Save Time and Money with these Facebook Advertising Tips for Beginners

social media Nov 16, 2020

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, chances are good that Facebook advertising has crossed your mind. Maybe you’ve even dabbled in promoting posts already. Dipping a toe in the water is great, but it can easily snowball into an icy polar plunge if you’re left to navigate the waters of Facebook advertising without guidance. Okay, enough of this water analogy…

It’s no secret that businesses continue to allocate more of their marketing budgets towards social media advertising. In 2020, social ad spends are projected to grow 20% year over year to a total of $43 Billion. And if you want a piece of this pie, you’re in the right place, because you should.

Before you start spending a sizable amount of your marketing budget on ads, know that there’s a big difference between strategically spending on high-value ads tailored and targeted to your ideal client and wasting your money on an undesirably placed single advertisement blasted to any and everybody.  

In fact, here are some of the most common mistakes I see when it comes to Facebook advertising:

  1. Spending money on the wrong ad placements
  2. Missing out on learning opportunities
  3. Blanketing the whole world with the same ad

In order to avoid making these costly mistakes, here are three tips to help guide you navigate the waters of advertising, benefitting both you and your consumer because at the end of the day, nobody wants to pay for or receive a bad ad.


Use the Facebook Business Manager Platform

Most people initially dabble in social advertising by boosting posts from the Facebook or Instagram native apps. Post boosting can be an effective tactic to create greater awareness of a killer piece of content, but the targeting capabilities within boosting barely scratch the surface of what’s possible. Instead, use Facebook Business Manager’s Ads Manager tool to create, publish, manage and report on your ads placed across Facebook’s suite of channels: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network. Here, you’ll be able to select and unselect ad placements, meaning you can choose the best ad real estate (always unselect the Facebook right column).

Example of Facebook Newsfeed Ad Placements, Source: Facebook

You’ll also have much more flexibility to get specific in your audience targeting to reach your ideal client. For example, Ads Manager allows you to go beyond demographic basics, and tap into custom audience lists (like matching your current email subscribers), interest targeting, geo-targeting, re-marketing your website viewers and more. Sounds great, right? Ultimately, the more strategic your targeting is, the more cost-efficient and effective your ads will be. Additional benefits of using this interface include:

  • Manage multiple ad campaigns in one place
  • Access richer analytics for reporting
  • Allow others to collaborate with you on your Page, Ads, and Assets
  • Create separation between your business and your personal social profiles

Get started with Facebook for Business Ads Manager here.


Continuously Test Your Ads

Or as I like to say, ABT (always be testing!). A one size advertisement does not fit all, especially now, as consumers have come to expect personalization on a 1:1 level. When you create an ad, I highly recommend creating no fewer than two to four variations of your ad by split-testing ad copy and creative. Go with two versions for a smaller budget, and four for a larger budget. When you upload several variations of an ad, Facebook will optimize your ad to the best performing version based on audience engagement, and ad feedback provided by viewers.

In terms of copy, create two noticeably different versions of your message, by mixing up the headline, body copy, and newsfeed link copy. When it comes to creative, I prefer testing a brand or campaign image against a more scrappy, social-native, or user generated content (UGC) image. When split testing copy and creative, four ad variations could look as follows:  

  • Ad 1: Copy Version 1, Creative Version 1
  • Ad 2: Copy Version 1, Creative Version 2
  • Ad 3: Copy Version 2, Creative Version 1
  • Ad 4: Copy Version 2, Creative Version 2

As it relates to choosing your creative, keep in mind that social ads should aim to be valuable, not disruptive. Using social-native imagery, meaning less polished than brand or stock photography has worked really well for me. Imperfect images appear more authentic and fit more naturally into a user’s Facebook or Instagram newsfeed experience, increasing the chances that someone will engage with your advertisement.


Customize Ads by Audience

Would you sell the benefits of yoga to an 18-year-old the same way you’d sell them to a 65-year-old? Probably not. Rather, you’d pull out key physical, mental, and emotional benefits that are most fitting to each user’s life cycle stage. In the same vein, cookie cutter social ads won’t help you achieve your marketing objectives if you aim to reach multiple demographics or client avatars with one single ad message. Be mindful that your message, and your creative, feels relevant to each of your target audiences, as it will impact who your ads get served to and how they perform.

Facebook invests in ensuring that advertisers deliver value to the users of their platforms by using a set of three Ad Relevance Diagnostics which determine whether ads are resonating, and subsequently, how the ads are served. These specific diagnostics are defined by Facebook as:

Quality Ranking - perceived ad quality compared to the other ads competing for the same audience

Engagement Rate Ranking - ad engagement rate compared to the other ads competing for the same audience

Conversion Rate Ranking – ad conversion rate compared to other ads competing for the same audience

These diagnostics are scored as either below average, average, or above average. Generally, aim to avoid the “below average” ranking, as anything average or above average is generally considered a good ad by way of these diagnostics. Remember, ABT, as testing is truly key. Higher scoring ads are friendlier on your pocketbook, and more beneficial in meeting your marketing objectives.

Example of Ad Relevance Diagnostics in Ads Manager, Source: Social Media Examiner


Facebook advertising is equally as complex as it is powerful. However, these tips for advertising beginners should get you on the right track. In addition to the tips outlined above, Facebook provides ample free learning resources on its Facebook for Business website to take you through the ins and outs of advertising on its platforms. With over 2 Billion active monthly users on Facebook, and 1 Billion on Instagram, it’s worth spending a bit of time getting familiar with one of the most powerful advertising tools available to marketers today.

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