Posting ads on Facebook can be a tough game with so many ads already out there. Here’s how to run effective Facebook ads that convert your target audience into paying customers, clients, or patients.

Facebook is known to most of the world as a popular and free social network. Less well know is that it’s one of the greatest advertising platforms of all time.

Facebook ads can be used to achieve nearly any marketing goal, from lead generation and appointment booking, to app downloads and online sales. When done effectively, Facebook ads attract new customers, bring previous customers back to your business, and generate word-of-mouth buzz through social sharing.

Like all forms of advertising, however, you can also burn through your budget and get nothing in return: if you’re not reaching the right audience, if your creative is weak, or if you’re offer lacks appeal, you’re going to waste money.

Continue reading to learn how to use the unique attributes of Facebook’s advertising platform to your advantage.


What’s Your Goal?

Before writing a word of copy, think about strategy first:

What do you want from your ads? Are you growing local brand awareness? Selling a product? Building an email list?

Be realistic about your goals for the ad. Obviously you want to increase sales, but if your product or service is very expensive, it’s probably unreasonable to expect anyone to go from your ad directly to a purchase. In other instances, timing may prevent your audience from making that leap: for example, you’re a restaurant and the person just ate!

In these instances, you will probably be more successful promoting a free piece of content or a coupon that may be redeemed at a later date in exchange for a potential buyer’s email address. This enables you to follow up later on through email marketing and make the sale.

Once you understand what your end goal is, then you can design the ad accordingly and match it with an appropriate call to action. For example, you’d have a “download now” call to action if you’re trying to increase app downloads.

For most businesses, aiming for a direct sale from your Facebook ad will not be the best approach. In that case, you want to think about whether you need to design a sales funnel that takes your target audience through the buyer’s journey. Your Facebook ad is the top of the funnel. Subsequent steps may include joining an email list, an autoresponder series, booking an appointment, or webinar.

The right funnel structure will vary based on your industry, target audience, and product.


Who’s Your Audience?

Knowing who follows your page, visits your website, buys your product, or uses your services is necessary for creating an effective social media ad. You have to know who your market is so you know who to design your ad for.

Knowing your audience will allow you to narrow your marketing focus through Facebook’s ad targeting.

Facebook’s Ad targeting options set it apart from other web marketing platforms.

It lets you pinpoint your ideal audience for each ad based on demographics like location, age range, gender, down to interests, profressions, and even groups/memberships.

For example, if your customers are typically females 18 to 27 who are into fashion, then you can choose to have your ad show only to users who fit that criteria.

Targeting a smaller audience will make your ad more effective because it ensures you’re reaching the audience that has the most interest in your business. This market is most likely to engage with your ad.

You can also start posting ads on Facebook with a larger audience first. Then use Facebook’s Ads Manager dashboard to monitor the demographics of your ad engagers and narrow your target accordingly (more on this later).


Stand Out

The one disadvantage to Facebook advertising is the fact that you’re marketing to people who are not actively searching for your business.

And you’re not the only one.

With all the companies posting ads on Facebook, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd.


Great and Relevant

Offers on Facebook have to be GREAT in order to get people to stop what they’re doing on social media and interact with your ad.

That means, your ad must be relevant, timely, and, ideally, fun to your audience.

If you’re selling a product or service, create an offer that they cannot get anywhere else, one that they cannot resist.

And remember, the success of your ad is all about the lifetime value of a customer. You blow them away with a great deal, then you blow them away again with a great product or service. So even if your Facebook ad is a breakeven proposition or a loss in the short term, it can still be highly profitable if you can turn a customer into a repeat customer or – even better yet – a raving fan who shares their experience with your company with all of their friends on Facebook.

Below is an example from Chick-fil-A:

You may not have pockets as deep as Chick-fil-A and be able to afford a $50 giveaway, but you can probably pick a dollar value that you could give away as a gift card or gift certificate that would profitably draw people in. Then you upsell, build loyalty, and try to get referrals.


Emotions, Senses, and Life Events

Another way to achieve attention is to appeal to your audience’s emotions and senses.

Use imagery or meaningful life events.

For example, you can set up ads to show up during someone’s birthday month, with a special birthday offer.

A financial advisor may create an ad for a retirement planning seminar for people between the ages of 55 and 70.

Whatever your goal, remember the classical AIDA principle behind the buyer’s journey:

1. Grab Attention

2. Peak Interest

3. Create Desire

4. Invoke Action

Another tip — be as concise as possible. Today’s society has a short attention span.


Strong Call to Action

Having a strong call to action is essential for a successful advertisement.

Your audience must know what it is you want from them. Tell them what to do.

