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A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Money With Facebook Ads, According to Experts Creating the right message is a crucial first step to making money with Facebook ads, but it doesn't end there. This guide will help you create ads that actually convert.

By R.L. Adams Edited by Dan Bova

Key Takeaways

  • Advertising on Facebook is an important strategy for businesses.
  • Knowing what works — and what doesn’t — on Facebook is essential.
  • Using these strategies, your Facebook ads can reach large audiences.

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It's hard to know exactly what will work on Facebook these days. The world's largest social media platform — owned by and rebranded as Meta — is constantly updating its algorithms and policies, which can create uncertainty for content creators and advertisers. However, with more than 3 billion users, Facebook offers a unique opportunity to drive traffic to your website, boost awareness for your business and grow your online audience.

Facebook ads can become a key component of your sales funnel, and when you understand how they work and what strategies perform best, you can create cost-effective campaigns that meet your needs and, ultimately, drive revenue. So, how do you go about doing that? Follow the tips below — which range from audience targeting to budgeting and more — and begin reaping the benefits of advertising on Facebook.

How to craft your message.

Everyone wants to make money with their Facebook ads, but many people don't know how to craft the right message. By following the "Feel-Felt-Found" formula you can create messaging that is both engaging and effective.

  • Feel: The goal is to connect and show empathy. Let your audience know you understand how they feel – this should address their pain points and the origin of their issue. Let them know that you're solving their problem with your product or service.
  • Felt: The next part in the empathy bridge is to relate that you've felt the same way: You know how they feel because you've felt that way too, and that feeling was the catalyst for the product or service you created to address the problem.
  • Found: This is where you tell the prospects about the solution you found or the origins of the solution. Here, you'll describe something that worked for you or that you've implemented and has worked for others.

Businesses big and small have found success using this formula to create ads. For instance, when Dove created Project #ShowUs in 2019 to help women focus on body positivity, they made it a key pillar of their Facebook ad strategy. By creating empathy with their customers, they reached 900,000 people globally and significantly expanded their audience.

How to reach your target market

Making money with Facebook ads requires you to find the right audience. And to do so, it's worth understanding the Pareto Principle, which says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.

This principle applies across the board. The majority of your sales will come from 20% of your customers, and 80% of your income will come from 20% of your work. This concept applies to every aspect of your e-commerce business – but to make it work you have to narrow down your audience to 20%. To do that, consider the "follow-frequent-fund" formula.

  • Follow: Who do your prospects follow? What do they read? This might be an industry leader, a specific Facebook Group or other business pages. Once you know who they're following, you can use that information to better target your ads.
  • Frequent: The next question to ask yourself is what your prospects frequent, meaning where they go and what they do on a daily basis. Facebook lets you narrow down ads by interests, so understanding this information will be key to your ad-building process.
  • Fund: The final part of the formula is to determine where your prospects are spending their money – this is often where their heart and their passions lie. If you can answer this question, you'll hone in on your target audience with precision.

Creating your magnet

What does your lead magnet — the item or service that you're offering people to grab their attention — look like? Making money with paid ads of any kind involves delivering something of value. This could be a cheat sheet, a checklist or an ebook. Think about something you can deliver that can be read in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Make sure that every step of your sales funnel delivers real value.

When creating a lead magnet, ask yourself: "What can I offer the marketplace that will add value?" To help you figure out the best lead magnet for your business, follow this four-step method that follows the S-A-G-E acronym.

  • "S" stands for SHORT. Remember: the lead magnet should be able to be read and understood in 10 or 15 minutes.
  • "A" stands for ACTIONABLE. Identify the difference between information and insight. Insightful content tells the prospect what to do with the information they're being given in order to achieve a very specific result.
  • "G" stands for GOAL-ORIENTED. Each piece of content should be goal-oriented. Everyone is looking for a solution that gets them closer to their goals. If you're the one who presents them with the solution, they're going to associate their progress with you. That makes them more likely to come back and spend money with you.
  • "E" stands for EASY. Everyone wants an easy solution – it has to be simple. How do you determine if it's simple? Ask yourself the following question: "If I were to give this information to an 8-year-old, could they then apply it to their business?"

