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facebook advertising guide

Facebook Advertising Guide

When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook is a juggernaut that looks to remain the kingpin for some time – despite competitors continually eating into its market share. Marketers have been successfully using it as an advertising platform for eighteen years, but how exactly does it work? Thank goodness you’ve found this handy Facebook advertising guide!

An Introduction to Facebook

With an estimated 2.91 billion global users, it’s very likely that the Facebook platform needs no introduction. Starting off in early January 2004, Mark Zuckerberg began writing the code for “the facebook” as a solution to being able to look up other students on the Harvard campus. It soon exploded in popularity, becoming the benchmark for social platforms that followed.

It made a shift in business model relatively early on – changing from running ads to meet operating costs to advertising being its main monetisation strategy. This led to significant investment into its advertising platform, making it simpler for anyone that manages a page to promote their content.

In October 2021, the Facebook company rebranded itself as Meta – unifying the company’s applications, products and services under one name in anticipation of their role in developing the metaverse. This did not impact the Facebook platform or the adverts that run on it.

How do Facebook ads work?

Like with all social advertising, users create profiles for themselves. Over time, the platform learns their interests based on their interactions with content. This learning is then applied to the advertising that gets served up, ensuring that you only see things that would be of interest to you. This tailoring makes the adverts highly effective. Enjoying our Facebook advertising guide so far?

Location-based targeting

There are a number of factors that a social marketer can use to target specific audiences. For starters, one can target geographically. This can be as high-level as a continent, to as granular as someone that is visiting a city on holiday. This level of targeting is useful in a number of cases, most notably when your goods and services are limited to a specific region and you want to maximise your return on investment in that area. This works best for businesses that operate best with onsite interactions, like restaurants and hotels.

Demographic targeting

When setting up your Facebook profile, information like your age and gender are required. This base-level data is important for advertisers who are looking to appeal to an audience in a specific life phase. By researching the various personas that interact with your business, you can refine the demographics to reach specific parts of your audience with specific messages. The application of this kind of targeting can benefit all industries that are looking to reach a specific group of people.

Profession and industry-based targeting

As we touched on earlier, Facebook learns the interests of its users through their engagement on its platform. If someone likes a number of cycling shops' Pages and regularly checks in at a cycling track, it quickly connects the dots that this user enjoys cycling and would serve up advertising content accordingly. This is helpful for advertisers looking to grow their audience and help get their product discovered by customers who have not yet heard of their brand.

Lookalike targeting

A more advanced method of targeting is expanding your advert’s reach by creating a lookalike audience. This can be done based on an existing list of leads, website visitors or just your existing Facebook audience. With this targeting, Facebook analyses the data of the original audience and attempts to match that to a broader audience that shares similarities. While this is generally a very successful match, this method wouldn't translate into increased sales/leads since it is only a partial match but can expand your audience and encourage discovery.

The Types of Facebook Adverts

There are a wide variety of advert formats, each with their own strengths and best uses. All of these formats can target either awareness, website traffic or conversions. Here they are:


This specific format has evolved significantly since it was first introduced, so you may hear marketers refer to it as a canvas ad too. In essence, it is a full-screen mobile-only Instant Experience, featuring a collection of all of the formats we mentioned above. This flexibility allows a lot of room for creativity and is a jack-of-all-trades in terms of call-to-actions since it can be built to perform any function.

Other items we may not have mentioned

This isn’t the be-all and end-all list of formats, however. Facebook is constantly revising its ad experience, so it can also be used to encourage app installs, WhatsApp conversations or remarket your products and services to people who have previously engaged with your brand. If you’d like a conversation around the cutting-edge ways to market your business on Facebook, give us a call! 

Looking for a more detailed social media strategy?

78% of your target audience is likely to buy from your brand after experiencing a positive interaction on social media. The trick is to consistently publish positive, pertinent content that will add value to your followers’ social media experiences.  

We have partnered with leading social media software makers, Sprout Social, becoming the first listed agency partner in South Africa to achieve the Platinum Partner ranking.  

We’re privileged to have partnered with many respected clients and continue to add value to their social media efforts. Connect with us to discuss a detailed, results-driven social media planning strategy.