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The Facebook Ad Primer for Beginners

September 1, 2016 Stephanie Fisher

Facebook ads. You know you've glanced at them as you looked at pictures of your high school crush's new baby, but you probably haven't paid a whole lot of attention to them.  

Well, you might be skimming over them, but somebody's clicking on them—according to this handy infographic from HubSpot, Facebook's ad revenue increased from $1.9 billion in 2010 to over $12 billion in 2014.

The numbers are continuing to climb, despite industry experts proclaiming that Instagram or Pinterest or any other social media platform are superior to good old Facebook. Yes, the kids might be more interested in Snapchat or Instagram, but apparently their parents are busy spending their hard-earned cash over on Facebook. 

What Will Facebook Do For You?

Ok, so Facebook ads are profitable, but can they work for you? In a word, yes. For starters, Facebook requires a great deal of data from every person who sets up an account—location, age, and interests are just some of the things people willingly put in their profile that can be helpful to advertisers.

All of this data makes it easy for Facebook to target ads that will seamlessly mesh with their users' profiles. So if, for example, you're a man in your 40's who loves to deep-sea dive and cook gourmet meals, you might see ads for beach resorts, subscription meal services, and men's clothing in your sidebar.  As these are things that interest you, it's more likely that you'll click on these than you would on, say, an ad for a ladies' athletic wear. 

Another beautiful thing about the Facebook ad is that it doesn't disrupt your experience. (Ahem, YouTube, we're looking at you.) You can glance over and look at the ad, or you can completely gloss over it.  Your Facebook experience isn't marred by an obnoxious, intrusive ad that you can't click away from until the mandated fifteen seconds. This makes it more likely that you'll click if you find it interesting, because you're not instantly annoyed by it. 

Read our Facebook Advertising Guide for Banks and Credit Unions

Facebook Ad Breakdown

You're ready to give it a shot, but you're not sure where to start. There are several types of Facebook ad, but which one is the right one for you? Don't fret, we're here to help. We've broken it down into a few easy-to-follow categories, allowing you to decide which Facebook ad will best suit your particular style and needs. 

Looking for Website Leads or Traffic?

Are you hoping to boost your website's signal? Do you want to see more folks visiting your website, in hopes of getting them to purchase your product, or sign up for your fantastic—but underappreciated—newsletter? These are the ads for you. 

Page Post Link

If you're looking to generate Likes on your Facebook page, this is the choice for you.  Essentially, this version will feature a big, beautiful photo that will snag a lot of attention from potential customers, with a blurb explaining what you've got to offer.  Here's an example of an ad from my personal Facebook feed:

Note the Like button in the upper right-hand corner, which makes it simple for any interested party to enjoy everything you've got to offer on your Facebook page, which will hopefully generate leads.

Where will they see it? In the newsfeed or in the right-hand column, depending on your preference, and it's viewable on all mobile devices, too, which means that users will see it no matter how they like to scroll through Facebook.  

Domain Ad

If you're a fan of simplicity, this is the choice for you. It's the least expensive of the options if you're just looking to dip your toe into the world of Facebook ads.

Where will they see it?  It's a box placed in the right column, which means it's not viewable on mobile platforms. It might not perform as well as some of the more complex ads, but it's a good intro into what Facebook ads are capable of doing for you. 

Want to Generate Leads or Sales for Services or Products?

Have your sales remained stagnant, or worse, started to slide downward? Do you wish you had a better system for generating leads for your services?  Facebook has the ads that can help you increase your sales or bring in the leads you need. Take a peek at what they've got to offer.

Dynamic Ads

Do you have a number of products that you're hoping to advertise, so a typical Facebook ad would be leaving out some of your best stuff? Facebook has the solution; simply upload your entire catalog, and they will automatically target the ads toward each user using a carefully cultivated list of their prior actions,  ensuring that the product that would best appeal to them will appear in the ad. 

Where will they see it?  These ads are located in the newsfeed or in the column on the right, and this ad is also viewable on a mobile device. 

Carousel Ads

As you might guess from the name, the carousel ad rotates between up to five different products; you can create a story with the pictures and words as they rotate, or you can just have five disparate images for five disparate products, depending on your needs. With the carousel ad, you're sure to hit upon something that will interest a Facebook user. 

Where will they see it?  The carousel ads are located in the newsfeed, but they are viewable on your desktop computer as well as a mobile device.

