A Basic Guide to Facebook Social Ads

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

A Basic Guide to Facebook Social Ads

Facebook continuously updates their advertising tools to give you access to data about all Facebook users as well as your Page followers. They also do everything possible to encourage you to purchase one of their ad offerings including limiting the visibility of your posts and Page unless you pay to advertise.

Facebook ads come in a number of categories that also change periodically. To make it easy for you, Facebook now categorizes their ads by common goals so you can choose the right ad for you including:

Get a Custom Advertising Plan – Answer a few questions describing your business so Facebook can automatically select the right advertising offerings from the two choices below with a recommended minimum amount to spend.

Boost a Post – If you select this option, Facebook presents all your most recent posts to easily click the Boost Post button and determine your budget and target.

Get More Messages – Use this option to encourage people to contact you through Facebook Messenger for immediate interactions.

Connect with People Nearby – This ad can target people within a specific mile radius from your business location.

Get More Page Likes – You can increase the number of people who see your Page who may click to Like it with this ad.

Promote Your Sign-Up Button – With this ad, you can promote your Call to Action button on the top of your Page.

Get More Website Visitors – If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your company website, use this option.

Get More Customer Contacts – Get warm leads and contact details through this ad that prompts people to provide their information.

Mostly likely, you would start with getting more Page likes then boost specific posts for greater visibility. If you are looking to encourage people to get in touch, you might choose Get More Messages. If you wanted to stimulate more actions, you could promote your call-to-action button.

Using the Ad Manager, you are able to initiate a campaign, give it a name, name an individual ad within the campaign, then upload images and compose and modify ad copy. Facebook will generate a preview of how your ad will look as you go along so you can double-check it. Be strategic about how you target your ad. Some choices you are given for targeting include: Countries, Interests, Age Range, and Gender. You can also upload your contacts to create ads that target specific people or create a “Lookalike Audience” to reach new people who will likely be interested in your business because they are similar to your top current customers. You can also “drop a pin” onto a map in the ad tool to select a specific geographical location so your ads show up when people are within a particularly mile radius.

While your default daily budget for ads depends on the size of your Page following, you will typically pay as little as $10 to $20 for ads and as low as $5 to boost a post. Facebook shows you how much reach your ad spend will buy as you adjust the dollar amount. You can choose to run your ad continuously until you manually stop it or run it for a custom schedule of your own choosing.

Facebook needs to approve your ad and usually will do so within 24 hours. You can pause or modify your ad at any time, although, if you make changes, it may have to go through the approval process again. If, after a few days, you are not getting satisfactory results, you can change the image, the language, the target, or anything else that you think might be limiting your ad's success.

Advertising on Facebook is an ongoing process. Monitor your ads, and if something is working, figure out what made your ad a success. Be clear about your business goals and how you’ll measure the success of your Facebook ads to get the most out of social media-driving advertising.