How to use Facebook Ads

When you start trying to market a business through social media, it’s common to feel like the stereotypical middle child—like no one knows you are there, and no one is listening to you.

Many businesses start their social media presence on Facebook, drawn by the promise of a billion-member audience. It doesn’t take long, however, before you realize that this particular promise is empty… because you have to somehow draw a portion of those people to you.

Facebook realized this challenge for business too. They also saw their users’ newsfeeds getting more and more cluttered, and as a result started to tinker with the algorithm that displays the data. As a result, Facebook brand pages began to see their organic (unpaid) reach decrease.

Today, successful Facebook marketing often requires strategic use of paid advertising. As frustrating as it is to have to pay to reach more than 15% of your fans, it is simply a reality of the Facebook system… to the point that if you don’t want to pay to play on Facebook sometimes, it’s worth considering building a presence somewhere else (may we recommend Google Plus?).

However, with the right strategy, many businesses can find greater success by employing a modest Facebook advertising budget. The trick is to make sure you get your money’s worth out of every ad… and that you stop anything that doesn’t work before you spend too much money on it.

Remember—Facebook set up their system to encourage you to spend money on ads. That is in their best interest as a company. That doesn’t mean it will get you the results that are best for you. Take the time to understand the way the Facebook advertising system works before you start, and you will be a lot more likely to get the results you want to see.

Understanding Facebook Ad Types

The first step to understanding Facebook advertising is understanding the different types of ads that you can run. Though many of them seem very similar, each ad type has a different set of benefits and limitations that may affect the flow (and ultimate success) of your campaign. These ad types can be found in the Facebook Ads Manager (video).

Facebook Ad: Post Engagement

The Post Engagement ad type is targeted at the posts on your page. You can select a specific post or you can have the ad display your most recent post. For this type of ad I generally suggest two strategies:

Multi Post

Let’s say a construction company wants to give out 25 tips to get your home ready for the winter. Instead of writing a blog post about it and sharing that on Facebook, they could create a small daily budget of about $10 for Post Engagement ads and post one tip every day. For maximum exposure, make sure to use a different image with each day’s tip and use the posts to encourage likes, comments, and shares for even more visibility.

This strategy works best for a larger budget and longer ad duration, and will ensure that your most recent post is visible amongst your fans. If you make more than three posts in a day, this is not a recommended strategy since the post will have barely started its promotion when the target post is changed. This strategy is best used when your posts tell a story, or are part of a series.

Single Post

The budget for this approach can be lower than the multi post strategy, depending on how long you want to run the ad. I suggest running a short ad, no longer than one week, otherwise you will run the risk of your audience becoming over-exposed to one particular ad.

For example: The same construction company has written a blog post on their website detailing 25 tips to keep your home winter ready. So they would like to run a small one-week ad that will drive traffic from their Facebook page to their website, where they control the user experience and influence the flow of traffic on their web property.

Intended ad traffic from Facebook


This time their ad will run for seven days at $20 a day. Again, engagement drives more visibility of your ad and if the title of the post is intriguing and timely enough to generate a decent enough click though. Now it’s up to your web property to make the conversions, whether it’s picking up the phone, signing up for a newsletter or sharing your post with their friends.

Facebook Ad: Page Likes

This ad type is intended to drive more likes on your Facebook business page. You have the option to use up to six different images for your ad. This will give your audience some variety, and is best used when targeting people who are not already connected to your fan page. I suggest a campaign of at least one month when running the Page Likes ad, and a minimum budget of $5 per day.

Page Like Tips:

  • Even though you can use up to six images, you have to use the same text with each image (unless you set up multiple Page Like ads).
  • Target your audience effectively! Do not fool yourself– not everyone is interested in your product, services, mission, or cause. Make sure that you define an audience that is in your target areas. If you sell winter gear, it would be very unlikely for you to make tons of sales in Orlando, Florida. Make sure you are not wasting your budget by targeting places or people that would not buy your product or invest in your services.

Facebook Ad: Clicks to Website

Just as it sounds, this ad attempts to drive more traffic to your website. You can specify one URL per campaign, and similarly to the Page Likes ad, you will be able to use up to six images for your ad.

