How to Run Successful Facebook Ads
When it comes to social media advertising, Facebook reigns supreme. That’s why running successful Facebook ads is vital to the success of any business.
Facebook ads are generally the cheapest and most easily trackable form of online advertising. Plus, they’re totally optimizable! This gives you a lot of control over your ads, but you have to know what you’re doing if you want successful Facebook ads. Otherwise, you may be wasting your money.
In fact, small businesses are using Facebook to increase sales. Below is a screenshot of a Facebook advertising campaign for an ecommerce store that generated 152 purchases through Facebook ads. And, the best part is, they only spent $3.42 to acquire each new customer.
Here’s a screenshot from another client who made $24,804.73 in revenue:
If this gets you excited, you must first learn the fundamentals of Facebook advertising. Here are essentials for running successful Facebook ads:
- Have a goal in mind
In order to run successful Facebook ads, you must first answer this question: what do you want your ads to do?
Do you want more followers? More sales? More engagement? No matter what your goal is, Facebook has a marketing objective for you!
The first page you see when to start to set up a Facebook ad is this:
These are the different marketing objectives you can choose from. They each correspond to different end goals. If you want more people to click on your website, you’ll run a traffic campaign. Likewise, if you want to generate sales, you’ll run a conversion campaign.
Some objectives contain sub-objectives. For example, when you click on the engagement objective, here’s what you’ll see next:
There are three different types of engagement campaigns. The one you choose will depend on your overarching goal. If you want more followers, run a page like ad. If you want more likes, comments, and shares on your posts, run a post engagement as. If you want more people to go to an event you’re promoting, run an event response ad.
Even if you have a specific goal in mind, Facebook likely has an objective perfect for you. You can run Facebook ads that optimize for everything from conference registrations to app downloads!
Having a particular goal in mind will help you determine the success of your ads.
- Target your audience
According to the latest statistics released by Facebook, this social media giant now has 1.59 billion daily users who you could be converting into customers! Everyone is on Facebook, whether they’re a CEO or a high-schooler. So no matter who your ideal audience is, they’re on Facebook!
That being said, merely posting on Facebook won’t be enough to convert users into customers. You have to run Facebook ads, and they have to be successful Facebook ads at that, to generate sales.
What if you’re not sure who your target audience is? There are a few different places you can start!
Your three most basic audience options are a cold audience of everyone on Facebook (which you can narrow down from there) or warmer audiences of either people connected to your page or a custom audience.
If you already have a decent number of page likes and you want to turn your followers into customers, you can select people already connected to your page as a target audience. This ensures the people you advertise to are familiar with your company and interested in what you’re selling.
If you don’t have that many followers, but you do have a customer list, a custom audience may be a good option. You can upload your customer list directly to Facebook and Facebook can generate a lookalike audience consisting of users similar to the ones you’ve provided.
But what if you don’t have a lot of followers or a customer list? This is a common problem for many startups and small businesses. To start building your audience from scratch, you’ll want to click the “Everyone on Facebook” option.
Narrowing a useful audience out of everyone on Facebook can be daunting, but Facebook’s Audience Insights is a phenomenal tool to help you out. First, you’ll want to set any specific parameters you know you want. For example, you may want to advertise only to people in the U.S. or people eighteen or older. You can set these parameters first before you start delving into data from Audience Insights.
Once your parameters are set, you can begin searching for data about the followers of your competitors. This will give you a great starting point to form your own target audience. For example, let’s say you own a convenience store. Under the “Interests” parameter, you can select people who like the pages of your competitors. For a convenience store, a potential competitor might be 7-Eleven. Once you’ve selected these interests, the Audience Insights tool will provide you with demographic information for the followers of those companies.
Here is what some of the demographic information for people who like 7-Eleven:
From this information, you can deduce that most of 7-Eleven’s Facebook fans are married, college-educated women.
The data is gathered from self-reported information provided to Facebook as well as third party data partners. You can use the information gathered from Audience Insights to set up a few potential audiences and use A/B split testing to determine the best one for you. There will be more information about A/B split testing later in this article.
- Use Eye-catching images
A picture is worth a thousand words. When you’re confined to a limited number of characters, a thousand words is a lot!
A potential customer might scroll right past your ad without reading it if the image doesn’t catch their eye. To prevent losing valuable customers, you need to select bright, clean, high-quality images for successful Facebook ads. Just make sure the image contains less than 20% text, or else Facebook will show your ad to fewer people.
