For those looking to gain an edge in online advertising, there is no better place to start than Facebook advertising — an idea many businesses have already taken to heart.
In a single quarter of 2021, more than $5.5 billion was spent on Facebook advertising. That may seem like a large number, but consider that the advertising revenue of Facebook in the United States is projected to grow from $24.52 billion in 2018 to $65.21 billion in 2023.
The nature and appeal of Facebook advertising lies both in its large customer base and how it is designed to appeal to the casual viewer. With so many different touchpoints available — from Facebook's homepage to Facebook Marketplace to even Facebook Messenger — the numerous opportunities presented are hard to pass up.
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned social media marketer, Facebook advertising's potentially lucrative offerings can transform your business.
Why Advertise on Facebook?
Facebook ads are the most popular form of online advertising of our time.
By 2021, social media marketing and advertising accounted for 33% of total global digital ad spending and with more than two billion active users worldwide, Facebook far outpaces the rest of the field.
Beyond the notable success of Facebook Advertising, the social network is continually expanding its offering. In total, you now have:
Facebook Shop: Where your Facebook audience can shop on your fan page and from which your dynamic product ads pull, as well as your Instagram Shopping catalog.
Facebook Marketplace: Where you can engage in Etsy-like peer-to-peer selling without the fees.
Facebook Dynamic Retargeting Ads: Where you can retarget users who landed on your site with similar products to what they viewed. Here, Facebook uses an algorithm to pull the products from your feed with the highest engagement.
Types of Facebook Ads
Before undertaking a Facebook ad campaign, it is important to understand what types of Facebook ads are available and what they offer.
Facebook Ad Manager allows for many different ad options, including:
Image ads are among the most common types of Facebook ad that you’ll come across. A single image can capture your attention alongside a headline and a description.
Though simple, they are very useful for promoting specials or specific items.
Online video ads are an increasingly popular option for businesses due to their use of implementation. They are able to run in Facebook News Feeds and stories, or can appear as ads in longer Facebook videos.
To further assist you, Facebook tracks how long individuals watch a video, which means you can use that information when creating a retargeting audience.
Polls ads are a mobile-specific Facebook format that allows audience participation by adding a two-option poll to an image or a video ad. Both you and the participants can see a tally of responses, seeing which option the audience favors.
This option is valuable because you can get a glimpse into what audiences prefer directly from the source.
Carousel ads use up to 10 images or videos to highlight a product or service. This option can be used to showcase different products within a campaign, product or service features or to display a new update.
Facebook Ad Manager allows users to connect a link to each image, giving customers a chance to locate it from your website or store.
Similar to carousel ads, slideshow advertisements allow you to craft different short video ads designed to capture the attention of potential customers.
A noted benefit of slideshow ads is that they allow businesses to use video advertisements on a much smaller scale and budget. Slideshow ads are quick and affordable, while still being effective.
This is a new ad format that is mobile only. It’s designed to make it easier for people to view and purchase your products and services from their mobile device.
Potential customers can browse your collection without leaving the Facebook app.
Instant Experiences Ads.
Formally called Canvas, Instant Experiences Ads are a full-screen, mobile-oriented ad format that loads significantly faster than mobile websites outside of Facebook.
With Instant Experiences, individuals can view videos and photos, swipe through carousels and view tagged products in a single ad.
Available for mobile devices, lead ads are designed to allow people to give you their contact information without any of the hassle typically associated with it.
Lead ads can be valuable for collecting subscriptions or signing individuals up for a product trial.
Dynamic ads were built to allow businesses to promote targeted products to customers likely to be interested in them. They are also helpful for targeting customers who have left items in their cart.
To use dynamic ads, you do need a Facebook Business Manager account.
Facebook Messenger ads are a valuable option, especially considering just how popular the platform is.
Placing ads within Messenger is as simple as hitting a button in Facebook Ad Manager. Once done, ads will appear as a chat option, allowing potential customers to reach out directly to your business.
Stories ads are built for mobile with their full-screen vertical video format allowing businesses to fill the screen with their advertisements.
As with Instagram, Facebook Stories are an increasingly popular form of entertainment and present a real opportunity for ad placement.
Augmented Reality Ads.
Augmented Reality ads are a relatively new addition to the space, allowing businesses to use features like filters and animations to enable people to interact with the brand in a fun, fresh way.
