Facebook Advertising: How does it work?

Facebook AdvertisingFacebook Advertising. What is it? How does it work? Do I have to be a social media geek to understand it all?

We can answer all of these questions, and more, just read on!

Why Facebook?

Out of all social media advertising options, Facebook Ads often offer the best value for money. This is partly because it’s the world’s biggest social network, and partly because it offers superior targeting (i.e. you can tell it to show your ads only to a very specific set of users).

Studies show that Facebook Advertising has grown over 680% since 2010 – why? Because it works!

Whereas Google AdWords is a platform based on demand fulfilment (i.e. search, click, buy), Facebook Advertising is based on demand generation. It actively seeks out users who will like your products and services.

Facebook allows you to target specific categories of people based on their interests, hobbies and jobs. It’s much more sophisticated than Google, which only lets you sponsor particular keywords. While both platforms may have their place in your marketing toolkit, Facebook has the upper hand when it comes to customer targeting.

What types of Facebook Ad are there?

Facebook recognises that different ads work for certain situations. Here’s a quick overview:

Purpose: Driving traffic

  • Domain ad – Your basic ad. Choose a title, short description and URL to display.
  • Page post link – Ideal for promoting your website. This ad focuses on an image which captures the reader’s attention. The image acts as a link and the reader is sent directly to your site.

Purpose: Sales and lead generation

  • Carousel ad – Great for e-commerce sites looking to promote multiple products. Users can scroll along and reveal each product picture, link and intro text.
  • Lead ads – Forms that can be completed without leaving Facebook – a great way of collecting emails.

Purpose: Like and engagement

  • Page like ad – This ad has a “Like” button that acts as a CTA and allows users to immediately like your page.
  • Page post photo – The best ad for showing off images. This should get you lots of comments and likes as images are engaging. You can do this for videos and text too!


Choosing who to target is a crucial step in Facebook Advertising. There are a couple of ways you can do it:

  • Demographic testing – Location (from country and city targeting, to postal codes and even specific property addresses), age, gender, language.
  • Interest targeting:
    • Precise: Based on profile information (likes, interests, apps etc).
    • Behaviour: Purchase history, intent and external datasets.
  • Connections – Target friends of ‘page likes’. This can give ‘social proof’ to your value – a great trait for B2C businesses.
  • Custom Audiences – Upload a list of phone numbers, email addresses or Facebook IDs of people interested in your product. This will create a ‘Custom Audience’. You can also mirror this so Facebook by creating a “lookalike audience” – allowing Facebook to target people similar to those on your list.

Targeting engaged women in Glasgow with an interest in Tennis might not be ideal for every business, but if you’re a Glasgow Hotel with newly refurbished wedding suite (and a tennis court!) then this targeted audience might be the perfect customer – all 6,600 of them!

Bidding and budgets

With Facebook Advertising, you bid for ad space on your target audience’s page. The higher you bid, the more impressions you get.

Facebook can do the bidding for you through its Optimised CPM (oCPM) program. It’s easy, useful and great if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

If you’re an expert, try manual bidding – specify how much you’ll pay for each click or 1,000 impressions.

If you’re still not sure about Facebook Advertising, call NSDesign for help. Or, to learn the skill for yourself, grab a spot on the next Embrace the Space social media masterclass!

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