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Those who work with Digital Marketing know how important it is to use social media to engage with the audience. What many don’t know, or seem not to accept, is that advertising in social media is extremely relevant and important to a digital business. Facebook’s native advertising platform, commonly known as Facebook Ads, is the best one for social media by far. However, beginners and even advanced professionals still struggle to understand how to advertise on Facebook and how to set that platform to work in your favor.
In the last 2 years, investment in ads on social media doubled its size. In the United States, $31 billion of dollars were invested in social media on 2016 alone. In Brazil, the investment was also meaningful, with growing number of professionals wanting to advertise on Facebook and take advantage of the potential of this unique tool.
If we only take into consideration the number of monthly active users on Facebook, current number is greater than 1.2 billion of people, representing an amazing potential market. With exception of Russia and China, which are both the smallest markets, it is possible to advertise on Facebook to any country in the world and get excellent results with your Facebook Ads campaign.
If we also take into account that more than 65 million of small businesses are already marketing on Facebook, then you also should be doing it. Reality is that advertising on Facebook is not as complicated, and the amount you pay for it is really low when compared to other media. And if we add to it the fact that advertising on Facebook is way simpler than working with Google AdWords, for example, then you are missing the opportunity to take advantage of this amazing platform.
To work with Facebook you need to understand how it works, which steps to take, and goals and results of each of those actions. Facebook Ads platform may seem a bit complicated at first, but it is actually quite simple to use. What happens is that you don’t know the meaning of each of the platform components yet, and how to use each of those features that Facebook Ads makes available to your business.
In order to make it easier for you to study, so you don’t feel the need to search for information among several places trying to connect all dots, I decided to create this complete guide so that you understand once and for all how to advertise on Facebook and start running your campaigns immediately
It is necessary to have a fan page to advertise on Facebook. In case you don’t have one, you are not going to be able to publish, once all of the Facebook advertisement is attached to a fan page, where you can follow the public interactions with your ads, view comments, shares, etc.
Once you log in, go to www.facebook.com/pages/create/ and start creating a Facebook page to your business. In case you don’t have a business, you can create an entertainment page, a personal page, or any other type of it. Remember, you are going to create your ads on Facebook using that page, therefore, create something that makes sense to the public who is going to interact with your ads.
There are 6 different types of Facebook page, each of them with specific and different goals. Maybe you don’t know which type of page to choose, then the best way is to understand what each of them represent. Take a look:
Depending on the type of business you intend to advertise on Facebook, you must create your page using one of above categories. Do not try to trick the system and create a page using the wrong label, because Facebook is going to change it without even notifying you. Try to do things the right way so you get the best possible results.
It is extremely important to give your Facebook fan page a good name. If it is a business, name it after the business. If it is a personal page, put your own name on it. A nice profile photo is also important, as well as the category in which your page fits.
You may note on the left side the “About“ menu, where you may fill in several informations related to your business, such as category, name, page address, information about your business, e-mail, your website address, history, and other relevant information to users that access your page and/or search for your business on Facebook.
The more information you add to your page, the greater your chances of success. Do not forget that when you start adversing on Facebook, your target audience will visit your Facebook fan page, therefore the more relevant your page is, the better for your business.
On the top area you may note the “Settings“ menu, where you can set up all the remaining options of your Facebook page, connect your page to your Instagram business profile, among other options. There are several settings you can edit to make your page more effective and relevant to your target audience.
Now that you already created your Facebook fan page, it is time to start understanding how the Facebook Ads platform works. In fact, Facebook has two options for those who want to advertise: Business Manager or a traditional ad manager. To get you started, let’s understand what the Business Manager is and which are the advantages of using it to advertise on Facebook.
Business Manager is a Facebook-designed tool that allows you to manage your Facebook fan pages and ad accounts more effectively. For those who work with multiple fan pages on Facebook or several ad accounts, this is a fantastic tool that gives you tremendous help to manage all of that. Typically, Business Manager is used by digital marketing agencies, professionals who provide services to customers, or large companies that need to manage teams and a portfolio of multiple pages and ad accounts.
Business Manager is also used by many marketing professionals because it allows you to create up to 5 ad accounts, which is quite interesting if you want to promote different products by separating them into different ad accounts with different billing profiles, for instance.
Facebook Business Manager, usually abbreviated to BM, allows you to maintain a team of people managing multiple ad accounts and Facebook pages. Business Manager also allows you to share your accounts with a digital marketing agency, for example, so that the agency can manage your ad accounts and pages, doing all the work for you.
