social media how toWould you like Facebook ads to be a regular part of your marketing strategy?

Wondering what you can do to tweak your ad strategy to get better results?

This article will give you six tips to help improve your return on your Facebook ad investment.

#1: Do Your Research

Watch other Facebook ads and take a look at their techniques.

You won’t be able to see a list of all of the ads that are out there right now, but you can watch the ones that are being served to your demographic. You can see all of the current ads that would target your profile by going to Facebook’s Adboard.

Look at just the Sponsored Stories by clicking on the blue Sponsored stories link.


Check out the Adboard to see what other ads could be served to your profile.

You won’t be able to gauge whether these ads are working, but note the ones that would encourage you to click.

#2: Use Your Image Well

You don’t have much space to grab someone’s attention on Facebook ads. You have a 25-character headline, 90 characters in the body and a small 110 x 80 pixel picture (in reality it displays as a 100 x 65 pixel photo). The best chance you have to grab someone’s attention is with the photo.

If you are using Sponsored Stories, the ad defaults to your profile picture or the post picture if you choose to promote a specific post. But if you promote your Facebook page or an external website, you can select the image you want to use.

Make the image work harder for you by adding text.

using text in your image

Add text to an image to give a call to action or special offer.

#3: Craft Your Sponsored Story Post

If you choose to run a Sponsored Story post, craft your posts on your page to fit the ad space. Sponsored Stories can be cheaper to run than a traditional ad (see tip #4) but you will lose the larger picture and it will default to your current page profile picture.

post is too long

Make your status updates fewer than 90 characters if you are going to use them as a Sponsored Story.

If you have a link in your post, make sure it’s going to your own site—ideally where someone can sign up for something (i.e., a free report, webinar, targeted opt-in page). You don’t want to pay to send traffic to someone else’s website!

If you include a YouTube link in your post, people will be able to watch the video easily from the ad.

#4: Split Test Your Efforts

Split test all of your advertising! When you design your campaign, you can split test the variables between your ads so that you get the cheapest clicks and find out which ads are performing the best.

Here is a short list of things you may want to split test:

  • Body of your ad
  • Photo in your ad
  • Headline of your ad (only for external URL)
  • Bidding model (CPM vs. CPC—more on this in a bit)
  • Sponsored Story vs. regular ad

Split testing the body, photo and title of your ad is fairly straightforward. Make sure you are only changing one thing at a time so you don’t confuse the results.

Note: In the new Facebook ads layout, you can no longer change the title of your ad for your Facebook page with the workaround of advertising it as an external URL.

cannot change headline

If you advertise your Facebook page, you cannot change the headline.

I would also split test the bidding model between CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per mille, or cost per 1000 impressions).

The new Facebook ad layout gives you the choice of an objective for your ad. The objective you choose will determine your bidding model—CPC if your objective is to get clicks or CPM if your objective is to have viewers Like your page.


The objective determines if you will pay for clicks or pay for impressions.

This is designed to make things simpler for those who don’t want to figure out which model is better. But I suggest you split test these two methods because the cost to acquire a Like can change.

#5: Watch Your Results

As with everything, it’s the return on your investment that matters. Watch how much it costs you to achieve your objective and make sure you have realistic expectations.

The ads that perform the best on Facebook typically are either promoting a Facebook page or advertising something free. Advertising something free that requires an email opt-in can be a great strategy. You can then start connecting with those people via email and social media.

Set your expectations correctly. A typical click-through rate on Facebook is 0.04-0.05%. You may see better results if you pick an ad model that works well for you and do your testing.

Local businesses can benefit from Sponsored Like Stories because many people have a lot of local friends on Facebook, as shown in this example from Vernon Area Public Library.

vernon ads

Vernon Area Public Library only spent $0.44/per Like to acquire 158 new connections.

Analyze your results so you can make adjustments. In this example, I split test the CPC bidding model and the CPM bidding model, keeping all other variables the same. Even in this limited example, you can see that the CPC model cost me $1.39 per Like (connections) vs. $6.50 per Like in the CPM model. I would suggest a longer testing period, but you should be able to see a favorite after 10-20 clicks.

split test bidding

Even though this is a small sample size, you can see that CPC is outperforming CPM.

#6: Get on the List for Facebook Offers

Facebook Offers are starting to roll out to smaller businesses. Facebook Offers appear in the news feed and have great potential for going viral. You can find out more about how this works at Facebook Offers.

