How to use Facebook Advertising

This article will give you insight into how to use Facebook advertising to grow your business. We’ll give you the basics and some top tips based on our years of experience. We’ll cover why you should advertise on Facebook; how to define your objectives; how to set up your first campaign, ad set and advert; how to target potential customers; how to set and manage budgets; how to design great adverts; and how to track and report on results.

Each organisation is unique which means there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but we hope you find this a useful starting point. If you’d like some more help do come along to one our Facebook Advertising training sessions where we’ll be happy to get you started. Alternatively, if you haven’t the time or inclination to do it yourself why not get in touch to discuss ways we can help run your campaigns. We’d love to help!

So… sit back (not too far), relax (not too much) and lets begin.

  1. It’s where you customers are. There are over 2bn active monthly users globally, and their average daily use is over 50 minutes per day. This gives you a hugely engaged and diverse audience.
  2. Because its users input so much personal data (friends, likes, pictures) Facebook is able to deliver highly targeted adverts based on behaviours, interests, demographics, connections, age ranges, languages, locations and so much more.
  3. Facebook advertising enables remarketing, a technique that allows you to specifically target people who have already visited your site or page, helping convert potential customers into actual customers. Marketers are already taking advantage of this – 19% of all Facebook ads are post engagement campaigns.
  4. The Lookalike Audience feature lets you target new people who are similar in makeup to your existing loyal followers, meaning you can reach more people who are likely to respond to your adverts.
  5. Those who see the potential of social advertising are already putting their budgets into the largest social platform. Around 9% of digital advertising budget is now spent on Facebook.
  6. Facebook advertising can work out more cost-effective than Google Adwords – nearly 96% of social media marketers say it gives them the best return on investment.

But first lets cover some of the basics…

Facebook Advertising Business Manager Home

These days you can’t rely solely on organic reach. Because of the plethora of content being shared each day, the average user only sees an average of 300 out of 1500 possible posts per day.

This can be bypassed by paid for advertising. However, you don’t want people coming to your Facebook page to find an out of date, inactive feed. Therefore, it’s best to use both organic posting and paid for advertising in tandem.

For the purposes of this article we’re assuming you’ve already set up your Facebook business page and have a basic grasp of how Facebook works. If not, there is some useful guidance here, or come along to our Facebook Marketing Masterclass.

Facebook business pages are administered from your personal profile. It’s advisable to use your own profile to manage your page, rather than outsourcing it to an agency or creating a dummy account. You’ll want to make sure all the data generated is captured in your user area, and that Facebook won’t switch off an account that appears to be fake. God forbid.

Do I need any special software or account?

The short answer is no. All Facebook accounts have the ability to open a Facebook Ad Manager account. This doesn’t require a download, a fancy computer or a degree in computer engineering. You’ll be fine.

Click here to open your account:

Setting objectives is key to any area of business. It’s an opportunity to review where your business is and where you’d like it to be. Consider the unique selling points – what do you offer consumers that no one else does? Write down a selection, and if you’re struggling have a look at our 8 Steps to an Effective Social Media Strategy guide for some ideas.

Ultimately, your objectives will guide your choice of campaign, ad set, targeting and budget options.

Facebook lays out its advertising platform in three hierarchical layers – Campaigns, Ad Sets and Adverts. Here’s an overview of how they work together.

Facebook Campaigns Ad Sets Ads

Social Media Facebook Objectives

It’s best practise to set up a campaign for each objective you’ve identified. These might include creating awareness of your brand, driving traffic to your website, or making sales.

Although it might be tempting to dive straight into selling it’s worth thinking about how people shop. Very few go straight into a store, blindly grab the first item and go to pay for it. As businesses, we need to lead customers through the stages of awareness, interest, evaluation, and decision, before they’ll commit to a purchase. With any luck we’ll also encourage them to repurchase and become loyal brand advocates.