The ad that displays in the newsfeed looks a lot like an article that has been shared from the website. They even ask you to select what Facebook page you manage that the account would display from:

Clicks to Website Ad Facebook
As you can see from the image above, it looks as if the ad has been posted by the CT Social Facebook page. Clicking this particular ad would bring you to the CT Social home page, though you could click the logo or the blue CT Social text next to the logo and be taken to the CT Social Facebook Fan page.

Clicks to Website Ad Tips:

Before setting up your ad to drive more traffic to your website, I would suggest setting up a landing page that has all the specific information that will drive your audience to action.

For example: A cleaning company in Denver, Colorado wants to drive more people to their website, and at the same time inform their newfound audience that they are running a special. This company should make a new page on their website that outlines the details of the special along with plenty of visual cues that drive attention to their contact information.

Once this page is set up, they create the Clicks to Website ad, making sure to use copy that reflects the web page the person will be landing on. There is nothing more frustrating than when you click a link expecting to see one thing, but are presented with something completely different. Make sure the people responding to your ad get what they believe they will be seeing.

Facebook Ad: Website Conversions

This ad is very similar to the Clicks to Website ad type. The main difference here is that you can actually specify what actions constitute a conversion. You are given a set type of conversion parameters to choose from, which includes:

  • Checkouts
  • Registrations
  • Leads
  • Key Web Page Visits
  • Adds to Cart
  • Other Web Conversions

For each of these conversion types you will be asked to set up a tracking code and place it on the page that would confirm the conversion.

For example: If you wanted to track leads, you can put the tracking code on a page that is only accessible after filling out a form for more information about the service. This way you know that this particular form submission is from your Facebook ad campaign. All conversion types follow the same method for tracking so this ad type can be used to track almost any action someone could take on your website.

Website Conversions Facebook Ad

Facebook Ad: App Installs

If you are planning to use a custom Facebook app or if you have used a service like OfferPop or GroSocial (affiliate) to create a contest or any other kind of Facebook app, this is the ad type for you! The objective of this ad is to get people to install your app, whether you have a new Facebook game or you want people to join your photo contest or check out some special deals you have.

For example: Let’s say you have a quiz that, when completed, tells the person what Star Trek character they are most like. Using an ad campaign like this one could boost the number of people installing and using your app, giving you a unique way to connect with your audience and brand your company.

Facebook Ad: App Engagement

I have found very little difference between the App Installs ad and the App Engagement ad. Increasing the amount of engagement would likely increase the amount of installs unless you are specifically targeting people that have already installed the app.

Considering that most companies’ objective would be to increase the number of people installing and using the app, either of these two choices seem like they would get the job done.

Facebook Ad: Event Responses

Are you trying to raise awareness about an upcoming event? This ad’s objective is to increase the number of people that see and sign up for your event. Simply choose a Facebook event that you have created or use the URL to an event that you are participating in.

For example: Let’s say you are opening a new art gallery show and you are throwing a party on opening night. Five days out and only 10 people have responded yes to your event? We all know that with numbers like this on Facebook, you will be likely to see an attendance of two. Well, you can create an ad that is specifically targeted to get more people to say yes to your event!

Facebook Ad: Offer Claims

If you haven’t created an offer before, this ad will allow you to create one, then set up the ad for it.

For example: My digital marketing company may charge around $350 – $500 for a comprehensive web assessment. To increase the amount of people requesting web assessments, we have created a Facebook Offer that allows you to take 50% off the price of an assessment.  For a relatively small ad budget, I can promote our deal and potentially drive new business through our web assessments offer.

The Not-So-Secret Sauce – Facebook Ads

Understanding the different types of Facebook ads that are available to you means that you can appropriately match the ad you choose with the goal you have in mind.

For example, if you want to increase your page likes, just boosting your posts alone won’t ensure that more people will like your page. It could help—but there are other ad types that could get you more results for your money.

Next time, we’ll dive a little deeper into the strategy behind targeting Facebook ads—the different options available to help you find an audience that is a good fit for you.

What is your previous experience with Facebook ads? How can you use appropriate Facebook ad types to help support one of your online goals? Share with us in the comments!

Greg Trujillo
I'm one of the founding partners of CT Social, LLC. I love to talk about all things technology. I really enjoy learning new things about our universe, and existence around us. If you would like to socialize connect with me.


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