The Ultimate Facebook Ads FAQ [2nd Edition]

Lucas Garvin Digital Advertising, Facebook Advertising

Have questions about Facebook ads? In this post I’m going to cover the top questions we get about advertising on Facebook. As we get more, I’ll be sure to add them to the list. 🙂

Is your question missing? Ask me in the comments section and I or our team will answer it, or add it to our list for the next version.

Click on one of the sections below to jump directly to your area of interest..

 

BEFORE YOU START

 

1. Does Facebook advertising work?

Absolutely! There’s a reason why 3 million businesses use it. It’s one of the largest and most effective platforms for advertising on the planet.

It’s also incredibly versatile.

It can serve as a medium for an attention driver ad campaign, which creates brand awareness by showing off engaging, valuable content to people who have never heard of you. (Think of those fun videos where disembodied hands teach you how to make lasagna or crafts.)

It’s also great for lead generation ads. People are on Facebook because they want to engage and consume content and they’re often willing to give their contact info in exchange for  substantive content items or offers, like a free consultation.

Finally, it can work for … pretty much every other aspect of your marketing. By retargeting customers and website visitors, you can drive people who have already engaged with your brand to buy more or re-engage with your company.

2. Where can I find the best Facebook advertising tips?

Great question! There are so many great places. Check out some of our other blog posts on Facebook here and here as well as some of these invaluable sources:

3. How much does advertising on Facebook cost?

This is a very hard question to answer. Put simply, it will cost as much as you’re willing to invest. However, if you’re low on time and budget and nervous about spending money on ads before they’re effective, you can test ad campaigns for $15-$25/day and allow it to run for 3-5 days. This will give you just enough data to see how your audience is truly responding to the ad(s) at which point you optimize your campaign and, as it works more effectively, raise the ad spend.

Just don’t tweak it during those first 3-5 days, otherwise you could end up with under-performing ads that you aren’t sure how to optimize. To learn more about Facebook advertising cost, check out this post: How To Get More Leads For Less.

4. How do I create a Facebook ad account?

Just go to Facebook for Business and click on “create ad.” If you don’t already have a Facebook ad account it will prompt you to create one. 🙂

Click here to get started →

5. Is organic reach dead?

I’ll quote The Princess Bride. “It’s mostly dead. Or…slightly alive.”

To catch some of you up, there was a time that you could semi-reliably reach new potential customers by posting great content for free on Facebook. Those days are over. Over the last few years, the reach of organic posts has declined dramatically – last year, one study measured the decline as 40% in 5 months.

That said, Facebook pages are still a great tool for updating and communicating with your most loyal customers who follow your pages, seeding upcoming product launches, and generating buzz for special events like sales.

I know. You miss the days of free wide reach. But who says life is fair, where is that written? (to quote The Princess Bride again.)

6. I thought people were on Facebook to talk to friends, see wedding announcements, baby pics, etc. Are they really going to click on my ad?

Absolutely! 3 million businesses use Facebook to advertise – and that’s because it’s one of the most effective platforms in the world. Whether B2B or B2C, businesses in essentially every industry have been able to convince consumers to click on ads.

But your concern is valid. People are on Facebook to socialize and engage with content.

The best performing ads blend in seamlessly with that experience by offering content that’s valuable, engaging, and personable – rather than simply hawking products without context.

7. Do Facebook ads work for B2B?

Yes, though different industries have different reasons to take advantage of the platform. The entrepreneurial market, for example, has some of the most active and accessible Facebook users.

Corporate B2B audiences can be tougher to target for early funnel stages like lead generation because Facebook’s professional data is not as complete as LinkedIn’s. Where Facebook can excel with corporate audiences is when you already have a large email list or customer list to use as the source for a new lookalike audience or retargeting campaign.

GETTING STARTED

 

8. What are the Facebook advertising guidelines?

I’ve included a link to the full Facebook advertising guidelines below, but here’s a few quick official & unofficial “dos” and “don’ts.” (Best practices, if you will.)

