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Pros and Cons of Facebook Ads: How to Determine the Best Strategy

As of the second quarter 2016, Facebook had over 1.71 billion active users – are you reaching the right ones? My guess, probably not. But if you’re like me, spending money on Facebook Ads is like blindly throwing darts.

You may have dabbled in spending a couple of bucks to boost your Facebook page posts but were probably disappointed with the little response – leaving you feeling like you wasted your money. Sound familiar? Do you find yourself wishing there was a better way to reach your target audience on Facebook? 

Unless you’ve taken one of Mari Smith’s Facebook Ads webinars or are a social media expert, it’s hard to know where to start and how much money you should spend.

In this post, we’ll discuss the who, what, where, why and when of Facebook advertising.

1 – How Facebook Ads work

2 – Who Should Advertise on Facebook?

3 – How to Target Facebook Ads

4 – How create a successful campaign

5 – Importance of images for Facebook Ads

6 – How to track performance


How Do Facebook Ads Work?

In researching this post, I realized that I didn’t quite know the difference between Facebook Ads and a boosted post and when should I use one or the other? It turns out, the answer to this question isn’t always an easy one. It depends on what your goals are for advertising and what audiences you want to reach.

Thanks to Reload Media for the following explanation:

What is a boosted post?

A boosted post is the most basic advertising you can do on Facebook. You create a boost by allocating advertising budget to a post already on your business page. Taking my husbands business page Evan Garber Arts as an example below, you can see the ‘Boost Post’ option in the bottom right-hand corner.

Typically, use boosted posts when the goal is to achieve audience engagement such as post likes, shares, and comments.

What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads are a more advanced way to advertise on Facebook and require you to create an ad account.

Facebook ads offer the greatest number of options for advertisers, and the type of ad you choose to use will depend on your marketing objectives. Objectives include Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion and contain the following goals:

1 – Awareness

2 – Consideration

→Interested in generating more Facebook leads? Make sure to read Everything You Need to Know about Facebook Lead Ads.

3 – Conversion

Here’s a simple image from Facebook, explaining how Facebook ads work:

Who Should Advertise on Facebook?

First, take a moment to think about why advertising on Facebook may be worth the investment for your business.

Perhaps you’ll recognize some of these challenges that Mari Smith hears from Facebook Page owners on a regular basis:

Next, consider what type of business do you market to. Are you a business to consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B) company?

From the Moz blog, take a look at the pros and cons of advertising on Facebook.

Pros of Facebook Ads

Cons of Facebook Ads


1 – If you are operating in a B2C market, Facebook advertising could be the ideal cost effective solution for you.

2 – On the other hand, the main con of Facebook Advertising is that it’s not recommended for B2B companies.

How to Target Facebook Ads

One of the biggest advantages to advertising on Facebook is your ability to target specific groups of highly engaged people. In fact, according to Facebook, compared to the average online reach of 38% for narrowly targeted campaigns, Facebook targeting is 89% accurate. 

Facebook ads let you target by:

1 – Location

2 – Demographics

3 – Interests

4 – Behaviors

5 – Advanced Targeting (e.g., custom audiences, lookalike audiences, audiences from your website, etc.)

Here’s a snapshot from the ‘Ad Set’ section in Facebook Ads where you can define your target audience by the feature sets listed above.

How to Create a Successful Facebook Advertising Campaign

Here are the creative steps to creating ads that feel at home in the Facebook feed, as well as help deliver business results – at least according to Facebook:

1 – Identify your business goal

Start by deciding what your ad is intended to do.

Identifying the purpose of your advertising will help you build posts that deliver the desired results.

2 – Identify your audience

Decide who your target audience is before you design your ad. It may affect the image and the way you write copy.

3 – Choose a topic

When deciding on the topic of your ad, think about your audience, and what would be interesting to them or offer them some valuable information.

Knowing what the subject or theme of your ad is will help determine everything else.

4 – Choose an image (see more on images below)

Images are the first thing people will notice about your post. So take time selecting and curating the images you put there – this is how people will see your business.

5 – Write your copy <– (Notice how this is way down at the bottom of the list. Read more on why images are everything in Facebook ads!)

You don’t have to be a novelist to write effective text for a Facebook post. Following a few simple tips can help make your writing more effective and consistent in your ads. Most importantly, if you do nothing else, spellcheck.

Ask yourself the following:

1 – What’s the best reflection of your businesses personality?

Is it funny? All business? Adventurous? Every business has its unique identity and the more authentic you are, the more effective your ads are likely to be. Be yourself and be consistent in your tone of voice.

2 – What is important?

***Remember, people scroll through Facebook quickly, so the chances they’re going to stop and read a novel are slim. Stick to the relevant information and pay attention to the character count limit.

Elements of a successful ad

As a helping hand, here are a few tips again from the Moz blog to get you started on the road to creating a successful Facebook Advertising campaign:

From AdExpresso’s eBook on The Science of Successful Facebook Ads, here’s a quick overview of what a typical Facebook ad should look like:

A couple of data-backed facts on the most popular type of Facebook ad:

1 – Most popular: Page post Link ad

Data shows that the most popular type of ad is the Page Post Link Ad and is ideal for promoting your external site. Use the Link ad to send people directly to relevant sections of your website.

See example of a post link ad below found in my Facebook feed for Tecovas (everyone needs one awesome pair of boots!):

2 – High Engagement: Video ads

Video ads, which currently make up 15.1% of all Facebook ads, can drive high audience engagement.

Best practices of a video ad:

3 – Photo ads are good for generating comments and likes, but not good for traffic, and you can’t include a CTA.

4 – Other ad types of ads such as Events and Offers are good for highly specific aims, such as promoting a time-sensitive webinar or sale.

Images for Facebook Ads

The good and bad news: Images are everything in Facebook ads.

Consumer Acquisition found that images are so important, they’re responsible for some 75 to 90% of an ad’s performance.

If you look at AdEspresso’s anatomy of a Facebook Ad diagram, it’s obvious how important images are – more so than the actual copy.

1. Pick An Interesting Subject

Focus on the things about your business that make it stand out.

The people.

The environment.

The products.

Try to pick an image that will grab your audience’s attention as they scroll through Facebook.

2. Shoot for Quality

If possible, avoid these three things:

You can do this by taking photos with your smartphone of things that aren’t moving (that includes your hands while you take the photo), in well-lit places. It also means paying attention to the size of the image specified by the ad you’re building (square vs. rectangle).

3. DIY Photography Tips

You can take great photos on your smartphone.

A few more tips from AdEspresso. Do these images grab your attention?

Tip #1: Eye Contact Helps Build Trust

Tip #2: Focus On Lips

Notice the power of red!

Tip #3: Beards Rule

Researchers from Australia looked at how people rated the attractiveness of men who were clean-shaven, had light stubble, heavy stubble, or were in full bloom beard-wise. They found that the men with the heavy stubble are always rated as more attractive than the clean-shaven guys.

Tip #4: Pregnancy Bumps Can Release Our Care Chemicals

Conclusion: We spend our entire lives looking at other people, so we’re drawn to them in ads as well. We love looking at eyes, lips, and bodies — it’s just in our nature. Adding something slightly different, like facial hair or a pregnancy bump can also make your ad stand out from the rest.

For more inspiration, download AdEspresso’s eBook on 500+ Facebook Ads Examples to get inspired. The best advertisers are those that constantly try new ways to improve their performances. New designs, new audiences, new ads’ copy. In this eBook you’ll find 500+ real world Facebook Ads Examples to get inspiration from for your campaigns!

How to Track Performance

Coming soon…


What have your experiences with Facebook Ads been like? We’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments.