Introduction to Facebook Ads - Instapage Marketing Guide

What is Facebook Advertising?

Chapter 1


When was the last time you checked your Facebook account?

On average, Facebook users spend 35 minutes a day on the network, that’s the second highest amount of time spent on any social media platform:

Chart showing the average amount of time users spend on the popular social networks

The time Facebook’s Facebook’s 1.32 billion daily active users spend on the network is the reason why businesses invested north of $9 million on Facebook ads in the second quarter of 2017, that’s a 47% increase from the second quarter of 2016.

Facebook advertising works on a pay-per-click (PPC) (also known as cost-per-click (CPC) advertising model) where you have to pay the network every time a user clicks an ad.

Facebook advertising helps marketers increase visibility for their ads, build brand awareness and measure clearly defined metrics and campaign goals helping them create better, more optimized campaigns in the future.

Due to its increasing user base and the high number of available audience targeting options, Facebook has established itself as the leader in social media advertising. In fact, according to an eMarketer study 96% of social media marketers regarded Facebook to be the most effective social media advertising platform.

When done right, Facebook advertising helps both B2B and B2C businesses leverage paid advertising to get new leads and convert them into customers.

This Facebook advertising guide will discuss everything you should know about advertising on the platform. It begins with why you should advertise on Facebook to why it’s necessary to optimize the post-ad click experience with a dedicated landing page.

This chapter is focused on why you should advertise on Facebook and how the platform measures up against Google AdWords. The chapter will also detail what Facebook Audience Insights entails and other targeting options offered by the social network.

Why should you choose to use Facebook ads?

With Facebook’s monthly active users increasing, and the social network’s ability to target your customers based numerous variables, running paid campaigns on Facebook seems like an obvious choice for most marketers.

This means your Facebook ads have a greater chance of being viewed by your target audience. And, because Facebook collects a lot of user data (such as age, location, and interests) you can create ads and landing pages that are perfectly tailored to them.

Currently, more than 3 million businesses actively advertise on Facebook. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider Facebook as a viable paid advertising channel for your business.

    1. Growing audience size: Facebook now has a total of 2 billion monthly active users, of which 83% are women while 75% are men. Plus, Facebook’s Audience Insights make it a lot easier for marketers to narrow down their target audience.

    2. Attention: People spend a lot of time on social networks. Marketers can leverage this time to put the right ads in front of the right people.
    3. Targeting options: Facebook offers allow businesses to target users by location, demographics, age, gender, interests, behavior, and much more.

Facebook ads versus Google AdWords

According to Business Insider, there are 2.3 million Google searches every minute.
Google is the world’s largest search engine, with more than 80.6% of global market share, Google AdWords is the perfect place for marketers to tap into Google’s vast search traffic.

Think of the Google AdWords platform as an online marketplace, where businesses pay to have their ads shown at the top of the search results page (search ads), or get displayed prominently on other websites (display ads).
Google AdWords is used as a paid marketing platform because:

  • It allows you to attract more customers by showing ads on a platform people actually use to find information i.e. Google.
  • AdWords helps you promote offers to a local and global audience.
  • You can reach your target audience at the right time with segmentation and personalization.

Google AdWords does get a lot more search traffic than Facebook ads, plus users who type queries in the search engine have a higher buying intent than Facebook users who are scrolling through their newsfeeds. However, if you’re looking for better targeting options or trying to bring back lost visitors through remarketing, then Facebook ads are your best bet.

To succeed with Google AdWords, you have to choose the right keywords for your ads and create relevant landing pages with every ad. The success of Facebook ads lies in creating the right audience list who get to see your ads, creating high quality relevant Facebook ads and connecting them to dedicated landing pages.
You can also use Facebook’s split test tool to test audiences and ad creatives to get the best, most optimized results.

Let’s review the list of advertising pros for both the networks.

Google AdWords pros

  • Users have higher buying intent.
  • Simple keyword based targeting.
  • Easily drive sales and conversions for your business.
  • A large pool of users who use the search engine every day.

Facebook ads pros

  • Ability to create your own custom audience based on multiple targeting options.
  • Powerful remarketing ability, you can call back visitors with the help of precise remarketing lists based on
  • social visits or specific website visits.
  • Choose from multiple ad formats to create ads for lead generation, brand awareness, and direct sales.
  • Average CTR is lower than Google AdWords, it’s as low as 0.9%.

