Your ads don't work and it's probably your fault.

If Facebook had a corner stone it would be Facebook advertising. Through thick and thin it has been a great revenue source for the company. Why? Put simply; because it works.

Say what you like about Facebook (I did recently when I looked at how they could improve the platform) but it's ready-made user base is huge! 

With 1 billion active users; massive cross-platform engagement and a huge 70% of brands having 3 times greater sale returns then they spend on ads, it should be the first place you think to advertise. 

If that isn’t enough to get you started take a look at this

 Click the image to see the full infographic

Click the image to see the full infographic

Facebook Ads: Top Tips to Get Started

Facebook ads isn’t as complex as it first seems. Like any advertising you need strong imagery, good copy and a clear message. You are spoilt with a wealth of targeting which may seem pretty daunting at first but following these top tips may help you build the perfect ads campaign. The advice below is tailored particularly to drive Facebook page likes and engagement; though these principles can be used across the whole Facebook advertising platform - page visits, app installs and others will have different options and tactics. 


Have Something To Offer

It may sound simple; but having something to offer is the easiest way to boost your clicks, likes and get a great ROI. Offering your fans a deal, competition or exclusive event are some of the sure fire ways to get that high CTR and low CPA - the perfect ad cocktail.


Know Your Audience

Having something to offer is great, having something to offer your audience is amazing. Work through your community; review what posts worked well and see what your fans engaged with. When you are setting up ads always remember; your targeting is probably going to attract users of a similar mindset.  

It is usually best to look through your monthly social reports (You do, do monthly reports don’t you?) and focus on any month that performed particularly well. You maybe sitting on a gem that could unlock a massive new audience for your brand and your social data will be key in doing so.

Away from social; work with other marketing teams and create a digital audience personas. Something you should always aim to do; social media fans tend to have ever so slightly different behaviours than your 'offline audience'



As well as knowing your audience; know your insights. Yes; they are different. Your insights will show you geographically where your page is most popular, the age ranges, popular times of day for your page and what other sites are great refers to your page.

Combining all these can help you build a clear target group. Site referrals in particular can give very interesting results. For example, loads of fans coming from a news site? Add this into your ads ‘interests’ targeting and watch the like flood in.


It’s OK to admit they spend time with other people

Don’t be needy. You can’t be the sole brand or product in your audience's life. Use these other interests to mould your ads targeting. Much like site referrals; find out what your audience likes beyond you. Do you sell cars? Well target other companies within that industry; look at users that 'like' cars, insurance or break downs. 

Also, look to your competitors. If you are a retail clothes store, fans of your rivals will never be able to resist a bargain. Add these into your targeting and not only grow your audience online, but offline too.


Plan Ahead

If you are driving users to your page; make sure your page is active. Plan content ahead of your adverts, ensure you have themed content that shows your page to busy and show off your community. DO NOT just spam the same offer or message that is your ads. Doing this is a definite turn off for so many users. 

An active community is an attractive community. Keep your content on brand, on theme and make sure there is clear CTA if you want your users to move on beyond your Facebook Timeline.


Strong Imagery and Clear Copy

Again, something that no doubt mirrors any other marketing efforts. A strong image will draw a users eye and is key to getting engagement. The best way to ensure you have suitable imagery is looking at your ad copy and getting an image that relates. There's nothing worse than having copy talking about all your amazing prize giveaway, placed above a totally unrelated image (no matter how nice it is!).

Also, be careful of Facebook’s 20% rule; it is the one linchpin that could bring your ads crashing back down to earth. Your ads cannot have text that fills over 20% of the image and it is a lot less copy than you think. Becoming an efficient copy writer can help you include the essential text but if you still want to double check, this is a great tool: It is worth remembering even your logo will count towards the 20% limit; only text in a real life setting such as on an brand name on a models shirt, will be discounted.

Your imagery will completely depend on what you are offering, but this is what I'd advise:

  • Optimise your images to the 1200px X 444px - this is the best size for both the mobile feed and desktop.
  • Images are wide, rather than tall. Make sure your image works in a horizontal space.
  • Keep it on brand. If you treat your images with certain filters, font or borders make sure you give your ads instant brand recognition.
  • Create a number of different imagery options; base these on not only the offer, but what your audience wants to see.
  • Don’t be afraid to rework it. If you have a number of different images going out but one style is out performing the other; rework others to match the best performers.

Your copy; as mentioned should be concise, clear and to the point. This is, again, dependant on what you are trying to promote. The essentials here are to create a sense of urgency. Words like ‘now’, ‘today’ and ‘quick’ all work well to create that need for the user to act now. If you can combine these words with a call to action and a clear result for the user, your will engagement spike. If a user knows what their click is going to achieve; they are much more likely to engage.

In an A/B Web Test Hubspot conducted; they found a massive 211% rise in call to action CTR by changing their copy to be clear, direct and included well-defined terms that are understood by everyone. 