  • Do keep your relevance score above 5. This will help keep your advertising costs low and minimize your risk of being flagged as spam.
  • Do try to make content blend in with the engaging, personable tone of Facebook’s experience.
  • Do not call out your audience by specific personal attributes. (ie. medical or physical conditions)
  • Do not portray nonexistent functionality. Like a play button with no immediately playable video.
  • Do not emulate Facebook website features. Like a fake like button.
  • Do not use the Facebook logo or other brand elements in your ad design. However, you can use Facebook’s name.
  • Here’s the link to the official Facebook advertising guidelines.

9. Do I need to have a Facebook page to advertise on Facebook?

Yes, you do. Luckily, setting up a Facebook page takes about 15 minutes and is free.

10. Are there any Facebook ads coupons or other ad credits?

Short answer: essentially no. There are some companies who have deals to distribute Facebook ads coupons with purchases. (GoDaddy comes to mind.) However, Facebook does not hand out advertising coupons.

11. Can I advertise on Facebook for free if I’m a nonprofit?

Alas, no. This is something that Google adwords does and I think it could be a major asset for nonprofit organizations. However, Facebook unfortunately doesn’t currently have a program for charities to advertise for free.

AD DESIGN

 

12. What’s the best Facebook ad design tool if I’m not a designer?

I love when I get this question! I’m not crazy talented with Photoshop, and I know most people aren’t so I always recommend Canva. Canva is a really simple and free online graphic design tool that even has a pre-made Facebook ad template ready to go.

Click here to check it out →

13. What size should my Facebook ads be?

The most commonly used Facebook ad type is the “Clicks to Website” (links/conversions) ad. The dimensions for this Facebook ad are 1200×628 pixels (px) with an image ratio of 1.9:1.

Jon Loomer has an amazing Facebook ad size infographic on his blog that covers every Facebook ad size, including image dimensions for your business page. Go check it out →

14. I keep hearing that video is the best way to reach tons of people on Facebook. Any advice for someone who doesn’t have the time and money to create professional videos?

My best advice is: Stop worrying. Seriously. People are looking on Facebook for authentic content and that’s just the type of thing you can create using your smart phone in 15 minutes.

In fact, some of the content for our clients’ most effective attention driving ads was created in just a few minutes using a selfie stick and an iPhone.

TARGETING & PLACEMENT

 

15. Where do I place my ads?

You have 4 options here:

  • Mobile feed
  • Audience network
  • Instagram
  • Right column

Mobile Feed is the regular feed where you see all of your friends’ content. It’s the bread and butter of our advertising and, in my experience, the most reliably effective place to run ads. Start here if you are just beginning.

Audience Network is a network used by other sites and apps that integrate Facebook ads into their platforms. I haven’t had great experiences using audience network. Frankly, it’s next to impossible to control your audience’s experience since you don’t even know where on the internet they are and using it has usually driven up our cost per conversion. If your ad spend is so big that you’re constantly needing to switch out creative, it might be worth considering it to broaden your audience – but expect using audience network to result in a higher cost per conversion.

Instagram really depends on your market. Are they on Instagram? If so, it might be worth running ads on Instagram as well as making special creative that appeals to the Instagram experience.

Right Column… I typically don’t run ads on the right column. I’ve found that doing so drives up my frequency, saturating the audience and driving down quality scores.

16. What if I can’t find my audience on Facebook?

Two billion people are on Facebook. 2 freaking billion! That’s more than one-quarter of the world’s population.

Your target audience is on Facebook. For sure.

That said, it’s definitely true that some businesses have a tough time finding their audience, particularly if it doesn’t lend itself naturally to Facebook’s interest targeting (e.g. people with a specific medical condition or people with certain corporate jobs).

Luckily, you have quite a few options for how you can find your audience.

You can let people demonstrate their interest by running a video to a big audience for around 1 cent per view, then retarget the people who watched.

You can also create ‘lookalike’ audiences for your current email list – people who Facebook’s algorithm thinks are most similar.