Lead Ads

If your mission is to generate leads, this is the ad for you. The lead ad allows you to create contact forms, including a spot for potential customers to leave their email address, phone number, or any other information you might need to give them more information about your products or services, or say subscribe to your podcast! The example below is no longer active (we're refreshing our FB ads right now!) but it's a good example of what you can do with a lead ad.

Where will they see it? Lead ads are located in the newsfeed, but folks can fill out your contact forms on their mobile device as well as on their desktop. 

Canvas Ads

Canvas ads are unlike any other ads on Facebook. Available only on mobile devices, Canvas ads are a completely immersive experience, allowing you to showcase your business through still photos as well as videos, with interactive elements available for users. You can create incredible, entertaining ad experiences that will leave users with a positive impression. You can see more examples of Canvas ads here in our detailed post.

Where will they see it? Canvas ads are in the newsfeed, and, as we said before, they're for mobile devices only at this time. (Who knows? Maybe the future will have us spinning our laptops around to enjoy a Canvas ad.)

Looking for More Facebook Page Engagement?

Your Facebook page is an important part of Facebook marketing; generating more Likes for your page means that more people will lay eyes on the content you post there.  These ads will increase your Likes as well as increasing the reach of your content. 

Page Post Photo

The page post photo ad is an opportunity for you to show a gorgeous photo that suitably portrays your business. This will elicit Likes and comments, and engage your fanbase with your page. It's simple, it's easy, and it's a surefire Like machine. 

Where will they see it? The page post photo ad is versatile as well as simple; you can place it in the right hand column as well as in the newsfeed, and it's viewable on both mobile and desktop platforms. 

Page Post Video

Video ads are a good method to elicit a lot of engagement from Facebook users. You don't have to create anything fancy, just a simple video that can entertain your audience as it creates a brand new connection. Additionally, this form of ads will allow you the ability to re-target visitors based on how long they watched the video, meaning that your ads will be targeted better than ever. 

Where will they see it?  The page post video, like it's photo counterpart, is available in the newsfeed as well as the right column, and you can view it on mobile devices as well as a desktop. 

Page Post Text

This is the least engaging form of the page post ads; sure, you can put a lot of information in a brief post, but there's nothing to catch a user's eye as they scroll down their feed.  

Where will they see it? You can find this in the right column, the newsfeed, and on mobile devices and desktop machines. 

Do You Need More Visitors to Your Store or For Your Event?

Event Response Ads

This ad gives users the option to add an event created and hosted by you to their own personal Facebook calendar, which means that they'll also get reminders prior to the event.  Bonus—you can target an audience that's within reasonable distance of your location, which means that the people who could potentially attend will be notified while those who are just too far away won't feel like they're being bothered. 

Where will they see it?  These ads can be placed in the right column or the newsfeed, and they're available on mobile devices and desktop machines. 

Offer Claim Ads

An offer claim ad is a great way to reach out to potential customers as well as boosting sales among existing customers. Who doesn't love a deal? Through a Facebook offer, you can send users who claim the offer a barcode or a QR code which can be redeemed in the store using your mobile device, or you can send a special discount code that can be utilized on your store's website. 

In a B2B setting you can offer a download, like a guide or white paper.

Where will they see it?  Offer claim ads are visible on the newsfeed as well as the right column, and of course it's available on your mobile device as well as your desktop. 

Are You Interested in Increasing Downloads on Your Mobile App?

Facebook's Mobile App Install ads can help you motivate Facebook users to download your company's mobile app to their device. If you're struggling to get customers to download your app, these are the ads for you. 

Mobile App Ad

These are ads specifically created for mobile devices. The call to action below the picture you've chosen allows users the option of clicking the "Install Now" button, which will cause the App Store to pop up immediately, allowing them to install the app immediately. There's nothing like immediate gratification! 

Where will they see it? This is available in the mobile newsfeed only. 

Facebook's virtual smorgasboard of ad options means that the ad that's right for you is in there somewhere—dig in, and find the ad that will best suit your needs.

Do you have questions, or need some help determining which ad option is best for you? We'd be happy to help! 

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Stephanie Fisher

Stephanie Fisher

Steph leads our client delivery team and is obsessed with delivering quality work, creating an efficiency machine, and mastering the tools and disciplines to achieve success for our heroes. At home, she loves listening to true crime podcasts, playing with her daughters and two pugs, and singing in a local rock band with her husband.

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