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Facebook ads 101: The ultimate Facebook ads guide

The ultimate Facebook ads guide

In the face of intense market competition, businesses increasingly rely on online social platforms to boost their brand visibility and sales. As of the third quarter of 2023, Facebook boasts a staggering 3.049 billion monthly active users, solidifying its status as the largest social network globally.  The substantial user base on Facebook indisputably highlights the platform's significant, yet untapped, business potential. 

In this article, we’ll uncover a comprehensive guide on Facebook ads to achieve higher market penetration and improved ROI through effective advertising strategies on Facebook.

What are Facebook ads?

Facebook ads are a form of paid online advertising for businesses to showcase their products, services, or brands to a targeted audience on Facebook. Thanks to Facebook's extensive user base and detailed options for targeting based on several factors, such as demographics, interests, and behaviors, Facebook ads are a highly effective and precise marketing tool. 

How much do Facebook ads cost? 

The cost of Facebook ads can vary widely, and the average cost you'll encounter depends on several factors, such as target audience, ad placement, performance, and competitiveness of your industry.

However, a key metric to consider is the Cost Per Click (CPC): The median CPC across all industries in March 2023 was $0.40. This figure, while insightful, can fluctuate based on the factors mentioned.

CPC of Facebook Ads across industries

Image source: databox

Meanwhile, Facebook's advertising system is designed with budget flexibility, where you can set a maximum spending limit, either daily or for the total campaign duration. While setting a budget limit, it's worth noting that you may not always spend the entire amount. Facebook aims to distribute your spending evenly throughout the ad campaign. 

Why choose Facebook to advertise?

Facebook ads offer several compelling benefits, making it an ideal platform for diverse marketing strategies. Let’s take a closer look at these advantages:

  1. Flexibility to try and test various ad elements. For instance, you can experiment with different Call to Action (CTA) formats, like 'Subscribe,' 'Register,' 'Learn More,' 'Get a Quote,' 'Download,' or 'Apply Now,' to find out what resonates best with your audience.

  2. Spend your budget more effectively by accurately showing content to your desired targets based on the interests, demographics, and behaviors of your target customers, etc. Additionally, you can set specific ad objectives, such as increasing brand awareness or driving website traffic, to optimize your ad performance.

  3. Embrace the 'give and take' approach to foster relationships with your targets. Attract customers through events such as discount codes, giveaways, contests, product samples, events, or pre-order opportunities.

  4. You can track leads that click through your Facebook ads in real time by integrating Facebook with various CRM tools like Salesforce and HubSpot for a comprehensive view of your campaign's performance.

  5. Facebook tailors its ad functionalities to meet the unique needs of different industries. For examples:

  • Education sectors can create custom surveys for different courses and programs.

  • B2B (Business-to-Business) can use click-to-Messenger or click-to-WhatsApp ads to connect with potential clients through their preferred platforms.

  • Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) can use ads for newsletters and samples to showcase products.

  • The automotive industry can benefit from appointment scheduling features for test drive services with specific dates and times.

Examples of Facebook ads formats

Facebook offers various ad types to cater to different marketing objectives. 

Ads Format image

1. Image ads: The most basic type of Facebook ads. It’s simple to create as it’s only required a single image. However, this may not be the best choice as you have to ensure your image is attractive and informative enough to capture attention in just a single image.

2. Video ads: Normally, video ads have more immersive content, and it’s ideal for storytelling. Video ads can range from short clips to the longest 240 seconds, but this doesn’t mean you have to. Facebook suggests keeping your videos short to 15 seconds and putting the most compelling part of your video within the first 3 seconds.

3. Carousel ads: Carousel ads are suitable for showcasing a series of products or services through various visuals. You can show up to 10 images and/or videos in a single ad, each with its own headline, description, link, and call to action. 

4. Instant Experience ads: This is a fullscreen native ad that opens when someone clicks a Facebook ad from a mobile device. You can add any of the formats mentioned previously to this ad type, or other custom options are available.

5. Collection ads: These are mobile-only ads, allowing the showcasing of multiple products directly from the ad. The difference between Collection ads and Carousel ads is: Collection Ad has a cover image or video with numerous products underneath. When someone taps on the ad, a fullscreen Instant Experience will open.

