How to Purchase and Leverage a Facebook Ad

Facebook offers a social ad with interesting features you can leverage for your ad campaigns.

Aliza Sherman
5-minute read
Episode #42


Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.

Have you ever thought of buying an ad on Facebook? I've been buying Facebook ads to boost some of my clients' online social media marketing campaigns, and I have to say I'm impressed.

If you're like me, you tend to ignore most ads on websites and blogs. But what about ads in social networks, particularly Facebook? I must confess that I've clicked on several ads in Facebook recently because they seemed to be genuinely targeted at me. There's a big difference between seeing an ad about weight loss (which I don't need) and an ad geared toward Alaskans (where I live) or toward 40-something women (a category I fit into now). Facebook ads have some powerful features that allow you to hone in on your target market.

Creating Your Facebook Ad

Facebook calls their ads "social," and while the ads themselves don't have interactive or social qualities, they do leverage the powerful database behind the world's largest social network. If you've never advertised on Facebook, the easiest way I've found to access their advertising section is to go to www.facebook.com/advertising or simply do a Google search for "Advertising Facebook." Searching within Facebook always seems to be a bit confusing for me.

Once you access the ad section, you can create your ad by giving it a title, entering text up to 135 characters (here's where being a Twitter user really comes in handy) and uploading an image for your ad -- 110 by 80 pixels. The ads are quite small and compact. Facebook displays your ad on the fly as you add components to it and as you edit it.

Be informative but as concise as possible in your ad. Use the title and image to attract attention and provide only enough information to pique someone's interest.

You can then link your ad to social actions. This means that Facebook will automatically reference fans of your Business Page or supporters of your Facebook Cause. To give you an example, my client Rasmuson Foundation was promoting their Individual Artist Awards and we tied their Facebook ad to their Facebook page. Each time the small ad appeared, it was enhanced by a photo of a fan of the foundation appearing on a rotating basis. For another ad for an Alaska-specific ad campaign called Pick. Click. Give., we linked their Facebook ad to their Causes page to provide more connecting opportunities for Facebook members in Alaska.

You need to specify where your ad will link. My recommendation is that 9 times out of 10 you will want your Facebook ad to lead to your Facebook page or Facebook Cause to capture more fans and supporters. But sometimes you may have a legitimate reason to send Facebook users away from Facebook. For example, the same Rasmuson Foundation campaign linked to a different interactive quiz each week for the six week ad run. The quiz served two distinct purposes: promoting the key messages about the artist grants that the Foundation wanted to communicate as well as gathering some informal but useful input from Alaska-based Facebook members such as their location and their involvement in the arts.

Targeting Your Facebook Ad

My favorite part of Facebook ads is their targeting feature. You can be as broad or as narrow as you'd like when using Facebook ads. First you select the location of the audience you'd like to target, starting with country, and then you can drill down to state or province and city. Targeting an ad to Alaskans on Facebook took the ad's potential audience from over 43 million Facebook users to about 71,000. If I wanted to be even more targeted on a campaign and have my ad only appear on the Facebook pages viewed by Anchorage-based users, the number would drop to about 65,000. Right away, that tells me that the rest of the state makes up about 6,000 Facebook users. For a statewide campaign in Alaska, that is still a significant number.

You can even slice and dice your ad target further by age, sex, keywords, education level, workplaces, relationship status, sexual orientation, and languages used.

Note that this ad-targeting tool works as a great research tool as well, particularly when you want to know if you can actually reach your target market through Facebook. You'll see right away, before you spend the money, if your target is there.

Paying for a Facebook Ad

The final step in buying a Facebook ad is paying for it. First you name your ad campaign -- and you can have several running concurrently or set them up to run one after another -- then you select your daily budget. You must spend a minimum of $1 US per day; however, the more you pay, the more frequently your ad appears in front of the right audience and the more opportunity you have to increase your brand exposure and build your fan base. My clients have spent anything from $10 per day to $50 a day for a limited run of at least one week.

You can opt to run your ad continuously with no end in sight and when your ad has been delivered the correct number of times to meet your daily budget, it automatically stops rotating until the next day. Or you can set the start and end dates of an ad campaign.

You can choose to pay per impression or pay per click. Paying per click is more expensive than paying per impression because you pay a premium if someone actually clicks on your ad. An average per impression cost is about 27 cents while per click is 51 cents. You can also increase that payment because it's actually a bid meaning that if someone else wants to target the same people you're targeting and bids more, their ad gets "first dibs" on that audience hence better placement. Even if you highly target your ad, someone else can come in bidding higher for an ad that goes out to everyone on Facebook, so that could trump your ad.

So far, we've had good success by both impressions and clicks and have accepted the minimum bid each time without any problem as far as we can tell. Each ad campaign did what we set out to do -- generated clickthroughs, encouraged feedback through quizzes or in other cases built up fan bases.

Bottom Line: Facebook social ads are a great addition to your online marketing campaigns and can be affordable for any sized budget.

Contact Me

That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, e-mail me at digitalmarketer@quickanddirtytips.com or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279.

The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com. 

Tune in for another business boost from The Digital Marketer, the host who's not afraid to go under the Internet's hood & get a little dirty!


Facebook Advertising - http://www.facebook.com/advertising

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com

Facebook Pages - http://www.facebook.com/business/?pages

Facebook Causes - http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2318966938

Facebook image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Aliza Sherman