Facebook has over 1.55 billion monthly active users and offers advertisers some incredibly powerful tools for marketing.

Pretty much any information a user has ever entered into Facebook can be used to target ads to them. Because you can target your ads to your ideal customer, Facebook advertising can have a huge return on investment.

If you run an ad in a newspaper or magazine you’ll spend a ton of money up front. You’ll also have no idea whether or not it worked. You have no idea who saw your ad or if they were even interested in what you have to sell.

With Facebook on the other hand you can only show your ads to exactly the kind of people you want and everything is trackable.


The Facebook ad manager

Lets take a look at the Facebook Ad Manager and what kind of options are available. The first thing you’ll see is this screen asking what kind of campaign you want to run.


facebook ad manager


It helps to have a Facebook page here but I wouldn’t bother with the “Boost your posts” or “Promote your Page” options.

I’m not a huge fan of social media in general. I don’t think companies should waste their time and resources trying to get Facebook likes or “engagement”.

Some companies might be able to get something out of social media but for most, it’s a waste of time. Facebook keeps making social media marketing more and more difficult by showing your posts to less and less people. They want you to buy ads.

The other options are much better and for this post we’re going to be looking at getting clicks through to your website.


Audience Settings

After you enter your website you’ll be taken to the audience section of the ad manager. You can also create a “tracking pixel” which will add a little bit of code to a specific page of your website. This is usually something like a thank you page, so you can track conversions on your website.


facebook audience settings


Your first option here is location. Here you can make sure your ads are only shown to people who live in a certain country or city. There’s no sense showing your ads to anyone outside of your market.

This is followed by an age setting where you can only show your ads to people of a certain age range. You can then select a gender which will only show your ads to that specific gender.

Languages is also an option. If you have services available in a certain language you can show your ads only to people who speak that language. I’ve you’re a Chinese company for example targeting Chinese people you can have your ads only show to people who speak Mandarin.

As you enter more audience details the sidebar on the right will show you how many people are in the audience and how many people could potentially see your ad.

If you click on the more demographics drop-down menu you’ll see tons other options you can use to target ads to your ideal audience.

For example:

  • If you want to target ads to people who are divorced you can.
  • If you want to target ads to people who work in a specific industry you can.
  • You can target ads to parents with preschoolers.
  • Or you can target ads to people who have a Master’s Degree.

Pretty much any information someone has entered into Facebook can be used to target ads to them. This gives you some incredibly powerful targeting tools.

The Interests section gives you the option to target people based on their interests and the behaviours section gives you the option to target people based on behaviours and activities they’re engaged in.

When you go through these options you’ll either be really impressed by how you can target ads or really disturbed at how Facebook uses your personal information. Either way you can run some incredibly powerful advertising campaigns.

Finally the connections section gives you options to show ads to people who for example attended an event you ran or liked your page. You can even show your ads to people who liked a specific page or attended someone else’s event.

facebook open on a smartphone next to laptop

The Campaign Budget

The next section is where you control how much money you want to spend on advertising. You can leave things very simple here and let Facebook optimize everything for you or you can go more in depth and edit everything yourself.


facebook spend


The first thing you set is your budget. You can set either a daily budget or a budget for the lifetime of your campaign. You will never be charged more than what you set for your budget. If you reach your lifetime budget the campaign will stop running. If you reach your daily budget your ads will stop showing for the day and start again tomorrow.

You can also set a start and end date for your campaign here as well. Facebook has made it very easy here so you never have to worry about waking up and finding out you’ve spent thousands of dollars on ads by mistake.

The optimization for ad delivery is a new feature where Facebook will optimize your ads based on either:

Link clicks to your website: Facebook will show your ads to the people who are most likely to click through to your website.

Impressions: Facebook will show your ads to people as many times as possible. This is a perfect option for branding campaigns where you’re trying to get your brand out in people’s heads.

Daily Unique Reach: Facebook will show your ads to each person once a day so you reach as many people as possible.

Your bid amount is how much you’re willing to pay per, in this example, click through to your website. This would be how much you’re willing to pay per like, per app install, etc. based on the options in the first screenshot.

You can leave this at automatic and Facebook will adjust your bids for you to try to get you the most clicks for your budget or you can enter your own manual bid.

Your ads are in direct competition with other people’s ads for views so if you enter a higher bid your ad will be shown more and in a better position.

This is where you can start making things more complicated. If you have a budget you’re not necessarily interested in showing your ad first all the time, you’re interested in getting as many clicks to your website as possible for your budget. Often times a bid in the middle of what they suggest works the best.

The beautiful thing about online advertising is that you can test everything and figure out the exact best amount to bid. Or in this case, you can leave it on automatic and Facebook will do it’s best to optimize your bids for you.

With Facebook advertising you only get charged when someone clicks your link. You can also change this to charge you based on the number of views of your ad that you get (impressions).

Next you can schedule when you want your ads to appear. You can show your ads at specific times.

This probably isn’t useful for you now but once you’ve been running ads for a while and you discover that people who see your ad at a specific time are more likely to convert then you’ll want to run more ads during this time and less ads when people are less likely to convert.

Finally you can choose to have your ads spread throughout the day or shown as quickly as possible each day to use up your budget as fast as possible.


Creative Settings

The last section of the Facebook ad manager is the ad creative settings. This section might look pretty complicated but it’s not too bad.


facebook creative settings


Firstly you can choose if you want a single image or video or multiple images in your ad.

Below that you can connect your Facebook page to your ad which gives you a little bit more functionality and looks a bit better.

The ad preview section on the right will show how your ad will look in the different places it can appear. It can appear in the news feed on a desktop, the news feed on a mobile device, the right sidebar on a desktop or in third party apps.

The text section lets you write the text for your ad. This text will be shown with your image or video and should encourage people to click your ad and visit your website.

You can make one ad with one image or multiple ads with multiple images. The beautiful thing here is you can run multiple ads for a while and figure out which one gets the most clicks, then show this one more.

You can control all this yourself or you can let Facebook optimize everything for you itself.

Near the bottom of this section you’ll see the headline, description and destination URL. This works pretty much exactly the same as it does with Search Engine Advertising such as Google Adwords.

The headline, description and destination URL will be shown with your ads. Be sure to enter an attention grabbing headline and a description that convinces people to visit your site.

Below this Facebook also lets you add a call-to-action button that will say something like “learn more” or “shop now”. You can choose to add this button or choose to have no button.

Once you have all your ads set up how you like them hit place order and they’ll go into an approval queue. Once they’re approved, usually after a couple of hours they’ll start running.

After your ads have been running for a while you’ll be able to pull all kinds of detailed reports to see how well they’re performing or to help you make improvements to your campaigns.


In Conclusion

Hopefully this post has given you an idea of the kinds of powerful advertising campaigns you can run on their network.

If you’re freaked out by how much of your personal information they use then that’s ok too. Feel free to edit your own personal Facebook page to remove as much personal information as you can.

Another fun thing you can do is change your personal information, change things like your relationship status, job, location, etc. and observe how the ads you see change based on what information you enter.

I think you’ll agree though that running a super targeted advertising campaign on Facebook, where you can track every little detail to determine the ROI, is a better investment than dropping a few thousand dollars on a newspaper or magazine ad.