Cutting to the Core with Facebook Ads

Earlier this year, there was an announcement from Mark Zuckerberg about how often Facebook Business Page Posts get shown on your Business Page follower’s News Feeds. The result is that when the changes are implemented Organic reach (the % of your followers that see your posts without paying for promotion) will now decline to around 1% to 2%.

This decline in Organic Business Posts is not surprising news according to Dr Adam Arnold from Web Profit Maximisers who we recently interviewed on the Marketing Strategy Show in an important two-part episode. During the interview introduction, I discussed with Adam how organic reach has been declining over the past few years and was down to around 4% to 6% prior to the announcement.

Why the Changes?

Why has this change occurred? Facebook like all social media channels is about the user experience and if their user experience was fuelled and funded by spamming the users with advertisements, people would be leaving Facebook in droves.

So does this mean its no longer worth it to be on Facebook?

Not necessarily, it simply means that organic posts are not as valuable as they once were and businesses need to realise that Facebook is no longer a free medium – you need to pay to reach customers. That means you need to be much smarter about who you want to target and how you want to target them using paid Facebook Ads and perhaps reduce the time spent on Facebook posts – particularly if you are selling Business to Business products or services.

Difference between a Post and an Advertisement

We often get asked this question so its important to start with this.  A Facebook post is a comment, picture and/or video that you can “post” on your page that will reach some the people who have followed your page whereas a Facebook Ad is in a different format and is targeted at a certain audience with the goal of sending them to your website or sending the lead down a sales funnel (or another business objective).

A post on a Business page will likely only reach around 1% to 2% of your followers as above but the reach of a Facebook Ad is limited only by the audience you wish to target and your budget.

Basics of Facebook Advertising

Before you even consider creating a Facebook ad there are a few things you need to have in place. Firstly a Facebook Business Manager account that will give you access to a Facebook Ad Manager Account. The Ad Account  is where you can view, make changes and see results for all your Facebook Ad campaigns. If you haven’t created a Business Manager account go to and follow the instructions.

Pictured above is the home screen of the Facebook Ad Manager, contained within it is:

  • Ads Manager Tool Selection
  • Account Selection
  • Reports
  • Campaign Selection
  • Campaign Metrics
  • Campaign Metrics – Columns and Breakdowns
  • Daily Spend
  • Filters, Search and Timeframe

There are 3 levels to a Facebook Ad structure:

  • Campaign –  The campaign is the type of ad campaign you have chosen to use within Facebook.
  • Ad Set – The ad set is where you are going to find all the targeting options to help you reach your core audience – we will be discussing in this Article
  • Ad – the creative elements that you use to make up the ad including the copy, the image and all the information you see in the finished advertisement – we are not going to cover this in this article, but there’s lots of great information online on what a great Ad should contain.

Defining the Audience

So how do you go about creating an effective Facebook Ad campaign? It starts like all marketing – not with the Ad or even what you want to promote – but with who your ideal customers are. In Facebook language it’s called your “audience”.

Having a  clearly defined Audience is critical to making your Ads effective – ie not wasting money and getting good results. You need to know as much as possible about your prospects and their problems so you can select the best “ideal prospect” and best tailor your Ad visuals and messaging to suit their needs.

The Different types of Facebook Audiences and what they mean

There are three core types of audiences within Facebook, these are:

  1. Core Audience – the ideal buyer of your product or service / your ideal client or customer, should be based off any existing buyer personas you may have created previously (see below for how to do this)
  2. Custom – A custom audience is an audience built up of people who match certain parameters including;
    • People who visited your website
    • People who have visited your Facebook Page
    • People who have clicked on one of your posts
    • People who have clicked on one of your ads
    • Contacts that you have uploaded from a certain list
  3. Look-a-likes – This is an audience of people that mirror the same characteristics of your custom list. In your custom list you may be targeting married men over 40 so you could form a look-a-like audience of married men over 40 that aren’t in any of your contacts.

Understanding your target

Defining your core audience within Facebook Ads Manager is all about gathering information on their shopping habits and buying behaviours to make informed decisions about how you will advertise to them.

To do this we’d recommend you build 3 to 5 Buyer Personas.  A Buyer Persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.

Here’s a list of questions to answer about your ideal customers (just save the answers in a document or spreadsheet):

  • What websites do they visit?
  • What books do they read?
  • What magazines do they interact with?
  • What type of car do they drive?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have children?
  • Are they using Facebook or Instagram?
  • Are they using an Android phone or an IPhone?
  • Are they on a tablet or a desktop?
  • What language/s do they speak?
  • What is their level of education?
  • What is their financial situation?
  • What parents do they have?
  • What political beliefs/affiliations do they have?
  • What major life events have they experienced (marriage, home ownership, having kids)?
  • What TV shows and movies are they interested in?
  • What sports do they enjoy playing/watching?
  • What hobbies do they have?
  • What foods do they eat?
  • Have they changed jobs recently?
  • What role do they currently hold?
  • What role did they hold at their last company?