These ads are also built with shareability in mind. Customers using your custom filters can share them online, expanding the reach of your ad through an augmented word of mouth.
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How to Advertise on Facebook
The first step is to create your Facebook business page. Once that is completed, head towards the Facebook Ads Manager or Business manager to start the advertising process.
Choose your campaign type.
Deciding on the campaign you will run is the foundation of your advertising efforts. To help you decide, Facebook offers several marketing objectives based on what you want your advertisement to accomplish, including:
Facebook recommends using this ad type to increase awareness for your brand by reaching people who are more likely to be interested in it.
This type of ad is optimized explicitly for views by people in a specific niche or audience.
These ads are designed to show your ad to the maximum number of unique viewers during your campaign.
Traffic campaigns are designed to drive traffic to your site, landing page or ecommerce store. This is one of the most common ad types on Facebook.
Website traffic is one of the most important metrics to track for ecommerce and online businesses.
These campaigns engage your audience, ideally getting them to take action. There are three types of engagement objectives:
**Post Engagement:**This is ideal for small businesses that want to attract the attention of their target audience.
**Page Likes:**This is geared toward getting people to like your business’s Facebook page.
**Event Responses:**This is a great campaign if you have a brick-and-mortar store and want to promote an in-store event or if you’re holding a special event for your online store.
This campaign type is specific to software apps and only works on mobile. It is ideal for those selling an app as the objective encourages people to install your app on their phone or tablet.
Additionally, it can track how many people install, register or log into the app.
Video campaigns are centered around Facebook tracking how long someone watches your video. Typically, the longer they watch, the more interested they are.
Video ads that are 10 seconds or longer tend to get great results, especially when it comes to creating or retargeting audiences.
This campaign objective is designed to collect email addresses directly on Facebook. Instead of leading prospective clients to a landing page to collect emails, you can access them directly from Facebook.
An effective follow-up sequence is needed to gain the most success from this campaign. One of the best ways is for an ecommerce business to offer coupon codes. Once a potential customer has opted into your Lead Form Ad, you send them the coupon code.
When creating your ad for this campaign objective, you’ll need to create a form for potential customers to fill out. This form should pop up as soon as the viewer clicks on the button in the ad.
Message-based campaigns are a newer feature reliant on prospective customers responding to a Facebook message to opt-in to your messenger list. Businesses will need to consider that many — if not most — will not reply to messages.
If you want to use this as a customer service option, asking how a customer’s purchase experience went may be the perfect use for ecommerce. You can also use it to promote your blog or as an extension of your email campaigns.
Conversion ads are, of course, optimized for conversions. They are built to drive individuals to your site or to have them fill out forms.
To ensure that Facebook can track your sales, you will likely need Meta Pixel on your website or ecommerce store.
Catalog sales ads are perfect for ecommerce, as they let you sell items from your catalog directly on your Facebook page.
You can use the BigCommerce Facebook Shop to integrate directly with your page, then use catalog sales ads to promote your products.
This ad campaign is perfect for brick-and-mortar stores that want to attract more foot traffic. It is designed to target people nearby and offer them incentives to enter your store.
Name your campaign.
After choosing the Facebook ad campaign you will run, you will want to name the campaign. If you are running multiple campaigns, this will help to keep track of which is which.
Additionally, you will want to declare if the ad campaign fits into any special categories such as politics or credit.
Set your budget and scheduling options.
You will need to decide how much money you plan on spending on your Facebook ad campaign. With Facebook Ad Manager, you can choose a daily budget or a lifetime budget, as well as set start and end dates.
To set scheduling options beyond the day-to-day, you will likely have to choose a lifetime budget for your ad campaign to gain the most efficiency.
Setup audience targeting.
To run a successful ad campaign, you will need to decide on the custom audience you wish to target. To can sort and select by target location, age, gender and language.
With Facebook Ad Manager, you can more readily define your audience network, and with filters, uncover the size of each demographic.
To find a specific audience, you can also use into the following fields:
You can use this field to include or exclude people based on their demographics, behaviors or interests. This section can get granular, offering niche targeting options for each category.
This field can be used to target or exclude individuals who have an existing connection or relationship with your Facebook page, business or application.
The connection field is a great way to track down and target audiences who may not be familiar with your business.
Select Facebook ad placements.
You will want to choose where your ads will eventually appear.
If you are a beginner to Facebook advertising, you can select Automatic Placements. This will allow the automation of ads across your network, from Facebook to Instagram.
