How do I run a Facebook ad campaign?

Recently, there have been big changes to how many of your fans see what you post on your business page. (I've personally seen over 50% loss in viewership to the pages I manage.) Facebook claims people were complaining about too many business posts in their newsfeed. I'll condense my opinion on the matter: if someone likes your business page, it's because they want to see your posts. If they don't want to see your posts, they unlike your page. Facebook limiting the amount of people that they present business posts means:

1. less people seeing what they opted in to see by liking your page

2. less exposure for businesses that are trying to create real content

3. more ad revenue for Facebook


Of course! Because in order to get the kind of viewership that you were trying to get before, you now have to pay Facebook to show people your posts. So really...come on, Facebook. People aren't stupid. That being said, Facebook is still a great way to advertise for small business. Why? The ability to target your exact audience is NSA level scary/awesome. Facebook will let you pick pretty much any aspect other than maybe what the target audience eats for breakfast. (I happen to believe that they are working on that.) A Facebook ad campaign can capture just about any audience that you have the patience to work through their targeting navigation to get. If you know who is interested in your business or product, you are set. (I'll discuss how to figure this part out in a bit.) Oh, and don't forget, advertising on Facebook can be cheap. Where else can you get potential customers for cents per day?

How to Rock Your First Facebook Ad Campaign


Making a Facebook ad campaign really isn't difficult. You can start on their page aimed at advertisers or use the arrow on the upper righthand corner of Facebook and select "Create Ads." (From now on, when you want to check on how your ads are doing, go to "Advertising on Facebook" instead.) So what kind of campaigns are there? There are lots of options, but here are the basic kinds that apply to people starting out:

BOOST YOUR POSTS: This is best to do when you see that a post that you made is getting a lot of attention from your fans because the best indicator of what your fans like to what they tell you they like to see. Rocket surgery, brain science - I know! You can boost a post by going through the "Creat Ad" function or you can do it directly from your page. Just hit the blue "Boost Post" button in the lower righthand corner below the content you want to advertise. Keep in mind that it still has to adhere to the "20% or less text rule." (I'll cover this in a bit.)

PROMOTE YOUR PAGE: This is to get people to like your Facebook page. What are the benefits? 1. You get more fans, which makes you look more popular. 2. You get more fans, so there are more people to potentially see the content you post. 3. You get more fans, which are more people who will potentially utilize your business. See the theme? Yeah, I thought so.

SEND PEOPLE TO YOUR WEBSITE: This is where I feel like I have to put in a caveat. If your website is not the bomb-diggity, if your website doesn't represent your company in the best way possible, if your website is stale and uninformative...this might not be the best option for you. People on Facebook are on Facebook because they like being on Facebook. There is no guarantee that they want to go off Facebook to access a business' site. Granted, you're only paying for people who do want to access your site, but if they get there and it's not great, you paid for nothing.


This is the easy part. Either you want more of the kind of people you already have or you want more of a different kind of people. (I should warn you to keep the same kind of people, just maybe add a different part of the country if your business doesn't have to be kept locally - like moi.) So how do you know who your people are? Facebook can tell you all about the people who already like you.

Here you can find the gender, age, location, and language of your fans. That's a great place to start if you want to keep targeting the kind of people you already have. If not, modify your target group to fit what you want. Here's a look at what I might do:

This can get really nitty-gritty, especially under the Behaviors options: high credit card spenders, who vacations at casinos, buyers of low end home decor versus high end home decor. ("Don't think about how they got all this information; just use it to your advantage," says the little devil on your shoulder.)