Offers will be free to create, but are still in the beta stage as of this writing. You can sign up to be on the list to enable Offers on your page.

Back to You

I hope this gives you some great tips to take your Facebook marketing efforts to the next level.

What do you think? Are you advertising on Facebook? What has been working well for you? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

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  • Mookie Wilson

    Or follow GM’s lead and don’t waste your money on that platform – nobody pays any attention to the ads anyway and the major advertisers will leave it in droves now that the stock is underperforming. Don’t waste your money on Facebook…. you’ve been warned.

  • Hi Andrea,  I wonder have you had many successful campaigns on FB?   I have not been able to get a profitable one going.  That doesn’t mean it is not possible, of course.    I am not a marketing genius. 

    But I would like to hear about your personal experience.  Have you had some winners with FB ads?  

  • In addition to #3: When crafting your content for the post, there’s a 90 character limit to work with that will be visible in the ad.

    Also, contrary to popular belief, people do pay attention to the ads. Just make sure you hyper-target people with relevant interests.

  • I think that just because the ads didn’t work for GM doesn’t mean they don’t work and aren’t working for others right now.  Ad success can depend on your objective.  
    It will be interesting to see how the stock price affects Facebook overall.  I think a better measure of Facebook’s performance will be if companies are getting value out of Facebook.  Are they successfully using Facebook to help lower customer service costs or increase customer awareness or increase sales?  Stock price isn’t going to affect the real value of Facebook as a way to reach customers.

  • I have had good success with Facebook ad campaigns and I think it depends on what your objectives are.  I mostly like to use Ads to increase likes and to get people on an e-mail list by advertising something for free.  Then it’s a matter of connecting with those people and following up with good content so that they then buy something from you down the road.  I haven’t had as good success with selling something right from an ad.

    One recent ad I ran had 100% conversion rate on the Likes and 50% conversion on the e-mail optin and so I would call that successful.  I think good targeting, good messaging and a good photo really helped that campaign.  Hope that helps! 

  • Thanks for your comment Jesse!  Yes, I do believe that some people pay attention to the ads – not everyone but that’s the nature of any advertising campaign.  The targeting and message is critical!  

  • Ok, that makes sense to me and gives me a good idea too! Thanks for sharing your experience on that Andrea. I appreciate that greatly.

  • Nice article Andrea! Some of the small businesses I work with just went in by themselves and created ads to sell something directly and were disappointed with the results. It’s so true that you need to think about the overall goal – which is to build your list and Likes for your Page THEN you can target ads directly to *those* people. 

  • i feel that the great ful blog in the day of the day 
    so i really feeling great
    i want say some thing that it was ful of knowledge 
    so thank,s for the sharing for with us

  • Semin Ozmorali

    Tnx for the great tips. What do you think about the ads optimizing tools? Any recommendations?

  • Dfingers

    Hi Andrea,

    Great article and very helpful.  I have just started running some Facebook Ads and I have seen a coupl eof schools of thought on the number of people your ad should target.  The most recent piece I read recommended no more than 5000 at a max per ad.

    What have you found to be most effective?

    Dave Fingers

  • I also thought “No one looks at Facebook ads” —I knew I never did.

    We tried it and were stunned at the success we had…90% of our sales now come from Facebook. I think in particular our tight niche market and their ability to target very specifically work well together. If you have a very specific niche it is worth trying out.

  • robertgilmour26

    How about 6 tips for improving the Facebook share price, perhaps that’s nearer reality!

  • Bernard Williams

    Hi Andrea
    Thanks for your 6 tips on FB ads.   I joined the social media revolution only 8 weeks ago when I launched the first of three websites, based here in the UK  In the last 6/8 weeks I thought I’d read every word possible
    about FB, but you had 1 new tip,that I’ve nor read elsewhere–brilliant!  Any more please.
    Bernard Williams UK

  • Thanks Phyllis!  Yes, I think Facebook ads work much better if you are promoting either just your Page or something for free.  Then after you have that connection they can get to know you and then purchase from you!

  • Great success story Cindy!  Definitely nice to hear that things are working for some businesses.  The important thing is to test it to find out!