However, if you are more experienced, you can place your ads in specific locations. The options for this include:
Brand safety and cost setup.
Facebook Ad Manager includes a section entitled Brand Safety, which allows you to exclude any types of content you deem inappropriate. This includes specific websites, videos or publishers.
Additionally, you can optimize your ad bidding strategies and establish cost controls to ensure that they are tailored to your ad budget.
Build your ad.
Lastly, you will want to decide on an ad format and enter any related media elements. This is where the process can get creative, allowing your branding and Facebook marketing teams to add a fresh touch or unique designs.
After that? Click the Publish button, and you are ready to go.
What Does it Cost to Advertise on Facebook?
The answer is, it depends.
Businesses need to manage against revenue and return on advertising spend (ROAS) counterbalanced metrics, which means calculating marginal profitability for every conversion ad.
Cost-per-click (CPC) divided by conversion rate equals cost-per-acquisition (CPA). By sorting each ad by these two primary factors, you can find out which ads to cut, which ads to tune and which ads to add more money.
These two factors can each be broken down into a further set of diagnostic metrics such as:
Relevance Score: Nearly identical to Google’s Quality Score, based on click-thru rate (CTR) and negative feedback.
**Frequency:**Over three per week in the newsfeed can lead to burnout.
CTR: We know that a higher CTR usually means a lower CPC, but factors such as placement, audience size, and Relevance Score come into play
Troubleshoot knowing that all campaigns are limited by either audience or budget.
Additional factors that can affect Facebook ad cost are:
Timing: When an ad is released.
Placement: Where an ad is located and how competitive that spot is.
Target audience: Who is your audience and how competitive is it to reach them.
Bidding strategy: Deciding on bidding caps and direction.
Conversion remarketing budget.
Facebook is a remarketing engine and an amplifier of what’s already working for your business. That means if you’re already driving conversions via SEO, AdWords, email or other digital channels, Facebook will increase your efficiency.
Many people fail at Facebook ads because they start with an arbitrary monthly budget and boost or run conversion ads to cold audiences — which can quickly lead to nowhere.
To succeed, you need to match your offer to where your audience is in their buyer’s journey and relationship with your business.
Ultimately, your baseline for Facebook budgeting should be how big your remarketing audiences are.
As Facebook defines it, engagement budgets are part of the consideration phase, where your goal is to increase your audience reach and educate them on who you are.
Your engagement budget should be triple your remarketing budget to start because you’ll be focusing on three key touch points:
Lookalike Audiences: People who are the most similar to your current customers.
Interest Targeting: People whose interests relate to your product.
Behavioral Targeting: People whose behaviors relate to your product.
Remarketing for further engagement budget.
A significant portion of your budget should be remarketing to further engagement.
This money should be devoted to sharing customer stories, educating users on issues they care about, showing how active you are in the community, and so forth. Here, you are devoting your budget to educating potential — not selling to them.
Boosted Posts Budget.
The last phase of the funnel centers the audience with the goal of making them aware that your business exists.
Your boosted posts should be another significant portion of your budget, as most of your efforts will be focused here due to the high maintenance and testing performed in this phase. The amount you spend on boosting will be based on how many posts you have to boost, how well those posts perform and how long you’ve been boosting.
Tips and Tricks for Better Facebook Ads
Creating quality Facebook Ads can be tricky, especially if you’re a beginner. With the help of the following tips and tricks, you can hit the ground running:
Don’t forget the top of the funnel.
It is easy to focus on the nitty-gritty minutia of your advertising strategy, whether offering promos and discounts or promoting demos.
Make sure not to lose track of the top of the funnel content and brand messaging. Before potential customers make a purchase, they need to know who you are and what you’re selling.
Implement Meta Pixel.
Formerly known as Facebook Pixel, Meta Pixel is a piece of code that you put on your website to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by better understanding your audience insights.
It sounds simple, but the tool has proven to be very effective, allowing businesses to track conversions, reconfigure their targeting plans and create ads for new audiences. If you’re planning on using Facebook Advertising, the Pixel is a must.
Experiment with your ad frequency.
An essential part of advertising is timing. How often are your ads viewed, and when? Oversaturating an audience with ads or misunderstanding which ads are effective can doom your campaigns before they truly get started.
By consistently testing, you can see where and when your ads are most effective and ensure you are not inundating your audiences.
