Advertising on Facebook 101

How would advertising on Facebook benefit my company, you may wonder scrolling your personal feed. If you’ve already looked into it, you’ll find opinions on Facebook ads are many and vary greatly. It can be overwhelming deciding what and whom to trust or even how to go about promoting on a social platform with 1.11 billion users. If your head’s spinning by now, we don’t blame you. So, we took a look at advertising on Facebook and weighed the pros and cons.

First off, there are two options when advertising on Facebook: to place an ad on the right sidebar or to place an ad directly in users’ news feeds. With both, you can introduce your company or product to the masses, promote an event to a targeted audience, and/or release sales and promotions to fans (new or established). Both ads also promote and encourage users’ likes, comments and shares for both desktop and mobile.

After you post your ads, you can view the results in a drop-down labeled “Promote” at the bottom of the ad itself. For more detailed engagement metrics, you can learn what’s working with Page Insights on your company’s main Facebook page. Here, you can learn which posts customers respond to best and increase conversion.

Retargeting on Facebook works the same as other retargeting. It’s a cost-effective way to market to potential customers who have been to your site but did not make a purchase, using Customer Intent Data.

One of the primary advantages of Facebook ads is that you can target specific audiences, so you know exactly who’s seeing your ad.

Companies can choose their audience by:

  • Location (state, city, zip code)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Precise Interests
  • Broad Category Interests
  • Types of OS
  • Friends of a page, app or event
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Relationship Status
  • Education


Ads in News Feeds:

Also known as FBX or Facebook Exchange, Facebook now allows companies to advertise to users through their news feeds (labeled subtly as “Sponsored”). When people engage with your post, their friends may see it as a story in their own news feeds. This means you’ll reach more people. The only downside is you’re competing with other companies in news feeds’ prime real estate—Facebook only allows so many at a time. Facebook says news feed ads are best for content marketing and promotions taking advantage of its social components.

On average, there is an increased ROI of 197 percent compared to those on the right-hand side ads, Nanigans, one of the alpha testers, reported. Another early tester, AdRoll, shared similar findings in which FBX ads in News Feed led to 49 times great click-through rate and 54 percent lower cost per click. In addition, FBX ads account for nearly 28% of all display impressions in the U.S.

How companies can control ad campaigns:

  • Choose how much you want to spend per day (add a budget to a new or existing post)
  • When you want to be the start and end date of the ad
  • You can opt to get charged every time someone sees your ad or sponsored story CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or go the CPC (cost per click) route. If you are paying for clicks, you’ll be charged each time someone clicks on your ad or sponsored story.

Ads in the right sidebar:

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Facebook ads on users’ right sidebar allows you to post your company’s direct website with a small photo. It’s succinct and eye-catching. Facebook says right sidebar ads are best for dynamic product ads driving direct response.

Benefits of right sidebar ads:

  • Feature an image of a promotion, sale, new release
  • Increase engagement when communicating product releases and upcoming events.
  • Drive your Facebook audience to purchase directly from your website.
  • To see if users interested in certain music or like photography (for example) would purchase your product, find out what would their other interests be.
  • Test category targeting for rival brands, companies or products like yours.
  • You can post a discount code now and again
  • Post other interests pertaining to your product, like complimentary products and articles
  • Encourage people to like posts to see a sneak peak of new products

Right Sidebar VS. News Feed

So now the challenge is deciding: Do I want to do news feed ads or right sidebar ads? The inventory in news feed ads are limited, so some companies aren’t wanting to even compete for the hot news feed real estate. However, the ROI is a 197% increase compared to the right hand side. Again, data shows that news feed cost per click (CPC) is also more affordable than the right hand ads and are 79 percent more effective than web retargeting advertising and 54% more than right hand side ads. Of course, I would suggest trying both, double down on what works and scrap what doesn’t.

(Sources and good companies/ publications to follow: Mashable, MDG Advertising, Adroll,, Adweek, Spruce Media, Venture Beat, Nanigans and Sprout Social)