What you need to know about… Facebook ads

Have you tried to run Facebook ads and found they didn’t work?

Facebooks ads can be daunting, confusing, time-consuming… and all the other bad ‘ings’. Facebooks ads can also be the cheapest way to engage your customers – and the best way to share your message with the most people. It's all about knowing which buttons to push - in the right way.

So, how can you use Facebook ads to reach more customers?

Where can you start?

“First, you need to make sure you are putting your ad in front of the right people, people who are likely to take the action you want them to,” says Lisa, who has been building her Terrier Social Facebooks ads client base since 2016.

“Then you have to use the creative (your design, images and video) and copy to speak to your customer in their language. It isn’t enough to tell them you exist (who cares?), you need to tell them why they need your product and/or service.”

This means you need to know (really know) your customers (and prospective customers) and their pain points. What keeps them awake at 3am? What do they need to make their work/life more comfortable, more successful? What do they want to make them smile more? 

Facebooks ads work best when you think long-term.

“Some of my clients have tried to run Facebook ads themselves and didn’t get the results they wanted, so they think their audience isn’t on Facebook (or Instagram),” explains Lisa. “They are! And the chances of someone seeing your ad on Facebook is much higher than them picking up a magazine. But you may need to build trust before you even suggest a sale.”

Successful Facebook ads are carefully created and targeted.

“There are so many different elements that need to work in tandem to generate good results with Facebook ads,” says Lisa. “Targeting, design, copy, ad format, objective, budget, for starters…”

Lisa suggests you approach your Facebook ads like a problem that needs to be solved.

What does my audience want to see and read? How does what I want to share with them fit into that? What can we share that will get their attention and keep it? What is my budget (it needs to include investment for ad testing – see below)?

After your problem solving, it’s time to plan.

“Some people expect Facebook ads to start right away,” says Lisa. “But, there needs to be a crucial set-up stage. You need to get everything ready, this includes checking pixels, building audiences, writing copy, sourcing creative etc.

What content do you need for successful Facebook ads?

“If you want real success with marketing, you need to invest in your own content creation,” Lisa says. “Stills, video and blogs can all be used in ads.”

Don’t have the content you need? Don’t worry, Lisa had good(ish) news for you.

“As a last resort, there are some excellent stock photo/video sites for great visuals,” she says. “And, Canva has a fab line in ad templates that you can adapt for your own business. I would still advise that having your own creative assets is the best.”

Once you have pinned down your target audience, planned your campaign, and put the creative elements in place then… well, it’s time for your ads to go live.

And this is when the real secret to Facebook ad success kicks in.

What is Facebook ad testing – and why do I need to do it?

Just like testing a product or service before you launch it, you can increase the chance of success with your Facebook ads if you invest in testing first.

“I advise my clients that if they are unwilling to invest enough in their Facebook ads to allow for testing, then they may not get the results they are looking for,” cautions Lisa. “Having the budget to test means that you can test which audiences perform best and which creatives and copy are working work well, and you can see this much quicker than if you don’t have that budget, enabling you to get better results and bring costs down.”

“I do enjoy a good spreadsheet!” says Lisa, who also offers training for clients who want to manage their own Facebook ads. “When I spend my clients’ money on Facebook ads, I spend it as it were my own. I love to crunch the data to work out what is working and what isn’t. If an ad isn’t performing, I love working out why and making changes to turn it around.”

Don’t keep rolling with a Facebook ads campaign if you aren’t seeing results. Find out why your customers aren’t engaging with your ads – and switch them up, so that they do.

Keep trying – and tweaking – until you see the results you want.

Do Facebook ads still sound daunting, confusing, time-consuming, or any other ‘ing’ you don’t like? Then please get in touch.

Lisa, who worked in sales and marketing for The Guardian, Virgin Media Television and Capital Radio for 16 years before setting up Terrier Social, has three essential advice tips for you to succeed with Facebook ads:

1/Optimise your website for mobile. In the UK, 69% of Facebook users only access it via the mobile app. So, if you’re planning on running Facebook ads, you need to have your website ship-shape for mobile.

2/ Give your ads budget and time. You cannot expect immediate results on your ads, especially if you are ‘selling’ a high ticket/high consideration product or service. I like to work with clients for a minimum of three months, so I have time to carry out testing and learn what works for that particular client.

3/ Embrace the pixel. It is perhaps the most useful tool in your Facebook ads arsenal because it tracks actions on your website and helps you to target your advertising better by giving you many more audience building and tracking options. I advise all clients to get the Facebook pixel on their website, even if they are not thinking of advertising just yet. It can sit there collecting data for when they are!

Image shows - Oak Creatives co-founders and directors, Sian Lewis and Saskia Snel.

About Us

We are two friends. A creative director and graphic designer, Saskia Snel, and Sian Lewis, a content strategist and commercial copywriter. Together we provide joined-up marketing so that every word and every image tells the story you want your customers to read.