Targeted Facebook Ads: How They Work and How to Make Them Work for You

For small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs), targeted marketing is a powerful tool for better customer connections.

Targeted marketing

“Sending relevant marketing messages on topics that matter to your audience is a proven formula for success—and a fast track to a return on your marketing investment. We see that every day with our SMB clients,” says Bob Fabbio, CEO and co-founder of eRelevance Corp., a marketing automation service for SMBs.

You may be familiar with targeting and segmentation for email marketing, but it should be part of every campaign, across all channels, including social media advertising.

Targeted Facebook ads can help nurture contacts by displaying your marketing message directly on their Facebook Newsfeeds or other position on their Facebook pages using the custom audience feature.  It just requires uploading a customer list with email addresses or phone numbers, which Facebook compares to its data.  Any contacts with corresponding Facebook accounts see your ads.

This is an effective way to reach contacts with compelling messages that resonate and drive action.  If you’re new to this channel, follow these best practices to get the most out of your investment.

1. Start with Good Data

Choose your custom audience list thoughtfully.  Target contacts that best align with the goals of your campaign. Like with any marketing channel, your Facebook ads should match the interests of your audience.  The more targeted your list is to your message, the better your results.

2. Copy

Best practices for Facebook ad copy is similar to most other digital advertising. Use plain language with a clear call to action.  The idea is to grab attention quickly and get targets to click and take action. Tests indicate 14 words are enough for your ad text—and most effective for driving action.

Headlines are also extremely important, so get to the point quickly here too.  The most popular Facebook ad headlines are only five words.

3. Images

A crucial part of your Facebook ad is the image. You can write brilliantly clear copy with the most compelling call to action, but if your image doesn’t catch your targets’ attention, they won’t click on it, and you won’t see conversions from your investment.

Don’t use low-quality images, generic stock photography or images you don’t have the rights to use. Don’t include pictures from Google Images, and unless you’re a very well-known brand, don’t use your logo.

Images of people work best. Close-ups of attractive faces that resonate with your target audience are a good bet.

Avoid images with words on them.  Facebook does not allow more than 20 percent of your image to be covered in words, so best practice is to avoid images with words entirely.

4. Dont Forget the Landing Page

Targeted Facebook ads should offer something unique to your audience, so your link from the ad should point to a specific landing page tailored to your call to action.

5. Must. Comply

Everyone should read Facebook’s Terms of Services for Custom Audiences very carefully and comply fully.  Non-compliance could result in Facebook banning your account for violations such as using names from whom you don’t have explicit permission to send your marketing messages.

While these practices are a general guide to successfully getting started with Facebook targeted advertising, testing is the best way to determine what works for your messages and audiences.  It may also be helpful to review this free gallery of Facebook ad ideas.


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