Facebook Ad Guidelines Cheat Sheet
Facebook ads are one of the most cost-effective ways to get attention on your brand these days. Not only are they affordable, but the potential reach is huge.
Unfortunately, though, not many small businesses are getting the most from their Facebook ads! A survey released by website builder Weebly indicated that 62% of small business owners feel their paid ads on Facebook are missing their target. That’s not a very comforting statistic when you consider how many small businesses currently use and advertise on the platform.
The potential is there, however, for small business owners to harness the power of these ads to reach billions of people across the world – and, more importantly, the specific segments of people who would be most likely to become your next customer. While it can be challenging, at first, to get the hang of things, once you do it’s more than worth it.
This cheat sheet is meant to help you get the most from Facebook ads in an easy-to-understand format. It will cover basic Facebook advertising guidelines including:
- Facebook ad types
- Facebook ad costs
- Facebook ad targeting
- Facebook ad copy and creative
- Staying competitive on Facebook
- Analyzing your Facebook ad results
Types of Facebook Ads
It’s vital to have an understanding of what you’re working with when getting started with Facebook ads. To that end, let’s start with the different ad types available to you.
According to Facebook, there are 11 basic kinds of ads available on the platform. These include:
- Video – Video ads that feature sound and motion (more on Facebook video ads here)
- Image – High-quality but simple visual ads (more here)
- Collection – Ads that showcase products from your store’s catalog
- Carousel – Display up to 10 videos or images in the same ad, each with its very own link (more on Carousel ads here)
- Slideshow – Ads that use sound, copy and motion to tell brand stories
- Canvas – Mobile-optimized and full-screen experiences for your customers, directly from ads (more on Canvas ads here)
- Lead Generation – Carousel, image or video ads that present your leads with a form, after they engage with your ads (more on Lead Ads here)
- Offers – Ads offering discounts
- Post Engagement – Ads meant to boost page posts to obtain more engagement
- Event Responses – Video or image ads designed to drive awareness and responses for events
- Page Likes – Ads intended to drive page likes and engagement
Which ad type you choose will, naturally, depend on your business type and what your marketing goals are, so be sure to establish your goals first.
Facebook Ad Costs
Facebook is outrageously popular for businesses, even in the wake of bad press about how it handles your data. Much like the auction for Google ads, there’s a bidding process to determine where your Facebook ad appears and how much you pay per click. You’ll indicate how much you want to hand over for precise actions on any given ad, such as views, conversions, clicks, etc. You can manually adjust it or have Facebook automatically make calculations for you, based on your specifications.
Various factors can affect your Facebook ad costs, including the following:
- When your ad campaigns run (time, date, during peak hours when competition is fiercest)
- Your specific audience
- Your Relevance Score
- Ad placement
- Your bidding method (set a bid limit on every unique bid or just set your average bid)
As you can probably guess, ad costs therefore can vary quite a bit.
Still, if we look at the averages, we can see some interesting information.
WordStream analyzed hundreds of client accounts to calculate the average cost per click (CPC) and cost per action (CPA) on Facebook for eighteen different industries. They found that the average across all business types was $1.72 per click and $18.68 per conversion.
These are averages, so yours, based on your unique campaigns, could well be different.
What if you’re outside the US? AdEspresso performed a study where it looked at 2017 data to gauge average ad costs in the U.S. and other areas. Here are the findings, in US dollars:
- CPC average for all countries - $0.97
- CPC average targeting those 65 and up – more than (Q1) $0.70
- CPC average targeting those between 13 and 17 (Q1) = $0.11
- CPC average of Instagram ad placement (Q4) - $1.15
- CPC average of Facebook ad placement (Q4) - $0.50
- CPC monthly average - $0.40
- CPC average on Sundays - $0.40
- CPC average on Tuesdays and Thursdays - $0.50
- CPC average of targeting women (Q4) - $0.64
- CPC average of targeting men (Q4) - $0.50
- CPC average of optimizing for link clicks (Q4) - $0.44
- CPC average of optimizing for impressions (Q4) - $3.79
- CPL (cost per like) average for page like campaigns - $1.08
- CPL average targeting those 55 and up (Q4) - $0.33
- CPL average targeting those between 13 and 17 (Q4) - $0.04
- CPL average per month - $0.12
- CPL average per week (Q4) - $0.14
- CPL average cost for women - $0.16
- CPL average cost for men - $0.11
Looking at ad costs on the platform helps you get a sense of how much of your budget Facebook marketing will eat up. There are, of course, always ways to adjust your targeting and other strategies to lower your Facebook ad costs.
Facebook Ad Targeting
Now it’s time to delve into ad targeting. Here’s where you identify your audience and ensure that the ad content you serve up to them actually appeals to them.
