Creating effective Facebook Ads isn’t that hard, as long as you have the right tools and an understanding of the essential elements for creating Facebook Ads that convert.

Facebook Ads Tools – The Essentials

Facebook Page

In order to create ads on Facebook you need to have a Facebook Page that your ads will be associated with. You cannot run Facebook Ads as in individual, group or any other Facebook property. So if you don’t have a Facebook Page, then you will need to set one up prior to creating any Facebook Ads.
You can create a Facebook Page here.
Create A Facebook Page

Facebook Ads Account

A Facebook Ads account is required in order to create Facebook Ads. Once you have created a Facebook Ads Account and provided your billing methods, you can then add additional Ad Account Roles (should you have additional people who will be creating and/or managing your Ads), as well as select what notifications you would like to receive and how you would like to receive them.
You can create (or access) your Facebook Ads Account here.

Facebook Ads Creation Tools

There are three different ways that you can advertise on Facebook. They are:

The functionality and level of control you have over creating your Facebook Ads depends upon the method you choose to create your Ads. Creating Ads via your Facebook Timeline is the most limited option. Using the Power Editor provides you with more control over your Facebook Ads and therefore it has the potential to achieve better results. However, it is not the easiest tool for the beginner or someone with no training to navigate.
Here is some information to assist you in choosing which method of creating Facebook Ads is best for your business.

Business Manager

Business Manager allows advertisers to manage all of their advert accounts, Pages, apps and permissions in one place.
You may consider using Facebook’s Business Manager tool if you need more that one ad account, as might be the case if you need to manage separate ads accounts for different clients or business units. The Business Manager will also allow you to pay for ads with different payment methods, allow specific, role-based access to the ad accounts, Pages and apps and perform advanced analytics and reporting, to name just a few of the features.
You can learn how to setup Facebook Business Manager here.

Facebook Website Tracking Tools

The most important aspect when it comes to creating effective Facebook Ads is your targeting. It doesn’t matter how great your ad is, if the targeting is wrong, the ad will not achieve success for your business. Fortunately Facebook provides some great tools that allow you to target your ads to your ideal audience (assuming you know who that is).

The New Facebook Pixel

Facebook has recently released a new Facebook Pixel code to replace the old Facebook conversion tracking pixel.
New Facebook Pixel
Facebook will be removing the conversion tracking pixel in the second half of 2016. You should upgrade to the new Facebook Pixel as soon as possible for all your conversion tracking, optimisation and re-marketing purposes.
The new Facebook Pixel provides rich insights regarding the traffic across your website, as well as allows you to share your pixel, which is really useful if you are have an external party creating and/or managing your Facebook Ads.
You can learn how to install the new Facebook Pixel here.

Standard Events Code

If you wish to track the different types of actions people take on your website, then you will need to customise the standard events section of your new Facebook Pixel on some pages.
There are nine standard events to choose from, such as “Add to cart” or “View Content”. It is not essential that you use the Standard Events Code, but you should be using it if you would like to optimise your Facebook Ads for conversions, as well as track conversions.
Facebook Ads Standard Events

Dynamic Conversion Value

This is an advanced Facebook Advertising strategy that will assist in measuring your return on investment when the value of purchases may vary for each individual transaction. This is usually the case when an online shopping cart is used as the purchase method, as the cost of items and the quantity ordered may vary greatly from customer to customer.
Dynamic conversion values allow you to accurately track and report on the value of your conversions from your Facebook Ads under these circumstances.

Facebook Pixel Helper

Google Chrome has a Facebook Pixel Helper that you can install to help validate that your Facebook Pixel is working properly, as well as troubleshoot any issues with your Facebook Pixel and learn how to improve it’s performance.
You can access the Facebook Pixel Helper here.

Facebook Ads Audience Targeting Tools

The most important aspect when it comes to creating effective Facebook Ads is your targeting. It doesn’t matter how great your ad is, if the targeting is wrong, the ad will not achieve success for your business. Fortunately Facebook provides some great tools that allow you to target your ads to your ideal audience (assuming you know who that is and where you can find them).
Your main audiences should be established prior to creating Facebook Ads. You can further refine your audiences within the ad sets of the advertising campaigns that you create.
Investing time first to create highly targeted audiences will not only improve the results of your Facebook Ads campaigns, but it will also save you time in the long-run.
Create A Custom Audience

Customer List Custom Audiences

Facebook allows you to create Custom Audiences based on data you have already captured from your customers. You can create Custom Audiences using a customer list of emails, mobile phone numbers, Facebook User ID’s or mobile advertiser ID’s.
You need to upload the appropriate data into Facebook and then Facebook will match that data against it’s current user base to create audiences for you to use for Advertising purposes.

