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Practical guide for Facebook ads, Part 3: design and targeting

After you’ve  defined your choice of  Facebook ads or Sponsored Stories, the next step is to actually create them. Let’s see how you can design and target the ads.

1st step: Landing page

Creating a great Facebook ad campaign will be a waste of time and money if your landing page is bad. Don’t forget the main rules of online advertising – they’re the same in Facebook too. You need to grab the attention of the user, make him click, lead him to a catching landing page, and have a “call-to-action button”. This “call-to-action” may be clicking the “Like” button of the page – if you want to make the user your fan, so that you can interact with him after that as many times as you wish. Or maybe you want to make him use your application, or you may want to make the user a lead, who will then buy your product or service. It depends on the goals of your campaign. The point is: without a good landing page for your adverts it is not reasonable to spend money on Facebook advertising.

2nd step: Design your ad

Go to the Ads creating page. You have a couple of options there that are listed in the order in which you need to define them. Under your account on the top right you have the “Select existing creative” button – there you can choose a design from your previously created ads.

First thing you need to do is choose the Destination of the ad – when a user clicks on your advertisement, where will he be led to? You have a couple of options: External URL or Facebook Pages and Applications which you are the administrator for.

  • Pages and Applications – for the purposes of this post I’m going to give examples with Pages, but it’s the same procedure for Applications.

–   Destination. Here you have to choose the Page that you want to advertise. NB. If you are administrator of more than one Page, make sure you’ve chosen the right one!

–   Type & Story Type. Here you’re choosing Facebook Ads or Sponsored Story. If you choose Sponsored Story, there is not so much to design, or indeed no design at all. This is because of the nature of these types of ads. By Ad from a Page post you have the option of Page Post Selection – here you look through posts form your Page and decide which one you want to advertise.

 –   New ad message. Selecting this option means you’re going to create your own design for the ad. You can choose the Destination Tab of your Page (the “landing page”). The Title of the ad is set as the name of your Page (if the selection is grey), but sometimes there is the option to give your ad an alternative title. You then have 90 characters to create the Body of the ad. You can also upload a different picture – by default the picture of your ad is your Page profile image.

How to choose your ad picture and what to write in the body? We’ll see in the next example of advertising an external URL.

  • External URL – if you choose to lead the users, who click on your ad, to an external URL, you are free to create your design: the Title, the Body and the Image. You’ll see that here you don’t have the option to select between Facebook ad and Sponsored story. That’s because when your advert leads to a page outside of Facebook there can be no social element, so there is no Sponsored story option at all.


Let’s create an ad of as an example. The main principles that I’m going to point out next are the same for new ad messages for Facebook Pages and Applications.

–   We choose Destination: External URL.

–   We paste the path of the desired URL. If this URL is related to a Facebook Page, you have the option to choose if you want to show stories about users who interact with you page in the ad.

–   We write Title and Body. You need to create a catching copy – there are only 90 characters for the body, and 25 characters for the title in which to do this. The picture, the title and the body are each equally important, so take your time to construct them. Your title can be short ,because you still have the body and image to explain the ad. Make the users read the copy. Be sure you include a call-to-action phrase, because you want the users to click and engage with your ad. This is your opportunity to sell your product in 115 characters – so be sure to include your business name and at least one key benefit.

–   We upload the image. If your external URL refers to a Facebook page (e.g. our example), Facebook will suggest you  use the Page profile picture by default – but you can change it if you want to. Try to select an eye-catching picture that will make the users read the copy. Think about the size of the image – it’s small, so don’t upload a picture with lots of details in it. The images should be 110 x 80 pixels and less than 5 megabytes. If the image is larger or smaller than 110 x 80, Facebook will resize it automatically. Note that you can’t upload animated or flash images.

What have I done in our example? Well, I have a clear image, which is the logo of, so that the ad can create brand awareness. I have the name of the business in the image, so I don’t need to include it in the copy. I’ve written a short catchy title, which is obviously not very clear. Its aim is to make the users want to read the body. In the body I have a call-to-action phrase (“Get”), I’ve pointed out what is (“all-in-one web applications monitoring as a service”) and I have mentioned 2 key benefits – “free” and “set up for only 3 minutes”. That’s enough to make the user click on the ad.

3rd step: Targeting

Facebook ads are very targeted. You can be really specific with who will see your ads – this is the great thing about Facebook advertising. You’ll see that the more specific you get with your targeting, the smaller your “Estimated reach” will get – a smaller number of users, who are likely to see your ad. You can choose as many options as you want, there is no obligatory targeting. You can be really specific or very general – everything depends on your campaign purpose. We’ll go through the targeting options with an example – advertising a new clothing store in Sofia (Bulgaria), offering trendy clothes to young business women.

–   Location. Here you have the option to choose users by their country and city. You can include cities at a distance from these, which you’ve pointed out. I choose users from Bulgaria, and more specifically from Sofia and cities within a 10 mile range.

–   Demographics. You choose the age and sex of users – in our example women from 25 to 35 years.

–   Interests. You can advertise to users with specific interests so that you get an audience which is likely to be interested in what you do. I’ve written Fashion.

–   Connections on Facebook. This is a really great option. You can advertise to your fans; to everyone of your target group except your fans; to users who are connected to a specific event, page or app (you can target fans of your competitors); friends of your fans. An approach that really works: targeting people who are friends of those connected to your brand. Many reports on social marketing show that people are more likely to trust an ad that’s connected to someone they already know.

–   Advanced demographics. You can choose users, interested in men or women. You can target people according to their relationship status and languages they speak. I’ve chosen users, interested in men and who are in a relationship.

–   Education and work. Here you can target users by their education and workplace.

–   Estimated reach. At the right of the targeting window you can look at the number of people who your ad will reach according to the targeting options that you’ve set. This number changes every time that you include or exclude an option – under the number you see a list of your targeting criteria. In my example I’ve targeted only 2540 users – a really specific group.

The next step of creating an ad is the pricing and scheduling for the campaign. The Facebook ads pricing is a really interesting topic that you should really be aware of before even starting you campaign. Learn how you can determine your CPM or CPC in our next article:  Practical guide for Facebook ads, Part 4: Pricing of Facebook ads.

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About Lili Petkova

Enthusiastic young online marketing professional. Fully engaged in the way how people communicate and react on different situations – both online, and offline. Living in Bulgaria - a country of contrast, where life is somewhere in the middle of Western countries and Asia. Love to travel, meet new cultures and friends. Blogging about how online tools, social networks and internet advertising can help small businesses to benefit from their online marketing.