Facebook Ads 101

It seems like everyone is on Facebook and it’s getting harder to set yourself apart from your competition and make that connection with your potential client. So today we’re going to talk about Facebook Ads and how companies are rocking this marketing technique.

Check out this great resource that shows you all kinds of ROI that small and medium sized businesses have experienced by using ads on Facebook. In one instance, a company wanted to drive new sales from their fan page. The result? 30% increase in orders, 50% increase in order value.

But before we even get started, I want you to answer this question:

My target audience is _______________.

If you can’t answer that right now, bookmark this page, figure it out and then come back – and I’m dead serious.

If you don’t know anything about your audience, your ad is going to fail, and I don’t want to be the one responsible for sending you into a gun fight with a butter knife. I want you to write down everything you can think of about your audience: gender, age group, and language. What country, region or city do they live in? Does your audience have a common interest?

Great work. Now we need to move onto the goals.

  • What do you hope to get out of the ad?
  • Do you want your target audience to know who you are?
  • Do you want to increase your sales or increase traffic to your website?
  • Do you want people to like your page or join your email list?

Next, money. You’ll need a budget – either a cost per day, or a cost over the lifetime of the campaign. 

You’ll also need to decide if you want to run a CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per thousand impressions) campaign. CPC is great if you want to drive traffic to your website or fan page. I prefer to use CPM campaigns if I’m looking to increase basic brand awareness.

You should also give some thought to the schedule of your campaign – whether you want it to run everyday, or just through certain days. You’ll also usually find that the CPC bids will usually go down on the weekends.


1. You can create multiple ads each with their own goal and/or target audience. I’d rather see you create 10 ads that are hyper-targeted rather than 2 or 3 that are trying to appeal to a larger audience.

2. Don’t use your logo unless you’re a well known brand because pictures are what really capture readers attention while they’re on Facebook.

3. When you narrow down your reach, keep the demographics as large as you can because you want to narrow down on interests. If you build niche sites and know anything about long tail keywords, you should probably see a big bright light bulb over your head right now. For everyone else, consider this. If 1,000 people come to your website, and only 100 are really interested in what you’re selling you have a really low conversion rate. However, if you have 300 people come to your site and all 300 are really interested in what you’re selling … well, you’re going to be one happy camper. So remember – narrow your reach on INTERESTS.

4. If you’re an administrator of a page or group, you can target the fans that have already liked the page. This is a great way to tap into people who already know you and are interested in what you’ve got to say.

5. You must, must, must have a clear call to action. Even if it’s a simple “like my page”.

We used to say that people are bombarded with information, pictures and sales tactics on a daily basis, but in today’s world, we’re talking in seconds and minutes … not days or weeks.

Back in my retail management days, I would teach my sales associates that if they nodded their head while talking to a customer about a particular piece of clothing, they would have a higher success rate of the client buying or trying it on because of The Nod. On a sub conscious level, the brain is looking for what it should be doing. They see you nodding. Done deal. The call to action is just like The Nod. Tell them what you’d like them to do.

Hey, if you’re stuck for ideas on what kind of words work well for Calls To Action, look at a past article from Smart Passive Income.

5. Send your traffic to your fan page rather than an external link to get a better rate for your clicks. (Thanks to Anna Hutson for that tip!)


Susan Hand wants to know what kind of exposure a small start up with a limited budget can expect.

Susan, it’s all about reach. When you narrow down your demographics and interests, Facebook is actually going to give you an estimated reach number. This is the amount of people they estimate will fall into the hyper-targeted group you’ve created. Make sure you follow the steps outlined here and write some souped up copy. You’ll fly dear.

Jen Kanaan wants to know the effectiveness of Facebook Ads.

VERY! Be sure to download the resource I linked to at the beginning of the article (the case studies for small/medium businesses) you’ll get an idea of how effective the ads can be.

The key is to make sure that you’re getting the ad in front of the right people. If short and snappy writing isn’t your forte, you may want to consider hiring a freelance writer to whip something up for you. You can also rotate your ads frequently (I’d suggest every 10-14 days). This will allow you to test what works better (try changing one thing at a time – the picture, the title, and the copy) to see what is most effective. It will also help to ensure that people don’t get sick of seeing the same ad over and over again.