Facebook offers 10 different campaign objectives in support of this sales funnel, grouped around the themes of Awareness, Consideration and Conversion, as detailed below:


  1. Brand Awareness – reach people who are more likely to pay attention to your adverts.
  2. Reach – Show your advert to the maximum number of people within your target groups.


  1. Traffic: Send more people to your website, app or Facebook Messenger.
  2. Engagement: Get more people to see and engage with your post or Page.
  3. App installs: Send people to download your mobile application.
  4. Video views: Promote any video content, including in-stream video advertising which enables you to place 5-15 seconds of footage in the middle of videos uploaded by selected Facebook content producers. Apparently over 70% of these ads are viewed in full.
  5. Lead Generation: Send potential clients to a sign up form.


  1. Conversion: Optimise your ad delivery to get people to take action such as making a purchase or registering for an event. You can use the Facebook pixel or app events to track and measure conversions. See below for more on this.
  2. Catalogue Sales: If you’ve already set up a personal catalogue on your Facebook page you can use this Campaign type to promote specific products to certain target audiences.
  3. Store visits: This options lets you promote multiple physical business locations to people who are near to them.


Some of these advert types offer the ability to run split tests or set up pixel tracking. 

Split tests

Split tests, sometimes known as AB Testing, allow you to create different versions of your advert. This could be varying the image, headline, or even targeting different audience segments to compare the performance of the two, and then select the better performing version.

By repeating this process time and again you optimise your advert to get the best return on your investment and bring down your cost per click. It’s best to vary only one criterion at a time. For example, if you were to change both the image and the text of an advert you wouldn’t know which was driving the change in performance.

The Facebook Pixel

If your advert is driving people to a page which is not on Facebook, for example to buy a product or purchase tickets for an event, it can’t see how many of those who clicked on the advert actually go through to complete a transaction.

To get around this you can generate a bit of code in Facebook that you can then place on your destination page. It won’t be visible to the user, but will let you track conversions from within Facebook. Neat.

Each Facebook advertising campaign can feature multiple ad sets, each of which has its own budget and schedule. You can organise each ad set to represent a different audience segment such as existing customers, people already on your mailing list, or men who like to dress their dogs up as vegetables. This gives you greater control over how much you spend on each audience, decide when they will see your ads and measure their response.

Within each ad set you can have multiple ads, each of which can feature different images, links, video or text. The ad delivery system can automatically optimise delivery for the best-performing ad in an ad set.

Facebook ads are generally placed seamlessly in the users’ news feed, so they don’t interrupt the user experience in the same way those annoying TV or YouTube ad breaks do.

They appear in five locations – the desktop news feed, inside the mobile news feed, in the right-hand sidebar on desktop, via the audience network on mobile (this is where adverts are placed within apps and games distributed via Facebook) or on Instagram.

You have some degree of control here but the great thing about Facebook is that it automatically tweaks things to put the most budget behind your best performing adverts.

There are also a number of advert types, such as text ads, photo ads, video ads, Canvass ads and Carousel ads. Select the best type of ad based on your product/service and the content you have. Try to avoid text only adverts, as they don’t generally do so well.

The true power of Facebook advertising lies in its almost spooky understanding of its users. People put vast amounts of information about their preferences, interests and habits into Facebook. The ad system then extrapolates this to create audience segments. Using it’s targeting tool you can push your ad at people who work at, for example, a specific company, or those who’ve just returned from travelling, or those who got married last month.

It’s not hard to see how you can use this to promote your products and services to specific audience segments.

Within Facebook advertising you can search and edit segments using keywords or browse pre-defined segments. These are grouped around Demographics, Interests, Behaviours and Connections. You can layer these criteria, for example, to target your ad specifically at 21-year-old women who work at Reuters and have an interest in both teeth cleaning and formation skydiving, if there are any. Facebook gives you advice and projected reach as you add or remove criteria.

You can choose to set a daily or lifetime budget. If you’re just starting I’d recommend setting a lifetime budget. That way you know there is a definite cap on what you’ll be spending.

