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Guide to Facebook Advertising: Intermediate Edition

Written by Chadd Powell, Account Analyst

Going Beyond The Basics


By now, you’ve created your Facebook ad account, crafted some basic campaigns, and learned how to get around the interface. Currently, you’re looking for some help on getting started with audiences, creating images, and drafting ad copy.


When you’re finished with this white paper you should be comfortable creating some starter audiences, producing unique images, and drafting ad copy.


Here’s what you’ll learn:


• Three audience types to get you started on the Facebook platform

• How to craft images that represent your brand and catch a user’s eye

• Basic tips on writing ad copy that stands out


3 Starter Audiences

One of the first considerations in Facebook is thinking through whom the audience is you want to target with your advertising. Facebook has audiences you can target, that are relatively easy for newcomers to set up. They provide a great first step into the Facebook ecosystem. Once you master these audiences, there are many more advanced ways to target people and build audiences.


Friends Of Fans



Target friends of people who like your page


The easiest audience in Facebook to start with, is to simply target the friends of people who have liked your page. It makes intuitive sense that people who are friends with one another (even in the loose way Facebook defines friends) share some things in common that might make them useful for you.


You’ll be targeting the friends, co-workers, family, and other connections that your fans have. Odds are that at least some of these people are interested in the same things as the fans of your page. That same thing could be your product or service!


Be sure to exclude your existing fans, so you’re not targeting people who might have already purchased or used your service in the recent past.


To target these people, you’ll need to have a Facebook page already set up (you’ll need this anyway to do paid Facebook advertising) and that page needs to have likes. The more likes you have, the larger this potential audience. If your page is new or doesn’t get a lot of traffic, this method of audience building will be less effective. In that case, work on building your social media outreach to the point that you have enough fans to use this type of audience. Once you’ve received enough likes, this audience will be another option for your Facebook advertising.



Using the information you already know about your clients and customers, you can build out an audience using those same variables to target new people.


Let’s say you sell outdoor apparel focused on the camping and hiking niches. You want to put some ad spend toward reaching new customers who might be interested in your store and its products. Based on internal information from existing customers, you have a general idea of what your typical customer looks like:


• Male or female

• College educated

• $40,000 – $75,000 annual income

• 25-45 years old

• Lives in California, Washington, and Oregon


Now, you have a decent start at knowing who your customer is and who else might be like them. In Facebook, you can then target these variables as you can see below.


Target by location, age, and gender


Advanced targeting


You can then layer on some additional interests like fishing, hunting, and mountain biking that would likely appeal to someone who enjoys camping and hiking.


You definitely want to err on the side of caution when it comes to audience size. The more targeted it is, the more likely you’ll be focused on the right people.


We’ve created a single persona-based audience that encapsulates your entire customer for this example, but it may be far more useful to break your customer base into multiple personas, each tied to a customer type that buys from you. You can then target each of these personas separately with customized messaging.



This audience is built by Facebook to look similar to your existing customers and clients, based on information you provide.


The reason it can be useful is that it allows you to leverage information you likely already have or can put together in a relatively short period of time.


For the newcomer to Facebook, lookalike audiences could be built off the following:


• Email list

• Phone number list

• Website visitors


Simply upload an email list or phone number list into Facebook and tell it to create a lookalike audience based on it. You can also create one based on visitors to your site using the custom audience pixel that will feed information back into Facebook.


You’ll then be asked to tune the size of your lookalike audience to be more targeted and smaller or for more reach, but less targeted.


Then, you can experiment with layering other targeting options on top of the lookalike audience to refine your audience further.



Facebook is a visual platform. While there is text in Facebook advertising, it’s the images that catch the eye and help convey a message to users.


While no two brands or businesses are going to find the same success with the same images, some basic ideas can help guide the image creation process.


Each of the following tips will provide insight on how to craft images that will get your ads noticed. We’ll cover three tips to get you started.


Tip 1: Include Your Brand In The Image

If the image is the first thing someone notices about your ad, you want to get as much as you can from that initial interaction. You want them, at the very least, to associate your brand with a message, even if they don’t click through to a landing page.


This is your first impression on a person, so include your brand (logo, etc.) on the image itself. It’s your best shot at creating an immediate brand association with the user. If the image conveys what your service does or what your product is, why squander the opportunity to create that brand association?


Whether you’re a home delivery service, retail outlet, restaurant, or any other type of business, you’ll want to portray your brand somewhere on your advertising image. It could simply be putting a logo in one of the corners of the image or you could have it prominently displayed on a product in that image.