The best type of image is one that’s relevant to your business as well as to your target audience. For example, let’s say you sell kitchen supplies to married couples living in the suburbs. A photo of a cute baby may grab the attention of the right people, but it won’t do anything to make them want to buy your kitchen supplies. A photo of a precious baby playing with pots and pans might do the trick though!
Better yet, use a video! Videos can convey a lot more information than a single image. Plus, with Facebook’s autoplay feature, you may be able to snag the attention of someone who otherwise would have scrolled right past your ad. Just make sure your video doesn’t rely on sound. 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute!
This is because of the fact that most users watch these videos with their mobile phones. And when they are out in the public, disturbing the people around them with video sounds is the last thing they want to do. So if you will create video ads for Facebook, be sure to optimize it for silence.
Now, will you go for static content or a video? To help you decide in this matter, according to Facebook, users tend to gaze at videos they see on their News Feed 5x longer than they do with static images.
So to sum it up, whether you opt for an image or a video, the most successful Facebook ads include bright, clear colors and people’s faces. People’s brains are hardwired to recognize faces, so including a face will make your ad more eye catching. Plus, depicting people using your products can make them seem more relatable!
- Know what to say (and what not to say)
Now you know what kinds of images are necessary for successful Facebook ads, but what about the copy?
The most successful Facebook ads have copy that includes three elements: an attention grabber, a phrase or sentence to add value, and a call to action. The attention grabbed is the hook that generates interest in your ad. If the first phrase or sentence of your copy doesn’t spark the reader’s interest, they’ll stop reading. Some examples of attention grabbers are questions and surprising statistics.
Once you’ve gotten their attention, you need to add value to your copy. Explain to the user why they benefit from clicking on your ad. This sentence also serves to link your attention grabber and call to action.
The call to action is what you want the reader to do. Do you want them to purchase your product? Click onto your website? Sign up for your newsletter? Be sure to make your call to action clear, or your add will not be effective. The most popular calls to action are “learn more,” and “shop now”.
The above ad is designed to send people to a company blog. The call to action is effective because it lets the reader know they need to click onto the blog to learn all the reasons they should invest in SEO. It’s clear, succinct, and generates interest.
Whether or not you use the three sentence model, be sure to keep your text short and clear. People won’t read a large block of text that looks overwhelming or time-consuming to read.
Successful Facebook ads often contain buzzwords like “promo code,” “free,” or “sale”. When running deals, always create a sense of urgency by using phrases like “act fast,” or “this deal won’t last long!” People are more likely to react in the moment when they’re afraid they might miss out on something. If you’re not running a deal, action verbs like “test,” “see,” and “try” work well to create some urgency as well.
Now that you know what to say, you need to know what NOT to say. Facebook isn’t too keen on running ads with the word “you” in them and often will not allow those ads to run. However, you can circumvent this rule by using “your,” “you’re,” or “yourself” instead. There are also certain types of products that cannot be advertised on Facebook like firearms and supplements. Any copy that seems like it could be advertising those products will be flagged.
- Don’t sound like an ad
People don’t like being advertised to. Study after study has proven that people reject what they perceive as an attempt to persuade them. This may sound counter-intuitive, but the most successful Facebook ads don’t sound like ads.
The goal is to make users understand that it benefits them to click on your ad rather than just telling them to. This is why adding value is such a vital step to copywriting. Successful Facebook ads make consumers aware of why they should follow the call to action. That being said, people don’t like being told what to do. You have to make them understand why it’s beneficial for them to follow your call to action.
Here’s a good example of an ad that is persuasive without sounding too much like an ad:
This copy sets a great example for successful Facebook ads. It advertises the company’s services in a way that makes it seem beneficial to the user through the use of buzzwords like “free” and “no strings attached”. It doesn’t feel like the ad is trying to sell you something, it just looks like a free offer.
- Leverage A/B split testing
It’s rare to get something right on the first try. That’s why A/B split testing is vital to running successful Facebook ads!
A/B split testing is when you run several slightly different variations of the same ads to find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s used to single out the most effective elements which can then be combined into one optimal ad.
To start, figure out which elements you want to test for. The two most common things to test are images and copy. Once enough people have seen the ads (100 people is a good rule of thumb), you can begin turning off the ads that have high costs per click. Continue this process until the single most effective ad is the only one remaining.
