How to Advertise on Facebook – Updated

Okay, so you’ve developed a presence on Facebook for your business and want to start using Facebook Ads, but where do you start? How do you advertise on Facebook? When you start delving into Facebook’s advert guides, it can all feel a bit confusing, but don’t fret! We are here to help guide you through the process. Since our last post about how to advertise on Facebook, their Adverts are still a very strong tool, but now with more options. Follow these tips and you will be up and be advertising on Facebook in no time.

Facebook Reach / Audience

Before we begin, let’s take a look at Facebook’s stats, which are quite impressive. Back in April of 2012, Facebook bought Instagram and as a result, it has opened up your reach to a wider audience. This means you can link your business’ Instagram page to your Facebook Advert account and your ad will automatically show up on both platforms. Together Facebook and Instagram have almost 2 billion users visiting their sites each month. Even with competitors like Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat, Facebook is still number one when it comes to the number of users and potential consumers.

Do You Have a Facebook Business Page?

Before you start, make sure you have a Facebook Business Page as you cannot create ads via your personal Facebook page. While there are a number of ways to access Facebook ads, we recommend signing up for “Business Manager” and creating an “Adverts Manager” account to design and manage your ads. One of the benefits of doing it this way is that it allows businesses to give access to multiple people working together on an advert campaign and to easily see who is working on what. You can even assign your employees specific role-based access to adverts in order to control what they can see on your account. Once you’ve signed up for an Adverts Manager account it will walk you through each step.

Determine Your Marketing Objective

Every campaign starts with an objective so determine what yours is. Not sure? Facebook helps you determine your marketing objective by defining each type of objective they offer to help guide you to the outcome you want for your campaign. When you are setting up your ad campaign, you will see a list of all the possible objectives (see image below). You can click on each objective for its definition to help you decide which one is best for you and your business goals.

For more detailed information, read Facebook’s “Advertising Objectives” article in their help section.

Some of these options offer what Facebook calls a “split test” which is also known as A/B Testing. It allows you to create two adverts to test and compare which one does better. Speaking of testing, it’s always a good idea to test two adverts at the same time. They should only have one to two different variables such as different images. Run them for 1-2 days and see which one does better.

Define Your Audience & Advert Placements

After you have identified your objective, the next step is to identify your target audience. Facebook makes it easy and steps you through the process. This is where you will spend most of your time defining whom it is you want to reach with your ads.

Facebook Audiences

You choose your audience based on demographics, their behaviours, interests, and/or their contact information. There is a handy-dandy Audience definition (graph) to the right-hand side of the audience page (see the image below for an example). Use it to gauge how well you’ve defined your target audience. It will tell you the difference between how many people you are actually reaching versus how many people you could be reaching. To reach more of your targeted audience, increase your bids and budget.

Facebook Audience SelectionYou can also choose where your adverts will be placed or you can let Facebook automatically select this for you. We recommend that you select “Automatic Placements” when you first start out. The available placements are:

  • Facebook feeds (mobile and desktop)
  • Facebook right-hand column
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network

Know Your Ad Budget

It’s important to know your budget before you start creating your advert campaign. Facebook has an ad for every budget making it affordable for everyone. It’s also important to know that there are two different types of budgets: Daily Budgets and Lifetime Budgets.

A Daily Budget is what you’re willing to pay for an ad per day. What you spend on the first and last days are prorated depending on the run time for those days. Meaning what time did the ad start on day one and what time did it end on the last day. Those two times may be different which is why the cost is prorated. The default minimum cost per day is still $1.00 for Daily Budgets. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll be charged $1.00 every day your campaign runs. For example, one day it might be $1.50 and another day $0.50 to maintain an average daily budget of $1.00. You can increase your daily budget to improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Remember, Facebook will always let you know the maximum amount you’ll spend during your campaign, so you don’t have to worry about going over budget.

A Lifetime Budget is what you’re willing to pay over the duration (lifetime) of an ad. Facebook tries to apply your budget evenly over the length of time the ad runs. The default minimum cost for Lifetime Budgets is $30.00, and like the Daily Budget, you can increase it to any amount you want which will improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Whether your ad runs for a week or a month, the cost will be at what you set it.

If you are just starting out, using the default Daily Budget option of $1.00 or even increasing it to $5.00 is more than enough to test the waters and see what works and what doesn’t. You can always change your budget once you’ve figured out which ad campaigns have worked the best for you.

Schedule Your Ad

Don’t forget to choose a schedule. There are two options:

  1. Run my advert set continuously starting today.
  2. Set a start and end date.

It’s up to you which option you choose, but if you’re someone who is a tad forgetful, then choose a specific time range. You can always stop the ad whenever you want. Remember the length of time your ad runs, also affects your budget. The longer it runs, the higher the cost. We recommend that you run an ad for no more than 3 weeks as Facebook ads tend to get stale by that point. You can always replace it with a new ad campaign with fresh images and text.