  • No tips there Robert 🙂

  • Thanks Bernard!  So glad to have helped.  You can check out my other articles here by clicking on my name in the author bio above.  Hopefully there are some other good tips for you there 🙂

  • I think you should send GM a copy of this article!  Maybe they were ill-advised.  I think people pay attention to the ads, so maybe it was a poor strategy – trying to get FB to do something it can’t do, like sell cars vs just getting people into showrooms.

  • Not sure which tools you mean?  I find that usually it’s best to do your own testing.

  • Great article, Andrea, thank you for sharing.  I might add the need to consistently monitor the performance of your ads as their “shelf life” is quite short.  They become stale quickly and you need to regularly update and refresh.

  • Great article Andrea!  What is the ideal number of people you would want to target with an ad?

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  • It is nothing short than a Herculean task to get the maximum ROI from ad
    investment on Facebook. Your article is like a light in the dark that
    guides on this path. Thanks a lot Andrea for sharing this informative
    and well-illustrated article. 

  • A generic photo won’t improve your conversion rate, so it has to catch Facebook users’ attention from the get-go. A clear call-to-action also makes the ad more effective. 

  • Hi Andrea, you have hit the nail on the head “they can get to know you”. It seems advertisers forget this is a Social Networking site. Try sitting in a bar and try to sell your products, low chance of results. Go to a bar and talk to people and “they can get to know you” and then buy your product or service

  • Michelle Fontaine

    Morning Andrea,

    Great article! I wanted to add that I upload the videos I use directly to Facebook. This gives a larger video image in the ad when using a Page Post Ad than using a YouTube video. Also, in #5 are you referring to the Connections column as the Likes? So, that is why you said it cost $6.50 to get a Like using the CPC method?

    One more question. Using the CPM method is now called Like my Page. So, when people click on the Ad, they automatically become a fan of the page?

    I haven’t seen the new ad layout yet, but a couple of my clients have.

    Michelle FontaineFBSmarty

  • Julie

    #6 re: the Facebook Offers.  I don’t see that on my page. Is there a way to “get” it???  Thanks for your help!

  • Julie

    PS  I DID fill out the “form” attached to your point #6 on Facebook Offers but it sounds like no one really gets back to you so……  does the offers tab just “appear” at some point or ????

  • Grant Perry

    Excllent article. I’ve found success using text in my images as well. Copy is king. Really appreciate the link to getting on the offers list. I think that will be huge and I’m waiting for it to be offered beyond local business.

  •  That is interesting Dave!  When I have experimented I didn’t get the price to drop very much on my ads that targeted a low number of people because my click thru rate wasn’t great.  But that being said, if you have a broad range and high click thru rate then you may be just getting curiosity clicks and not reaching the right target.  It also can depend on your business and your goal with your ad campaign.  I usually try and have my target range be at least 20,000 people. 

  •  Thanks Dave!  I think your original comment didn’t come through yesterday so see my post above in response.  But I usually try and have my target range be at least 20,000 people. Interesting that you were hearing different from someone else.  It could depend on your goals and your business – for some local businesses it doesn’t make sense to expand the range if your area is small.

  •  Definitely!

  •  Thanks Michelle!  Yes, the Connections are your actual Likes that came directly from the ad.  If someone clicks on the ad itself, they aren’t an automatic “liker”.  They can click the Like icon in the ad to Like you right from the Ad or they can click the ad to look at your Page then click the Like on your Page.  Facebook tracks both methods and gives you the conversions as Connections.  Hope that helps!

  •  They are giving preferential treatment to Pages that are listed as Local Businesses.  Many Local Business Pages are having Offers enabled without having to do anything.  Some people are even switching their Pages to a Local Business just to enable Offers 🙂 

  •  Text in your images is a great strategy to get more space for your message!  You can see many businesses doing it and I think it can be really eye-catching.  Thanks!

  • Emily

    My Facebook ads were an unmitigated disaster.  Supposedly, there were clicks but they didn’t register on my end?  Duh, I’m not a techie.  Facebook declared my graphic of a hand holding a valentine ‘obscene’ and there went my Valentine’s Day attempt.  Lost a hundred and fifty-some bucks.  It created a spike – a big one – in number of visits to the blog. 
    Without an expert to do it, I would not venture more money on Facebook ads.

  • Nice article. As Dave Hassall mentioned and “Andrea” said, FB ad purpose is to get as many people like ur page and content and help them get to know your brand first and then sales will happen in the process.
    Businesses forget Social Media is about building relationship first and building an army of Social Media Fans and Advocates in the process who will amplify your brand and product, so that sales can happen either on website or offline in the store.

