Social Media Ads—How To Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

social media ads

Facebook ads. Instagram ads. Should you? Shouldn’t you? Facebook and Instagram have incredible targeting capabilities which is why they are so powerful. While costs and competition are rising on the platforms, you should still focus on implementing some sort of social ad strategy.

In addition to the incredible targeting options on Facebook and Instagram, you can also dive in with a minimal budget, make changes at anytime, and turn ads on and off.

Let’s dive in to some trends, best practices, and things to keep in mind when implementing a social media ad strategy.

Focus on a mobile first strategy for ads.

This is especially important with Instagram ads since that is primarily where people are using that app. Last fall, Facebook changed how much initial text shows on an ad so that now only 3 lines of text initially appear before someone has to click “read more”. It used to be 6. That means you have half the amount of time to catch their attention and make them want to click “read more” or click through your ad.  


I sound like a broken record talking about video in 2020, but the trend doesn’t stop at just adding video to your feed and stories, it also applies to ads. Did you know you can turn Facebook live videos and Instagram stories into ads? Stories ads are still underutilized, so the cost is a lot lower.

You can also create custom audiences based on who is watching your videos and for how long they are watching. The followers who are watching your videos are your most engaged audiences, and you can retarget them with other ads based on their behavior and how long they watch your videos. Pretty cool, right?

Messaging is crucial.

Start by learning everything you can about your ideal customers, and the problems you solve for them so that your ads connect with them. Good messaging should:

1. Be clear, not clever.

Facebook is noisy. That means there’s no room for any messaging that people need to think about to understand. Make sure your ad tells your audience what they’ll get if they click, what problem you’re going to solve, or how they will feel as a result of what you’re offering. No more, no less.

2. Avoid mentioning your brand.

Sounds crazy right?! Here’s the thing, if the person viewing your ad has never heard of you, your brand name doesn’t mean anything to them. Focus on what you do for your audience, not who you are. Focus on getting them to click and they will get to know your brand later. You have a limited number of words to work with, you might as well save those characters for something more impactful than your brand name.

3. Speak directly to the right people.

Ask a question or make a statement that will speak to your audience.

“Hate going to the dentist?”

“Tired of wasting time and money on social media ads that aren’t working?” 🙂

Starting with a question gets people’s attention and makes your content immediately relatable. It can also eliminate people who aren’t the right fit for your product or service. Actually love going to the dentist? Okay, keep scrolling. If someone doesn’t have the problem that your business helps solve, that’s fine, you don’t want them to click on your ad because you don’t want to pay for a click that has no chance of converting to a customer.

Don’t be afraid to be specific and direct. You do not have to be everything to everyone. Own your niche and make the most of that audience.

4. Make it emotional.

Your product or service solves a problem, right? So that means that people are “suffering” in some way, and you’re there to end the suffering. Think of your product or service as medicine. If your customer doesn’t know they are sick, they won’t know to buy your product.

Sounds intense, I know. I recently had this conversation with a client who commented that their clients aren’t really “in pain” or “suffering”. They are actually in a very good place. I had to explain that while your service may not be literally taking away pain and suffering, you are helping solve a problem for them. If you have a luxury item or service, you are still doing something for them that they can’t do, or don’t want to do. Mo money, mo problems, right? Everyone has problems that products and services solve.

So if people in your audience are “suffering” even the tiniest bit, then you need to speak to that pain. Think about the fears people have, the mindset issues that are holding them back, or any emotions they might be feeling that would make them your ideal customer. Then speak to those emotions.

5. Keep it ridiculously simple.

This works for any industry anywhere. No fluff, just a clear call-to-action to get their hands on your content, product or service. Don’t get trapped by the “curse of knowledge”. You know your product, service and industry backwards and forwards. But your audience doesn’t. Make it clear what you offer. Don’t assume they know how you can help them—tell them!

Don’t be afraid to include copy that may seem over-the-top obvious like “Click here to sign up” or “Grab your free guide here:.” Lots of people need step-by-step instructions – give them what they need!

We love to hate the algorithm.

I get it…all the changes can be overwhelming. But there is a practical reason the algorithm exists.  If advertisers monopolize the news feed, Instagram, the right-hand column, or whatever you’re using to advertise on Facebook, people won’t return to Facebook.

That means your ads need to provide value because Facebook wants to create a positive user experience with meaningful interactions. In order to work with the algorithm, keep your campaigns simple. Let the algorithm do its job. It’s so smart now. Give Facebook a bigger audience to work with and allow the algorithm get you the results you are looking for. Choose your audience and interests, and ad 4-5 ads to each ad set. Then let Facebook do the testing for you.  


Retargeting allows you to target ads to people who have already visited your website. Don’t miss out on this low hanging fruit. These are people who have already expressed some interest in your business.

To do this you need a website, and a Facebook page for your business. From there you can create a Business Manager account that allows you to run ads for that page. To start go to the home page for Business Manager and click “Create Account” — then log in using the email and password you used to set up your business page account. Then Install the Facebook Pixel (facebook will give you directions on how and where to do this on your website). Go to your website and install the Facebook Pixel that allows Facebook to identify people who visited your website. Once your audience is big enough, you can create custom audiences comprised of those visitors, and then show ads to them.

LOOKSLIKE audiences

Another low hanging fruit when it comes to social media ads. If you have an email list, you can import those contacts into Facebook, or connect your email service (i.e. Mailchimp) directly to Facebook. Facebook will then look for other Facebook and Instagram users who have similar demographic and psychographic qualities to those people, and allow you to target those users. This is a great way to put existing customers and engaged audiences to work to expand your reach with people similar to people who have already bought from you.


Since organic reach on Facebook and Instagram is so low, many peOple boost posts to get more reach without a strategy behind it. That is a surefire way to burn through a lot of money. The goal with boosting a post should be engagement, not reach. Don’t blindly boost a post. You CAN boost posts strategically, though.

How you do that is by boosting a post for a limited amount of time to test if the content resonates with your audience. If it does, go into Ads Manager and make an actual ad out of the content that resonates with your audience the most. You can always go into Ads Manager and turn any of your posts into a full ad with more strategic goals behind it than just boosting the post.

So how do you build an effective Facebook advertising campaign?

First you need to have a plan of action. Otherwise, you’ll be flying blind with no clear idea of where you want to go. Want help getting your first campaigns going? Let me know—I’m here to help.

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