An 8-step marketer’s guide to nailing Facebook ads

End your frustrations with Facebook advertising and achieve the results you (and your boss) want with our essential steps to success.

advertising on facebook


Advertising on Facebook is a dark art. Many are aware of its existence. Some breeze their way through boosted posts and lookalike audiences. But few truly master the ever-evolving world of Ads Manager.

As news feeds become denser with information, users are overwhelmed by content shock (as Mark Schaefer dubs it), and the fight to get your voice heard on Facebook is a constant battle.

It’s common knowledge that in order to achieve your goals and enjoy success on Facebook, you must invest in the platform. But time and time again we hear frustrations as business owners fail to see the results they hoped for. It’s time to change that.

Follow these eight (often overlooked) steps to ensure your Facebook campaigns are in with a fighting chance.

Do your research

Before you even consider advertising on Facebook, ensure you have a clear campaign brief. Some of the questions you should be able to answer are:

  • What are the overall objectives of the campaign?
  • What’s the wider marketing plan and how does social support this?
  • Who are your target audiences?
  • Where are they online?

Facebook should be used as a channel to market the campaign only once you’ve identified that it’s the best platform to invest in, namely because your target audience hang out there already. If you haven’t done your background research, you aren’t quite ready to run your ad campaign.

Plan your customer journey

It takes 7-13 touches before a user is ready to take action, so think about how best to build relationships in your planning stage. Consider the customer’s journey from beginning (A.K.A a cold lead) to end (A.K.A a hot lead) and all the stages in between.

Your end goal for the campaign may be sign-ups or a basket checkout, but rarely do customers convert immediately. Would you buy something on Facebook from a brand you don’t know? Probably not.

Divide your campaign into stages; starting by raising awareness, offering high-value content, building trust and loyalty with a view to audiences getting to know you. Only once you’ve established this relationship over time do you approach the conversion phase.

READ MORE: 5 outstanding Facebook marketing case studies

Know your audience

Your target markets have been identified in your campaign brief but who are they really? Building a persona profile can help you visualise your ideal customer so they are top of mind at every stage of the campaign.

Think about their gender, age, likes, dislikes, profession, education, where they spend time online, at what times and on what device. What other Facebook pages do they like? What’s their primary problem and what solution can you provide?

This information should inform your campaign targeting and allow you to go into very granular detail when deciding who your ads should be served to. And be sure to split test different audiences too.

Set targets

By now you will have a comprehensive campaign plan and know what budget is available. Next up – KPIs! There’s little point in running a campaign if you don’t know what you hope to achieve. Setting targets at the start of your campaign can will help you measure success.

Set targets for each stage of the campaign funnel and be sure to review them regularly. The wider team may only wish to see top-level data once a month, but as campaign manager you’ll want to keep on top of that data and ensure targets will be met. It’s your baby after all.

Choose the correct objective

It sounds obvious, but for each stage of the campaign think about what you’re trying to achieve and be sure to have a good understanding of all the different ad types available on Ads Manager.

Some ad types share the same CTA (call-to-action). For example, an ‘Engagement’ advert will also feature a ‘Like Page’ button which will garner some new fans. However, this advert is set up with the objective of generating engagement as opposed to fan growth, and Facebook will serve it based on this. If you’re looking to run a fan acquisition campaign you’ll definitely want to opt for a ‘Page likes’ ad.

READ MORE: Four ways to boost your brand’s Facebook engagement

Deliver a strong message

You have a high-quality campaign plan, great targeting, a clear customer journey and measurable KPIs. Now you need high-performing copy and creatives to complete the package.

Optimise your ads for attention spans on Facebook – in other words, get straight to the point in a creative, snappy way that’s on-brand. Your imagery should complement your copy and your CTA should be clear. Remember to split test copy and images and beware of ad fatigue too.

Test and learn

The mistake many ad managers make is to set a campaign live and leave it to run without checking it until the end date. Yes, really.

You won’t get the campaign right first time, so testing different variables is integral to success. Once published live, don’t make any changes until at least three days post-launch to enable Facebook to start serving the ads and collecting data.

After this point, check in regularly (at least every other day) and review the data, making changes where necessary. If your audience is aged 25-45, but only 35-45-year-olds are engaging with the campaign, refine your age range.

Try to inhabit the rule: ‘Review, tweak, refine, repeat’.

Build a great product

If your ads are hitting the targets but users aren’t taking the next step in your funnel, then it may be time to question your product.

For example, your ads could be driving thousands of new visits to your landing page but you aren’t seeing conversions. The ad campaign is doing its job so your attention should turn to the user’s journey once they click on the advert.

There may be a disconnect between the advert offer and what they find on your site so begin testing – split test copy, images, your CTA, the position of the CTA and more.

As they say, you can lead a horse to water…

Now it’s your turn…

There is so much more to advertising on Facebook than simply setting a campaign up and hoping for the best. Give your ads the best possible chance of yielding a high ROI by allowing time to research, plan and optimise.

Good luck!

READ MORE: The most important Facebook statistics for 2017

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