How to Advertise on Facebook – 5 Step Beginners Guide

Create awesome ads or boost posts on Facebook with these easy tips

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Paid advertising and boosting posts on Facebook can be a great way to reach new audiences, increase your followers, and generate leads and sales.

It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to advertising in traditional media, as it’s largely based on a pay per click model.

Facebook gives you a simple option of boosting an existing Facebook post to a broader audience, as well as incredibly powerful targeting options for a specific ad and campaign.

It’s possible to target specific users that look like your existing customers, target people who visited your website but didn’t buy from it and optimise ads for specific actions such as visit a sales page or register for an event, plus much more.

To get you started you will need to set up a Facebook Business page if you don’t have one already, then follow our 5 step guide below.

5 Step Guide for Boosting Posts and Advertising on Facebook

1. Research and planning

  • Get to know your ideal customers and the content they like. Spend some time going through your existing Facebook fans and check what pages they like? What kind of posts do they like? Look for common themes to inspire your ads.
  •  In Facebook you can also go up to the search bar  and type in ‘pages liked by [insert name of person who likes your page]’ or ‘pages liked by people who like [page name]’. This will help define your audience later for your ad campaign.
  • Check for days and times your fans are most likely to engage, plus other stats such as gender and age. This will also inform the audience you choose and when you will advertise. Use your Facebook Insights section of your Facebook business page to check this.
  • Also spend some time looking for additional Facebook pages relating to your industry. Look particularly for pages with large numbers of followers.
  • Now determine your Facebook Advertising goals, such as:
    • Get more clicks (likes) – this is usually the easiest and cheapest to start with.
    • Drive traffic to a website for registrations, subscribe now or to a free a lead magnet.
    • Boost reach of your content.
  • What will be your call to action? Register now? Download? Like?
  • You will use all of this information later when you develop your campaign.

2. Set Up Your Ad Manager Account

  • Set up a Facebook Ad Manager Account  – When doing this MAKE SURE YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME ZONE. You will need to nominate a credit card. You will also want to consider whether you want to set a spending limit on your overall ad account. For each campaign you set your maximum budget or daily spend, but some people like to also set an account limit as a double security measure.  The only potential issue with this is that sometimes an account limit can cut out halfway through a campaign. So keep this in mind.
  • You may be prompted to set up a free Facebook Business Manager Account . This isn’t necessary but it will help you if you are managing multiple business pages, a client’s page or numerous ad accounts.
  • Install Power Editor (optional) – Power Editor is a Facebook advertising tool designed for larger advertisers who need to create lots of ads at once and have precise control of their campaigns.

3. Create your Ad Campaign Boosted Post 

OPTION 1: Boosting a Post

The simplest way to test the waters when you first start Facebook advertising is boosting an existing post.

When you boost a post you choose your audience based on basic interests, geography, gender and age when prompted by Facebook, (or use any of the audiences you have previously created in Ad Manager). Facebook will also prompt you to set a budget and timeframe.

  • When ready to start boosting, find the post you want to use on your Facebook Page (it needs to have been previously published) and click ‘Boost’.
  • Make sure the post looks great as you won’t get an opportunity to change it after clicking boost. Facebook also has a limit on no more than 20% text in the image you use so choose wisely.
  • If not choosing an audience you have previously created, you will need to create one now based on the research you did in Step 1:
    • Choose ‘Create a new audience’
    • Choose gender
    • Choose an age range
    • Choose a location and a range
    • You can leave the Interests section blank, but it’s a good idea to choose some interests (identified in Step 1) to be more targeted. You can type in a popular Facebook Page name as well and choose from the options provided.
  • Choose a total budget. $20 or $30 is my usual starting point.
  • Choose how long you want to run the boosted post – 7 days is a good initial test – and choose an end date.
  • When you get the payment section it may prompt you to set up an Ad Manager account if you haven’t done so – See Step 2.
  • Then click BOOST.

OPTION 2: Create a Targeted Facebook Ad and Campaign

Once you are comfortable with the idea of Facebook ads you can create specific ads and campaigns. This will give you more control over the creative, calls to action and opportunities for split testing.

  • Go to your Facebook Ad Manager Account and create an Ad Campaign
  • Choose a campaign objective such as: get more likes; website traffic; registrations or similar – Facebook will then serve your ad to people most likely to take those actions.

  • Likes are the cheapest option, followed by website traffic – click throughs; registrations is typically the most expensive option but is highly targeted.
  • It’s a good idea to optimise for clicks first and then try for conversions.
  • Choose a target audience (as described above in the Boosted Post option or Custom Audience as described in Step 5) and set a campaign budget
    • The ideal target audience size can vary. If you have a HIGHLY targeted list it can be as small as 1,000 people, but generally speaking the size of the full reachable audience should be a maximum of 500,000 – 700,000 people, unless you’re targeting a small local audiences.
    • Based on your budget you will see how much of the potential audience is you can reach. Generally speaking (if retargeting) aim to reach 5-10% of total available audience or 1% of a lookalike audience.

