The How To Guide to Facebook Advertising in 2021

by Balaji Venkatesan
Published: Last Updated on

93% of marketers use Facebook advertisements regularly, which means about 3 million businesses use Facebook to market their business.

Based on this, we are sure that Facebook Advertising works. Now we’re going to understand exactly how it works.

Facebook Ads are a form of social media advertising. You pay Facebook an amount to advertise a particular creative to your target audience. All these factors are decided by you and the ad is then executed by Facebook based on the parameters.

Facebook has adopted an Auction system with their ads. It’s inevitable that a number of Ads intersect with similar target audiences. Now, which Ad ends up appearing on the user’s news feed and how is it determined? The idea is for Facebook to show the Ad that will maximize on value for the user and the business involved. 

Naturally, the highest bidder wins in an auction. But the budget alone does not count for the highest bid. Facebook filters the Ad out based on the bid amount, the quality score and the estimated action rates. 

Should You Advertise on Facebook? 

We’d be lying if we said you should 100% invest in Facebook Ads. 

The truth is, it depends on a variety of factors. The nature of your business, your target audience, your strategy, etc. 

It also depends on which stage of the funnel you’re targeting. Studies show that low conversion ads usually perform better than expecting your consumer to dive right in for the purchase. This goes to show that Ads might not have an immediate ROI but if you track the progress on the funnel, there will be higher chances of a purchase later. 

Facebook Ad Elements

The following make up a typical Facebook Ad – 

  1. Creative – This is the highlight of your Ad. The image or video you choose to go with for the 750px/246px space. 
  2. Post Text – This can be above or below the Ad Creative. The text is a gist of the Ad and is supposed to be less than 90 characters. 
  3. Headline – 25 characters. That’s what you get for creating a capturing headline, enough to capture your audience’s attention. 
  4. Description – You get to expand on your headline in this section. It has a 200 character limit and is only available on a few types of Ads. 
  5. Call To Action (CTA) – The conversion point of your entire post. You have options ranging from ‘’Visit Website’’ to ‘’Contact Us’’. Make sure to use the option that aligns with your goal for the Ad campaign. 
  6. Targeting – This step ensures that the Ad is presented to the right audience. 
  7. Placement – There are a few different places your Ad can appear on Facebook. The News Feed, Display Advertising on the right side of the News Feed and Facebook Messenger. 
  8. Bid – The bid that you made on the Ad as part of the Auction system explained previously in the blog. It’s the highest amount you’re willing to pay to win the auction. 
  9. Budget – The maximum amount you can spare for the Ad campaign. 
  10. Schedule – The duration of your Ad’s run time. 

Types of Facebook Ads

Image Ad

Starting with the basics, an Image Ad is the simplest way to create a Facebook Ad. You can upload one as an Ad campaign or boost an existing post on your page. Image Ads can be very effective if created properly. The right creative with compelling copy and a captivating caption and you’re off to a great start! 

There are some specifications to adhere to in order to create the perfect image for your Facebook Ad – 

Resolution: at least 1080 x 1080 pixels

Minimum width: 600 pixels

Minimum height: 600 pixels

Aspect ratio: 1:91 to 1:1

And make sure to upload a high quality JPG or PNG formatted picture. 

Video Ad 

You can create a video by filming something or even use an illustration or GIF format. The video can appear on the user’s news feed or in between long Facebook Ads. 

Recommended: Highest resolution available (at least 1080 x 1080 px)

Video ratio: 4:5 (16:9 to 9:16 supported)

Video file size: 4GB max

Minimum video length: 1 second

Maximum video length: 240 minutes

Poll Ad

This is an Ad where you can interact with your audience by presenting them with a poll to choose from. Separate links can be attached to both and both parties can view the poll results. This is a mobile-only feature. 

Carousel Ad

Carousel Ads are a great option to display multiple products or features of the same product in one post. You can showcase up to 10 images/videos in a Carousel Ad. The specifications are as follows: 

Resolution: at least 1080 1080 pixels

Maximum image file size: 30MB

Ratio: 1:1

Minimum number of cards: 2

Maximum number of cards: 10

File types: PNG, JPG, MP4, MOV, GIF

Slideshow Ad

A PPT of your product/service. What better way to wow your users, right? 

These Ads are interesting to create as they have built in properties of adding text and music to the photos in the slideshow. And they use five times less data so they load faster than a video Ad. 

Collection Ad

This Ad allows you to showcase up to 5 photos/videos of the product/service.There is one primary photo/video that is showcased first. It is a mobile only feature. A collection ad can be paired with an instant experience ad and 

Instant Experiences Ad

A full screen Ad format that loads 15 times faster than a website outside of Facebook. Similar to a swipe up feature in Instagram. It is a mobile only feature. 

Lead Ad

Want to make it mind numbingly easy for your user to sign up for newsletters or any other form for your brand? The Lead Ad feature makes it easy for the user to volunteer contact information without a lot of typing involved. This feature is available only on mobile. 

Messenger Ad

These Ads directly show up in a user’s Messenger account. Another way is to use a Messenger CTA in your news feed ad and redirect your customer to a messenger chat box between them and your business page. Now the user can have a one-on-one conversation with a customer service rep. 

Dynamic Ad

Dynamic Ads allow for changing the product/service depending on what the customer is most interested in. This way, if a customer has previously shown interest in a particular product on your website, that product will show up in the Ad on their news feed, acting as an additional touchpoint in their purchase journey. 

Stories Ad

These Ads pop up in the middle of the stories on your feed. It’s a mobile only feature and takes full advantage of using up the entire vertical space on the mobile device. 