If you don’t have a large enough of an email list to do that, you can start on another (pricier) platform like Linkedin or Google Adwords, then retarget lookalike audiences once you’ve gathered at least 100 email addresses. If your price point is high enough, this can be a very cost-effective approach.

17. What is retargeting?

Retargeting means targeting people who have already engaged with you in some way. They may have watched a video in a different ad, visited your website, or visited a specific page on your website – it’s up to you to set up the logic that decides who gets targeted in your Facebook Custom Audiences.

Let me also say this: retargeting is one of the most effective, profitable tools you have! There are always going to be people who show you their interest but don’t convert and retargeting is an incredible tool to push people who already know you into taking action.

For example, someone might visit your sales page but didn’t buy. You can retarget those people with a simple ad to push them into completing the action (cheaply, since it’s only a relatively small audience) and effectively (because they were so, so close) into converting.

18. Do lookalike audiences work?

Absolutely! We’ve had some of our best wins using lookalike audiences, particularly 1% lookalikes.

Moreover, the success compounds itself. You use a lookalike audience to find customers more cheaply. New customers come in through Facebook and your lookalike audiences becomes more accurate and larger, reducing your cost per conversion.

Facebook is learning from the insights in the list you provide – and the more it knows, the better these lists will perform. Therefore, a list of 10,000 emails will result in a more effective lookalike audience than a list of 500 emails.

Also, it’s possible you have multiple audience types in your email list (e.g. parents & college students) but you want to run creative that’s targeted toward a specific segment (e.g. only students). If you create a lookalike audience from your whole email list without segmenting it out, it will hurt the effectiveness of your lookalike audience.

19. I don’t have the assets to create a lookalike audience. How do I start targeting my people online?

Not to worry. Everyone starts somewhere. It sounds like you need to target cold audience members – which is a fancy marketing word for people who have never heard of you.

Often, lookalike audiences are the best way to find new people but, sometimes, your data isn’t strong enough to make them work or you’re simply trying to gain entry into a new market.

That’s when you should use Facebook’s excellent targeting features, particularly its interest targeting. Start by creating a profile of your ideal audience member (your ideal client). Think about the interests that align with what you are selling, the influencers they follow, their buyer behavior, and the online communities they might be a part of.

When setting up targeting, start by including broad features like age and geography. Then, include targeting for huge interest categories (or, sometimes, behaviors) e.g. ‘retirement’ or ‘college’ to sculpt an audience that fits a broad demographic.

Finally, nest more specific attributes – like favorite brands or influencers – to chisel down your audience to your core target. These are interests that range from a few thousand people to a few hundred thousand people and you can include dozens.

You should have at least 500,000 people in your cold audience target and as many as 4 million..

20. How do I set up custom audiences?

In the audience section of your Facebook Business Manager, click ‘Create Audience.’

You can choose to upload a customer file and Facebook will do its best to match customer information to people on Facebook.

You can also create custom audiences based on how people interacted with your Facebook page and ads or website. For example, based on video views, other engagements with your content, or pages they visited on your website after they clicked on an ad

‘Website Traffic’ is a particularly powerful tool since it lets you target people based who visited a certain part of your website, but didn’t convert. You can do this by targeting people who went to one URL but not the next URL that they should go to AFTER they converted.

The image below demonstrates how that is set up.

TESTING & OPTIMIZATION

 

21. How do I measure if an ad/ad set is working?

Well, let me ask you a simple question: What’s your goal?

If your goal is leads, then you should judge your campaign by its cost per lead. If your goal is customers, you should judge your campaign by your cost per customer (and, ideally, its ROI).

As disappointing as this may be to hear, there’s no ‘good’ CPC, CTR, or CPM – a high CPC that results in tons of conversions and a positive ROI is a good campaign and a low CPC that results in no conversions is a bad campaign. You track these secondary metrics only to diagnose why a campaign is under- or over-performing and compare them to your previous campaigns. For example, if your cost per lead is super high and your cost per click is normal, chances are the issue is with your landing page.