Integrate Facebook Lead Ads for free

6. Lead ads: These ads include a built-in form for users to submit their information, request newsletter subscriptions, sign up for product trials, etc. As the ads are suitable for lead generation, consider integrating Facebook Lead ads with a social CRM system to update prospect data automatically for future marketing strategy planning.

7. Event ads: You can create an Event Ad after creating an event on Facebook to promote physical or virtual events to boost ticket sales and attendance.

8. Website Visitors ads: Website visitors ad allows you to promote a specific URL from your Facebook Page to increase website traffic. The ad will reach users who may click on the link and increase awareness of a specific webpage.

9. Click to Messenger ads: These ads are used to encourage users to communicate with the business through Facebook Messenger. They are effective for providing instant customer support and engaging with the audience in a more conversational manner.

Click to WhatsApp ads

10. Click to WhatsApp ads: These ads are best for businesses that prefer WhatsApp as a primary communication tool for customer support, marketing, and sales. Click to WhatsApp ads can seamlessly drive Facebook users to initiate conversations on WhatsApp.

While delving into the intricacies of Facebook Ads, a crucial aspect that can substantially augment your ad's appeal and effectiveness is personalized voice ads. Utilizing a voice AI generator, businesses can create hyper-realistic voiceovers for their ads, bringing a personal touch that resonates profoundly with the audience. This innovative approach not only captures attention more effectively but also enhances user engagement by offering a unique and interactive advertisement experience. Consider incorporating AI-generated voiceovers into your Facebook Ad campaigns to stand out in the crowded online advertising space.

Every WABA account can enjoy 1,000 free entry-point conversations per month. Implement click to WhatsApp ads to encourage user initiate conversations with your business on WhatsApp.

Differences between Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads Manager

Ads shown on Instagram and Facebook’s feed

It's common for advertisers to encounter confusion between Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads Manager. While both are advertising tools, they serve different purposes and offer varying levels of complexity and control. 

Boosted Posts are a simpler form of Facebook advertising where you can pay to amplify the reach of a standard post from your page. This method is straightforward and focuses primarily on increasing engagement like likes, shares, and overall brand visibility. It's ideal for those new to Facebook advertising or looking to boost the visibility of specific content quickly. 

On the other hand, Facebook Ads, created on Facebook Ads Manager, provides a more advanced advertising solution. They offer a comprehensive range of options for targeting, budgeting, scheduling, and optimizing based on specific goals. This makes Facebook Ads a more suitable choice for businesses with specific marketing objectives and a need for detailed control over their advertising campaigns.

FeatureFacebook Ads ManagerBoosted Posts
PlatformAccessible via Meta Business SuiteAvailable on Facebook Page; click 'Boost Post' next to the post to boost a specific post
Ad objectivesMultiple objectives available: Awareness, Traffic, Engagement, Leads, App Promotion, SalesMainly to increase post visibility for more messages, video views, potential customer attraction, and incoming calls
FormatMore choices: Short videos composed of multiple images, collections, carousels, allowing both video and image in one post, etc.Limited to the original format of the post
Audience targetingMore detailed: Gender, Age, Location, Demographics, Interests, Behaviors, Language, Custom Audiences.Basic targeting: Gender, Age, Location, Demographics, Interests, Behaviors.
Ad schedulingAbility to set both start and end dates.Only can set the end date.
*PlacementsPlace ads on 4 platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger. 8 placement choices available. Place ads on 3 platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger. Without placement choices.
A/B testingAvailableX

*Placements are the places where you can run your ads, such as Feeds, Stories, Reels, etc.

How to create a Facebook ad in Facebook Ads Manager?

1. Create a new Facebook campaign

1. Create ads

Login to your Facebook Ads Manager account, select the Campaigns tab, and click “+ Create” to get started with a new Facebook ad campaign. 

2. Choose your buying type

1. Facebook campaign

There are 2 options for you: Auction and Reservation. What are the differences? 

According to Meta, Auction offers more choice, efficiency, and flexibility, with less predictable results. Ads can be placed across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Meta Audience Network. You can set an amount limit that you are willing to spend by choosing the manual bidding option though.

On the other hand, Reservation (formerly reach and frequency) is where you can plan and buy your campaigns in advance, with predictable performance goals and more control over your frequency controls. Ads can be placed on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll be able to know exactly how much you will have to pay which is estimated by Facebook.