What separates Facebook ads from Google AdWords or other search engine paid marketing options such as Bing ads, are the network’s Audience Insights and targeting features.

Let’s look at Facebook’s Audience Insights and targeting options in detail.

What are Facebook’s Audience Insights?

Audience Insights show marketers data about their target audience so they can create ads that are more relevant to them.

Facebook uses native data to show you audience features that include:

  1. Age and gender
  2. Relationship status
  3. Education level
  4. Job role
  5. Top categories
  6. Page likes
  7. Top cities
  8. Top countries
  9. Top languages
  10. Frequency of activities
  11. Device Users

The network uses third party data (collected from Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon) to show audience features that include:

  1. Lifestyle
  2. Household income
  3. Home ownership
  4. Household size
  5. Home market value
  6. Spending methods
  7. Retail spending
  8. Online purchases
  9. Purchase behaviour
  10. In market for a vehicle

You can use Audience Insights to access three views of audiences:

    1. Instant Topics: This includes audience data about the most popular topics on Facebook.
    2. Custom Studies: This includes audience data for the topics you define.
    3. Audiences: This is where you can see demographic data, interests, and behaviors for custom audiences, Page audiences or the audiences on Facebook.

Facebook allows you to create Custom Audience, Lookalike Audience, and Saved Audience lists, you can then use Audience Insights to learn more about your audiences and create ads that are targeted at them.

Custom Audience

A Custom Audience is Facebook’s ad targeting option that allows you to find existing audiences among people you know on the platform.

The Custom Audience list includes people whose contact information you already know, so you can use email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, or app user IDs to create and save audiences you would like to show ads to.

Facebook compares the contact information you submit with their own data and helps find your customers or leads.

Here’s what you have to do to create a Custom Audience for your Facebook campaign:

Click the Audience tab in the Ads Manager:

Audience Tab shown in Facebook Ads Manager

Select ‘Create a Custom Audience’:

Screenshot showing how to create a custom audience on Facebook

Choose from the following five options to reach people who already have a relationship with your business. These can be existing customers, leads, or people who have interacted with your business on Facebook:

The 5 primary custom audience options are shown for Facebook Ads

You have the option of creating up to 500 Custom Audiences per ad account. However, if your Custom Audience list includes fewer than 1000 people it’s better to choose CPM bidding to ensure that your ads are shown to the audience you want to reach.
You can update your Custom Audience as your customer list grows, this will help your ads get maximum reach. You should also consider creating a Lookalike Audience from your Custom Audience list to reach people similar to your customers and leads.

Lookalike Audience

Lookalike Audience is a sub-set of your Custom Audience list. The Lookalike Audience is a target audience you create from a ‘source’, this can be your Custom Audience, pixel data (users who have visited your website or landing page), mobile app data or fans of your page.

Facebook then finds people who are similar to the source, or look like them, as they are more likely to positively respond to your ads. You can choose the size of your lookalike audience during the ad creation process.

A smaller Lookalike Audience is more likely to closely match the source audience, a larger Lookalike Audience may increase ad reach but it decreases the level of similarity between the source audience and the Lookalike Audience.
You can create a Lookalike Audience list from the location you select during ad creation. To create a Lookalike Audience your source audience must consist of at least 100 people from a single country, plus you have the option of creating up to 500 Lookalike Audiences from one source audience.

Saved Audience

Facebook allows you to save an audience you have created for an ad campaign and use it for future campaigns, by creating a Saved Audience. Creating a Saved Audience helps you save time as you don’t have to narrow down an audience list for every campaign. You can then use Facebook’s targeting options to select a target audience if you’re running and managing multiple campaigns at once.
To create a Saved Audience list, select the ‘Use a Saved Audience’ option in the Ads Manager and create an audience list from all available targeting options:

Saved Audience options shown in Facebook

You have the option to edit your Saved Audience on your Audiences Page.
In addition to providing marketers with the opportunity to collect insights about their audience, and creating different audience lists the social network also gives marketers the option of narrowing down a target audience via one of the vastest and laser-focused targeting options.

Facebook’s ad targeting options

You can segment audiences for your Facebook ads using Facebook’s ad targeting options that cover the following parameters.

  1. Demographics
  2. Interests
  3. Behaviors
  4. Connections
  5. Remarketing

Let’s look at all four of the targeting parameters in detail below.