In Business Manager you can create two types of profiles: Administrator or Employee.
You can share ads and Facebook pages by assigning them the same job titles that already exist in traditional Facebook Ads accounts: page analyst, page advertiser, page moderator, page editor, or page administrator, as well as ad account analyst, ad account advertiser, and ad account administrator.
To create your Business Manager, go to https://business.facebook.com/ and follow the steps. In case you already have a Facebook page created, as seen previously, you can add the page into your Business Manager and start using it to advertise on Facebook. Take a look:
On the left side of the Business Manager menu, you will find several options. One of those options is the “Pages“ menu. Click on it and then give your Business Manager access to manage that Facebook page.
As you already own the Facebook page, you must choose the “Add a Page“ option to add your page to your Business Manager. It will automatically detect that you are already the page administrator and will automatically approve the addition of that page to your BM.
In the search box, look for the name of your Facebook page and click the “Add Page“ button to add it to your Business Manager. As I said earlier, it will detect that you are already a page administrator and will add it to your Business Manager.
As I said earlier, Business Manager allows you to create up to 5 ad accounts. On the left, choose the “Ad Accounts“ option and start by creating a new ads account. I recommend that you immediately create all the 5 of them, because if for some reason you lose an ad account, Business Manager will not allow you to create new ones. If you already create the 5 ad accounts, they are going to be all be available for use, even if Facebook chooses to block one of them.
Pay particular attention to the time zone and currency of the ad account you create, since you will not be able to change this data later. Furthermore, this will have implications for scheduled ad dates and times. Always use your time zone and the currency of your country to make it easier to manage in the future.
To advertise on Facebook, we’ll need an ad account. However, Facebook ad accounts need to be set up with payment and billing information as well.
Expand the Business Manager top menu and go to the “Ad Account Settings” option, as shown below:
Fill in all requested information by Facebook, such as business name, address and other information about the ad account and what you intend to do with it.
When all information is included, click on the “Save Settings” button to update your ad account with those new billing information. From now on, whenever Facebook charges your ad spend, an invoice will be issued with your billing information.
To advertise on Facebook, you must add a valid payment method to your Facebook Ads account. Start by expanding the top menu of your Business Manager and go to the “Billing and payment methods” option.
On the next page you can do a lot of interesting things, like add payment methods, edit payment methods, or set spending limit on the ads account.
To add a method of payment to your Facebook ads account, you must click the “Add payment method” button and choose one of the options that Facebook presents. The most common and most used is the credit card. PayPal may be a valid option as well.
I recommend you add more than one payment method. If your credit card expires, your balance is at the limit, or your card is blocked for any reason, you’ll have a second means of payment in your ads account, and Facebook may charge that second option and keep your ads running. If you only have one payment method associated with your ad account, and Facebook is unable to charge your card, for example, your ads will automatically pause until you solve the situation.
Above worksheet from Facebook explains how the billing cycle works. The spreadsheet is the same for the whole world, and the values will be in the local currency of the advertiser, meaning that, it could show Dollars or Euros depending on whether you are in United States or Portugal. All Facebook ad accounts have a charge limit, which starts at $ 25, automatically goes to $ 50, then $ 250, then $ 500 and ends at $ 750. Each time you reach each of those amounts, Facebook automatically increases your billing threshold to the next level.
This means that you will be initially charged when you reach $ 25 in ads, then when you reach $ 50 and so on. When you first reach $ 750, it will charge you every time you spend $ 750 or at the end of each month.
At a later stage, where you’ll be spending more money on Facebook ads, you’ll be able to manage your billing preferences and increase or decrease your billing threshold.
Basically, you are telling Facebook, that you want to be charged every X value. Just type in the box “Change the limit for:” the amount you want, Facebook will charge you whenever you reach that amount. The amount may be higher or lower than the current limit of your ad account.
To manage your Facebook ads, you’ll need to go to the ad manager, which we commonly call the ad platform or Facebook Ads Manager. Actually, Facebook has two ad managers that allow you to create and advertise on Facebook through the same ad account: the ad manager and the Power Editor. In fact, both are very similar at the moment and I see no advantage in using the Power Editor instead of the traditional ad manager, so we’ll just talk about that last one.
When you open the ad manager, you are going to see the tool where everything happens, that is, where you create, edit, and manage all of your Facebook ads. To make your learning easier, let’s analyze the Facebook Ads Manager and understand what all that means.
