Digital Marketing Measurement

Facebook advertising

After having dedicated a few posts to Google AdWords, I would like to keep talking about paid media by giving an overview on paid advertising options on Facebook.

When I talked about AdWords in relation to contextual targeting and search, I highlighted how advertising on Google – at least traditionally – is mainly focused on users’ needs, as people use Google to look things up, to find what they need/want.

It is important to note that on Facebook, instead, the focus is mainly on people’s behavior: what they like, what they share, what they make known about themselves and so on.

Facebook’s goldmine is obviously the extremely targeted potential audience they can offer to advertisers. The more personal data users share with Facebook, the more targetable they are as a potential audience.

From an advertiser’s perspective, the level of targeting potential is so high that, theoretically, if you knew enough about a specific a person, you could target your advertising campaign to that specific individual only.

However, it is important to keep in mind that generally people are not on Facebook to look for products, but to catch up with friends, post pictures, check other people’s profiles, play games etc.

A Facebook advertising campaign needs to be designed in light of this acknowledgement.

Facebook advertising has been changing fast and constantly and there are many different available ad formats. Qwaya – a company specialized in Facebook marketing – provides a good overview of Facebook ad formats on their website.

Here we can mention the two main categories and underline their main differences.

The first is what is generally referred to as Facebook ads, the second is what is instead called Sponsored stories.

Facebook Ads – “Voice of Business”

Advertisers are in full control of all creative elements (title, imagery, text) of the ads in this category.

The most common format is what is called “Standard ads”.  These are the traditional Facebook ad you find on the right hand side of placements such as the Facebook homepage, events, pages, user profiles, apps and next to photos in photo albums. These ads are instead not eligible to appear in the News feeds and on mobile.

As landing page, you can set a Facebook page, app or event, but also an external website.

These ads have a title (max 25 characters), a body text of max 90 characters and can have an image attached (displayed in a 100×72 px format)

Generally speaking, standard ads look (and are perceived by users as) more “sales-y” than sponsored stories.

Sponsored stories – “Voice of friend” 

Every time someone interacts with one of your Facebook entities – e.g. someone likes your page or one of your posts, uses your app or is going to your event – a story is created. You can turn these stories into sponsored stories, so as to maximize their distribution among the friends of the person who generated the story.

Sponsoring a story doesn’t change its content or appearance; it only changes its distribution.

Sponsored stories are eligible to appear in the News feeds and on mobile.

They are less “sales-y” than standard ads in that they appear as “recommendations” to friends of the person who generated the story, rather than straightforward advertising.

Because of this, generally they tend to have a higher CTR.

Creating a Facebook Ad Campaign

A detailed overview on the different steps to create a Facebook ad campaign is provided here. I’ll try to sum up the main aspects.

Identifying your goals

It is important to identify your advertising goals and how to achieve them – you may want to increase “Likes” on your company Facebook page, increase traffic to your company website, generate leads. Each ad campaign should have a goal.

Choosing your audience

As said above, the main selling point of Facebook advertising – in particular in comparison with traditional advertising – is the level of precision with which advertisers can target their audience.

Facebook actually shows you your target reach while you select your targeting options.

For example, I can choose to show my ad to:

Single women living in Italy, aged between 23 and 39, mothers of a child aged between 0 and 3 and graduated from college.

Doing so, at the moment, I get a target reach of 100 people.


Facebook allows you to reach highly targeted segments

As the picture above shows, Facebook also gives you a suggested bid.

Campaign settings

When you create your first Facebook ad, you are asked to enter your campaign settings, including Account currency/country/Time zone, campaign name, budget, schedule (can be continuous or have set start/end dates), pricing model (CPC or CPM), and bid.


Facebook settings selection for Account currency/country/time zone, Campaign Name/Budget/Schedule/Pricing/Bidding.

Deciding on your pricing model and bidding is the key point, as well as deciding on what ad formats to use and how to distribute your budget among them.

Obviously these decisions will depend on your campaign goal and on how you intend to achieve it.


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