    However, currently there is no way one can measure directly how all this social efforts = actual sales.

    Bhuvan //
    Social Media Monitoring.

  • Andreas

    “People don’t read ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” 

    Howard Gossage said that over 50 years ago and the words are still as true as they’ve always been. The reason people are Banner Blind (the eyes ignoring parts of the page where ads show) is that most ads suck. 

    Create stuff that interests people, see engagement soar. I am at a loss why this appears to be such a difficult concept to grasp. 

  • If you don’t have a substantial budget to pay per click, no one will ever see your ad. On the other hand, if GM came to the conclusion that 10 Million doesn’t deliver any sales through Facebook advertising, why would a meager budget of a small company produce more. We played this game and scored zero in sales.  It’s a total cop-out.

  • David Cooper

    GM is a fool.  That’s the same type of decision that put that company into BK.  I guess a 2 million dollar super bowl makes more sense.

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  • Great article, Andrea! The more informed people are about Facebook Ads, the better success they will have. I think they are an absolute game-changer for business, and you are crazy if you ignore the opportunity.

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  • techrock

    Hey does 0.01 cpc ads affect the performance? I just did an advert of 50 dollar with 0.01 cpc. Not seeing any quick results

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  • Pvo73

    lol wonderful analysis….great way to show how much you don’t know about marketing. Stock price has zero to do with any of it. And different advertisers will have different results. Just like any other advertising platform. Saying a blanket statement such as “nobody pays attention to the ads” shows your ignorance….

  • Bibi

    Hi Mookie, I think you can only judge wether the ads work if you have run them yourself and have a good testing system in place, like Andrea described above. In my case, the traffic from FB ads is now nr. 1 (even above google ads!) and the conversion rate is pretty sweet….CTR ranges from 0.1 to 0.5, but that means nothing if you don’t measure the conversion (in our case anyways)

  • One of the Main important strategy, Facebook wants you to spend as much money as possible per click, so this Facebook marketing strategy for optimization should be studied carefully before you follow it blindly.

  • Leandro Cosas

    I really like your tips. They were very important for me. Thanks a lot!

  • Elegantbride72

    My idea of offering  free wedding tips were they need to supply their info is much like what you have done. I understood from a video on the Bridal tweet that there was a company that would handle this for free and for an extra fee would request a Facebook Like to get the free advice. However I don’t have that company name anymore. Can you advise who you used or how you did it? 

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  • Barbara

    Hi Andrea,
    I’ve started. Week ago with my FB ads. Haven’t have great results. But i see I’m in the average click thru rate. Some of the info you wrote helped me to clarify some of the options, thank you!

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  • Sandra Harriette

    I find that the ads manager is somewhat confusing to navigate. There are also a lot of glitches within the system, at least recently there have been. I subliminally was using these techniques in order to get some inspiration when our marketing team was new to ads manager, but I still feel lost honestly.

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  • Rich F

    I’d say you have a conflict of interest. FB ads need to work because you are in the social media business. Respectfully, this article is nothing new. I’ve spent a significant amount and have yet to get an ROI – still trying but ready to throw in the towel. It’s telling that hard ROI numbers are never offered in these types of articles. Best of luck.

  • Rich F

    I’d say you have a conflict of interest. FB ads need to work because you are in the social media business. Respectfully, this article is nothing new. I’ve spent a significant amount and have yet to get an ROI – still trying but ready to throw in the towel. It’s telling that hard ROI numbers are never offered in these types of articles. Best of luck.

  • Can my competition click on my FB ad repeatedly and run out my budget?

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  • When split testing, do you create a new ‘campaign’ for each variation? or put the ads being tested under one campaign? I would guess that you’d keep them in the same campaign. Please confirm. Thnx.

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  • Megan K

    Something I just noticed with my last ad I ran… I was promoting our company’s Facebook account and saw the ad in my personal news feed but it wasn’t at all what I had wrote! It was a suggested post because one of my friends had liked my page. I stumbled all over figuring out where it was grabbing the info from and saw that is was in the “Company Overview” in the about section. (

    The text was WAY TOO LONG for an ad so I was able to fix that and simplify it to our main keywords. Then later that day I saw it again in my news feed all fixed and easier to read. My likes have gone up since then too!

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    Very Useful Article Regarding Social Media…Thank you For sharing with US…