Let’s go through each of these points so that you can understand in a easy way what all that means and what you can expect from the Facebook Ads Manager. It seems complex, but in reality it is quite simple to understand and use. Take a look:
In order to better understand the structure of a Facebook campaign, check the image above and read my explanation below:
Now that you understand how it works, I recommend you explore Facebook Ads Manager and test all these features. Do not be afraid to click and explore all the possibilities of the ad manager. That way you will realize how it works and how to get the most out of your ads.
Now that you know the difference between Business Manager and Facebook Ads Manager, it is time to create the first campaign and start advertising your product or business on Facebook, assuming that you have set up your ad account correctly, have defined the payment method and filled out a billing profile. Prepared?
Let’s start by clicking on the green button “Create Ad“ to create our first Facebook ad.
When we start to create a Facebook campaign, the first step is to define the purpose of the campaign. To advertise on Facebook, there must always be a goal. Facebook ads can have different goals and this will give you the ability to advertise in different ways. Before starting a campaign, I always recommend that you define the purpose of your campaign because it is easier to build your campaign around that goal.
To better understand the meaning of each of those marketing objectives presented by Facebook, take a look at what each of them means:
Now that you understand how all of those marketing goals work and what each of them means, it is time for you to start advertising on Facebook, creating your first campaign.
To start creating our first campaign, let’s choose “Send people to a destination on or off Facebook (Traffic)” as marketing objective, and let’s give a name to our campaign. It’s important that you give names that make sense to your campaigns. As your business grows and you create more and more Facebook campaigns, you’ll feel the need to understand which campaigns are active, analyze metrics, etc., and you’ll only be able to do that with each campaign being properly identified.
In the next step you will find your audience targeting for the ad. On that screen, you’ll find several really important things to consider when targeting your audience. The first is the fact that you can use a saved audience, that is, a target audience that you have already used in other campaigns that you have saved. This is really interesting because once you find the right audience for your Facebook marketing campaigns, you will want to use that audience more often.
We also may work with custom audiences. These audiences can be your remarketing audience, your mailing list, and more. You can create these audiences from the “Audiences“ menu of your Business Manager, and are extremely interesting, both to use in your campaigns and to exclude from your campaigns. If we imagine you have a list of buyers of your product, you may want to, at some point, exclude people who have already bought from you from your ads.
Lastly, we have geographic segmentation and also age and gender of your audience. As you can see, I selected the country Brazil and, on the right side, Facebook tells me that in the age range between 18 and 65+, there are 116 million of Brazilian users on this platform that I can impact with my ads. Of course, this is a very large target audience; therefore, targeting your audience will help a lot to find your potential buyers.
Below you will find the field called “Detailed targeting”, which is basically the interests of your target audience. In this box, you will need to enter some terms, words, or company names to start targeting your audience. Here you can type things like “weight loss”, “diet”, “books”, “cars”, “Netflix”, etc. If Facebook has this interest in its library, it will appear here.
Interests can be words, terms or names that are related to things that people like or talk about on Facebook. If you write several Facebook posts about a particular topic, the Facebook algorithm may automatically determine you have an interest in that particular topic. The same happens when you “like” the “Corinthians” page. Facebook will automatically define that you like the football theme and also the Corinthians theme, for example.
If you imagine that Facebook’s algorithm is able to automatically track all of these interests, generating an incredible database that allows you to target your ads more effectively, you’ll be able to advertise your products to an audience that is most likely to buy from you. That is why it is so important to target your audience to avoid showing your ads to the wrong people.
At the right bottom you will find the placement of your ads. When advertising on Facebook you can leave the placement of your ads to be set automatically, allowing Facebook algorithm distribute your campaign in the places that generate the best performance. Or you can edit the placements and include or exclude certain places, such as not showing your ads on Instagram or in the Audience Network, in case you want not to.
Facebook allows you to advertise on desktop and mobile feeds, instant articles, videos, right side column, suggested videos, Instagram feed and stories, Audience Network, and Messenger-sponsored messages. Regarding Audience Network, it is a network of Facebook partners, which includes sites and applications, where your ads can be shown.
Below, you’ll also find mobile and operating system targeting, in case you would like to show your campaign just for Windows users, or just for those who have an iPhone. You can do this, and sometimes it makes sense to use this type of targeting when you’re planning to show an ad precisely for this type of audience.
