5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Facebook Ads

Whisper it quietly, but there's a train of thought that suggests a Facebook advertising campaign has the potential to be way more cost effective than a Google AdWords campaign. Why? Well, it all comes down to targeting. Social networks have built up such a picture of us over the years thanks to followed accounts, liked pages and bio sections, meaning it can be a goldmine for marketers who want to target a very specific online audience. It's a level of targeting that Google simply can't match, but to get the most out of advertising on this social media behemoth here's 5 tips to bear in mind.

1. It pays to target correctly

As a social media freelancer, I'm often asked to optimise clients' Facebook ad campaigns to see where they might be going wrong, and one of the most common problems I come across is a lack of targeting. With Facebook ads you have so many different ways to target customers that it's almost suffocating, so make sure you use as many of them as you can! In order to do do this, before diving in you should note down the profile of your typical or ideal customer. How old are they? What gender are they? Where are they from? What interests do they have? Personally I take advantage of Facebook's excellent Audience Insights tool to get a clearer picture of the sort of people I need to be targeting, and as a result have achieved some excellent results over time.

Facebook Audience Insights allows you to build up a clearer picture of you and your competitors' customers, including information on their liked pages.

Facebook Audience Insights allows you to build up a clearer picture of you and your competitors' customers, including information on their liked pages.

2. Target Custom Audiences

If you don't know the exact demographics and interests of your target audience, or you just want to try a different approach, taking advantage of Facebook's Custom Audiences is a surefire way to get some success with Facebook advertising. This way you don't have to think long and hard about who to target, as Facebook does most of the work for you. You can firstly create a Custom Audience based on your email subscriber list, which is matched with Facebook users' email addresses to target those same people in their News Feed. Alternatively, you can install the Facebook Pixel and target users who have visited your website or even visited specific pages on your website. As targeting goes, it doesn't get much better than this.

3. Use the right image

Yep, it might seem obvious but an appropriate, relevant and eye-catching image is so important if you want a good return on your Facebook ads campaign. It should be sized 1200x628 for maximum effect and shouldn't feature more than 20% text - try using Facebook's Text Overlay Tool for help with that. If there's more than 20% text on there then your ad will be accepted, but won't be delivered to nearly as many people as you were hoping for. Having this limitation with text means you're gonna to be that little more thoughtful about the image that you use, as it's increasingly difficult to get your post to stand out in an ever-more crowded News Feed. So, if for example you're promoting a 20% off code for your customers, make sure the image you use communicates this offer clearly and concisely without users having to read all of your copy. Grab their attention with the image, then get them to click on your ad with some engaging copy!

4. Placement is key

When creating your ad you should also take note of where it is going to appear. You have five options:

  1. Desktop News Feed
  2. Desktop Right-Hand Column
  3. Mobile News Feed
  4. Audience Network on Third-party Mobile Apps*
  5. Instagram

Think carefully about where you want your ad to be shown before proceeding here. If you're linking people to a website that isn't mobile friendly, for example, then it's probably not the best idea to display it on the Mobile News Feed, Third-party apps or even Instagram. If you do, you'll be wasting money delivering your ad to people who will most likely close the page as soon as they land. Incidentally, displaying your ad on Instagram will mean you'll have to source another image, this time sized 640x640, to go with your ad, meaning you should consider the additional time and resources this will take up.

*Confused? This just means your ad will be shown on certain third-party mobile apps that have partnered with Facebook.

5. Optimise, optimise, optimise!

Once you've decided who to target, selected an accompanying image and written the copy, it's time to sit back and relax, right? Er, no! As your campaign runs you should try and keep an eye on it daily, noting down what's working, what isn't working and adjusting the campaign accordingly. This is something I've always done with Facebook advertising to make sure my clients get the best value for money possible.

By digging deeper into the Facebook ad analytics you can get an hourly breakdown of your ad performance.

By digging deeper into the Facebook ad analytics you can get an hourly breakdown of your ad performance.

For example: if your campaign is going to multiple locations, dig through the analytics provided by Facebook to ascertain where it's performing best and concentrate more of your resources on that area. Keep looking through the data and you can also see what time of day your ad is performing best - so do the same thing here.  You should also look to tinker with the copy and/or image if you can't pin down why your ad isn't performing as hoped. Try adding some urgency to the copy as the ad runs towards its conclusion.

Don't wait until the campaign finishes to make these changes, or else you could end up wasting your hard-earned cash!


Facebook ads are certainly tricky to navigate for newcomers - but calling on the services of someone who knows what they're doing can more than outweigh the costs of bad advertising. I'm a freelance social media manager that can navigate the minefield that is Facebook Ads. Get in touch today to see if I can help you with advertising on Facebook.