Figuring out how much budget to allocate is a very personal choice and may require a bit of trial and error (or success!). If you’re selling high value products you might be comfortable with a higher cost per click, knowing that just a few sales will recoup your money.

The bid amount can be controlled manually, or you can tell Facebook to set the bid that helps you get the most reach at the best price. For example, it may detect that you get a better response on the weekends, so will automatically increase the budget for these days, and reduce it on less productive days.

You can also choose not to run the advert at certain times of day (i.e. when your business is closed and unable to respond to enquiries).

If you run more than one Facebook business page you’ll firstly need to select which page you want to deliver the ad from. You can then select the format you want to use. Again, take Facebook’s advice on this and consider what will best show off your product – i.e. video, a slideshow, a single image or a collection.

As you start to build your advert, Facebook gives you a set of fields and boxes to complete. As you type text or upload imagery you can preview the advert in desktop or mobile screens. There are also some handy templates you can adapt for your own needs.

Try to put yourself in the mind-set of one of your potential Facebook customers. Why are you on Facebook? What need is this business trying to fill? Is it easy to see what the call to action is? Is there a compelling reason to click on the button?


Pictures or videos featuring ‘real’ people generally work best as users may see themselves reflected in the imagery. It’s best to keep your imagery clean, with minimal text. Images which feature more text are more likely to be distributed less and cost you more.


The text in your advert should be short, clear and to the point. Most headlines are just five words long, and most descriptions are 14 words long.

Consider appealing to your consumer’s emotional side. While we like to think of ourselves as rational beings, we are often led more by emotion. A short story about how your product has benefited a particular customer may resound more than a dry list of product features.

Facebook advertising allows you to add Call To action (CTA) boxes. These offer options such as ‘sign up’, ‘learn more’, ‘donate now’ and have been shown to increase engagement.

For CTAs which drive people to a website you should link to a specific page within your site (i.e. product page) so users immediately see the relevance of the advert.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, run multiple adverts. By running multiple ads you can compare and contrast the performance of each and gradually optimise your performance.

Facebook Advert Reporting

Facebook captures a lot of data relating to your adverts and it does this is real time, which means you are able to view and dynamically tweak your adverts to make performance-enhancing changes.

You can view results at Account, Campaign, Ad Set or Ad level and you can choose which metrics you want displayed, such as impressions, clickthroughs or conversions. Facebook helps out here by suggesting metrics that support the objective you set at campaign level.

The Campaign level will give you headline figures – useful for creating return on investment reports to demonstrate to yourself (or your bosses) how much was spent and what was achieved.

Ad sets reporting will give you a sense as to which target demographic is the most responsive. Should you be promoting your pet grooming service to men or women? Or selling your sun cream to city dwellers, or those who live by the sea?

Ad reporting will tell you which creative is working best and help you refine your choice of media, imagery or text. Perhaps that overtly salesy ‘Please, please buy now!’ copy is putting people off, but you’re getting a great reaction from people wanting to sign up for a competition to win a pair of new shoes.

You can use the ‘breakdowns’ function to dissect the information by delivery, action and time, this allows you to see which audiences are viewing your ad and how (i.e. which device, locations)

Once you’ve created your report you can save it and email it to yourself. You can also schedule it to drop into your inbox at regular intervals (i.e. monthly).

Select just a half a dozen useful metrics to keep track of and do so at regular intervals, perhaps even daily to begin with. Don’t be put off if your campaign isn’t working, or your cost per click is high, it just takes a bit of trial and error to get it working well. And if you need a bit of advice on how to improve your campaigns you know where to find us.


If you’re still reading this, well done! And if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.

At Social Brighton we know that we can help take your business to the next level using Facebook advertising. We’ve worked successfully with charities, cinemas, councils, golf clubs, high street brands, and everyone in between to kick-start their Facebook advertising campaigns, and to help them continuously improve.

Have a look at some of our happy client testimonials, or get inspired by examples of great adverts and success stories on Facebook.

Thanks folks, until next time.