The AdEspresso guys did a study and came to the conclusion that the cost of Facebook ads was $0.30 cents per desktop click, about $0.70 per click on Instagram, $0.05 cents on Audience Network, about $0.18 cents per mobile click and about $0.30 cents per click on the right side column in 2016.
This means that the Audience Network is the cheapest place to advertise, followed by the mobile news feed and the right side column of Facebook on desktop. Instagram has a very high cost-per-click when compared to all other formats. This may happen because Instagram news feed works differently from Facebook and users are not used to click when browsing the Instagram feed.
In its policies, Facebook itself recommends using placement optimization in automatic mode, allowing it to manage where the ad will appear, according to the marketing objective you defined at the beginning. However, Facebook also recommends using the following placements regarding your marketing goals:
If you want to make brand recognition and engagement ads to your audience, always use Instagram. If you want to create traffic or conversion ads, disable Instagram. This separation can do a lot for your business, believe me.
If we look at the cost of ads per country, we quickly realize that Brazil is not even listed, because the average value per click is cheaper than in all those countries, more than enough reason to start advertising on Facebook as soon as possible.
The last step in setting up your ad set is budgeting and scheduling your ads. As we have seen previously, those informations will be connected from the ad set to any ads you create. You can select a campaign with a daily budget or a budget for its entire period. As a rule, I always use a daily budget and adjust it through the results of the ads. This gives me greater freedom of optimization during the process.
Except when I have a specific date for completing sales of the product I’m selling, my ads usually have no end date. I end my campaigns myself when I think they are not yielding what they should. In some cases, however, I put a campaign start and end dates, even for security reasons. On the set date and time, Facebook automatically stops displaying your ad.
The optimization for ad placement is set against the marketing objective of your campaign. If your goal is traffic, you should optimize your ads for clicks. If the advertising goal is conversion, you should optimize your ads for conversions. I always leave the bid amount set automatically, because that is the best way to get a lower value per click. Facebook’s optimization is fantastic and it does not make up for you to bid manually on your campaigns.
The remaining options are only available for ads with budget for the entire campaign, meaning that you define $ XYZ for the entire campaign duration. In those cases, you will be able to optimize the schedule of the ad to a period that makes the most sense to you, as well as the type of placement, which may be standard or accelerated, depending on your goals. As a rule, I never change these two fields and always leave everything on automatic.
Now we start building our ad. The first step is to select the Facebook page that will be represented in that ad. That is why we created a Facebook page first, because we would need it here in this step. As Facebook says, your business is represented in the ads by their respective Facebook Page. The only way to advertise without a Facebook page would be to opt out of positioning in the news feed, but then you would be giving up the positioning that converts the best.
The single image ad type is by far the most popular ad format on Facebook. The reality is that to advertise on Facebook, you can use different ad formats. I recommend testing all of them and choosing the formats that generate the highest conversions. Not all formats work the same way for all businesses. The carousel is very common, for example, in ecommerce ads because it allows you to advertise multiple products at once.
In the next step, you must add an image to your ad. When using the single image format, the chosen image must have standard measures of 1200 x 628 pixels in PNG format. I recommend using an image with little or no text. This is because Facebook penalizes the reach of ads that have more than 20% of text on them. That is, if your image has more than 20% of text, you will pay the same for your ad, but it will reach less people.
Facebook gives its advertisers the possibility to use images from a free bank, so you select those that represent the ads. This is great for those who does not sign up for a professional image bank or cannot create the images for their ads. However, this image bank may contain several pieces used by other advertisers, what will cause your ad to not have the same impact as using a piece produced by you.
In the next step, we need to define the links and texts of our Facebook ad. Facebook ads should be as objective, simple and interesting as possible. I suggest creating simple and fairly objective ads. If you create ads with promises that you will not keep, it is quite possible that Facebook will not approve them; therefore avoid trying to be smarter than the system.
To create an effective Facebook ad, you will only need the following:
One important thing you should not forget is to preview your ad in the various placements that you’ve set for your ad set. An ad that looks great on the desktop might not look as good on mobile or on the right side column. Try to look in advance all available previews to see if your ad will really be effective in that placement, or if you would rather swap the image or copy.
When your ad is ready, click the “Place Order“ button and your ad will be submitted for evaluation.
You just created your first Facebook ad!
Now that you have started advertising on Facebook and created your first campaign, you should wait until it begins to be distributed through Facebook’s ad algorithm to begin tracking its metrics. Never create a campaign if you do not have time to track the metrics. Precisely, it is the metrics that will tell you whether or not your campaign is being successful.
