How To Advertise Your Business on Facebook (Meta)

Facebook is growing, still. The social network reported 10 million active advertisers were using the platform to promote their goods and services in the third quarter of 2020. And that number is up from 7 million in the first quarter of the previous year.

Businesses continue to advertise on Facebook for several reasons: It’s easy, affordable and effective. But if you want to reach the increasing number of international users—which is 2.91 billion, as of October 2021—you’ll have to pay to play.

When you’re ready to join the millions of advertisers (assuming you already have a Facebook page for your business), the first thing to do is open Facebook Ads Manager, located in the left-hand column of your business’s Facebook page. Here, the platform will walk you through a series of steps to help you prepare and then launch your ad. The entire process could take you just a few minutes, especially if you’ve already identified the following priorities:

What’s your goal?

Before you can start flexing your creative muscle, you’ll need to choose an objective for your campaign. Objectives could include building awareness, increasing leads or driving folks to your store. If your objective is to generate new traffic, for instance, you’ll have to be specific: Where do you want to drive the traffic? To your website, app or landline? Knowing what benchmarks you want to look for will help you determine the ROI.

Who’s your audience?

This is where things can get really interesting. You can select the specific types of people you want to target by choosing their location, age range, gender, interests, behavior and more. For example, if you want to target women between the ages of 30 and 55 located in the Boston area, who have a bachelor’s degree and enjoy gardening, you can do that. If you want to target men, ages 18 to 21 in New Orleans, who are into college football, you can do that too. The more granular you get, the smaller and more precise your potential audience will be.

What’s your budget?

Next, determine your daily budget. How much do you want to spend on your ad campaign? Though it’s not always the case, the more money you spend, the longer or farther your campaign could potentially go. Also, how long do you want your campaign to run? Is it to promote a flash sale? Or throughout the holidays? If you want to spend $100 total and run your ad for four days, your daily budget will be $25 a day, which is a great place to start, though you could start lower or much, much higher. This is also the time in the campaign process where you’ll chose a specific start and end date and time.

What’s your creative?

If you want to use a photograph for your ad, be sure to use good lighting, make it match the look and feel of your brand, and avoid using too much text — in fact, Facebook discourages photos that include text covering more than 20% of the image. If you have that much text, it’s best to include it in the ad description and not the ad itself.

Considering how quickly most people scroll through their Facebook feeds, your ad needs to stand out. Don’t be afraid to use bright colors and be direct with what you’re offering. If you’re selling healthcare services, your creative should include patients and providers in a typical healthcare setting. Don’t make people guess what it is you do or what you’re advertising.

Also, be sure to include a call to action that tells people exactly what you want them to do. If your objective is to get more followers, ask them to “like” your page. If your goal is to get people to download a report on your site, tell them to do just that: “Download our report here.” Make it easy for them to take action.

The next step is to officially launch the ad. It may take up to 24 hours for Facebook to approve an ad before it appears online. You may even have to make changes and submit it again.

Monitor and optimize your ads.

After you’ve launched your first ad, it’s time to monitor the results.

Keep this in mind: Practice makes perfect. The more you advertise, and the longer your ads run, the more you’ll learn about your audience and your ad strategy. Facebook will provide some data on the performance of your ads, but you could also ask customers how they found you or what brought them in. The more information you can collect, the more you can target your future ads. Over time, be willing to make changes to see what yields the best results.

Remember, building a successful campaign takes time, so be patient, and keep trying new things.