Create the sales mechanism

The next step in your quest to make money from your ads is to create the sales mechanism, also known as a sales funnel. A sales funnel is the process of finding a prospect and bringing them into your ecosystem to eventually become a customer. What can you put in place so that those people who buy not only know you, but also like your company enough to purchase directly from you? When the prospect is ready to purchase the product or service, the goal is that you have already developed a positive relationship with them so they choose your company over your competitors.

Best practices for building the perfect Facebook ad

There are a variety of ways to approach the ad-creation process on Facebook. Photos and promotional videos can draw audiences in, but you must also write engaging ad copy that's clear and prompts viewers to take an action. Here are the key elements of a great Facebook ad:

  • Think visually: Hooking users immediately will give your ad a greater chance of driving post engagements. Design something visually impactful by using high-quality photos, bright colors and easy-to-read text. Consider using video ads, too, as they lead to the highest click rates of any format.
  • Be concise: You only need a few words to catch your audience's attention. However, your ad does need to prove your product's value. Be pithy, but tell the audience what your product or service will do for them.
  • Include a clear call to action: You may have created a visually appealing ad, but it won't lead to conversions if you don't tell people where to go. That's where a clear call to action (CTA) comes in. Tell your users you want them to click, download or call today. Because a CTA takes up precious text, it's okay to think outside the box.

Facebook ad FAQs

How do I promote my small business on Facebook?

Targeted ad campaigns help you reach the right people with your message and increase the chances of it driving engagement. To start, take advantage of Facebook's Audience Insights feature to gain insight into the demographics of your ideal customers.

Are Facebook ads worth it in 2024?

The short answer? Yes. Facebook can be a great way to promote your business over the next year. While there are many ways to advertise online, Facebook is still one of the most cost-effective advertising methods on the internet.

How much does a Facebook ad cost?

The cost of an ad varies depending on how many people you want to see it, how long you want it to run and factors including location and audience type. However, you can set both daily and lifetime budgets and Facebook will drive engagement based on those parameters. If your total budget for the ad is $100, consider running it for five days at $20 per day.

How do I start a Facebook ad campaign?

If you want to start a Facebook ad campaign, you must create a business page and Facebook Business Manager account – but to do this you must already have a personal Facebook page. If you don't, you'll need to create one.

Once you've launched your business page, define the objectives for your ad campaign (e.g. driving traffic to your website, getting more likes and followers or maximizing reach). Next, target your audience by age, gender, location, interests and other factors. Once you've completed those steps, create an engaging ad with high-quality visuals, compelling copy and calls to action. Finally, set your ad budget parameters and publish your ad. It will then be reviewed by Facebook and, if approved, it will go live.

How do Facebook ads work?

Facebook advertisements target users based on their behaviors, interests and other demographic information. When a user sees your ad on their timeline, they'll be measured as part of the ad's reach. If they click on the ad or interact with it (via reacting, commenting or sharing), their behavior will be counted as an engagement. When creating an ad, keep in mind that you can restrict your efforts to Facebook or, using Meta Ads Manager, you can share your ad on Meta's other platforms including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

How do Google ads compare to Facebook?

With Google Ads, you can target people actively searching for keywords related to your business or product. By contrast, Facebook ads let you target people based on their interests and other demographic information, so visual ads are served to them while they're spending time on social media.The benefit of Facebook is that it enables you to be more selective about the type of person you are trying to reach.

Do Facebook ads work for small businesses?

Yes. Regardless of the size of your business or daily budget, Facebook can be a powerful tool. You can tailor your ads with precise segmentation to reach the right audience, helping them make more impactful connections and increase awareness of your business.

For how long should I run a Facebook ad?

The duration of your ads will vary based on audience engagement, but the short answer is you should run ads for as long as they are effective and within your budget. While many advertisers use an interval of one or two weeks to test an ad, Facebook will let you keep a single ad live for as long as 90 days.

How do I find my target audience for Facebook ads?

Before launching any serious advertising initiative, it's important to conduct market research. Where do your customers live? How old are they? What are their interests? Some of this can be done informally via surveys and direct outreach, but you can also use software like Google Analytics to better understand your audience demographics. Once you've done this, you can target your Facebook advertising efforts accordingly.