Building a core Audience within Facebook

Now you understand more about your customers, it’s time to start creating your core audience. You can watch the video below from Dr Adam Arnold and/or follow the instructions below.

Once you have set up your campaign, your choose the Ad Set – this is where you create your core audience.

The first part of using an ad set is naming it and this becomes very important when you start to run multiple ads so you can easily understand which ad is which.

A great naming scheme to use is to name the ad set based upon the demographics in the ad set. So for example if you are reaching out to young adults who have never interacted with your company you could name the ad set ‘Cold Young Adult Audience’ or if you were reaching out to 30-50 year old males who have visited your website you might title the ad set ’30-50 y/o Male Website Visitors’.

Here is where you use the information from your Buyer Personas for your core audience/s.  You should create a core audience for each of your Buyer Personas.There are three parameters that you should start with :

  1. Location  – this can be very broad or specific from a country/countries , state, city or even a postcode plus  few kms. But think about your personas – are they different for each type of location?
  2. Age  – Select ranges to suit your buyer persona/s
  3. Gender – you can select either male or female of both 

Once you have defined these 3 basics it’s time to delve deeper. You do this by selecting Interest, Behaviour or Demographic options that best match your Buyer Persona/s as well as include or exclude (more about this below) people who like your Business Page, used your Facebook App or registered for an Event on your Business Page. Here’s some screenshots to give you an idea:


Some important considerations

1. Budget

 You must have a budget that allows for at least $20 a day to spend on a particular ad group. The reason you must have at least $20 a day allocated is that if you had budgeted for any less you won’t get enough data to properly measure the success of any of your ad campaigns

2. Audience Size

As you select more and more criteria that match your Buyer Persona/s  you will notice  a meter like the one shown. If you have a smaller budget, make sure you whittle your target audience down from several million to 20,000-30,000. 

If your minimum target audience is any less you won’t be reaching enough people. If your audience  somewhere near 1,000,000 you would reach a ton of people that you don’t necessarily want to target or spend your budget too quickly



3. Timing

Another thing to think about with your Ads is the times you advertise. If you were to say run ads 24 hours a day you might start attracting an audience of people who see your ad past midnight that you don’t want to see your ad, to avoid this you can elect to run your ads only at certain times, from 9am to 5pm for example.

4. Start and End Dates 

If you are just starting out with Facebook advertising it is highly recommended that you have a start and end date set up in case you forget to turn the advertisement off and keep on getting billed! But allow the Ad to run for one or two weeks top get enough data.   

Negative Targeting

Negative targeting ensures that customers who do not belong to the target audience will not be exposed to an Ad that wasn’t meant for them – that means better use of your budget.

Negative targeting can also massively help you with defining your core audience, as it helps you understand the characteristics of people you don’t want to advertise to or “target” and by understanding the characteristics of people you don’t want to be targeting, you can better segment your audience in the future.

Common exclusions with negative targeting are around things like income. So say, for example you are selling a luxury high-end item or a coaching program valued at several thousand dollars, you are likely going to be targeting someone who has a higher level of income so you can make parameters around that information such as excluding people that rent versus people who own a house.

You can also exclude certain professions say for example you are targeting an industry but you want to avoid advertising to certain people within that industry. You can also exclude people based on behaviour like if someone tends not to purchase online you can exclude them if you are trying to sell online.

Measuring your Results

One of the best features of Facebook Advertising is measuring and changing your parameters based on the results. Say, for example, you were advertising on Android, iPhone and Desktop but only the Android ads were being opened, you could then stop advertising to the iPhone and desktop users.

A crucial thing to remember however, before you make any changes to your Facebook Ads (especially if you are operating on a small to medium budget) is that you need to allow enough time for enough people to see your ad before making changes.

The general rule of thumb for Facebook Ads is that you need to have at least 8,000 impressions before you make changes but if you are working with a larger budget and have a lot of people seeing your ads then you can start tweaking aspects of the advertisement earlier.

If you are getting people to see your Ad but they aren’t clicking on it that may be an issue with the headline or the image you are using. If you are running the ad to a landing page and you can see that you are getting people to the landing page but not taking action from the landing page that tells you that there is a problem with the landing page itself.

Or say, for example, you are advertising to a senior and in your Ads you send them to a landing page but on the landing page is a picture of a young person the messaging might be confusing for the senior so you need to ensure your messaging is consistent among channels.

Get your Prospects to land in the right place

You may have heard the term ‘landing page’ thrown around this episode and in some prior podcast eps but essentially a landing page is a web page that serves as an entry point for a website or a particular section of a website.

With Facebook Advertising the goal should be to get your lead or prospect to a position where they are most likely to buy your product or service. Getting the prospect to want to buy is largely about sending them on the right path and giving them the relevant information that solves their problem in a succinct fashion because let’s face it if one of your prospects/leads/potential clients has to jump through a bunch of hoops or visit fifteen web pages they are a lot more likely to turn away or become disinterested with your service.

If you want any help with Facebook Advertising or with Facebook Lead Generation don’t hesitate to give us a call on (02) 915 0520 and book in an obligation free consultation or visit our contact us page and we’ll respond to you promptly.


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