If you’re wondering how Facebook determines the cost of their ads, well it’s a bit complex and it doesn’t help that Facebook is constantly adjusting their formula. The exact cost associated with your advert being shown to someone is determined in Facebook’s Advert Auction. To learn more about it, read “Understanding how bidding and our ads auction work.”

Choose a Facebook Advert Format

Facebook adverts offer more format options than ever before. There are five to choose from: Carousel, single image, single video, slideshow, or Canvas. While most of these formats are self-explanatory, Carousel and Canvas are not.

Carousel lets you show up to 10 images and/or videos in a single ad. When people view your ad, they can scroll through the carousel cards. One of the benefits of Carousel is that it lets businesses tell a story through carousel cards or to showcase one long image that is divided between the carousel cards.

Canvas is Facebook’s newest format and it allows you to combine both images and video. You can tell a more in-depth story about your products and/or services. It is customizable and there is no one way to create a Canvas ad. If you choose to design a Canvas ad, it’s best to plan in advance what type of experience you want to create for the viewer and to have all your media materials ready in advance.

Facebook Advert Formats

Your ad will appear on desktop, mobile news feed, feature phone, and Instagram, so it’s important to follow Facebook’s guidelines when designing your ad. You want to ensure it looks good everywhere it appears whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or your mobile phone. Listed below are the recommended design guidelines to ensure your ad displays the way you want it to:

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Your images should have minimal amounts of text. Facebook adverts that contain images with little to no text tend to cost less and have better delivery than adverts with image text. So, what count’s as text in your advert image? Logos, watermarks, and numbers.

For a comprehensive list of design guidelines for each marketing objective, read Facebook’s “Adverts Guide.”

It’s easy to use your own images. Just remember to size them properly beforehand otherwise, they won’t upload or they will be cropped. Don’t have any of your own photos? You can use the free stock images provided by Shutterstock via Facebook.

There are three areas on your advert to add text: Text, Headline, and Link Description. You don’t have to use all of them. What text you include is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to have a call to action. You can even use Facebook’s “Call to Action” button which offers a number of options such as contact us, learn more, download, signup, and etc.

You now have the option to add a Facebook Pixel to your ad campaigns. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you install on your website. It allows you to more effectively measure the performance of your ad campaigns and it helps you determine exactly who sees your ads. Learn more about it in our blog post, “How do Facebook Pixels Work – Getting Set Up.”

While designing your ad, there is an advert preview pane to the right that updates every time you make a change. There is also a drop down menu that shows you what your ad looks like on other platforms or you can use the arrow buttons to scroll through. You can experiment with your ad’s format, images, videos and text until you are satisfied with the results. You can make your advert as fancy or simple as you like.

Tracking The Results of Your Facebook Ads

Okay, so you’ve created your ad, hit the “Place Your Order” button and it has been reviewed and accepted by Facebook. What’s next? Track and measure the performance of your advert campaign using Facebook’s adverts analytics tools. Information is presented in easy and simple visual reports. Your report includes topics such as reach, actions taken, details on the audience that you reached and more. Reports are also tailored based on which marketing objective you chose. Use these analytic tools to determine if your campaign was a success and met your objectives and goals. The data can also inform your future campaigns.

Are you ready to get started? Need help? Just let us know. Facebook ad creation and management is just one of the many services we provide.

About the writer: Gloria Botelho is a practicum student from the Digital & Mobile Marketing program at Simon Fraser University. Gloria lives in East Van and is obsessed with cats, flowers, street art and all things Portuguese. You can follow her on Twitter @glorbot and on Instagram @gloria_boria.

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Why You Need to Advertise Online

Here at Out-Smarts, we’re big fans of online advertising. We like the fact that it’s affordable, traceable and tailored to your target audience – meaning you’re not spending important advertising dollars to get your ad in front of people who don’t have a need or want for your product.

Advertising online is highly targeted and beneficial because it relies on keywords that people use to search for content online with Google Adwords, and topics people have indicated an interest in on their Facebook profiles with Facebook Ads.

When you advertise offline, such as putting up a billboard downtown, it’s hard to know how effective that billboard was at driving traffic to your business. The nice thing about including online advertising in your overall marketing strategy is that it’s highly traceable. You know exactly who visited your website or interacted with your Facebook page as a result of your advertising efforts  – and, as a bonus, online ads generally won’t break the bank.

The two biggest ways to advertise online are through Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. We discuss both in detail below.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a cost effective way to rank highly in Google search results for highly targeted keywords that describe your business. We recommend using Adwords to augment your SEO efforts such as targeted website copy, completed META titles, tags and descriptions, directory submissions, link building, etc. If you’ve completed all of the above, or you’re in a highly competitive industry, and you’re still not ranking at the top of first page search results, then Adwords is for you. Very few people go beyond first page search results, meaning if you don’t have some sort presence there, your website may never be found by potential clients.