How do I measure the success of my Facebook ads?

The best way to measure the success of an ad campaign is by tracking its performance with Facebook Audience Insights. This tool will help you measure impressions, clicks, conversion rate and more to determine which ads are performing best and providing the most value. As your advertising strategy evolves, you can determine your KPIs — such as cost-per-click or engagement rate.

What is a good budget for running Facebook ads?

There's no one-size-fits-all budget recommendation, as you can launch a Facebook ad spending as little as five dollars per day. The more you spend, the more people you'll reach, and those figures largely depend on the size of your business. However, it's worth testing your ads with a small budget before allocating more money to any campaign. Determine what works best and invest from there.

What is the average return on ad spend for a Facebook campaign?

The average return on ad spend (ROAS) for a Facebook campaign can vary depending on your target audience and how well your ads perform. Generally, you should aim to get a ROAS of at least one to five times — meaning you're earning back the amount you spent to run the campaigns. To calculate your ROAS, divide your total profit by the amount you spent on running the ad.

Phrases to avoid in Facebook ads

Facebook's advertising policies can seem awfully opaque, as there are certain topics and words that may lead to your ad being rejected. Worse, your ad account could be suspended if you have too many rejected ads. If you're running ads about politics or social issues, you must get your page verified and confirm your identity with Facebook. Even if your ad doesn't have any content about politics or social issues, there are a few phrases and writing styles you should avoid.

  • Too many personal attributes: The Facebook algorithm will penalize you for using too much "you" or "your" language. Essentially, they don't want you to make assumptions about people based on their attributes. While a few instances of "you" and "your" may be permissible, Facebook's transparency center recommends you limit the use of this type of language. For instance, the following phrase may be rejected for making assumptions about motherhood: "Are you a busy mom with no time to make healthy meals for your family?"
  • Capital letters and exclamation points: You don't want to "yell" at potential customers, which is the impression phrases in all capital letters can give. Use capital letters and exclamation points sparingly and only to emphasize important words. Facebook may reject your ad for having too much exclamatory language as it could violate the platform's grammar and profanity rules.
  • Sensitive topics: Topics like health, weight loss, beauty products and anti-aging supplements are closely monitored by Facebook and may lead to your ad being rejected. The platform outlines these categories under its personal health and misleading or false content policies. You'll want to avoid ad copy like this, for instance: "Tired of diets that don't work? Want to lose weight without counting calories?"
  • "Get rich quick" language: Facebook does not like "make money" schemes, work-from-home opportunities that encourage people to quit their jobs or financial claims that might not be possible for everyone to achieve. The platform addresses these issues in its multilevel marketing and prohibited financial services policies. So, be careful using language around making money and reframe true income opportunities to focus on the benefits you're offering.
  • Profanity: Facebook tries to maintain a family-friendly environment, and wants to avoid a parent scrolling through content with a child by their side encountering a four-letter curse word on a sponsored post. Along those same lines, sexual images and overt language around intimacy are nonstarters as well.

Products and services not allowed on Facebook ads

Because the platform has various content restrictions when it comes to advertising, Facebook may not be a viable place for your ads. Some products and services are outright restricted, like tobacco, while other products, like alcohol, must comply with applicable laws and licenses. For a complete list of products that are restricted or banned, visit Facebook's transparency center. Below are some common examples:

  • Ads promoting adult content or services are prohibited.
  • Ads promoting dating services must have prior written permission from Facebook.
  • Ad may not promote prescription drugs without written permission from Facebook.
  • Ads for over-the-counter drugs must comply with applicable laws and may not be targeted to anyone under the age of 18.
  • Ads promoting cannabis or related products are prohibited.

Now that you understand the dos and don'ts of Facebook advertising, it's time to get creative and grow your audience. No matter how large your online business or budget, advertising on Facebook is an opportunity to hone your advertising strategy and harness the power of the world's largest social media audience.

R.L. Adams

Entrepreneur, software engineer, author, blogger and founder of WanderlustWorker.com

Robert Adams is a writer, blogger, serial entrepreneur, software engineer and best-selling author of dozens of technology, SEO, online marketing and self-development books, audiobooks and courses.

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