6 Steps to Creating a High-Performing Facebook Ad

February 2, 2021
Ingram Staff
6 Steps to Creating a High-Performing Facebook Ad

Reach more readers in 2021 through easy-to-create Facebook and Instagram Ads

Let’s start by looking at how consumers are shifting their online and social media practices. The data below is from a global study of internet users across the world from July 2020.

We Are Social

Early in the pandemic, we saw internet usage and online activity dramatically increase as people changed their daily routine. They were working and going to school from home and reduced in-person social activities — really an unprecedented shift in how people typically spend their time.

This survey found that people reported spending more time on digital activities, including:

·      Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu

·      Chat and messenger programs

·      And of course, social media

43% of respondents in total reported spending longer on social media than they did before the pandemic started. And that trend continued.

We Are Social

Looking a little closer at what people are doing online, we see that 98% of all users are active on a social network within the last 30 days.  

The average number of social media accounts that internet users have is 8.3. So, they are on many social networks, not just one. And they are using social media both in personal and professional capacities, with 41% using social media for work purposes.

With more consumers online than ever before, now is the time to reach readers with high-performing and targeted ad campaigns.

Mastering Facebook & Instagram Ads

"To succeed and maximize your return on investment (ROI) among so many audience members and competitors, start with why you want to use Facebook ads and what you hope to achieve with them."| Hubspot

Setting Your Objective

Start with why you want to use Facebook Ads and what you hope to achieve with them. How you answer this will determine what objective you choose. Depending on the objective you set, Facebook is going to serve your ad differently to people based on what they have learned and what actions they have learned to take. You can think of these three sections as a sales funnel.

1.   Awareness

The awareness objective is going to be the top of the funnel, to generate general interest and awareness about your brand or product.

Common Goal:

Brand Awareness

Reach the most people with your ad to increase awareness and recognition around your product. With this goal you're going to get a wide audience. And with this objective, you might not have a necessary action in mind, but you want to spread the word and make people aware.

2.   Consideration

The consideration objectives are going to be the middle of the funnel, where they might be familiar, (seen your brand/product once or twice) but they want to learn more.

Facebook Business Manager

Common Goals:


The primary goal here is getting people to your website or anywhere outside of Facebook. Not only will Facebook show your ad, but it'll show it to people who they have learned are more likely to click rather than scroll past.


This one kind of explains itself. But if you want a lot of engagement on a post or even a business page, Facebook will optimize your ad to show to people likely to do so. One of the biggest perks of choosing this engagement objective is the possibility of generating added reach organically. The more engagement you get with this paid post, will help your organic reach extend beyond the audience you just paid for.

Lead Generation

When a user clicks on these kinds of ads, they will be sent to a form that collects their information. You, the creator of the ad, get to choose which information you ask from them within this form. Once they fill out the form, they'll then be directed to your page or even a downloadable piece.

💡 Pro tip: In this form you can include an opt-in check box allowing them to agree to receive other marketing communications. Turn around and add this email you've obtained through the form into your email marketing strategy. They're seeing you on social and will now be seeing you in their inbox.

3.   Conversion

With conversion, you are at the bottom of the funnel, driving purchases, registrations and stronger actions of that nature.

Common Goals:

Store Traffic  

This goal is great for retargeting audiences and sending users directly to a product page or catalog they have visited previously but did not make a purchase. These ads tend to be more expensive but can drive significant purchases.

Finding Your Audience — Interest vs. Custom

Once you've figured the objective of your ad, you really need to dive in and start thinking about your target audience. The most important part of any ad is crafting your audience.

You can have stellar copy, amazing creative, but if you're not serving it to the right people, then you really are missing the mark. There are two ways you can do this within Facebook Ads Manager.

Interspace Targeting

Interspace audiences are different categories that help you define your ideal customer, such as education, age, location, or just general interests.

You can use the Facebook Insights tool to create different combinations of these interspace categories. From here, you can really develop a better understanding of your audience, including their location, device usage, semantic interests and more. This is going to help you develop a better understanding of your audience and make sure that you're targeting is on point.

Custom Audiences

You are likely to have a higher conversion with a custom audience, because these are users that have already interacted with your brand or business in some way. Custom audiences usually generate greater results, because they're audiences that are warmer and have some familiarity with your brand.

Custom audiences can be built in a few ways:

·      People who have visited your website and are tracked via the Facebook pixel

·      People who have signed up for your newsletter

·      Even those who have engaged with your past ads

💡Pro Tip: When doing custom audiences and uploading an email list into Facebook, make sure that you upload a robust email list, so Facebook can match enough users on their platform to serve the ad. Bigger is better in this regard.

Also, custom audiences give you the freedom to create lookalike audiences. A lookalike audience is an option where Facebook will aggregate users who are like an email list that you put into the platform. This is a powerful way to find new customers who are more likely to convert.

Developing Creative + Copy

“The human brain can process visuals up to 60,000x faster than text. Don’t just use an image or video for the sale of it – tell a story” / Boston.com

The next step you're going to hit when working on your ad, is the ad creative. The image visual is one of those make-or-break factors of your ad. It's what you see first when scrolling and what catches your attention to either:

A - slow your scroll because you're interested

B - scroll faster because you're annoyed and do not want to see an ad

A/B Tests

Facebook’s A/B testing feature gives you a chance to see what kind of creative works best for your audience. A few areas to try out A/B testing:

·      Vector type images verse humanistic images

·      Text in your image verse no text in your images

·      Still images verses videos.