Which is better? None of the two is better than the other. You have to find out what’s best for the two of you by considering your budget and your goals for the ad campaign. 

If the goal of the Facebook ad campaign is to make sales or generate leads, the Auction might just be the thing for you. Reservation will be the way to go if your goal is to advertise to a larger, wider audience, and to make more people aware of your brand.

3. Choose your campaign’s objective 

To choose the right ad objective, answer the question, "What’s the most important outcome I want from this ad?"  There are six you can choose from:

Ad objectiveBusiness marketing goal
AwarenessIncrease recognition and familiarity with your business. Ideal for new or rebranded businesses to help potential customers learn about your brand.
TrafficDrive more people to your chosen online destination, like your Facebook Page, Instagram shop, website, or app. Useful for promoting events like flash sales or showcasing your services.
EngagementTarget those most likely to interact with your business online, send messages, or take action on your ads or Page. Best for encouraging conversations through Messenger/ WhatsApp or interactions with your products/services.
LeadsGather leads through messages, phone calls, or signups. Aimed at businesses wanting to collect information from people interested in newsletters or more details about their offerings.
App PromotionEncourage mobile users to install your app or engage with specific features within it. Ideal for businesses looking to boost app purchases or feature usage.
SalesReach individuals who are more likely to purchase your products or services. Best for businesses aiming to drive ecommerce sales or optimize for actions like adding items to a cart.

4. Name your campaign

After selecting your campaign objective, you'll be asked to name your campaign. Enter a descriptive name in the campaign name text box.

Should I use preset recommended settings?

Use it if you’re a beginner. Meta applies its best practices to streamline your campaign. Everything is always modifiable as you move along the process. If you wish to have more control over the campaign settings, choose manual setup.

5. Special ad categories declaration

2. Facebook campaign

Declare if your ads are related to credit, employment, or housing, or about social issues, elections, or politics. Requirements differ by country. If your ad aligns with any of these categories, it's important to declare this to ensure it’s in compliance with Facebook's advertising policies and the specific regulations of various nations.

6. A/B test 

3. Facebook campaign

At this point, you have the option to create an A/B test to try your ads with different elements to maximize your ad's performance.

7. Advantage campaign budget

This feature is only available for the Auction buying option, it is best suited for campaigns with at least two ad sets. 

When you choose to turn it on, Facebook will automatically find the best available opportunities for results across your ad sets and distribute your campaign budget in real time to get those results. You can control spending on each ad set by daily budget or lifetime budget. The currency is based on your region.

2. Create a new ad set

1.​​ Narrow down your performance goal

4. Facebook campaign

Depending on your campaign’s objective, you may need to select a conversion location.

Each ad objective mentioned in the table above has a different set of specific goals which you'll likely need to determine on your own.

Nevertheless, if you're a newcomer to Facebook Ads, it's advisable to experiment with the more general options initially, then gradually focus on particular targets that align with your objectives and the content you're promoting.

2. Budget and schedule your ads

5. Facebook campaign

Skip this step if you've already activated the Advantage campaign budget at the campaign level.

Choose either a daily or overall lifetime budget and enter the desired amount that you want to spend. This figure represents the maximum amount you want to spend.

Next, pick your campaign's start and end dates. To schedule your ads for specific times of the day, click on “Show more options.” Do take note that schedules are only available for lifetime budgets.

3. Customize your target audiences

6. Facebook campaign

Set criteria for where ads for this campaign can be delivered based on locations, age, gender, detailed targeting, and languages. Click 'Edit' to form a new audience and select 'Save this audience' for future use.

Alternatively, use the new Advantage+ audience feature to get more specific than that. Meta will target those audiences that you suggested first before expanding the search to generate the best results for your ad. 

4. Choose ad placement

Select Advantage+ placements or manual placements, to choose the places to show your ad. The more placements you select, the more opportunities you'll have to reach your target audience and achieve your business goals.