A good recommendation is to start with three images and three copies, every variation of which should create 9 ads total to test against one another. Once you’ve determined the best image/copy combo, you can begin testing other features like headlines, audiences, placements, and buttons.
Ads won’t be optimized overnight. You should let your ads run for at least a few days before you begin the optimization process. A/B split testing can be a time-consuming process, but it’s worth it in the end!
- Install Conversion Pixels
One of the most useful tools for running successful Facebook ads is a tracking pixel.
A pixel is a piece of code that you can embed on your website. It allows you to track conversions and re-market your leads. The data it collects can also be used to fine-tune your target audience and optimize your ads.
Facebook pixels allow you to track how people interact with your ads and your website. You can see which ads people clicked on to get to your website, which pages of the website they clicked on, and even what type of device they were using. This can help you learn which of your ads are the most effective and whether mobile or desktop users click on your ads more. They also allow you to get a clear picture of the types of people who click onto your website so you know who else to include in your target audience.
Next, click the green button that says “create a pixel.”
Once your pixel code has been generated, you can copy and paste it into the header of the page you want to track. If you are unfamiliar with coding language, you may want to enlist the help of a web developer.
The best pages to track are shopping cart, check out, and purchase confirmation pages. This way you can track which people are turning into conversions and which people should be re-targeted.
- Start Re-targeting
Have you ever clicked on a website and then seen ads for that same website the following day? If so, you’ve been re-targeted! It’s a fantastic strategy for successful Facebook ads.
Only 2% of shoppers make a purchase on their first visit to an online store. Re-targeting allows you to generate specific ads for the 98% who showed an interest in your website but haven’t converted yet.
Re-targeting creates a warm audience of people who are already aware of your brand and have interacted with it. You can entice them to purchase a product they almost passed up by running a special sale or promotion. This is extra effective since you don’t have to run the promotion for your full audience, just a specific warm audience.
- Develop Landing Pages
Landing pages are one of the most underutilized marketing strategies for lead campaigns. This is a shame because they’re a necessity for successful Facebook ads!
A landing page is a web page with a lead capture form that collects visitors’ information. This allows you to convert more of your visitors into leads while simultaneously capturing information about who your target audience is. When someone clicks on your Facebook ad, it’s better to have it send them to a landing page than directly to your website.
So how do you get people to click onto your landing page? If your ad copy is tempting on its own, a simple “learn more” call to action may be enough. Otherwise, a special offer may be necessary to make people decide it’s worth it to provide their information in your lead capture form. Some examples of effective offers are discounts, free e-book downloads, or free consultations.
By offering your audience something of value, you have a better chance of converting visitors into leads. Plus, even if those leads don’t turn into conversions, you’ve gathered valuable information about your target audience from them.
So what types of information should you request on a lead capture form? You shouldn’t ask too many questions, because it turns potential leads off when they feel like they’re being interrogated. The more questions that are asked on a landing page, the higher the cost per lead tends to be.
Common pieces of information to request include name, phone number, email, and job title. At least one piece of contact information is necessary to ensure you can follow up with your leads.
When people personally supply you with their contact information, they’re more likely to be qualified leads. They’ve already expressed a clear interest in your product or service and want to learn more.
Landing pages should always lead to a thank you page. This page serves as a confirmation that the information has been received and can provide an offer if one was promised. The offer can also be sent in the form of an automated email.
Make sure your landing page is mobile friendly. Over half the people who click onto your landing page will do so from a mobile device. Also, remember that consistency is key! Similar design elements should be used in your ad and landing page.
- Have a Healthy Budget
Facebook is a very money-motivated platform. In other words, the more ad dollars you’re willing to spend, the more people will see your ads. If you want successful Facebook ads, you have to put a healthy budget behind them.
It’s impossible to say what an average budget is. Your budget will depend on a lot of variables including how big your company is, how expensive your products are, how big your target audience is, and what your ROI goals are. Small businesses usually have smaller budgets than large corporations and a furniture company cannot expect the same cost per click as a candy store. Likewise, when it comes to page like ads, local campaigns will have a higher cost per like than national ones.
A good budget recommendation is at least $5 a day if you want successful Facebook ads. The more you spend, the more people will see your ads.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to running successful Facebook ads.