Understanding Facebook Ads A guide for local businesses

You check facebook at breakfast, on the go, maybe even on the loo, and each time you notice those ads on your timeline. You want to make the most of facebook as an advertising platform, but aren't sure where to start. Maybe you've even tried boosting a post for £20, but aren't convinced it made any difference.

Facebook ads seem like a great idea, but I know many business owners who have boosted a post here or there and feel that they have just thrown their money down the drain. Whilst boosting a post might get a few more likes or impressions, it’s not that likely to result in increased sales.

This free guide will teach you how to find new customers and grow your business with Facebook ads.

Step 1: Set Your Goal

Brand awareness feels like a top priority for many local businesses; and whilst increasing awareness is good, it does not always result in increased sales. For nearly all businesses and facebook ads, the most effective type of ads are those which seek conversions; either a sign-up or a purchase.

Before starting with Facebook Ads, make sure you have an attractive offer and a clear goal in sight.

You need to think of Facebook as a delivery method – like a radio, TV or a billboard. As with any of these methods, you need to start with an attractive offer and a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Too many small businesses rush into setting up their ad without first working through this stage and then wonder why they don’t see the response they were hoping for.

Example #1

Let's say you own a café. Your business relies on people coming in through the door and purchasing a coffee and a slice of cake. You might create a Facebook Ad which offers new customers (your goal) a free slice of cake when they purchase a coffee (your attractive offer).

Step 2: Targeting your Audience

Over 1.65 billion people worldwide use Facebook every day. Your current and potential customers are probably among them. However, unlike traditional billboard, TV or radio advertising, Facebook's powerful targeting options enable you reach the right people. You can target by customer location, demographics, interests and more.

Facebook’s unique targeting tools enables you to save money by only getting in front of the people you want.

You need to think of who your ideal customer is, and then work out the best way of targeting that type of person. Think about location, age, gender, and even specific interests or life-events.

Example #2

Let’s say you are a wedding photographer based in Birmingham. Your ideal customer might be living with 30 miles of Birmingham and recently engaged. You might also have a particular style of photography that fits in with a specific age group (e.g. 25-35). Facebook enables your to target your audience so that it only includes people who fit in these three categories.

Step 3: Set your Budget

By default, Facebook recommends a daily spend of £20 per ad. You should make sure to adjust this, according to your overall marketing budget. It may be better to set a “lifetime budget”, where the amount you set will refer to the overall, “lifetime” spend of the ad.

Start small with your budget and try multiple ads to test out which images/text works best. Then increase the budget for ads that work best.

It is common for small businesses to spend around 10% of their revenue on marketing. Decide on an appropriate proportion of this to devote to Facebook Ads, and increase as you focus in on the ads that work best for your business.

Example #3

Let’s say you have a monthly revenue of £2,000. 10% x £2,000 = £200. You might want to start with spending half of this (£100) on Facebook Ads for a month. This would give you around £25 a week to spend on Facebook Ads.

Step 4: Creating your Ad

When it comes to creating your actual ad, you need to think about three key things: visuals, headline, and call-to-action.


  • You can choose from a variety of ad formats, including a single image or video or a carousel of images. Make sure that you choose high-quality images/video that represents your business well. Remember that these adverts will appear on users’ newsfeeds, and an engaging image/video is essential in getting instant attention and stopping your potential customers from scrolling past.


  • Make sure that your attractive offer is clearly presented. Hold your customer’s attention as their eyes move from the image to the text.


  • Your call-to-action is the most important part of your Facebook Ad. It needs to be obvious and easy to follow. Facebook offers a range of standard call-to-action buttons, such as “Learn More” or “Buy Now”. These point to a link which could be an online store or email sign-up page.

Example #4

Notice all three elements: visual, headline & call-to-action.

Step 5: Review & Tweak

The most effective Facebook Ads are developed over time. You can easily test your ads by creating multiple versions of each advert, using different visuals, headlines, and call-to-actions. Then set each one to run over a week with a small budget, and use Facebook’s Ad Manager to identify which versions are working best.

Use this process to keep tweaking your adverts. You can then stop the adverts that are less effective, and invest more into the adverts that are working.

Step 6: Celebrate!

If you've successfully followed the five simple steps, then you’re well on the way to becoming a Facebook Ads expert! If you want to find out more about how to set-up Facebook Ads, understand insights, or explore how we can help you grow your business using Facebook, click on the button below to get in contact:


Created with images by Sarah.Marshall - "Facebook" • Estée Janssens - "untitled image" • -Marlith- - "Billboard" • James Bold - "Canon EOS 6D Camera" • Didier Weemaels - "Five euro note close-up" • stux - "pound coins currency" • rawpixel.com - "untitled image" • Olu Eletu - "man looking at marketing analytics" • FredrikAndreasson - "Fireworks 9"

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