How do Facebook Ads Work? What You Need to Know

Facebook ads

How do Facebook Ads Work? What You Need to Know

With 2.41 billion monthly active users in Q2 2019, Facebook is the largest social media network worldwide, and it’s still expanding. The platform saw an 8% increase in YOY user growth in 2019. Americans spend, on average, 38 minutes per day on Facebook, but the social network also boasts a tremendous global reach. In fact, 85% of Facebook’s daily active users are outside of the U.S. and Canada.

With this massive, global audience, Facebook is simply too big to ignore as a marketing platform for just about any business. There’s one caveat, though: Facebook’s algorithm is set to prioritize content from friends and family over brands in an attempt to bring people closer together. That makes it tricky for businesses to connect with their audience organically.

So, where do Facebook business ads fit into the equation? In this article, we will deep-dive into everything you need to know about how to advertise on Facebook. You’ll learn what sponsored ads on Facebook are, if Facebook ads are worth it, and which ad types there are. Besides, we’ll show you exactly how to post ads on Facebook.

What Are Facebook Ads?Person on facebook on mobile device over laptop

Simply speaking, you pay Facebook for showing your advertisements and video content to their users. The great thing is that the platform allows you to reach a very specific target audience based on demographics, interests, locations, and behaviors. Your business can get in front of precisely the right people who are most likely to be interested in your products and services. That means you can put your marketing budget to good use and reap solid conversion rates and return-on-investment.


But do Facebook ads work? Let’s look at this next.


How Effective Are Facebook Ads?

Obviously, you want every one of your marketing dollars to count. According to Wordstream, Facebook is still one of the most cost-effective advertising platforms, with an average cost-per-click of $1.72 across all industries. Besides its large global user base, here are more stats that speak to the effectiveness of Facebook advertising:

Icon for statistics

66% of social media users are looking to learn about new products and services on these platforms.

Facebook users who like and follow your business are 79% more likely to make a purchase compared to non-fans

80% of Gen Z and 74% of millennials report that social media is influencing their purchasing decisions.

The truth is, the performance of your Facebook ads depends on many factors, such as the industry you are in, your ad quality, and how much you invest. The only surefire way to know if Facebook ad marketing will work for you is to try it out and run the numbers.

Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook offers an ever-expanding variety of ad formats that set marketers’ hearts aflutter. Here’s an overview of the most important formats:

icon for videosFacebook Video Ads

Video content is increasingly dominating the Facebook campaigns and user newsfeeds. Somewhere around 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook every single day, 85% of them with the sound off. That’s why you should consider adding captions to your Facebook video ad to increase its performance.

With effective videos, you can grab your audience’s attention in-stream, in their news feeds or as stories. But, don’t forget to adhere to the below video ad specs:

Video Ratio: 9:16 to 16:9
Video File Size: maximum 4GB
Video Length: maximum 240 minutes
Text: everything longer than 125 characters will be truncated

Icon for imagesFacebook Image Ads

Probably the easiest to create with just a few clicks, photo ads use beautiful images to showcase your products or to inspire your audience. Focus on eye-catching images (no generic stock photography please) with a clear, readable type (no more than 20% of the image) to attract the most clicks. Images of people and funny memes tend to work best. When creating your ad, keep the following Facebook image ad specs in mind:

File Type: jpg or png
Image Ratio: 1.91:1 to 4:5
Headline: 25 characters
Link Description: 30 characters
Text: everything longer than 125 characters will be truncated

Icon carousel adsCarousel Ads

A carousel ad allows you to display up to 10 photos and videos, each with its own link. Use it to highlight different products, accentuate specific details of one product or service, or tell a story about your brand.


Icon internet browserSlideshow Ads

Don’t have the budget to create a video ad? You can create a slideshow from images that you already have, adding sound, motion, and text to tell your story. These ads have a shorter loading time which makes them more accessible for people with slow internet connections.


Icon mobile deviceCollection Ads and Instant Experiences

Collection ads let your audience discover your products on their mobile devices through videos and images in a full-screen instant experience (formerly called canvas). They can even make a purchase without leaving Facebook.


In addition to the mentioned formats, Facebook also offers lead generation ads, offers, event responses, post engagement ads, and page likes ads. Learn more about those here.

How to Create a Facebook Ad Campaign

Ready to get started? The easiest and quickest way to create a Facebook ad is to boost an existing, well-performing Facebook post from your business page. Alternatively, you can start from scratch by heading over to your Facebook Ads Manager. Simply select “Create” and follow the steps below.