Only you can determine this part. Personally, I like to experiment so I put low money on lots of different ad campaigns and then take a look at the analytics afterwards to determine what's working for me and what isn't. Just be sure that if you go from "Per Day" to "Lifetime Budget" you recheck the amount in the box. Facebook likes to try to trick you into committing to $350.00 lifetime budgets when you originally had a $20.00 per day budget, which makes sense but can throw you off. If you choose a lifetime budget, obviously you have to set the lifetime AKA the run time of the ad campaign AKA pick some dates. Then you choose what you what kind of optimization (kind of up to you, but I generally go with their default) and then you choose pricing. I always go for the first option; it optimizes how much you're paying per impression. Let Facebook do the work for you, I say. Now we have the fun part...

4. MAKE AN AD THAT WORKS - unless you boosted a post

Let's talk about sizes first, since that's where you have to start. No, scratch that. Let's talk about GIMP first because it's amazing and I want to marry it. GIMP is an bit of open source software that does pretty much everything Photoshop does but it's way cooler and you can Google anything you want to know. People have answered all the questions you might have and there are usually beautiful tutorials to walk you through the steps. If you don't have an editing program that you love, you'll love GIMP. (People say it has a high learning curve, but I'm not sure if I agree.)

Now let's talk about sizes.

BOOST YOUR POST: This is something you already posted, so that's already done.

PROMOTE YOUR PAGE: 1200 pixels wide x 444 pixels high

SEND PEOPLE TO YOUR WEBSITE: 1200 pixels wide x 628 pixels high

Let's make an ad! I'm not going to pretend like I have done all my own research. Not only would it be false, but if it were true, I'd be an idiot. There are lots of very smart people out there and research is a smart thing to do. According to wishpond and many other sources, here's what does well in Facebook ads:

1. happy people

2. color

3. logos

4. value proposition

5. children or pets

6. funny or odd

If you have any questions about what those mean, read the article. They give great examples and explain in detail, so I won't re-hash it here. Onto my conclusions of what people like to see based on my own experimentation:

1. blonde women

2. smiling women

3. whatever font/colors are currently trending

Shocked that #3 didn't also include something about women? You should be. (I hate society.) But that's how the world turns. Now mash it all together in a way that makes sense for your company and don't forget to include some nonsensical words that sound vaguely synergetic/like something your boss would say. (If I feel like I'm going to puke, I know I'm doing it right.)

Now, depending on what kind of ad campaign you are running, you might have to input additional information textually.

BOOST YOUR POST: You're just boosting a post, so you don't have to add anything.

PROMOTE YOUR PAGE: You need to write a bit of text, up to 90 characters, that is sandwiched between your profile picture and your ad picture. This should be a compelling call to action or your business in a nutshell: "Check out this awesome stuff I do!" or "Awesome stuff. We do it." or whatever you come up with. I wouldn't suggest those two.

SEND PEOPLE TO YOUR WEBSITE: 1. Make a headline up to 25 characters. (This is automatically pulled from your website's homepage's SEO page title. You might want to make it a little more reader friendly.) 2. Write text up to 90 characters that describe what your page is about. (This is automatically pulled from your website's homepage's SEO page description. If you love it, leave it. If not, switch it up.)


Now Facebook has to be an ad Nazi and tell you where you went wrong. Remember that "20% or less text rule" I told you about before? It's a requirement by Facebook and they may or may not have sad office trolls that approve or disapprove every ad based on whether or not it passes their test. But how can I tell if my ad will be disapproved? They made a tool so that you can be the sad office troll first! Here's the tool. It's pretty self explanatory.

And don't forget: you can add up to 6 images per ad campaign if it is a "Promote Your Page" or "Send People to Your Website" campaign. Six times the fun, people! That also enables you to find out what your audience prefers to see...blondes or brunettes.


You can always follow Pickles & Oliver on Pinterest for up-to-date tips for social media, blogging, design, branding, and small business success. I hunt down all the best advice from the pros and curate it for you in one place.

#socialmedia #howto #advertising

  I'm Sydney: a branding enthusiast, web design maven, and social media mad scientist. This blog is a design and marketing resource for creative entrepreneurs as well as a space for exploring the "behind the scenes" of my own design process and portfolio. Read more...

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