By having your brand on the image, a user doesn’t have to guess what business the ad is tied to. You’ve removed a ton of guesswork by reinforcing the brand message with your actual brand. Remove the brand and it’s just a picture of things that one can’t as easily associate with a business.


The user would then have to read the rest of the ad to make that connection. If they happened to be scrolling and didn’t read the rest of the ad, they likely wouldn’t be left with much of an impression.


Tip 2: Use The Power Of An Emotional Appeal

The power of emotional appeals is nothing new to advertising, but it’s easy to gloss over how useful they can be in conveying a message to potential clients and customers, particularly on a visual platform like Facebook.


This is even more important when you offer a service or product that isn’t easily portrayed in an image format. The banking and lending industry, for example, isn’t the easiest service to convey in imagery, but it is a great candidate for emotional appeals. Their service is often meant to get you to a place (financial security, home ownership, etc.) or provide convenience and that is something that can be used in an image.


For example, think about how you would portray a car or home loan in an image. Do you show a contract or a calendar of payments? No, these things wouldn’t drive people to check your service out. You can’t easily show a loan in an image, but one way to market it is through positive outcomes. The general marketing angle is that if you use their service, you’ll be happier and better off in the long run.


So while it’s hard to show a car or home loan in an image for an ad, you can show happy people in front of a house or driving a new car. You’re then tying your service to someone’s happiness.


The power of emotional appeals can center on any kind of emotion, but in the social realm of Facebook, where people spend leisure time connecting and sharing with friends and family – happy and funny are two emotions that can do well on the platform.


Tip 3: Use Bold Colors To Draw Attention

What’s the last tip for sprucing up your Facebook images? Go big and bold on color.


Think about the Facebook experience. What colors are most used on the site? The background is full of white and off white coloring and the color goes to anything that can be interacted with – buttons, clickable text, and images. Facebook wants the background to fade away from the content, so it can be easily interacted with.


By using bright and bold colors, your image can stand out from the background, as well steer attention to its message and purpose.


One example of using bright and bold colors, is to have the background to the image be one solid color that stands out and then put your product right in the center of it. In this way, your single product is being showcased by the bright color behind it. The hope is that the bright color will then stand out from all the other images in one’s Facebook feed.


The background is also sure to stand out against other content, as it’s not typical for advertisers to use solid blocks of color. Be careful, though, as you don’t want to just throw your logo on an incredibly bright background and think you’ll hit marketing gold. Tie an image strategy like this to your brand and message to make it create a unified ad.


Ad Copy

When drafting ad copy for Facebook ads, you will likely want to entice people to click your ad and go to your website. Your ad copy needs to grab people and get them interested in what you have to offer.


Let’s look at three ways to make your ad copy stand out.


Tip 1: Make Your Ad Copy Relevant To Your Audience.

Your audience isn’t one size fits all and your ad copy shouldn’t be either. Think through whom you’re targeting, what their needs are, and how you can meet them. By using the persona-based audiences above as a guide, you can craft ad copy that appeals to each of the persona’s you want to target.


Tip 2: Mention Your Unique Selling Point

Use ad copy to promote directly what you’re selling and let people know what makes you better than everyone else.


Is it convenience? Speed? Price? User experience?


Use the ad formats and text options Facebook offers to clearly articulate why a person looking at your ad should choose your business to fulfill a need. That person shouldn’t have to guess what makes you better than the rest. If they do have to guess, they’ve likely moved on.


Tip 3: Use A Call To Action

You’ve tailored your ad copy to a specific audience and your unique selling point is prominent in the ad copy. Now what?


It’s time to drive home what you want a person to do and that means you need a call to action. It’s a great way to wrap up an ad. Facebook even makes this easy by giving you pre-made call to action buttons.


Choose the button that most represents what you want a person to do and you’ll have a nice button on your ad to guide users toward a specific action.


A Quick Recap

These are things you should be familiar with now:


1. About three audience types to get you started on the Facebook platform

2. Understanding how to craft images that represent your brand and catch a user’s eye

3. Understand some basic tips on writing ad copy that stands out


Facebook is a great platform for building awareness for your product or service if you can use its advertising formats to their full potential. The tips in this guide are a great place to get started in thinking through your own creative strategies, as well as how to leverage existing data you already have to setup and optimize new audiences. They are a great way to get your feet wet before stepping into the more advanced targeting techniques and data collection available on Facebook.

If you’re looking to brush up on Facebook fundamentals check out our beginner edition guide.