Adwords is great because you can target by geographic area and language, and it’s tailored to your budget. You can spend as little or as much as your budget allows each day on advertising. There are also extensive built-in metrics that track how well your ads are doing including; clicks, impressions, click through rate (number of clicks on your ad compared to how often it appeared to your target audience), average cost per click, total cost, as well as your best and worst performing keywords and ad campaigns. The sheer amount of data and metrics available through Adwords can be overwhelming at first but, trust us, it can quickly become addicting to tweak your keywords and campaigns, and watch the effect it has on your ability to reach your target audience.

Adwords also gives you the option of your ads appearing in search results, on their content network, or both. Search results are pretty self-explanatory – your ads may appear when someone executes a Google search using keywords you’ve bid on. Advertising on the Google content network means your ads may appear on websites that Google has determined are related to the keywords that you have bid on.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are great because of how highly targeted you can make each ad. For example, if you’re a Vancouver based fitness centre, you can get as granular as targeting women, between 30-40 years old, that are married, living in Vancouver, with a university education, that have expressed an interest in fitness and healthy living. It’s easy to see how beneficial this can be for your business.

Another nice thing about Facebook Ads is that they are completely tailored to your budget. You can pay as little as $1 a day, or as much as your budget allows for advertising. As well, you can direct your ad to land on either your Facebook business page or your website, depending on whether your goal is to build your Facebook presence and engagement, or drive more traffic to your website.

Once you’ve run a Facebook Ad campaign, you can see how effective your ad was using built-in metrics such as campaign reach, frequency, social reach, actions (people that connected with your page after viewing your ad), clicks (people that clicked on your ad but didn’t connect with your page), as well as your click through rate and ad spend.

You do need to provide Facebook with your credit card information before you can set up Facebook Ads, but this is a simple process and allows for easy billing once you start generating clicks on your ads. Speaking of which, we always recommend choosing the ‘pay per click’ option – meaning you only pay if someone clicks on your ad versus the ‘impressions’ option – meaning you pay whenever someone sees your ad.

If we’ve convinced you about the important of online advertising, and we hope we have, contact us and we can help you get started.

Advertising online – Facebook versus LinkedIn

Linkedin versus Facebook ads

iS tock_000001256263XSmallAdvertising using social media channels is becoming more and more popular, not surprising really since you have the potential to reach millions of people in a very targeted way. In 2013 global online ad spending is projected to amount to more than $500 billion and more specifically social ads spending is expected to double by 2015 to $9.2 billion.

If you are considering which social channels to use to promote your product, business or service, this might help.

Here’s a comparison of Facebook versus LinkedIn ads.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is by far the larger of the 2 networks with over 1 billion users. You can use Facebook ads to a) promote your page and build your following b) to promote a specific post on your page’s timeline or c) to drive traffic to an external page such as your website.

Facebook allows you to be really specific when choosing who should see your ads. You can target by geography down to quite a granular level, for example you can have your ads appear only to people in North Vancouver but it doesn’t get as granular as Yaletown or Kerrisdale (yet). You can also target your ads by age, gender, education but the aspect that is most beneficial about Facebook advertising is that you can target the ads using target audience likes.

Profiling Your Customer

We often work with clients to build an ideal client persona identifying such aspects as which car they drive, which shoes they wear, which music, sports teams etc, etc (it varies by business obviously). The more you know the better and by profiling your customer or ideal client in this way then you can use Facebook ads to appeal to a very specific demographic.


You can also target the ads on Facebook to the friends of people who have already liked your pages. We’ve had a lot of success running Facebook ads for consumer related products or services but it can be more tricky for business to business or professional service type firms. Our favourite technique is to use Facebook to build your page followers: once people have connected with your business there you can use your timeline to build mindshare and community with them. Starting at as little as $1 per day. Facebook can be a strong tool to add to your promotional advertising arsenal.

LinkedIn Ads

linkedinLinkedIn has less than a quarter of the users that Facebook has but the advantage LinkedIn has over Facebook is that users are all professional, business type people so, if that is you audience, LinkedIn might be the better advertising tool for you to use but you have to be extra careful to get it right and it’s quite tricky.


LinkedIn ads like Facebook ones, can also be used to target a specific audience i.e. by geography, profession, company name, seniority or job function. However LinkedIn ads are not as granular as Facebook’s in terms of geography or personal likes and you are actually quite limited. With LinkedIn the best way to use the ads is to encourage people to click on a link to an external website -ie your website or squeeze page.

LinkedIn ads appear erratically, we had one campaign recently where the ads showed up thousands of times on the first day and hardly any the next. The only way to control this seems to be by increasing the ad budget (go figure), making sure your bids are high or through constantly tweaking your ad text. They’re also more expensive than Facebook ads – starting at $10 per day. One positive aspect of LinkedIn advertising is that you can get creative with larger images.


If you have decided ads are the way to go and your target audience is consumer oriented or they are younger then Facebook is a no brainer. If your audience is older, professional or business oriented LinkedIn might be the better alternative but take the time to consider whether you can get more bang from your buck by using your personal updates or updates on your company page on LinkedIn first. I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn ads and think your marketing dollars might be better spent elsewhere.