In Facebook Ads Manager, the first thing that you should take into account is choosing the period. In the top right corner of the manager, there is an option to sort for a predefined period of time or choose the period of time that you intend. I usually work with the period of the last 30 days and only segment when I feel the need to visualize specific periods of time.
In the performance and clicks column, you can choose different types of metrics to analyze your ad. If your ad has a traffic goal, looking at performance and clicks may be interesting, so you understand if your ad is performing well in terms of clicks and CTRs.
When looking at the metrics, like in this case where the ad shows a CTR of 22.72% and generated 334 clicks with an average CPC of just € 0.02, you understand that your ad is working very well. These metrics are essential to understand whether you should put more budget in this ad or not, or whether you should extend the time it will be running.
There are several types of reports available in Facebook Ads Manager and you will need to explore every single one of them to understand what data are possible to measure. In reality, almost everything is measurable, so looking at the metrics and understanding the behavior of your ads will be essential for your business, especially for your Facebook ads.
One of the biggest wars among “Facebook Ads experts” is whether or not you should push a post. As I do not believe everything I read and everything I hear, I have tested different approaches and came to the conclusion that boosting a post can actually be quite positive. Contrary to what many people claim, boosting a post is not necessarily throwing money away. I have excellent results boosting posts in different types of business.
One of the things I learned from Dennis Yu (and doing different types of tests pushing posts on Facebook pages) was that by investing small amounts to boost multiple posts, the organic reach of my posts increases dramatically. If you look at this post, it had more organic reach than paid, generated 52 “likes” in my publication and 57 “likes” in the shared publication, it originated 79 comments in my post and 50 more comments in the shared post, generated 30 shares and a total of 722 clicks on publications.
If this is not an excellent result, then I do not know what would be a good result. The truth is that this post generated more than 80 applications from freelance writers, with an investment of only € 20 (about $ 25) boosting the post for fans of the page and friends of those fans.
In this other example, I decided to boost this post with the purpose of interaction. The organic reach was equally high, but what is most surprising is the amount of interaction with the post, which generated 2200 “likes”, 24 shares and more than 750 clicks, even though the purpose of the post was not set for clicks. This is what we normally call selling without selling, that is, if your audience is engaged with your content or with the posts you make on your business page, it is likely that they will click on the post, even if the advertising objective is not set for clicks.
When boosting a Facebook post, one of the most important things to set is the goal and also the target audience. This will make all the difference in the results. I usually do not invest a lot of money boosting posts; I use this strategy as a way of disseminating the content, which means that the organic reach of my page tends to improve considerably over time.
It is possible that your content delivers better results than if you choose the clicks option, even in terms of clicks, if you set up interaction as the goal. From my experience, the interaction option ends up generating an equal number of clicks, but with a much greater interaction in the post.
Talking about audience, I always work with targeted audiences, whether it is the fans of the page and their friends, or other targeted audiences that I have saved in my Facebook Ads Manager. Depending on who the audience is, I always choose a specific audience to see that ad.
As a rule of mine, the vast majority of posts I boost are created with only the equivalent of $ 7 for 7 days of advertisement. This strategy serves only to increase the organic reach of posts. If you understand that the Facebook algorithm (called EdgeRank) shows the contents of your page based on the interaction that that person has with your content, if over time we are presenting our content to these people and they interact with them somehow, our organic reach will tend to rise. It’s not space science, a simple test will do.
By pushing a post, it is also the only way you have to spend just the equivalent of R$ 1 a day. If you go and check Facebook Ads Manager, the least you may possibly spend is R$ 5 per day or equivalent in other currencies, so if you want to spend only R$ 1 per day, you must boost a post and choose a budget of R$ 7 for 7 days of campaign. That way you can advertise by spending less and generating a meaningful result for the reach and interaction of your Facebook page. Make a test and then tell me here in the comments of this post if it worked!
Now that you know how to advertise on Facebook and create your first campaigns, it is time to put your hands to work and start selling! When you realize the potential of Facebook ads, you’ll be amazed at the return you can have by advertising on that social network. I still recommend that you continue to test the different possibilities of the ad manager. Facebook is constantly launching new things and it is important that you test each one of them.
Contrary to what many “experts” talk about, there are no certainties in marketing. That means that no matter how much they tell you it is this way or that way, you need to go and test it yourself. Each business is a business, and what works well for me may not work for you. Go ahead, test and draw your own conclusions. That is the right way to work with digital marketing!