Get a quick quote

A small business guide to Facebook advertising

23 January 2018 Small Business Advice

Statistics don’t lie. As of September 2017, Facebook reported it had 2.07 billion logging into the popular social media site each month. That’s over a quarter of the world’s population. As well as being amazing it makes Facebook one of the most potentially powerful marketing tools on the planet. Interested?

Whether you love it or loathe it, advertising on Facebook is a no-brainer for the discerning modern brand and something you should avoid putting off. As of 2012, promoting your business on the site is no longer free, and getting it right requires a little patience and at times, some trial and error.

Facebook will provide you with useful information such as sex, age and interests of users that have interacted with your page, enabling you to tap into your audience demographics by creating targeted campaigns more likely to pique their interest.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Set up an Ads Manager account

To advertise on Facebook, you’ll need to set up an Ads Manager Account. To begin, click the triangle on the top right of your page and click on Create Ads from the drop-down menu.

2. Choose your objective

Now, it’s time to decide what you want to achieve from your advert. Facebook presents you with 11 objectives, which come under three categories. Which of the 11 you choose defines what your ad will look like (e.g. what type of call to action button will be shown) and how it will be shown to people.

  • Awareness – These are designed to generate interest in your product, brand or service, and allows you to reach out to users most likely to respond.
  • Consideration – These six objectives can help to get your target audience thinking about your brand and drive them to seek out more information. This could encourage them to install an app or view a video.
  • Conversions – If you are looking to drive conversion via store visits or through showcasing specific items from your catalogue.

For this exercise, we’ve selected Brand Awareness. Click Continue to go through to Ad Set where you can choose who should see your advert.

3. Setting your audience

The Ad Set page allows you to target your audience, choose where the advert will be placed, and set your budget and schedule. Let’s run through the three main steps.

a. Ad Set: Audience

Custom Audiences allows you to target people who already know your business, and you can customise who you choose to target based upon Customer file, Website traffic, App activity, Offline activity or Engagement:

When you’ve selected, you can target your audience demographic more closely using location, age, gender, and language.

Next, use Detailed targeting to break your audience down based upon interests, e.g. food and drink, health and beauty, and so on. Connections allows you to target users who have interacted with your Facebook pages, your app, or event. You can also choose to Exclude people who have already engaged with your pages, app, or event, which is useful if you want to grow by reaching out to a brand-new audience.

Once you’ve completed your audience profile, click on Save this Audience. This means you can easily target the same demographic later if necessary.

If you want to go a bit more advanced, there’s also Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences. Basically Facebook finds people who have similar traits to an audience that already has an interest in you (whether that comes from something like app data, or you tell Facebook to look at the fans of your Page). It’s more involved because have to set them up in the Audience Asset Library, but it’s a popular feature for Facebook Ads and Google is now doing a similar thing for paid search.

b. Ad Set: Placements

Placements allows you select where you want your ad displayed to get maximum exposure to the right audience. Automatic placements are pre-set to display your ad across Facebook feeds, via instant articles and in-stream.

If you want your ad placement to be more specific, then opt for Edit placements. Here, you can choose device type (mobile or desktop only), as well as whereabouts you’d like your ad displayed. You can just have it on Facebook or choose from any combination of Instagram, Audience Network (Facebook’s ad network for external sites), and Messenger.

You also have the option to choose between Android or iOS devices, which is useful if, for example, you are promoting a device-specific app.

Budget & Schedule allows you to choose how much you’d like to spend on your campaign, as well as determine the dates you’d like your ad to run to and from. If you play around with your budget amount, you’ll notice the Estimated daily results section on the right changes.

The general rule is that the more you spend, the more users you’ll reach, however; if you happen to be targeting a very specific, niche market, you could be wasting money by increasing your budget. Facebook will likely show the ad to the same people to spend the budget you’ve allocated. That may or may not be what you’re going for.

Try sticking within your budget, especially as a newcomer; once you’ve run a few campaigns and know what works and what doesn’t, you could consider increasing your spend.

c. Ad Set: Optimisation and delivery

Here’s where you can make some fine adjustments that affect how your ad gets served.

Based on the objective in Optimisation for ad delivery Facebook will try to ensure your ad gets put in front of people who it thinks will do what you’re after. Two users might have the interest you’re targeting but maybe only one tends to click on ads or watch videos.

For Bid amount you’ll probably want to choose Automatic. The concept can be a little confusing for first-timers: you say how much you’re willing to pay for someone completing the objective or action your ad is trying to achieve, and Facebook uses that amount to decide whether you or rival advertisers get served to certain users.

You can also choose When you are charged, like only if someone clicks a link or watches a video for at least 10 seconds, and Delivery type, which means you can either have your ad shown steadily to people over time, or for Facebook to try and hit as many people as possible as fast as possible.

Done? Click Continue to move onto creating the ad. This is the last bit.

4. Decide what your ad will look like

This is the final stage of creating your campaign, and it’s where you need to get your creative thinking cap on. Firstly, change the ad name to something befitting of your campaign. You don’t need to worry too much about this, as it will only be visible to you when viewing notifications, insights and reporting. Something specific will be more recognisable among other campaigns further down the line.

When creating your ad identity, Use existing post allows you to scroll through a list of your recent posts, which can then be optimised and sponsored for wider exposure. To do this, simply select the post you wish to use and click the green Confirm button on the bottom right of the screen.

Create a new ad lets you design a new post from scratch. If you have a linked Instagram account, this will automatically be added to the campaign too. Choose a suitable Format for your ad from the four options available; Carousel, Single image, Single video or Slideshow.

You also have the option to Add a full-screen experience using Facebook Canvas. This means anyone interacting with your ad will see a full-screen landing page, which provides a more immersive way for users to interact with your brand using videos, detailed product information and call-to-action buttons. The templates offered make Canvas easy-to-use, but you can customise it if you prefer.

If you would prefer to create a more traditional ad from scratch, this can easily be done. Starting with Images: you can choose something already on your Facebook account, go for a stock image, or upload something new.

Just know that Facebook won’t let you use an image where more than 20% of it is text. Which could be a problem if you wanted to use it to talk all about your special offer, for example.

If you upload something with more than 20% copy Facebook won’t let the ad run. To check ahead of time, Facebook provides a tool where you can upload the image you’re thinking of using.

Now input the ad body copy in the Text section as well as a Headline, which we recommend editing in Word first so you have some help with spelling and grammar.

The trick here is to keep the copy as short and snappy as possible, while also offering the reader some value – how can they benefit from clicking on your link?

The last step allows you to see an Ad preview, before clicking on Confirm for the ad. Once this is done, Facebook will review the ad before setting it live. Timescales here vary, but this can often be done within 10-20 minutes. Your ad will then automatically be scheduled to go live at the desired time.

5. Monitor performance. Tweak campaign

As well as being able to monitor your ads performance on Facebook, you can also select Ads Manager from the drop-down menu at the top left of the page to learn more.

This will tell you a wealth of useful information, such as how many users saw the ad and how many clicks your link received. For in-depth analysis, explore the Measure & report dropdown where you can access detailed reports on who has engaged with your brand.

This knowledge allows you to figure out what works and helps you shape future campaigns and make tweaks to the one you’re running. Think you have the audience wrong? You’re free to change it.

Like anything new, getting advertising right on Facebook often requires a bit of trial and error, but can provide amazing results when you get the formula just right. Keep an eye on your results and you can quickly figure out what works best for you, your brand, and your target audience. And remember: the majority of consumers prefer to pay by card and all our small business card machines come with contactless, Apple Pay & Android Pay as standard.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.