That said, for CPC, here is a very loose baseline to get you started. For leads who opted in to receive content: $2 CPC is great, $3 is good, $5-6 is a disappointment. (That said, if your value per lead results in positive ROI – by all means, continue!)

Unfortunately, I can’t make the same recommendation for other conversions. There are just too many factors like your product price, conversion rate, lifetime customer value to consider.

22. What is a good method for testing ads?

Set up campaigns that test at least 3 variations of your headline, text, image, and audience. Make sure you have a hypothesis for why each will work so you’re gaining knowledge that you can use in future campaigns.

Spend at least $1 per day for every ad unit you’ve created. So if you’re testing 50 ad units, you need to spend at least $50 per day (and, ideally, closer to $100).

At the end of a week, you should have a strong sense of what’s working well and what’s not.

If you would like an easy toolkit for testing your Facebook Ad elements, we’ve got you covered:

Download the toolkit now →

23. What is a Facebook Pixel?

A Facebook Pixel is the little piece of code makes all retargeting possible. Basically, you use it to track who was on your website and what pages they went to – making it possible for you to optimize for specific conversion actions or retarget people who went to certain pages. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to code to use it. Read on…

24. How do I install a Facebook Pixel?

I know I just said a Facebook Pixel is code but, please, don’t freak out. All you’re doing is copying and pasting something into the header of your website so that it’s on every page.

You can also make specific actions, like buying a product or submitting contact information, trigger an event that Facebook tracks.

Click here for Facebook’s super-simple explanation of how to set up your pixel.

25. How often do I need to switch out my ads?

That’s a simple question with a complex answer.

Let’s get to the core concern: your audience can get saturated with the same ad and it will stop working. Eventually…

The time it takes for this to happen varies widely based on your market, conversion, and audience size

Look at your frequency, which is the average number of times your ad is served to each person. Ideally, you should have a frequency average lower than 3 and absolutely no higher than 7.

If your frequency is climbing and your engagement is declining (CPC increasing, likes decreasing, longer video views), that’s a pretty good sign your audience is getting tired of your ads and it’s time to sub in some new creative (but, of course, you should look at other possible causes before deciding to cancel your ads).

LANDING PAGES

 

26. Where should my traffic go after someone clicks my ad?

Well…what do you want your audience to do? Wherever they go, it needs to be to a page dedicated to making that action happen – NOT your homepage or some general part of your website. You need to control their experience so that they convert exactly how you want them to.

Check out our blog post here to see what fixes you can make to create a high-converting dedicated landing page.

27. Do I need a mobile-friendly landing page?

YES!

Over half of Facebook’s users access Facebook only on mobile.  Moreover, in our experience, mobile users can have a significantly cheaper cost per conversions. In a webinar registration campaign we ran, mobile users converted at 60% the cost of desktop users

It’s critical that the page users go to is optimized for mobile visitors or you’re going to be missing out on a TON of conversions.

28. How do I make my landing page mobile-friendly?

Our favorite tool for mobile-friendly landing page design is Clickfunnels. It’s just an excellent platform for creating dedicated landing pages that convert. It comes with tons of templates and makes it very easy to design for mobile and desktop at the same time.

29. Is there a difference between optimizing my landing page for mobile and for Facebook’s mobile app?

Absolutely.

Think about the limitations of a user coming to your page from the Facebook app.

Facebook is trying awfully hard to pull that user back into the main Facebook hub – and prevent them from spending too much time in the external website. There’s no address bar to go to a new website or search. There’s also an arrow to take them back to Facebook as soon as they’re ready.

Use a dedicated landing page with no navigation and design an experience that makes for quick, easy conversions for the user who won’t want to wander too far from the Facebook home base.

This design for a lead generating landing page where people can opt into content has resulted in some of our highest conversion rates.

 

Is your question missing? Ask it in the comments section and one of our Facebook Ad specialists will get back to you.

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About the Author

Lucas Garvin

Co-founder of Visify (@Visified) - a New York digital marketing agency. Serial entrepreneur, biohacker, #MarketingNerd & coffee connoisseur...

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