The Demographics in Facebook’s ad targeting options includes:

    1. Location: You can reach one or more countries, postal codes, addresses or designated market areas.
    2. Age: Select the maximum and minimum age of the people you want to show ads to.
    3. Languages: The language selected needs to be used in the area you’ve chosen to show ads in.
    4. Gender: You can choose to show ads to just men or women.
    5. Relationship: Target ads at people who are single or in a relationship.
    6. Education: Choose between education level, field of study, schools and undergrad years.
    7. Work: Select between job titles, office, type, and industries.
    8. Financial: Choose between income and net worth.
    9. Home: Target ads at people based on home type, home ownership, and household composition.
    10. Ethnic Affinity: Segment audiences with different ethnic affinities.
    11. Generation: Choose between baby boomers, Generation X or Millennials.
    12. Parents: Facebook allows you to choose from parents who have teens, toddlers, infants etc.
    13. Life Events: Select to show your ads to users who have updated specific life events – such as an anniversary, new job, recently moved, newly engaged, upcoming birthday etc.
    14. Politics (US): Choose to show ads to liberals or conservatives.


    1. Business & Industry: Choose from advertising, aviation, agriculture, banking, business, construction, design, economics, engineering, entrepreneurship, healthcare, higher education, management, marketing, nursing, online, personal finance, real estate, retail, sales, science, and small business.
    2. Entertainment: Choose from games, live events, movies, music, reading, and TV.
    3. Family & Relationships: Choose from family, fatherhood, motherhood, friendship, dating, marriage, weddings, and parenting.
    4. Fitness & Wellness: Choose from users who like to do activities such as bodybuilding, dieting, gyms, meditation, nutrition, physical exercise, physical fitness, running, weight training, yoga, and Zumba.
    5. Food & Drink: Choose from users who enjoy alcoholic beverages, hot beverages, cooking, different types of cuisines, and restaurants.
    6. Hobbies & Activities: Does your target audience have an interest in arts & music, current events, home & garden, pets, politics & social issues, travel, or vehicles.
    7. Shopping & Fashion: Choose from beauty, clothing, fashion accessories, shopping, and toys.
    8. Sports & Outdoors: Choose from outdoor recreation and sports.
    9. Technology: Choose from computers and consumer electronics.


You can reach people based on purchase intent or behaviors, device usage, and more.

    1. Automotive: Choose from new vehicle buyers, used vehicle buyers, vehicle owners, and purchase type.
    2. B2B: Choose from industry, company size, and seniority.
    3. Charitable Donations: Choose from charitable donations made for cancer causes, animal welfare, health, veterans, and more.
    4. Digital Activities: Choose from activities such as canvas gaming, Facebook page admins, event creators, console gamers, and more.
    5. Expats: Choose from a list of countries.
    6. Financial: Choose from banking, investments, and spending methods.
    7. Job Role: Choose from corporate executives, financial professionals, and farmers.
    8. Media: Choose from radio and television.
    9. Mobile Device User: Choose from network connections, new smartphone and tablet owners, feature phones, smartphone owners, and more.
    10. Purchase Behaviors: Choose from users who have made purchases in pet products, household products, clothing, food, drink, and more.
    11. Travel: Choose from frequent flyers, business travellers, cruises, commuters, and more.
    12. Resident Profiles: Choose from length of residence, recent home buyers, likely to move, new mover, and recent mortgage buyer.
    13 Seasonal & Events: Choose from baseball, college football, cricket, fall football, rugby, and cricket.


This targeting option lets you reach people who have a specific connection to your business page, app or event. The filter allows you to select the users who perform a specific action on your website or landing page and also come under the other targeting categories you have selected:

  1. People who like your page.
  2. Friends of people who like your page.
  3. Exclude people who like your page.
  4. People who used your app.
  5. Friends of people who used your app.
  6. Exclude people who used your app.
  7. People who are going to your event.
  8. Friends of people who are going to your event.
  9. Exclude people who are going to your event.


When you use Facebook ads for remarketing campaigns you have the option to target the following people:

  1. People who visited your website.
  2. Custom lists of emails.
  3. Custom lists of phone numbers.
  4. Custom lists of Facebook user IDs.

Facebook gives you the opportunity to segment your audience lists using multiple targeting options and collect insights on your target audience, allowing you to create ads that are likely to pique the interest of the target audience and get an ad click.

We’ve already discussed why using Facebook ads is a good choice for your paid marketing campaigns, let’s continue to the next chapter to see the Facebook ad setup process in detail.

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