How Do Facebook Ads Work and How Much Do They Cost?

Facebook is a massive website, one of the biggest in the world in fact. We willingly offer it up detail information about where we live, what we like, whether we are single, married or engaged and the company we work for.

With that goldmine of information available to them, Facebook realised they had something a little bit special when it came to rolling out advertising on the site.

It’s not the answer for everyone, but if you run a business that appeals to a niche market it might prove fruitful. For example, if your customer base is largely made up of people who have just got engaged and live within 16km of Southampton, you can target them through Facebook ads. It’s that specific.

Facebook adverts
The two types of Facebook ads – the top one linking to a Facebook page, the second to an external URL

You can link your advert to a Facebook page or an external URL, such as your website. If you choose to have the ads go through to your Facebook page, you get the added social elements that Facebook has to offer. However, companies use both ways frequently.

So if you think it might work for you, you are probably wondering ‘how much will Facebook ads cost me?’. When you set up the ads through Facebook’s online platform (you do it all yourself), it will specify how much it believes you should bid for every click. If you select pay-per-click adverts, which I would advise the novice to use first-off, Facebook will display your ad to your targeted audience – but you only pay money when a user clicks on it.

And you know exactly how many people are in your targeted audience, because Facebook will tell you the number of people in it. Adjusting your ad settings, for instance targeting people not only in Southampton but also Winchester and Portsmouth, will grow your audience.

You can also specify your budget (either per day, or during the lifetime of your campaign – the timeframe of which you set) so there are no surprises. Start small, see whether it’s working for you, and take things from there, as you would with any form of advertising.

If you decide to run a campaign, the good news is you can stop it at any time if you feel things aren’t working out. Alternatively, you can adjust the timeframe of the campaign, the funding limit and how much you are prepared to pay per click whenever you like.

Facebook ads are paid for by credit card or PayPal.

Tips to make your Facebook ads a success

  • Create several adverts for your campaign – Facebook will pick one to display each time as part of your overall campaign. That way, you can judge which ones people are more likely to click on and turn off ones that aren’t working. Change the headline, image and text each time.
  • When typing up your ads, try to get words in the headline that will attract people’s attention, like ‘free’, ‘deal’ or ‘2-4-1’. Also use the name of the town or the city your adverts relate to, as people notice this.
  • People like to see faces in Facebook ads, rather than logos or stock images. This should help your clickthrough rate.
  • Ensure that the external website or Facebook page you are linking to has a similar feel to your advert – that’s good for the overall user journey. Maybe use the same picture in your Facebook ad and the webpage people go off to.
  • If you are sending people to your website and use Google Analytics, get a special link called a ‘campaign’ link through the stats platform. This adds a piece of code to your link that will let you see where people go off to after they’ve clicked the Facebook ad (e.g. do they buy something or use your ‘contact us’ form)