3. Create ad

7. Facebook Campaign
  1. Choose the social account where you want to publish your ad.

  2. Select an ad format. Choose from a single image or video, carousel, or collection.

  3. Choose your media and add your ad copy with the various text options. Remember to include a CTA.

  4. Choose your ad destination — where Facebook sends people when they click on your ad. 

  5. Preview your ad and publish.

Challenges faced when running Facebook ads

1. Insufficient time to manage FB ads

In the fast-paced world of digital advertising, finding the time to focus on creating eye-catching Facebook ads poses a significant challenge for marketers. It’s a delicate process that involves configuring settings, defining your target audience, refining creative for maximum engagement, and constantly analyzing metrics to improve. Achieving desired results requires a careful balance, which makes time management a critical hurdle in the world of Facebook advertising.

2. Misunderstanding FB Ad guidelines leads to Facebook rejecting the ads

Navigating Facebook's advertising landscape can be challenging due to its stringent content policies and guidelines. Additionally, Facebook has strict policies on Terms of Service, Data and Community Standards. Marketers might unintentionally craft ads that breach these guidelines, resulting in rejections or your account could be suspended. 

3. Difficulty analyzing metrics and optimizing ads

Facebook provides a treasure trove of data on ad performance. However, deciphering this information and turning it into actionable insights can be a daunting task. For those who lack the time or expertise to thoroughly analyze data, valuable opportunities to improve ad performance can slip away. It's akin to having a lot of information, but having difficulty finding the right keys to unlock its full potential.

4. Targeting broad audiences

Precisely targeting the ideal customer demographics and behaviors on Facebook's platform takes testing and learning. It's easy to waste a budget targeting broad or untargeted audiences.

How to contact Facebook ads support?

Facebook Business Support official page

1. Ads got rejected/suspension

Your ads might get disapproved by Facebook mainly because the ads are compliant with Facebook Community Standards such as promoting drugs, gambling, etc. When an ad is rejected, you'll receive an email notification and a link to Meta Business Support Home where you can find the reason for the rejection. After you review the reason, you can decide whether to Edit or create a new ad or Request another review of your ad in Business Support Home. If your ad has been suspended, you can submit an appeal.

If you found that there is a violation or infringement of Your Rights, where someone used your copyrighted work without your permission, you can fill out this form.

3. Other ad relevant issues

For other ad issues such as:

  • Ad account-level issues (disabled ad account, managing permissions)

  • Ad delivery ( no delivery, under-delivery, or over delivery)

  • Ad targeting

  • Billing or invoicing

  • Dynamic Ads

  • Technical Issue

  • Any other issue

You can visit the Facebook Ads Help Center at https://www.facebook.com/business/help . From there, you can browse through various topics or search for specific issues you need assistance with. You can also find options to contact Facebook Ads support directly, such as through live chat or submitting a support request.

Learn how to get your Facebook Business account verified with a blue tick by Meta here.

Looking for more information on Facebook Support, check out our comprehensive guide on Facebook Support.

Why and how should businesses optimize their Facebook ads?

1. To beat ad fatigue

Ad fatigue occurs when people see the same ad repeatedly, and it can lead to a decline in engagement. This can happen if you have a small target audience or if you run your ads for a long period without updating them. Facebook might severely limit your ad's deliverability if it identifies your ad as your audience is experiencing ad fatigue.  

To address this challenge, incorporate ad rotation into your strategy. For instance, Nike consistently employs ad rotation to showcase different product lines, ensuring their audience experiences a dynamic and captivating visual journey. This not only sustains audience interest but also aligns with the evolving nature of consumer preferences, ultimately improving the overall performance of your campaign.

2. To reach a more relevant audience

Take a cue from McDonald's – Have you ever noticed McDonald’s ads popping up just when you're hit with hunger pangs? McDonald’s adeptly tailors their ad timing to coincide with meal hours, precisely when individuals are more inclined to contemplate food choices. This increases the chances of catching the attention of their target audience at a time when they are more receptive to their messaging.

Indeed, understanding when your audience is most active and likely to engage with content is crucial for optimizing the impact of your advertising efforts. When your ads are precisely targeted, they become more impactful and meaningful to those who see them. This increased relevance boosts engagement and ultimately drives conversions.

3. To get a higher relevancy score

Facebook assigns a relevancy score to each ad, indicating how well it resonates with the target audience. A higher relevancy score leads to lower costs and better ad placement, as Facebook recognizes the value your ad provides to users. 