  •  Now create at least one Ad Set for a specific target audience.
    • You may wish to create separate Ad Campaigns for each Ad Set to better track success of specific audiences, or have several Ad Sets in the same campaign – it’s up to you.
  • Then create an ad or several ads for each Ad Set – 2-3 different ads is a good idea so you can track the success of each and split test. Though you can just use one if you prefer.
  • If you do create several ads, each ad should only vary slightly, that is change just one thing in each ad not several things, so you can easily identify what element is having a bigger impact.
  • You may wish to create a plain image ad, a carousel ad with different images that scroll through, or even a short video ad.
  • Ad image size is around 1200 x 627 pixels, but there is a 20% limit on text in images, this is approximately 150 pixels. You can use tools such as Canva to create an image in the exact right proportions.
  • Choose your headline and body text.

  • Keep your ad concise with strong calls to action. Positively received words are generally terms like: ‘Step-by-step’ ‘It really works’, ‘No fluff’, ‘This workshop is for you if you are…’
    • Generally images featuring people perform better. Preferably with the people looking straight to camera, or looking in the direction you want their eyes to go to such as a call to action in the image.
    • In the text you may wish to use a provocative statement or a question that results in a Yes answer. e.g. Do you want to know the biggest mistakes most small business owners make and how to avoid them? Then watch this short 3 minute video.
  • Choose whether you want your ad on people’s desktop News Feed, mobile News Feed, right column, or audience network.
  • Your ad is all good to go now – almost – Facebook has a mandatory review period, but this usually lasts only minutes, though sometimes longer. They will alert you once your ad is approved.

4. Monitor and Review

  • You can check on the progress and stats of your ad, post or campaign at any time by going to your Facebook Ad Manager Account .
  • Give your advertisement and campaign time to work before changing or cancelling an ad. Set yourself a reasonable target before changing, such as 3-5 sales or registrations, or 30 leads added to your list, or no less than 100 click throughs. This non-change period shouldn’t be less than say 24-48 hours.
  • Analyse the data in your Facebook Ad Manager Account for likes, comments, shares, click throughs.
  • Crunch the numbers. Determine cost per lead and cost per conversion for your campaign and compare it with the (lifetime) value of a customer. A good aim is to spend around $1-$3 per lead and/or 2% conversion unless you’re retargeting – retargeting conversion rate should be higher as they are usually a warmer list. Though all of this will depend on your business, product price and value of a customer. Remember a Boosted Post is less likely to be as effective as a targeted Facebook Ad.
  • Run Reports – You can set up and customise your Facebook Ad Reports.
    • Analyse your campaigns, ad sets and ads for metrics important to you.

  • Pause, revise, then restart or cancel Ad Sets and Ads that are under performing
    • If you’re getting heaps of click throughs but not conversions, consider your landing or web pages users are being sent to. Are they aligned with your ads and the expectations raised in the ads? Did you use similar or the same imagery and messaging? What could be improved?
  • Scale up Ad sets and Ads that break even or are profitable
  • Consider using Evergreen ads if they are popular, that is, continue with successful ads or boosted posts that aren’t time sensitive, so that the likes, comments and shares on the original ad continue growing (and don’t restart to zero – this is good from a social credibility point of view).

5. Advanced Tips (Optional)

Landing pages

  • If you want people to click through from your ad to a web page, consider setting up specific landing pages, such as, an opt-in page, Thank You page for new subscriber or customer, a sales page.
  • You can create different landing pages for different target market segments and different ads or adsets.
  • Consider whether you want different landing pages for split testing, but only change one thing on each page, not several elements.
  • On your landing page your main call to action should be above the fold.
  • Use images true to your brand and personality.
  • The landing pages can’t be deceptive, Facebook will judge whether the url you are sending the traffic from the ad to is adding to the user experience or is in fact pretending to something it shouldn’t be (spammy).
  • The messaging in the ad should be reflected on the landing page.

Facebook Pixels

If you have access and skills to insert basic html code on your website you can insert pixels for highly targeted results. If not ask a web developer to help you.

While this step is not necessary it will increase the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.

The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you can place on your website to report conversions, build audiences and get rich insights about how people are using your website. With the Facebook pixel, you can:

  • Measure cross-device conversions: See how your customers are moving between devices before they convert.
  • Optimise delivery to people likely to take the action you want them to take, like purchase or fill out a form.
  • Build audiences for website visitors to retarget: Create Custom Audiences for people who take specific actions on your website, like visited a product page, added to cart or purchased a product.
  • Create Lookalike Audiences. Find more people who are similar to your best customers.
  • Plus much more.

Full instructions can be found here.

Create Custom Audiences

In Ad Manager you can Create Custom Audiences. Full details can be found here.

First aim to build your business page fan base to at least 100 likes. This will give you more options for custom audiences.

Below is a list of custom audiences you may like to create.  It’s not necessary to do create all of them but it’s a good idea to have as many specific audiences as possible to allow better testing of your ads and increase targeted reach.

  • Upload your subscriber list from your email service provider
  • Upload your buyer list from your merchant account
  • Upload your Google+ Connections and Google Contacts
  • Upload your LinkedIn Connections
  • As audience based on app activity
  • An audience based on data from a Facebook pixel if set up on your website and relevant landing pages as described above.
    • For example you can target people who have visited a specific page [insert the url] within 180 days then add conditions or exclusions eg. but not within the last 30 days; or ignore those that went on to purchase (you could specify a post sales thank you page url for this one). Good pages to consider for this pixel are: Pricing pages; Special offer pages; Registration page but not those that went through to the Thank You page.
  • Lookalike audiences based on any of the above custom audiences
  • Lookalike Audiences based on any pages you administer (as long as they have at least 100 likes or so).

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