There you can find some great insights into what types of videos work best on social media.

Facebook Advertising Strategy 2: Sell Directly

Renowned brands with good products - and above all low prices - can sell directly on Facebook.

When the famous Miami Heat basketball team launched a special edition of merchandise items, they used Facebook ads to target people who had already bought merchandise or tickets online or who had added an item to their shopping cart in the previous month. With the help of Lookalike Audiences, they also ventured out to new target groups who would probably be interested in the team.

The campaign reached almost a million people - and the special edition jersey was sold out within an hour.

Professional tip: One of the most effective ways to use a Facebook ad to boost direct sales is to target users who have already considered buying your product - like Miami Heat in our example. Your Facebook ads can be targeted offers, product recommendations, or reminders to make a purchase. This strategy is called remarketing.

This strategy - also known as remarketing - is discussed in our blog post about optimizing Facebook ads.

Facebook Advertising Strategy 3: Think Beyond the Web

Your Facebook advertising strategy doesn't have to be limited to online purchases. You can also promote offline sales with the In-Store Visits goal.

The “Interactions” goal can also be used to motivate users to attend an offline event. Or you can use the goal of "lead generation" to lure members of your target group into your physical store or to an authorized dealer so that they can experience your product for themselves - for example with a test drive.

Carrefour Italy used paid Facebook ads with the campaign target “Visits to the store” to encourage people to visit its supermarkets. Almost nine percent of the users who saw this ad actually went to a Carrefour store - that's nearly 285,000 buyers. Carrefour used to have the same goal with newspaper ads and flyers, but the Facebook ad campaign was 80 percent cheaper for businesses.

Professional tip: With Facebook, you can also track offline conversions so you can better understand which Facebook ads are driving offline purchases. You can also use this tracking information to create custom audiences that include people who interact with your brand offline so that you can target them more effectively in future ads.

Get more out of your Facebook advertising budget with Hootsuite's AdEspresso. With this powerful tool, you can easily create, manage and optimize Facebook ad campaigns. Free test now!

Get in now

Become a Better Social Media Marketer.

Get expert advice on social media straight to your inbox.

By Christina Newberry

Christina Newberry is an award-winning writer and editor whose greatest passions include food, travel, urban gardening, and the Oxford comma — not necessarily in that order.