I run a pet product company and our first product, supercollar®, is the world’s first dog collar with a built-in leash. It’s great for dog owners with an active lifestyle, so I created an ad that is targeted to Facebook users who list “hiking with their dogs” as an interest. According to Facebook, there are 2,260 of these people over the age of 21. I chose to pay per click and limited my budget to $25 a day for five days. The first full day was yesterday and my report shows that there were 20,590 impressions, 28 click-thrus and I spent about $17. Of the 28 clicks, nothing has converted to a sale…yet…but I am not holding out a lot of hope. How many impressions should I expect to see in a 24 hour period and how is it determined? Why is this form of advertising better or worse than Google ads, which I gave a try earlier this year and it sucks up money without being as targeted as Facebook seems to be?

Jane, SuperCollar

Actual Facebook Ad:

Hate Carrying the Leash?

Enjoy hiking with your dog?
You need supercollar®, the dog collar with a built-in leash…
veterinarian endorsed and made in USA!


  • She hyper-targeted her ad to people who like hiking with their dogs
  • She has a snappy title that also asks a question


  • There’s no call to action.
  • The ad copy needs to be more engaging.


  • Come up with some other targeted keywords and interests that you can use to create multiple ads.
  • Even though I love your title, come up with at least one more so you can split test the title.
  • Re-write the text of your ad so you can split test the ad too. I’d also try to add some extra punch to the copy to make it stand out.
  • I found this post from late 2010 that talks a bit about the algorithm of Facebook Ads. You may find it helpful.
  • You hit the nail on the head with your comment about targeting. I like Facebook for the simple fact that you can hyper target your ad. And it all comes down to where your audience lives online. If they live on Facebook, that’s one crazy reason to advertise there.

Wanna know how your Facebook ad stacks up? Comment below!


Dawn Martinello

Dawn is a superhero disguised as a VA for entrepreneurs. Devisor of kick ass answers. Magikal Maestro of Reiki energy. Plant-loving, crunchy mom to a clever 7 year old.




  1. Dawn Martinello

    Thanks for stopping in Susan – and thanks for the question on my Fan Page. Be sure to come back and let us know how the ad turned out!

  2. Dawn Martinello

    Hi Cheryl! Congrats on your first Facebook Ad!

    It really depends on what you want from your Ad – is it pointing to your Fan Page, or does it go somewhere else?

    What’s the goal for your ad? Is it to get more LIKES on your fan page or do you want something else (like driving traffic to your site or selling a product)?

    You always want a very clear call to action so if your goal is to get more likes, then YES! I would definitely add some type of wording about liking the page. People are inundated by advertisements and we want to make it very clear and very easy for people to do what we want them to do.

    • Cheryl P

      Thanks! And it’s connected to my FB page. I don’t want ‘likes’ for the heck of it because having an enormous amount of likes does not mean you have an enormous amount of readers. The likes that are good (people who actually want to read what I post) will turn into readers who subscribe (so far that’s working well) to my page. I have several ads written and the one that’s doing the best is “Smart money saving tips, deals and giveaways. ‘Like’ us and start putting money back in your wallet.”

      • Dawn Martinello

        As long as the overall goal of your ad to get likes on your Fan Page then your call to action is great and if your ad is converting … then you’re on your way! Having great content on your fan page is just as important as having great content on your site.


  3. Susan Hand

    Great information about how to check out the reach for an ad. I’m going to take your advice and my FB credits I have to use and try this out!

  4. Cheryl P

    I am fairly new to Facebook ads and while I spent years working in print advertising, it’s a whole new world online. I just created my first ad for a new site today. I’m curious if it’s necessary to say “Like Us on Facebook” or is that assumed? I’ve linked the ad to my FB page rather than my site.

  5. Dawn Martinello

    Thanks Karen! Glad you grabbed some useful tidbits from the post. Have you tried FB ads before? Or are you going to try them now?

  6. karen gunton

    this is such a useful post – chock full of tips, examples and further information! i will be sharing this with my readers as well, thank you for providing such helpful information!


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