Website Traffic Custom Audiences

You can also create Custom Audiences based on website traffic.
Facebook allows you to create audiences of people who have visited your website (and were logged into Facebook at the time), based on the pages they have visited (and/or haven’t visited) during a given period. You can also create custom audiences based on custom combinations of which pages they have visited.
You can vary the duration of website traffic custom audiences from anywhere between one and one hundred and eighty days.
The Facebook Pixel is used to identify people who have visited your website and then you can use the website traffic custom audiences to target your Facebook Ads.

Lookalike Audiences

You can create an audience of users that are similar (based on interests, demographics & behaviours) to one of the audiences that you have already created, i.e.:

  • Customer List Custom Audience
  • Website Traffic Custom Audience
  • Your Page’s Facebook Fans (Page Likes)

This is a particularly good targeting strategy if you have a highly targeted customer lists, website traffic and/or Page Likes, but the numbers are insufficient to run Facebook Ads. You can choose the size of any Lookalike Audiences that you create. The smaller the audience, the more similar that audience will be to the audience you base your Lookalike Audience off.

Saved Audiences

Facebook users share a lot of data with Facebook, which you can use to assist you in targeting you Facebook Ads to your ideal customers.
Facebook allows you to create Saved Audiences based on the demographics (location, age, gender, languages, etc), behaviours and interests of your ideal customer avatar. You can even go as far as targeting the pages they like (perhaps your competitors), the school they went to, their highest level of education, employers, job titles, fields of study and so on.
You can also target people based on the connections they have with any Facebook Pages, Apps or Events that you manage.

Facebook Ad Objective

Before you create an ad campaign, you should be clear on what the objective is.
Each campaign should only have one single advertising objective. If you have more than one objective that you wish to achieve, then you need to create multiple ad campaigns.
The types of objectives you can achieve will depend upon whether you are creating Facebook Ads via your Page Timeline, Ads Manager or Power Editor.
The full list of objectives you can create ads for are:
Facebook Ads Objectives Power Editor

Facebook Ads Policies

All Facebook Ads are reviewed to make sure they meet with Facebook’s Advertising Policies. Most Facebook Ads are reviewed reviewed within 24 hours, although in some cases it may take longer. Facebook uses a combination of automated and manual methods for approving Ads on the platform.
It is not uncommon to have an Ad approved and then to have it later disapproved. This could be because the initial automated checks didn’t see an issue with the ad, but then it was later reported and upon manual inspection it was deemed to be in breach of on of the Facebook Ads Policies.
Complying with these policies will increase your chances of your Facebook Ads being approved. In particular you need to pay attention to the language you use in your copy and ensure that you have less than 20% text in any images you create as part of your Facebook Ads.
You will also want to steer away from any prohibited or restricted content and if you refer to Facebook in your Ads, either through your copy or in images, you will need to ensure that you comply with their rules around this.
You can familiarise yourself with the Facebook Ads Policies here.

Facebook Ads Guide

Facebook Ads look slightly different depending on the results you want.
Facebook has created a really useful Facebook Ads Guide to assist in determining the optimal Ad design recommendations for each of Facebook’s Ad objectives, as the requirements of images, copy, links. etc vary from objective to objective.
It’s useful to review the Facebook Ads Guide in the early stages of creating your Facebook Ads so that you can compile the appropriate resources for each of the Facebook Ads that you will be creating to ensure that your Facebook Ads look their best wherever they are seen.
Complying with these guides will increase your chances of your Facebook Ads being approved. In particular you need to pay attention to the language you use in your copy and ensure that you adhere to the image requirements.
You can check out the Facebook Ads Guide here.

Facebook Grid Tool

Ads that have more than 20% of text in their image won’t be approved to run on Facebook. Facebook does this as it believes that images with too much text can look like spam and make people think that your ad is low quality.
You can use Facebook’s Grid Tool to determine whether or not the images you wish to use for Facebook Advertising purposes comply with this 20% rule.
Upload your image into the Facebook Grid Tool and then check to see whether or not the text extends beyond five boxes within the grid. If it extends beyond five boxes, then your Facebook Ad is more likely to be disapproved.
You can access the Facebook Grid Tool here.

Visually Engaging Images or Videos

All Facebook Ads have some form of visual component to them, whether that be images or videos. It is important that your visual elements be relevant and “thumb stopping”. In other words, you want them to attract the attention of your audience so that they stop scrolling and instead consume your Ad and then engage with your ads, taking your desired action so that you achieve your ad objective.
Facebook Ads Engaging Images
Images will need to comply with the maximum of 20% text rule.
Videos will need to be engaging with or without sound, as most people will have the sound turned off by default until they click on the video. It’s important that you do something within the first 3 seconds that will entice people to click on the video to hear the audio component so that they get the full experience of your video ad.