A/B testing is a potent approach to fine-tune ad performance. You should test various elements such as icons, images versus videos, headings, ad placements, CTA buttons, etc. to discern what resonates most with your audience, to ultimately achieve desired outcomes.

4. To keep ad costs low

Facebook ad optimization is key to cost efficiency. By optimizing both your ad content and bidding methods, you enhance campaign effectiveness, reaching a broader audience of genuinely interested leads. 

You should consider utilizing Facebook's "exclude audience" feature to refine ad targeting by excluding individuals who have already converted. This can help you deliver ads to more potential customers, for better budget management, and boost conversions, leading to an overall increase in campaigns’ ROI.

Limitations of Facebook ads

1. Potentially high cost

For small businesses or those with limited advertising budgets, the expenses can be substantial. Depending on the ad's targeting, format, and competition, Facebook ads might be expensive. For example, in highly competitive sectors like Technology, Consulting, and Professional Services, the cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression can escalate due to greater demand for ad space.

2. Intense competition

The competitive nature of the platform means that standing out in a crowded market requires more than just financial investment. It calls for creativity, strategic planning, and ongoing optimization of Facebook ad campaigns. Businesses have to consistently monitor and optimize ads to ensure their ads remain effective and cost-efficient.

Quick tip: you can target the audience of your competitors or a famous brand in your industry.

3. Complexity of the platform

Facebook's advertising system is quite complex. It might be overwhelming for newbie advertisers to understand all the tools and the algorithms. As a result, they might not use their advertising budget effectively or might not take full advantage of all the Facebook ad features. 

5 tips to save your Facebook marketing costs

1. Always check the Facebook ads dimensions

Always be mindful of your Facebook ads dimensions. For instance, Facebook feed ads for both image and video ads require at least 1080 x 1080 pixels, with a ratio of 1:1 (for desktop or mobile) or 4:5 (for mobile only). While Carousel ads and Collection ads are recommended to use visuals with a ratio of 1:1. Properly sized ads can perform more effectively, ensuring you get the most out of your advertising spend.

2. Test everything

Never shy away from experimenting. Test different aspects and elements of your ads, such as images, headlines, and CTA, to see what works best. This approach helps in refining your strategies and spending your budget more efficiently.

3. Get to know your audience

Faceook Audience

Knowing your audience is key to tailor your ads to match their preferences and behaviors. This targeted approach not only enhances engagement but also ensures that your budget is spent on reaching the most relevant users. Integrate Facebook Lead ads with your existing CRM system, to have a comprehensive view of your audiences across social media advertising channels.

4. Auto reply to posts’ comments to boost organic engagement

Comment auto reply on Instagram

5. Broadcast campaign messages on Facebook Messenger

How to use Facebook broadcast messages for your business in the UAE

Facebook Messenger broadcast is a feature that allows businesses to send targeted messages to their customers. This feature can be used to send updates, promotions, and other relevant information directly to the customer's Facebook Messenger inbox. Compared to traditional marketing methods, Facebook Broadcast message campaigns are a cost-effective way to reach a large audience. Businesses can send messages to thousands of customers at once via SleekFlow for free. 

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Unlock extended features with SleekFlow, a social CRM platform

SleekFlow offers a comprehensive suite of tools that go far beyond the capabilities of publishing a simple Facebook ad:

  • Segment and label your Facebook prospects based on specific criteria, streamlining your targeting and personalization efforts.

  • Facebook Messenger chatbots to automate reply inquires via inbox.

  • Automatically reply to user comments on Facebook posts for your giveaway campaigns or limited-time events

  • Auto-assign chat to specific agents for a seamless workflow. 

  • Integrate with Facebook Lead Ads to retrieve first-party customer dataand learn customer behavior with analytics to outline a strategy that fits the most.

  • In-chat payment links for customers to facilitate direct purchases in conversation from Facebook Shop

Other than these effective Facebook features for business, you can also strengthen your omnichannel strategy with other additional functions:

  • All-in-one inbox for all popular channels, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram DM, Telegram, Viber, and more

  • Qualify leads from Facebook ads in WhatsApp and use Flow Builder to customize your conversation flow.

  • Integrations with existing CRM or e-commerce platforms

  • Industry specific solutions, such as retail O2O, e-commerce, and more.

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