How well you’re able to identify your audience will have a meaningful impact on how much you spend on ads, your ROI, and their overall effectiveness. It pays to spend extra time to accurately define whom you’re targeting.
Facebook lets you go pretty deeply into the traits that define your audience. The extensive targeting options include (but are by no means limited to):
- Life events (such as “recently married”)
- Job title
- Political affiliation
These demographic qualities help you narrow down who will see your ads.
For example, if you’re trying to market to teens on the west coast who speak different languages and are interested in entertainment products, your ad-targeting breakdown might look something like this:
- 13 to 19
- Entertainment > Live events > concerts
Naturally, narrowing down your audience to those more likely to be in market for your offerings gives you better results than just showing your ads to anyone.
Facebook Ad Copy & Creative
Facebook advertising is just like any form of advertising: the quality of your ad copy and creative goes a long way toward determining your ROI.
One of the most important skills you can master in advertising is the art of persuasion. Famous psychologist Robert Cialdini’s 1984 book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, laid out six unique principles to help marketers convince and convert with greater success. They are:
- Social proof
- Commitment and consistency
It’s a good idea to infuse your Facebook ads with some of these timeless persuasion principles. For that, you have to consider how you can grab your audience’s attention and persuade them to click using various elements of your ads, such as:
- The headline (make it short, clear and memorable)
- Placement (more on optimizing your Facebook ad placements here)
- Images (go with vibrant, eye-catching imagery)
- Value proposition (what makes you different; the unique value you bring)
- Call to action or CTA (use an action-oriented, crystal-clear verb to drive action)
How can you use the principles of persuasion in your Facebook ads? For example, reciprocation can be as straightforward as telling people they can get a free report or ebook if they complete your lead form, while social proof can be something as simple as the number of reactions, shares and comments your ad racks up over the course of its run. More creative, engaging ads tend to get more likes and shares.
Here are some more tips on writing great Facebook ads.
Outdoing the Competition on Facebook
It’s always fair game to see what your competitors are doing—and try to best them. After all, if you can deliver better content to your customers, then you attract their attention and more.
Your competition’s Facebook ads are a goldmine of inspiration for what you can do better in your ads. Simply analyze what their ads are doing right and where there’s room for improvement. Then, implement that in your own ads, especially if you’re competing for the same audience.
Case in point: Skillshare and Udemy are both online learning platforms where courses and how-to videos are available.
Whereas Udemy has an ad touting lifetime access to one course with a 100% money-back guarantee, Skillshare touts unlimited access to all of its courses, all for the price of just $0.99 for two months.
Checking out your competitors’ ads might give you ideas for new value props, CTA’s, or emotional angles to test in your own Facebook ads.
Learn more strategies for competitive advertising on Facebook here.
Facebook Ad Reporting
After you’ve gone through all this trouble to familiarize yourself with how Facebook ads work and hopefully implemented some campaigns, you can’t just expect them to do all the work for you while you sit back. You have to take an active role in your campaigns even when they’re underway, so that you can ensure that you’re getting a good ROI from your ad spend and efforts.
Start monitoring results as soon as you’ve launched one of your ad campaigns. Don’t wait until the campaign has run its course to determine if it was hitting all the right targets or not.
Just head to your Facebook Ads Manager to look at your ads’ performance in real-time (or use our free Facebook ads grader!) The beauty of monitoring in real-time is you can also respond in real-time by adjusting underperforming ads. Within the Ads Manager, you can easily edit your ads to tweak them to reach better performance.
- If an ad’s engagement level is disappointing, try improving the copy or the visuals used in the ad to make it more stimulating and persuasive
- If an ad’s reach is lower than you expected, try to expand the audience in your targeting parameters
- If an ad’s conversions aren’t where you want them to be, try improving your call to action by using a more action-oriented verb, or working to improve your Facebook ad landing pages
A final note on tracking Facebook performance: Instead of putting an emphasis on vanity metrics like engagement and the like, you should be focused on tracking the metrics that really matter: sales and ROI or return on ad spend (ROAS). If your ad campaign gets you a lot of reach, clicks and conversions, but you’re actually losing money per sale when you figure in all your expenses, then the campaign’s no good.
That’s why you need to track ad performance and sales first and foremost during the course of your campaigns.
You Can Make Facebook Ads Work for You
Facebook ads have a proven track record of success for small businesses. The fact that they’re cost-effective makes them business-friendly and is just another reason to use these ads. However, not many business owners are using these ads to their full potential—not even close!
If you decide to jump headfirst into Facebook ads, you have to have a solid grasp of how the entire platform works, how much you’ll likely spend, the different ad types, optimization strategies, and the need to monitor your ads closely.
Only then will your business get the most from this great platform.
Note: If you're looking for information on the Facebook ads boycott, check out this post: #StopHateforProfit: What You Need to Know About the Facebook Ad Boycott.