Posted by Samuel Birnie
4 July, 2018

So, you’ve got your social media marketing strategy wrapped up (if you haven’t, you really should), and now you’re ready to run some Facebook Ads.

Maybe you’ve tried campaigns with mixed success, or your ads are performing OK but you want to up your game – whatever your aim, here’s how you amplify your advertising.

Give the people what they want

The first thing to remember is that people don’t log into social media looking for adverts, so you need to work hard to get their attention. A recent report by Sprout Social shows that the top way to engage a social audience is to entertain them.

This doesn’t mean you have to make the next Old Spice viral video campaign, but the more entertaining your ad the better the results. So swap those backdropped product shots for some lifestyle imagery, craft story-driven copy and, if you’ve got the budget, get the camera rolling. Taking the time to create visually and textually engaging ads is a worthwhile investment.

After entertainment, ads that offer a discount come a close second in stopping users scrolling, followed by ads that teach the user something, like how-to guides and instructional videos. So these are the best kinds of content to promote, but to whom do you promote them?

Target acquired

Of course, different people want different things. And what I think is entertaining (poetry podcasts, skateboarding and A Song of Ice and Fire fan-theory videos) you might find mind-numbing. So you’ll need to know who your audiences are and what they want to see, and then create targeted content.

Despite the recent scandal and Facebook’s lockdown on third-party data, you’ve still got loads of granular targeting options to work with. Have a poke around Facebook’s interest-targeting tabs and start to manually list out your audience groups and the traits that apply to them. Then zero in with advanced geo-targeting and you’ve got ’em in your sights.

A man takes aim at an archery target with his bow and arrow.
This is a metaphor; don’t shoot arrows at your customers.

Going back to that Sprout Social report and what engages people, they break down the engagement motivators based on audience. Entertainment is the top motivator for Millennials and Gen Xers, while discounts are what Baby Boomers want to see the most. Learn what your audiences want, create ads that fill that gap and then make sure the right people are seeing them.

Testing, testing

No matter how well you plan, create and target, you’ll probably see some surprises in the metrics. That’s fine – you can’t predict any campaign with absolute certainty. Trying, learning and tweaking are essential steps in successful advertising.

The simplest way to do this is by A/B testing – trying two variations of the same ad to see which one works best. With A/B testing, it’s important you only change one thing about the ad, like the copy or imagery, otherwise you won’t be able to tell what caused one ad to work and the other to fall flat.

As you run your campaigns, ad groups and individual ads, create a controlled testing environment by adjusting one thing at a time and giving the changes a chance to take effect. Treat all the data, all the clicks and conversions, successes and failures, as valuable insights you can use to improve your individual adverts and overarching strategy.

Level up

So, you’re targeting, you’re testing, you’re giving your audience what they want to see. Great, let’s crank it up a notch.

Arrows pointing up attached to planks of wood.


Retargeting has far higher conversion and click-through rates than other types of targeting. Once you’ve got the Facebook pixel in place, you can use that information to create custom audiences based on how people have interacted with your site. And this opens up a whole bag of tricks to play with.

For instance, you can target people who viewed a certain product or page without making a purchase and remind them what they’re missing. You can run a brand-awareness ad and then retarget those who engaged with your post with something more sales driven. Or you can get back in touch with people who converted on your site in the past and encourage them to come back and convert again.

There are many retargeting strategies you can employ, so experiment with the options and get creative.

You can also create Lookalike Audiences – audiences of those who behave in a similar way to your custom audience, put together by Facebook. This is a great way to use all your retargeting data to reach new prospects.

Dynamic product ads

Now we get to the good stuff. Dynamic ads work in the same way as retargeting (above) but add in an element of automation. You simply upload your product catalogue and set up your campaign, and Facebook will advertise those products to an interested audience. You can target people who’ve visited your page and not made a purchase, or cross-sell and upsell to past customers. As users interact with your adverts and website, Facebook automatically updates its targeting so that the ads always reach the right people. 

With hyper-relevant ads click-through and conversion rates tend to soar, while the automation means less time spent on manually adjusting and targeting. And if your website is powered by one of Facebook’s partners, such as Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce, you can set up dynamic ads automatically.

If you’re interested in running your own dynamic ads then download Facebook’s Dynamic Ads Guide, which has detailed tips on setting up and optimising campaigns, along with loads of other useful stuff.

So when you’re planning your next Facebook Ads campaign, work these things into your strategy. If you're targeting the right people with relevant and entertaining adverts, monitoring and tweaking things along the way and throwing in some sophisticated tactics to boot, then you’re on your way to success.