How to Create the Perfect Facebook Ad

Facebook ad, business social media, small business

So you have a Facebook page for your business and you’re really struggling to get anyone to see your posts. You have 500 followers, so why do only 20 people sometimes see your posts?!

You’re far from alone. Facebook algorithm changes (the way the Facebook feed works and displays your posts) have gradually decimated organic reach and made Facebook effectively a Pay Platform now. The algorithm changes in January put business pages at the bottom of everyone’s timelines and only very engaged pages are particularly visible in timelines now.

The good news is, Facebook Ads can really work well to increase the number of visitors to your page or your website, and at a reasonable cost. And with over 1.86 billion users monthly, your target audience is bound to be in there somewhere!

So what do you need to know to set up a Facebook ad?

We recommend starting in Advert Manager, it may not give you as many options as Business Manager but it’s simpler.

First of all, think about your objective. What are you trying to achieve? Increased traffic to your website? App downloads? More visitors liking your page? Facebook has different advertising solutions for different objectives, so you really do need to nail this down before you start.

You can choose from these objectives on Facebook:


  1. Brand Awareness – increase awareness for your brand by reaching people who are more likely to be interested in it.
  2. Reach – Show your advert to the maximum number of people.


  1. Traffic – Send more people to a destination on or off Facebook such as a website, app or Messenger conversation.
  2. Engagement – Get more post engagements, Page likes, event responses or offer claims. Engagement can include comments, shares, likes, event responses and offer claims.
  3. App Installs – Send people to the App store where they can download your app.
  4. Video views – Promote videos that show behind-the-scenes footage, product launches or customer stories to raise awareness about your brand.
  5. Lead generation – Collect lead information from people who are interested in your business.
  6. Messages – Get more people to have conversations with your business in Messenger to complete purchases, answer questions or offer support.


  1. Conversions – Get people to take valuable action on your website, in your App or in Messenger, such as adding payment information or making a purchase. Use the Facebook Pixel or App Events to track and measure conversions.
  2. Catalogue Sales – Create ads that automatically show items from your catalogue based on your target audience.
  3. Store visits – Promote multiple business locations to people who are nearby.

Creating Your Facebook Ad

Once you have chosen your objective, you are asked to name the campaign and set up your account. Then, you are taken to a page entitled ‘Audience’, and this is where a Facebook Ad can really come into its own. Make sure you spend time going through all the different possibilities here because there is a wealth of targeting possible. If you think that you are often going to be advertising to the same audience you can save it and use it again which will save you time on the next advert.


Audience definition



Your audience selection is fairly broad.

Audience Details:

  • Location:
    • United Kingdom
  • Excluded Connections:
    • Exclude people who like Socially Contented
  • Age:
    • 18-65+
  • People who match:
    • Interests: Management, Social media or Marketing
  • Placements:
    • Facebook Feeds and Facebook Right column

Potential reach: 11,000,000 people


You can include or exclude people according to age, sex, geographical location, interests, whether they like your page or not. It’s best not to have too broad a selection but not too narrow either.

You can then set your budget and schedule. You can set when the ad will start and finish and can put a maximum spend on it. The smaller the spend, the less the reach, naturally.


Then it’s up to you to create the advert. You can either boost an existing post or create an ad specially. It makes sense to use an eyecatching graphic, and Facebook allows you to upload multiple images so that you effectively have different ads with the same message. If you are using a single image you can upload up to 6. Alternatively you can create a slideshow with up to 10 images or use a single video.

The recommended image sizes are:

Recommended image specs

1200 x 444 pixels

  • Image ratio: 8:3

When you are satisfied with the ad, you can preview it, add your credit card details (if not already added) and send it off for approval.

We guarantee after all that you are going to take a lot more notice of ‘sponsored posts’ popping up on your feed! Once your ad has finished you will be able to go into Ad Manager and check the reach and impressions for it to see if it has been successful.

Split testing Your Creatives

When you first start advertising you would be advised to trial different kinds of ads and audiences to see which ones bring the best results for your business. Split testing is the strategy whereby you test two elements of a marketing campaign to see which one performs best.

You can split test:

  1. Image
  2. Copy
  3. Audience
  4. Calls to Action
  5. Positioning
  6. Colours
  7. Headlines

The key is to only change one thing at a time so that you can measure the differences. Take a look at this infographic to see the ideal way to plan your split testing.


Facebook ads, facebook, paid social



There are two common problems where people trip up with Facebook ads.

Firstly, they use images with too much text on. Facebook does allow you to post ads with these creatives now, but it won’t show them to many people so it’s not a good idea.

Secondly, Facebook doesn’t like ads which make people feel bad about themselves, and the algorithm gets caught up on the use of personal pronouns. Rather than use copy such as this:

“Would you like to lose weight? Try out our great new system.”

Use something like this:

“We’ve launched a great new system to boost a healthy lifestyle & help shift some pounds.”


This blog assumes you have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website. If you haven’t, take a look here.

The Pixel sends information about all of the visitors to your website to Facebook, and you can use this data to build a custom audience for your ads. You can also upload your mailing list to Facebook (following the relevant GDPR criteria of course) and build an audience from that. Other options are to build audiences from the people who have liked your page or posts, or watched your videos.

Once you have custom audiences, you can create lookalike audiences where Facebook will find people with similar likes, interests and behaviours. The Facebook algorithm works hard to target people who are likely to fulfil the objectives you have chosen.

While you do have to allocate a budget to split testing, Facebook advertising is probably the best value targeted advertising you can buy. Go and try it out!

If you would like to learn more about getting the most from your Facebook advertising, have a read of this.

Learn more about strategically managing your social media, and about Facebook advertising too in my FREE Facebook group here.

socially contented, social content marketing, facebook group

Cathy Wassell
I help businesses with social media & marketing strategy and management.

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