The Do’s and Don'ts of Advertising on Facebook

By Guest Blogger

By now it’s no secret—your brand should probably be advertising on Facebook. With 800 million users and counting, an ecosystem that encourages sharing, and an advertising platform that allows you to target ads with laser-precision, Facebook has become a major player in online advertising.
However, Facebook presents unique challenges—a poorly planned campaign can be costly to your bottom line and to your brand’s reputation, so here are some Do’s and Don’ts of advertising on Facebook:


Determine your marketing objectives and relevant metrics before launching your campaign.

Are you looking to boost your Facebook Friend count? If so, it would be useful to calculate your Cost-Per-Fan to make sure you’re affordably scaling up your brand’s social media presence. If you’re more interested in generating buzz around your brand, then tracking engagements (Likes, Share, Comments) and the Cost-Per-Engagement may make more sense. Facebook Ads can be used for a multitude of purposes—from promoting specific actions to building general brand awareness—so it’s important to figure out what you want your Facebook campaign to achieve before you begin spending money on it.

Think about your ideal audience and target your ads carefully.

Facebook offers some of the most granular demographic targeting functionality of any ad network. You can target people based on their geography, age, gender, employer, education and their interests in any number of combinations (21-35 year-old men with college degrees in Los Angeles who like ESPN, for example). Facebook also lets you target your ads based on connections, so you can focus your ads only on your Fan’s friends and leverage social proof to drive more clicks. While segmenting your audience across some or all of these dimensions is no doubt time-consuming, it will also help ensure that your ads are only being delivered to relevant audiences, which will boost the performance of your campaign in the long run.

Make an exclusive offer in your ad.

People like to feel special, and Facebook users are no exception. If you want your ad unit to grab people’s attention, you need to make the ad’s content worth their time. Offer people a deal that they won’t find anywhere else and you’re more likely to win those coveted clicks. Some brand marketers take this a step further and require people to “Like” the brand within the ad unit before gaining access to the special deal. While this may be a good method for gaining new Fans in the short run, be warned that many of those Fans may simply “Unlike” your page once they’ve gotten what they want.

Run A/B tests and change your ads periodically.

Facebook Ads are tiny, so tiny that even the most minute change can make a major difference in your click-through rates and conversion rates. Create multiple variations of your ad with small changes to your headline copy, body copy, and ad image to discover the optimum combination for your target audience. Even when you think you’ve found the sweet spot, change up your ads every few months so that people don’t get burn out on seeing the same ad over and over.


Treat Facebook like a mass broadcast tool.

True, Facebook’s reach is tantalizingly broad—everybody from your little cousin to your grandma is probably on it. But that doesn’t mean that you should treat it like a megaphone through which you can blast one-size-fits-all messages. Facebook users value relevance and authentic engagement when dealing with ads, so make sure that your ads are custom-tailored for your audience if you want to see any lift from your campaigns.

Send people somewhere irrelevant when they click on your ad.

Getting people to click on an ad is usually just a means to an end, so it’s absolutely vital that you direct users to the right place when they click. Examples of bad destinations include your company’s home page or your Facebook Page’s Wall—both of these sites are too generic and don’t offer users an immediate call-to-action so that they can take the next step. Instead, send them to either the relevant sub-section of your Facebook Page or to a custom landing page that delivers on the promises made in the ad. This will help ensure that more clicks are turning into conversions, which is crucial if you’ve decided to run your campaign on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis.

Use Facebook Ads to sell people something right away.

People go on Facebook to enjoy Facebook—they’re not necessarily in the mood to buy something. You may see better success if you pare down your expectations; instead of a purchase, request a social action (Like/Share) or direct people to a landing page where they’re required to enter their e-mail address in order to access a special offer or exclusive content. This alleviates some of the friction for the user, and makes your ad seem less of an intrusion into their Facebook browsing experience as a result.

Set it and forget it.

Facebook Ads provide a wealth of data on how your ads are performing, so it would be a shame to ignore all of these useful insights by not keeping track of your campaigns on a regular basis. Like other forms of online advertising, Facebook Ads require continuous tinkering and trial & error in order to produce real results. If you’re truly dedicated to maximizing your ROI from your Facebook ad campaigns, then you need to view your campaign as an ongoing quest of optimization, not a one-time event.


Facebook Ads provide a great opportunity for you to get your brand noticed and build buzz, but to get the most bang for your buck, it pays to take the time to thoroughly understand the uniqueness of the platform and adjust your advertising strategy accordingly.

Do you have a Facebook advertising story you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comments.


By Hafez Adel

Hafez Adel is the Director of Marketing at ReTargeter, a digital marketing and display advertising firm that specializes in retargeting for brands of all sizes.

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