Make sure to highlight the call to action in bold or large fonts or buttons. It is also effective to use a contrasting color for the call to action font.

In the example below, “Get Your Smile Back” and “Book Now” serve as the call-to-action:

Monitor and Optimize

Effective ads are built over time.

With Facebook ads, as long as you set everything up correctly, you have 100% measurable campaigns. Measuring the success of your social media campaign is key to its long-term effectiveness.

Facebook’s Ad Manager dashboard lets you monitor and optimize your ads. It will show you statistics on engagement such as impressions (how often your ad is seen), clicks, likes, shares, and most important, conversions.

If you sell products and services online, Facebook can even monitor how much revenue the campaign generated. If you don’t sell online, you can assign a value for conversions. For example, a lead may be worth $25 to you. Input that value when you set up your ad conversions. This way, in your reporting, you’ll know what return you’re getting for each dollar invested.


Demographics and Targeting

Facebook ads are most effective when they’re marketed to a specific audience.

After your ad has run for 3 to 5 days, look at the demographic information of those who engage with your ad.

The age range may be the most important, as studies show that people of different ages have different interests and likes. Find the age group that has engaged the most with your ad. If your ad could use improvement, try narrowing your audience to this age group.

You can optimized in the same way based on gender and other information.

If your product or services are used to by a specific work sector, then use Facebook’s detailed targeting option to choose people with a specific job title. You can also use detailed targeting to include or exclude interests such as specific relationship statuses.


Ad Placement

Another important statistic to track is ad placement. Ad placement is where your ad shows up.

The ad placement options for Facebook include the users’ News Feed (on desktop and mobile) and the right-hand side of the user page.

Facebook also owns Instagram and allows ads to show up on Instagram feeds as well.

Another ad placement option is Audience Network placement. This is specifically designed for app owners.

Facebook’s Audience Network placement puts your ads in applications and websites to extend their reach off of Facebook, using the same targeting.

When starting your ad campaign, choose multiple ad placement locations, then monitor the results in each to see which work best. After three to five days, you may want to narrow your targeting to specific placements to maximize return on ad spend.



How much should you budget for an ad campaign?

Avoid the mistake of budgeting too little. Here’s an example: a dentist values a new patient at $2,000 and budgets $500 for an ad campaign. Wouldn’t it pay for the dentist to spend $1,000 to acquire a new patient?

Even if the campaign was going to be a smashing success and generate new patients at $250 each, there’s no guarantee this would happen in the first $500 spent. Chance alone may cause the ad campaign to fail: flip a coin twice and you’re guaranteed one head.

So in addition to considering what you’re willing to risk if you’re just starting out with Facebook ads, consider the upside as well. How much is a new customer worth to you? Set your ad budget at least 4x or even better, 10x that amount to give you ad a chance at success. You can always stop the campaign at any time.

Facebook ad budgeting works in two ways: campaign budgeting or ad budgeting.


Campaign Budgeting

Campaign budgeting tells Facebook how much money you are willing to spend on an entire ad campaign. You will only be billed for the amount of the budget that is used. No more and no less.

Campaign budgeting allows you to try out different ads without ever exceeding your overall budget.


Ad Budgeting

Ad budgets are for specific ads. Like campaigns, you tell Facebook how much you can spend. However, you’re only marketing one ad for a determined period of time or up to a determined budget.

Ad budgeting works well if you have a short-term campaign or you already know the demographics and placements that work well for your business.


Daily Budgeting

There are also options in how to pay.

Daily budgeting lets you determine how much you are willing to spend per day.

Some people simply divide their budget by the time frame they want the ad to run and spend that amount each day.

Others use this tool to market heavier on specific days. For example, if you get more engagement on the weekends, then you can choose to spend more on your ad on the weekends.

Daily budgeting is also nice if you are not sure how much you want to spend in total on your ad. You can set a low daily budget and see how successful the ad is. Then you can either turn the ad off or allow it to continue to run in perpetuity.


Lifetime Budgeting

Lifetime budgeting, as you can probably guess, is a determined amount you’re willing to spend for the entire time the ad or campaign runs.

This tool lets Facebook take control, if you choose not to set daily budgets. It allows Facebook to completely optimize your ads based on its algorithm.

Lifetime budgets aren’t always used in full. If Facebook doesn’t need to use the entire budget, or if you reach your goal before the campaign is over, you can simply stop payment. You won’t be charged the remainder.


Start Posting Ads on Facebook

Now that you have the ins and outs of how to effectively start posting ads on Facebook, you’re ready to start creating your campaign.

However, running a business takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re ready to advertise on social media but are feeling overwhelmed, let us help.

Click here to book a free 15-minute consultation on how you can grow your revenue with Facebook ads.