1) Define your target audience

This is one of the most critical factors to running successful ads. There are several options for building an audience that let you choose exactly who you want to display your ad to.

Building an engaging and loyal audience can only be achieved through trial and error and some necessary patience.

2) Determine which ad placements work best

You’ll have a few selections to choose between or can select all depending on which type of ad you are placing:

  • Facebook: Feed, Instant Articles, In-Stream Video, Right Column
  • Instagram: Feed and Stories

47% of Facebook users only access Facebook via mobile, making mobile a key placement for ads.

It’s still in the early stages, but it’s interesting to see Facebook now allows you to place ads on Instagram, through Facebook, without requiring you to have an Instagram account. This could be a simple way to test and determine if your brand could make a name for itself on Instagram if you don’t already have a presence there.

3) Be visual

Create visually stunning images that engage people on a personal level. I personally use Canva (I use the free version) to create every image I share on my website, in blog articles, and on social media. You’ll want to test different images to see which your audience reacts to better.

It’s important to note that Facebook has a 20% text rule on images used in advertising. In the early days, Facebook would automatically deny any ad that included an image with more than 20% text. Today, they’ve become a little more relaxed, but even though you can get away with an image that displays more text, that ad will be served to fewer users…and ultimately underperform expectations.

4) Test, test and test some more

You’ll never want to stop experimenting and tweaking your ads for maximum ROI. Facebook now allows advertisers to split test their campaigns. According to Facebook, it’s an easy way to “simply and accurately” test different components of ads across devices and browsers, providing results that are easy to digest and that lead to on average a 14% improvement in cost per acquisition.

5) Analyze results

You can use a tool like Report Garden or other tools to measure how well your ads are performing, and compare ads month-to-month or year-over-year.

Back in 2015, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox publically spoke about the mindset on what goes into their algorithm:

“If you could rate everything that happened on Earth today that was published anywhere by any of your friends, any of your family, any news source…and then pick the 10 that were the most meaningful to know today, that would be a really cool service for us to build. That is really what we aspire to have News Feed become.”

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that Facebook wants to serve their users with the best experience, and that’s providing them with useful and relevant content that’s of interest. The opportunities are there to be had. People spend a ridiculous amount of time on social media and Facebook specifically. Having a solid understanding of how Facebook advertising works, will help ensure you don’t end up wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on poorly optimized Facebook ads.

About Steven Eastlack

Steve Eastlack is a Content Marketing Strategist and writes articles related to content marketing, social media marketing, and brand strategy on his blog – eastlackmedia. He works for Surefire Local, headquartered in Tysons, VA and holds degrees in Marketing Management and Psychology from Virginia Tech. Through the use of developing a content strategy, writing monthly editorial calendars and content, and performance reports, Steve helps to build audience and awareness for brands across all digital platforms. When he’s not busy with work, you can find Steve either watching a movie or sporting event or writing for his blog.