How to Win Facebook Friends and Influence People (with Ads)

Alex Deleon Headshot
sad sack at a computer

How many times a week do you get hit by ads on Facebook that mean absolutely nothing to you? 10? 20? Broad ad targeting on the internet is nothing new, but something about that approach just feels off on an otherwise highly curated platform like Facebook.

The obvious issue at play here is that, with over $17 billion spent on Facebook ads last year, there’s no shortage of marketers tossing ads into the ether. At any given time, you might be targeted by agencies managing campaigns for clients, social media specialists trying to boost their company’s reach, or even Redditors looking to help other people “Feel the Bern”.

Anyone can throw together a Facebook ad campaign. If you have a credit card and the time to write a sentence, your ads can be out there for the whole world to ignore in less than 15 minutes.

It’s a completely different story if you want to do it effectively. Using compelling creative and writing clear copy should be a given when we talk about “good” ads. Luckily, there’s a formula you can follow if you want to be a good marketer, make friends, and influence people with Facebook Ads.

Here are three simple rules to follow.

Establish a Clear Goal.

Did you know there are 11 different types of campaigns available through the Facebook Ad Manager? Beyond boosting post reach and acquiring Likes, skilled marketers can create ads that garner email leads, promote online apps, or even drive website conversions.

The truly talented can take these 11 options and mold them to their specific needs. Think video ads that drive the installation of an app directly from the Google Play Store. Or the hyper-local promotion of a coupon that measurably gets new customers in the door.

While this flexibility can be enticing to aspiring Facebook marketers, it’s important to remember that the variety offered by Facebook requires marketers to come ready with a goal in mind.

Are you going to try and promote awareness of your brand? Drive sales on a specific product? Earn foot traffic to a physical location?

Before you charge boldly into the creation of a Facebook campaign, think about your overall business goal. What are you hoping to accomplish through the use of Facebook advertising? Then think about which campaign best fits your needs.

You’d be surprised how many marketers skip this simple step.

Study Facebook’s Targeting Options.

Alright, you’ve nailed down your goal. You know exactly what kind of campaign you want to run. Now you just need to get your ad in front of the right person.

So have you thought about whether you want to target domestically or internationally? Do you want to target Baby Boomers, or Generation X? Do you think affluent spenders will respond better to your ads, or coupon clippers? Have you thought about retargeting people who have already hit your website?

There are more targeting options available through Facebook Ad Manager than any sane person really ought to know about. For the mad scientist marketers, there’s even third-party targeting you can layer on top of what Facebook offers. While acknowledging that fact, let’s also acknowledge that baseline targeting options are what separate poor or “just-okay” campaigns from excellent campaigns.

Spend time studying the targeting options Facebook provides. Use whatever resources you have available – customer data, industry research, purchasing behaviors – to determine which categories could best help you achieve your overall campaign goals. Too many marketers fail to research the available targeting parameters until they’re actually making their ads.

Don’t be that kind of marketer.

Lastly, think about whether it makes sense to bring an agency partner into the mix. Some agencies have access to even more targeting parameters from partners like Experian, and can help you optimize your targeting efforts efficiently enough to be worth the extra budget.

Track, Optimize, Refresh, Conclude. 

A hallmark of effective Facebook advertising is tracking your campaign results, and adjusting your ads as needed throughout the campaign.

Most marketers know to keep an eye on CPC and click-through rates. But Facebook metrics like Negative vs. Positive Feedback levels, as well as Facebook’s Relevancy Score, are critical to the overall health of your ad campaign. If your ads begin showing significant negative feedback, and if the Relevancy Score starts dropping, it’s obviously an indication that a change needs to be made. Being mindful, and knowing where to look is truly half the battle.

Ultimately, you’ll be the best judge of the quality and strength of the creative you’re using, but don’t be turned off by negative feedback or poor campaign results. Often times it can provide valuable insight into either your targeting efficacy, or the creative direction that you’re heading.

This is worth saying again: positive results are what we’re all shooting for, but negative results can be just as valuable if you properly track the data and use it effectively moving forward.

Track, Optimize, Refresh, Conclude.


Bringing this all the way back to the beginning, the foundation of any great Facebook campaign lies in the strength of the creative and copy that you’ve crafted. But the simple rules above, followed consistently, will help you take that great foundation and reach the people who truly matter to your brand or organization.

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  1. “positive results are what we’re all shooting for, but negative results can be just as valuable if you properly track the data and use it effectively moving forward.”
    Couldn’t have said this any better, Alex. Great article that reminds us to backtrack through the foundation of our Facebook campaigns. Thanks mate!

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