Augmented Reality Ad

Ever used a filter by a business on social media? This is an AR Ad. These Ads use filters and animation to promote a product or the brand in general. For instance, a cosmetic brand can use AR ads for different shades of a lipstick range. 

The dimensions mentioned in the above section are courtesy of Hootsuite

Types of Targeting

Core Audience

This is the usual form of targeting. You set your targeting parameters based on the age, sex, interests, demographics, etc of your audience. 

Custom Audience

Building a custom audience on Facebook Ads is setting the targeting similar to your potential existing audience. This audience can be on or off Facebook, the platform allows you to set the parameters based on external data as well. 

Lookalike Audience

This one’s fairly simple. A lookalike audience is similar to some of your best customers. Facebook can pick that data up and use it for targeting. 

Target Parameters

We spoke about parameters in the types of targeting section above. But what are these parameters? 

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Connections
  • Relationship Status
  • Languages
  • Education
  • Workplaces

The above are the various parameters you can use to narrow down your target audience. 

A Step by Step Checklist 

How do you go about creating a Facebook Ad? Do you directly create the Ad or are there preliminary steps to be taken? For this Checklist, you are required to have an account with Facebook Ads Manager. Once you’ve created it, follow the steps below to create the Ad. 

Step 1 – Objective 

  • Log into your Facebook Ads Manager account
  • Select the Campaigns Tab
  • Click on Create 

Facebook gives you 11 objectives to choose from, based on your goals for the campaign. 

  • Brand Awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic 
  • Engagement
  • App Installs
  • Video Views
  • Lead Generation 
  • Direct Messages 
  • Conversions 
  • Catalog Sales
  • Store Traffic

Step 2 – Name the Campaign

Name your Ad Campaign. Be sure to declare if the Ad fits into categories like credit or politics. There is an option to run A/B testing in this step. Turn it on if you want to run the test for this post. 

Step 3 – Budget and Schedule

Set a daily or a lifetime budget for your Ad. As for the schedule, you can either manually enter schedules or you can choose to go Live with the Ad immediately. By scheduling it, you can make the Ad live when there are more chances of your target audience seeing it. This way, your budget is spent effectively. This can only be done if you choose a lifetime budget option. 

Step 4 – Select your Target Audience

Start with setting the basic targeting features like age, location, gender and language. There’s an estimate Facebook runs on the right side of the page. As you set your targeting parameters, it gives you an estimate of the number of people reached overall and on a daily basis along with the potential number of likes. 

Facebook has detailed targeting options which allows you to select your audience based on their interests and behaviours. There is also an option to include or exclude your existing audience, depending on the campaign goal. 

Be sure to use all the targeting features of Facebook Ads Manager. The more detailed the targeting, the more effective it will be for your ROI. 

Step 5 – Ad Placement

Deciding where your Ad will be placed on Facebook and among the other options of platforms. There is an automatic option wherein Facebook decides where your Ad will be placed to maximize ROI. If you were to manually select the placement, these are the parameters – 

  • Device Type – Mobile, Desktop, or both. 
  • Platform – Facebook, Messenger, Audience Network, Instagram. 
  • In App Placement – News Feed, Stories, Video in stream, messages
  • Software – Android, iOS, other softwares. 

Step 6 – Brand Safety Controls

Again, this step has an automatic or manual option. You can decide to choose based on your understanding of the step. 

Brand safety controls ensure that your Ad does not appear with any type of inappropriate content. 

Step 7 – Create the Ad

This is where it all comes together. You’ve completed all the preliminary steps and now it’s time for you to create the Ad itself. Upload the image/video in the desired format and select the type of Ad you want to display. The formatting options will vary based on the campaign objective you chose in Step 1. 

Select preview to have one last look at all the steps. Once you’re happy with everything go ahead and click Publish to start your Ad campaign. 

Facebook Ad Costs

This is a prime example of the importance of a campaign objective that is suitable to your goals. If you run the campaign with incorrect objectives, you will likely incur a higher CPC. 

Create Engaging Facebook Ads

Vertical Videos 

Most users use Facebook on their mobile devices. Creating vertical videos allows the Ad to cover more space on the phone.

Text on Images

If you must use text on images, try a smaller font and keep the words to a minimum of 20% and below. This is to maintain the proportion of text to image. 

Shorter Text

The attention span today is shorter than ever. In research conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association, it took 2–3 seconds for 2 out of 3 for people to see and cognitively recognize desktop ads compared to 0.4 seconds on mobile. Keep your text short, clear and concise to get your message across.

Use the Carousel Ad format

This format gives you a chance to portray different products/services or multiple features of the same product in a scroll through style. You get a chance to display more of your product in the same budget. 

Add Movement

Ads with movement stand out in the News Feed. Use the following apps to bring your content to life in a few clicks – 

Use a compelling CTA

Facebook has a number of CTA button options. Based on your objective for the Ad, choose the suitable CTA button to maximize chances of conversion. 

Effective Facebook Ad Copy

Knowing how to create the Ad is required. But if you make the Ad with ineffective Copy, the entire process is futile. Here are some pointers to make sure your Copy is effective and accomplishes your end goal – 

  • A/B Testing 
  • Write Copy appropriate to the buyer journey stage 
  • Offer something of value 
  • Copy and visuals should be in sync 
  • Hyper targeted Copy 
  • Take advantage of the Relevance Score feature 
  • Write to induce immediate action 
  • Focus on the consumer, not your brand 
  • Offer something in return for their time and attention 
  • Don’t give away all the information 

All This To Say 

Facebook Ads should form a part of your Paid Social Media Strategy. Now that you know how Facebook Ads are created and all about them, be sure to try them out and see the results for yourself. 

Until next time, take care and stay safe. 


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