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Basic Overview of How Facebook Advertising Works

Overview of How Facebook Advertising Works

A successful digital marketing strategy requires the use of multiple advertising platforms, including Facebook. Effective marketing through Facebook takes time to master completely, but a good foundation can help you create early success.

If you’re ready to start your Facebook advertising education, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s review the basics.

Understand What Types of Ads You Can Run

Before we get into strategy, it’s important to understand the types of advertising you can actually do using Facebook. 

Paid Ads

Paid advertisements are the only way to get Facebook to distribute your posts. As nice as it might be not to invest anything into an ad campaign, the reality is that your investment will help you out in the long run. It could help you out in the short run too if you’re smart about which ads you sponsor. Paid ads also allow you to target a specific demographic on Facebook. That means your ads will be shown to the right people instead of just anyone who comes across them.

Organic Ads

Organic ads, on the other hand, require no investment. If you go this route, you’ll need to apply a bit more of a strategic approach. Since you’re not paying Facebook to show your ads to the right people, it’s up to you to make sure the right people find them. That means dedicating time and resources to creating relevant, engaging content that your potential customers want to see. Unfortunately, changes to Facebook’s algorithm in the last few years have made it more challenging for organic ads to see the same kind of success as paid ads.

Boosting Posts

If you don’t have the time or resources to create a totally new ad on Facebook, it’s possible to boost a post. This strategy involves taking an existing post and paying for more users to see it. Boosting a post can be a great strategy if you have content that initially saw a surge of traffic, but may have dropped off. If the content is still relevant, there’s a possibility that it will continue to perform well once it has a little help from Facebook’s algorithm.

How to Set Up Your Ad Strategy

Setting up your Facebook advertising strategy might seem a little bit daunting at first. That’s why we’ve broken this process down into three key building blocks: targeting, bidding, and ad placement. Let’s review.


Before you start creating your ads or paying to boost posts, it’s important to get your targeting correct. During this phase of planning, you’ll need to determine exactly who you want to show your ads to. It may also benefit you to gather some data on when your target demographic is most likely to use Facebook. To determine your target audience, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Income
  • Interests

When you’re setting up your campaign, Facebook will require you to input this kind of data so your ads can be accurately displayed. Without good targeting, your ads may never reach the right audience.


There are a lot of businesses advertising on Facebook. As a result, it can be tough for everyone to get as much ad visibility as they want. That’s where bidding strategies come in. With bidding, you’ll be able to tell Facebook how much you’re willing to spend to get the traffic necessary for a good ROI. Your two options are manual and automatic bidding.

Manual Bidding – With this method, you’ll give Facebook a cap for spending when it bids on where your ads will appear. This strategy may not always yield the best results in Facebook’s pay-to-play arena, but if you’re just starting out it’s not a bad option to consider if you have a strict budget or you’re operating in a niche market without a ton of competition.

Automatic Bidding – If you choose this avenue, you’ll be giving Facebook a free license to make bids for your ads. This is a low-maintenance strategy for ad placement, and it’s also fairly effective because Facebook has the reins to spend as much as necessary to show your ads to the right people. This bidding method can get expensive quickly, but it also typically yields the best results.

Ad Placement

If you’re using Facebook as part of your digital marketing strategy, then ad placement is something you’ll need to think about. This is another area where you get to decide how much control Facebook has over when and where to show your ads. Most people tend to let the Facebook algorithm decide, but it’s also possible to take control of where your ads will show up. For smaller businesses, a hands-on approach can be preferable. This is especially true if they’ve performed excellent target demographic research. One of the most important choices you’ll make in this regard is whether your ads will display on mobile devices, desktops, or both. We highly recommend choosing both for maximum ROI.

In Conclusion

Creating a winning Facebook ad campaign begins with a solid foundation. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you should be able to see results in no time.