Always be testing (ABT).
Consistent A/B testing shouldn’t be limited to ad frequency. In fact, testing should be an integral part of your advertising process.
Unless you are testing as often as possible, you risk missing out on important information about the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. Every little bit helps.
Make sure when crafting your advertising campaign to remember call-to-actions (CTAs).
A compelling call-to-action button can ensure that interested customers have a place to go if they’re interested in purchasing your product or service.
Track and optimize your efforts.
If you’re using Facebook Ad Manager, you might as well take advantage of the performance metrics it provides. Make sure to closely monitor how each of your campaigns is performing in the Manager dashboard.
Additionally, use the performance data to track which campaigns are working best and which are not, to optimize current campaigns and plan for future ones.
Facebook Advertising Tools
There are several excellent Facebook ad-building tools out there that will help you build, test and even schedule your ads, including:
AdEspresso is one of the leading Facebook ad creation platforms out there.
Creating multiple variants for testing was the reason it was established in the first place. Since then, they’ve added further features, including:
AdEspresso also integrates with several other platforms like MailChimp, AdWords and more.
Qwaya is a Facebook-focused platform that allows users to easily create multiple ad variations. It also lets you schedule ad deliveries alongside extensive analytics tools.
Qwaya includes an ad rotation tool, giving you more control over your split tests and allowing you to set up rules to control your ad spend.
Canva is an image builder that allows you to craft multiple variations of images to test. Though it is a general builder, it does have Facebook ad templates as part of its system.
Canva also includes an extensive image library to select and review compelling images for your ads.
Stock images services for your ads.
If your Facebook ad-building tool doesn’t come with stock images — or if you can’t find the right one — there are many sites that can help.
Here are a few that we recommend, for both free and paid images:
Pixabay offers thousands of free images. They have everything from photos and videos to illustrations and vector graphics.
Everything on their site is sorted by keyword and category. Downloading images is as simple as completing a captcha.
Pexels provides millions of stock photos and videos, ranging in quality from vintage images to 4K stock videos.
All media provided is royalty-free, and sortable by category and keyword.
Shutterstock is a paid platform offering royalty-free images, videos, vectors, illustrations and music. It also includes a web-based editing platform.
Like the other platforms, everything is sorted by category and keyword. There are various paid plans, depending on how many images you use. If you sign up for their newsletter, you can receive free weekly images.
Facebook Ads Manager.
Once you’re running Facebook ads, you’ll want to know whether they’re effective and which ads perform best.
With the help of Facebook Ads Manager, you can gain insightful and actionable information.
Account Overview, Creative Reporting and Insights
In your Account Overview within Ads Manager, you can see how your ad account is performing and pull valuable insights for optimization and future campaigns.
There are four main sections in the account overview tab:
Campaign KPI trends: In this section, you can analyze trends and performance over time.
**Table view of your campaigns, grouped by objective:**If you’re running campaigns with different objectives, you can analyze how these campaigns perform at a grouped level.
**Demographic & Geographic Sections:**These tabs include demographic information about people interacting with your ads.
Summarized account reporting: The final section of the overview section allows you to review performance data at the account level.
The Account Overview tab also includes a Creative Reporting section, which shows results on all creatives you’re running.
Customizing Ads Manager for your reporting needs
Facebook’s Ads Manager provides various reporting customization and filtering tools that allow you to create reporting templates for your specific use cases.
Date Range and Comparison Periods: You can set your reporting date ranges in the top right corner of the ads manager. There are multiple preset options, and you have the flexibility to select custom ranges.
Search and Filters: You can use search and filters to find specific campaigns, ad sets or ads and customize the results you see in the ads manager.
Columns and Breakdown: Facebook Ad Manager‘s reporting includes 12 preset reporting options and lets you review performance, engagement, conversions and settings in real-time.
Export, Share and Custom Reporting Functions: Facebook Ads Manager allows you to export your data in a CSV, Microsoft Excel file (.xlsx) or by sharing a link to that data with people in your ad account.
BigCommerce integrates with over 150 marketplaces, social channels and search engines so you can sell more everywhere.
The Final Word
More than 2.8 billion people use Facebook every month to connect with friends and the brands they love.
With the help of Facebook Advertising, businesses can take advantage of the already existing relationships and ecosystem of Facebook to craft unique, effective and ultimately successful advertising campaigns.