Facebook Ad Copy

You need to use persuasive copy as part of your ads so that people feel compelled to take your desired action. But at the same time, you don’t want to come across as a sleazy marketer flogging your rubbish.
You also need to be careful that your wording doesn’t raise any red flags in terms of Facebook’s Ads Policies. Whilst you want to be targeted in the way that you communicate with your audience, particularly if you know a fair bit about them as a result of your targeting, you need to be careful that you are not being too specific about their personal attributes.
This includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record, or name.
Asking the question “Are you sick and tired of the way your children leave their dirty laundry on the floor” may get disapproved as “being too specific about a medical condition” because you have used the words “sick” and “tired”.
Don’t over use CAPITALISATION either. Facebook doesn’t want you to be screaming at your audience and will therefore disapprove ads that overuse capitals in the ad copy.
Also make sure that you adhere to character limits and consider how much of the text is going to appear above the “read more” link and what influence that will have on your ad.

Call-to-Action Buttons

Some ads will allow you to insert a call-to-action button within your ad.
You can choose from:

  • Shop now
  • Book now
  • Learn more
  • Sign up
  • Download
  • Watch more
  • Apply now
  • Donate now

Or you can choose to have no button at all.
Whilst your overall objective might be to get people to “sign up” for something, you may choose to use “learn more” instead, as people may feel intrigued to click through and learn more about what you are promoting, whereas they may not feel compelled enough to sign up based on the small amount of copy in the ad.
This is something that you may wish to split test to see what works best for your audience.

Mobile Responsive Website and Landing Pages

Most people access Facebook via their mobile phone on a daily basis these days and 40% of Facebook’s monthly active users access Facebook solely from their mobile device.
Therefore, any links that you are sending traffic to from Facebook Ads MUST be mobile responsive.
Where possible, you should be sending people to landing pages that are congruent with what was promised in the Ad.
Tools like LeadPages are great for creating mobile responsive landing pages with high conversion rates. They also allow you to insert the Facebook Pixel and Standard Event Code within your template so that you can track traffic, optimise for conversions and accurately measure the return on investment for your Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads Budget

Within the Ad Set of your Facebook Ads campaign you will be able to set your budget and bidding methods. It’s important that you allocate sufficient funds to achieve your objective. How much this will be depends on how effectively you implement the various elements outlined throughout this post.
You should commence with a budget that allows you to test the various elements of your Ads to see what is performing best and then once you have a baseline of how much it is costing you per desired action, then you can make a more accurate assessment as to what the full budget will need to be to achieve the number of conversions you were expecting from each individual campaign.
Over time you will start to get a feel for how much it costs your business per ad objective (e.g. $1 per Page Like, $2 per eBook opt-in, $5 per webinar registration) and then you can start to budget accordingly and try to improve the cost per conversion of your ads over time by tweaking aspects such as audience, copy, images, placement, etc.

Split Test and Monitor Your Ads

You should be split testing elements within your Facebook Ads to see what performs better.
You can split test:

  • Copy
  • Images
  • Call-to-action buttons
  • Placement
  • Destination
  • Landing pages
  • Bidding methods
  • Schedule
  • Audiences

Measure Your Return On Investment

It’s important that you measure your return on investment both throughout and once each advertising campaign is complete.
In your measurement, focus on the cost per desired action or cost per conversion, rather than other metrics, such as cost per impression or cost per click.
A good cost per conversion is dependent on:

  • Lifetime value of a customer
  • Conversion rates
  • An acceptable profit margin for the product you are selling
  • Intangible benefits received via your bigger audience (e.g. more Page Likes or Subscribers,) including the knock on effect this social proof can have, as well as the relationships and opportunities your increased audience size will provide for your business

It’s important that you analyse your results to establish benchmarks and acceptable ranges for your business and then use that information to inform the creation and budgeting of your Facebook Ads moving forward.

Support For Facebook Advertisers

Facebook provides some resources and support to help you advertise successfully on Facebook.
You can access those Facebook Business Resources here.

Facebook Ads Support Team

If you have any questions about your Facebook Ads, Facebook has a Facebook Ads Support Team that you can contact and they will respond within one business day. From my experience this has been a bit hit-and-miss, but it’s well worth a try if you are experiencing any issues with your Facebook Ads that you can’t resolve through the resources you have available to you.
You can contact the Facebook Ads Support Team here.

Facebook Business Success

FB Business Success NOW modules
If you are looking for more in depth assistance in using Facebook to gain more leads, sales and profits for your business, then you may wish to check out my FB Business Success NOW! program, which includes two in-depth modules on Facebook Advertising:

  • FB Ads – The Essentials
  • FB Ads – Advanced Techniques

These Facebook Ads training modules will take you from a novice Facebook Advertiser through to being able to create effective Facebook Ads that convert!
You can learn more about FB Business Success NOW! here.