Step 1: Choose an Objective

Objectives for Facebook Ads

First, Facebook prompts you to choose an objective for your ad. To make the right choice, you should be clear on what you want to achieve with your ad. There are three main goals:

Awareness – If you want to create a general interest for your brand, products, and services.

Consideration – If you want potential customers to start thinking about your product and services and nudge them to seek more information.

Conversion – If you want to convert people who are interested in your products and services into paying customers.

Your goals will change as your business grows. At first, you might focus on creating brand awareness and attracting leads by collecting their email addresses and sending users to your landing pages. Later, you can encourage people to purchase or sign up for an event.

Let’s assume that we want to share a video of how our service works with people on Facebook. We’ll select video views as an objective.

Video Views Facebook Ad Objective

You’ll be prompted to name your campaign and consider two options:

Create Split Test – You can test different versions of your videos to understand which will provide the best results. The variable for your test can be the creative (your video), delivery optimization, audience, or placement. By the way, we specialize in creating multiple videos for your A/B testing!

Campaign Budget Optimization – This will distribute your budget across ad sets to generate better results.


Step 2: Select a Custom Facebook Audience

Facebook provides unparalleled targeting options, and it would be a mistake not to exploit them properly. Many marketers try to target the largest group possible, but you will have more success if you can drill down to the exact audience that is most likely to benefit from your product or service. Find out as much as you can about their interests, for example, which influencers they follow, which blogs/magazines they read, and which related products they use.

Then, laser-focus your ad on the right people by utilizing all available targeting options.


    • Location – Start with a country and narrow your audience down further by state, city, and zip code. You can choose to include or exclude certain locations.


  • Age – The available range is from 13 to 65+ years.
  • Gender – Select between all, men, and women.


  • Languages – Enter the languages that your target audience speaks.
  • Detailed targeting – This allows you to refine your targeting even more by selecting specific interests and behaviors.
  • Connections – With this option, you can reach people who have a specific connection with your page, app, or events. For example, you could exclude people who already like your page.

Step 3: Choose Your Ad Placement

Next, you’ll choose where Facebook places your ad. The easiest option is to go for the automatic placement, but you may want to be more specific. You can choose from options like mobile vs. desktop, iOS vs. Android devices, different platforms, feeds, stories, etc.

Placements on Facebook Ads

Step 4: Set the Budget and Schedule

Now, it’s time to decide how much you’d like to spend on your ad and how long it should run. You can choose between a daily budget or a lifetime budget (a maximum amount that will be spent over the lifetime of your ad).

Split Test Budget and Schedule

Step 5: Create Your Ad

This is the fun part where you can actually get creative. First, you will choose your ad format. The options available will vary based on the ad objective you’ve set earlier in the process. As an example, we will be uploading a video.


Even though high-quality visuals are the top priority, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted headline and body copy for your ad. Despite the character limitations (40 characters are recommended for the headline and 125 for the body copy), you can still use the famous AIDA copywriting formula to get the best results.


Attention: Choose an eye-catching headline to get your audience to pay attention.

Interest: Highlight the most important benefit of your offer to spike their interest.

Desire: Create desire for your offer with a discount, free trial, or limited time offer.

Action: Tell your audience what you want them to do with a call to action (Sign Up, Book Now, Download).


Here’s an example of one of our videos:

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Boost your brand awareness with engaging, high-quality videos. Save 50% on your first video. Learn more.


When you are all set, use the preview tool to check how your ad will look like across all placements. Remember that when you are split testing your ad, you will be asked to create two versions of your ad: A and B. They will run simultaneously, and you can observe which one is performing better.

Step 6: Place Your Order

Your ad is ready to go! Once you submit your ad, Facebook will review it before setting it live. If there’s any problem with it, they will get in touch with you. When your ad is finally live, you’ll receive a confirmation email.

What Is the Best Way to Advertise on Facebook?

If you are still on the fence about how to use Facebook ads effectively, consider that there’s compelling evidence that video ads outperform images. The data doesn’t lie: Video ads doubled clicks and generated 20-30% more conversions than ads with images only. Wondering what your video should be about? You could explain how your product or service works, introduce a special offer, or give your audience a peek behind the scenes of your business.

Let us help you wow your audience with high-quality, custom-made videos. You can leave your complete social media video production to us. The best thing is, we not only produce one but multiple variations of your video for A/B testing, so you can run your ad with the best performing video and get the most return on your ad spend.

Give us a call at 888.760.4958 or email us at to learn how we can transform your business goals into results.

Get Started with MotionSlam


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