So make sure you include words like ‘win’, ‘shop’ or ‘buy’. This gives the user a clear action that they will need to complete or result they will obtain from clicking your ads. This isn't just great for engagement but a good way to keep your CPC low and maximise your budget.

Here a some extra tips that Facebook provide on ad optimisation.

Ad Sets, Ad Set and Even More Ad Sets

Most companies will create their ads, set them live and sit back and watch the results. This can work and I am sure for many has reaped great results. However, your Facebook ads results may look good but did they hit that optimum audience? Have the results you gained hit an engaging audience, that will engage with your page beyond you promotion or ad offering?

Creating multiple ad sets are important for three main reasons.

  • Micro targeting different demographics
  • Gaining high quality fans
  • Optimising your results and yielding a high conversion rate.

The downside? It takes a little more time to set and to manage; but it’s worth it.

Typically; when setting up multiple ad sets they will look something like this:

  • Generic set; audience targeting. This will be a broad audience created from your insights and data. This typically should have the highest reach.
  • Generic set; audience targeting version 2. This would be same as the above, however this would be with different imagery and copy.
  • Highly Targeted set. This will be combining a number of different demographics as well as looking into particular interest or behaviours. The reach should be quite low. It is always a good idea to include a few of these, creating a micro message to each audience.

As well as these typical sets; there are two other types that are always worth a look at:

  • Competitor and affiliates set. If your brand has a direct competitor or another company that shares the interests of your audience - target them in a separate ad set.
  • Speculative Targeting set. On occasion, you may want to branch out from your existing audience. It could be an audience you have never wanted to target before or and area that you would like to grow on your page. Be careful, the stats don't lie. If your insights say your audience is males between the age of 20 - 40 then that is probably where new fans will be, but it never hurts to try and grow your brand. Make sure in these sets the copy and image style matches the new demographic you are chasing.

With all these ad sets live; the key thing to do is keep on top and manage the results. Checking in daily to your ads panel can really help work out what set is working best. You should see a clear result and breakdown of the best perfuming ads within 48 hours of setting them live. If an ad set isn’t working; just shut it off and save the budget for your higher performing ads. 


It’s All In the Tweaking

We have the perfect creative, targeting and now for the management. Analysing your results as they happen is an essential way of optimising your ads and really making the most from your budget. 

Below is a set of results we ran for a client and the key points that effected the overall outcome. This campaign was over a very small timeframe which is great for picking out snapshots on what you can expect to see from your ads.

Point 1 - This is the expected peak. Your ads will normally take a few days to reach its optimum output. The key here it to try and maintain this peak through the campaign.

Point 2 - The ads began to drop; which isn’t uncommon. Results need to steady out and will not rise indefinitely. However, due to the timeframe we want to ensure the drop doesn’t continue. We complete our first set of tweaks. Low performing ads were turned off and the best performing imagery was recreated, and swapped in. 

Point 3 - After the tweaks in Point 2 results began to stabilised, however now at this point, they are beginning to dip again. This is at the latter of the campaign so the dip will be down to the campaign budget being stretched further and reach tightening. At this stage a final set of tweaking could help you maximise the remainder of the budget. Turn off all the ad sets apart from your highest performing 3 ads. This will see a rise in results during the latter days.

As mentioned this is a snapshot of a small campaign. Larger and longer campaigns may need to see point 2 repeated continually to ensure that the results are as stable as possible.


Budgeting and Setting realistic goals 

Working out how much to spend can often be a headache. Knowing the Facebook ads average click through rate can often help set out what you’re likely to achieve. Desktop news feeds are likely to achieve a 1.8% CTR while Mobile news feeds CTR is about 3%.          
Multiply this percentage by your potential reach figure and it should give an average amount of clicks to expect. With this figure you can go ahead and set yourself a realistic goal; it is unlikely that you will hit the exact figure but with a little calculation you can certainly come close.

Go to your ads manager dashboard or other advertising platforms and work out what your normal cost per click is, or if it's your first time - what your ideal CPC would be. Multiply this figure by the 'expected clicks' figure to give a budget that would achieve the results.

Baffled by the maths? Don’t worry; use our calculator below.


Review, Learn and Try Again

When your campaign is all said and done don’t forget to review. So often we sit on data rather than learn from it. Use the data from your campaign to review:

  • What days worked well
  • What content worked well
  • What target audience worked well
  • What was your CPC compared to your target CPC
  • How many people did you actually reach vs. what you thought you would reach
  • And finally, did your page benefit from it?

Building a clear picture will inform your Facebook advertising going forward, even bad results are invaluable. Once you have written down your findings, go again! 

Facebook ads are a great way to grow a page and raise awareness. Not every campaign you run will be successful, but each have their own benefits.

Need help?

If Facebook ads still seem a bit daunting and you would like to have a chat with a member of the team about ads, just give us a call and I am sure we can help you out. 

Call 0845 805 7345 or email


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