Try various kinds of creatives and see what works best with your audience. A few resources for those vector type or humanistic photos are

·      Kumba

·      Pablo

·      Unsplash

·      Pixabay

Carousel Ads

When you are using tools for images, whether it's vector or humanistic, try to choose enough images to create a carousel ad rather than just one standalone image. Each image of a carousel can hit one topic in various ways, or it can hit various topics.


For a book you might do one with the cover itself for one image, a review of the book for another and then a person holding the book for the third. Or you could advertise various titles within the same ad, choosing a different photo for each image spot.

Within Facebook Ads Manager, you can set up carousel ads to place the best performing image first. But if you have your images in a certain order for a certain reason, you can turn this function off.

The main point is carousels are greater than standalone images. Carousels garner an average engagement rate per post of 1.92%, compared to just stand alone images at 1.74%.

💡Pro tip: Try creating your own user generated creative. A user generated type photo could stem from Instagram, the more aesthetic focused platform, where the hashtag #Bookstagram has over 50 million uses. User generated posts generate a five times greater click through rate.

Try to take your own aesthetically pleasing photos and use them in your ad.

Think Video

Experts say that over 80% of what we consume online is moving towards video. It’s not a question of if you should be using video but how much and at what volume can you truly create video?


Customers love it too. 72% say they would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. Carousel posts generate more engagement, because they force the users to interact with the ad. Combining video and photo in this ad format is a great way to catch the user's attention and get them to engage with the ad further.


Another possibility is creating 15 second vertical videos and uploading them as an Instagram Story ad. You can upload up to three stories, which gives you the potential to stay in front of the user for 45 seconds. That's huge.

💡Pro tip: When thinking about video, make sure you're adding captions to your video. Over 80% of users watch videos on silent, and you want to make sure that your videos are accessible to all. You can use tools like Kapwing or Rev to auto generate captions and speed up your workflow.

Also, make sure that your videos are engaging. You really need to hook the viewer in the first two to three seconds of the video to ensure that they continue watching.

Another thing to consider is cropping your video to the aspect ratios that best suit each platform. This ensures you're using the best sized video for each platform.


You want this to be a rectangular/landscape image.

1200px x 628px


Twitter is similar to Facebook, but the pixels can be increased.

1600px x 900px


You want this image to be a portrait.

1080px x 1920px

Just remember that one size doesn't fit all. Video can be a little overwhelming. It can be scary. And it takes a lot of your time and resources to create. Keeping that in mind, make sure you multipurpose your videos Don't just make a video for one ad. Make sure that you're using it across other platforms.

Finally, user generated content is incredibly powerful. If you don't have the means to create video, work with your authors to help you, or even ask for rights to video that people have already created to use it in your advertising.

Copy & CTAs

The next part of the ad you'll hit will be copy and CTA or call to action. These are highly situational depending on the product or even the objective you set at the beginning of your ad.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are working on your copy:

·      What’s an actionable phrase around your product?

·      What’s a question that will bring the content of your ad to the top-of-mind of your target audience?

·      Do you have customer testimonials or reviews?

·      What are the customer benefits of the product or service? Customers buy for benefits.

A few more questions to ask yourself when you are working on your CTA:

·      Does it solve a need, pose a question, or prompt an action?

·      Does it offer value, instill a sense of urgency in them?

·      Does it reduce uncertainty, and does it build trust?

Assuring social "proof, as a recent study shows that 88% of consumers trust online reviews by other consumes as much as they trust recommendations from their personal contacts. Using those reviews and that social proof in your ad can build trust and make your ad more effective.

Analyzing Ad Results & Beyond the Ad

So far, you’ve learned:

·      Your audience

·      Your objective

·      Your creative

Next, we dive into how you measure the performance of your ad. There are many key performance metrics (KPIs) Facebook to overwhelm you but a few you want to keep your eyes on are impression, reach, post shares and quality ranking.

You must think strategically about your ad performance and look beyond metrics such as likes.


Impressions are the number of times an instance of an ad is on the screen for the first time. This is an important metric to understand how often your ad was served across Facebook or Instagram.


Unlike impression, reach is the number of people who saw your ads at least once. Therefore, this metric is more about the unique number of users who saw your ad, so it's always lower than the number of impressions.


Shares should be a metric you’re increasingly focused on, because the algorithms on these social channels truly value shares. This metric tells the algorithm people are enjoying your content and they want to share it with their friends. Emphasize shares and saves on Instagram, so you can better understand what content brings your audience the most value.

Quality Ranking

Quality ranking is a determining factor when Facebook and Instagram decide how often to serve your ad. This is your ad's perceived quality to ads targeting the same audience. Therefore, it's so important to consider how your copy and creative corresponds to your audience targeting.

By taking a closer look at your ad's KPIs, you can begin to draw solid conclusions about what works best for your audience. You can also use tools like Sprout Social to track your ad performance over time, which will help you easily find trends.

UTM Parameters

We’d be remiss not to address the importance of UTM. UTM codes are one of the ways to track performance from any digital marketing campaign. UTM, or Urchin Tracking Module, yes that's what it stands for, is a simple code that can be attached to any URL to generate Google Analytics data for digital campaigns.

Specific to Google Analytics, UTM helps track the progress of campaigns on all online platforms. Essentially, these customizable links will help you better understand the customer's journey beyond the ad.

Unless you're running an ad for brand awareness only, you're likely wanting to get the user to your site and hopefully they'll complete an action, whether that's making a purchase or signing up to become a lead.

You can create these links with Google's free Campaign Builder, or a paid tool such as UTM.io. Tagged URLs have several elements to help you find what ad they were tied to within Google Analytics.

You'll fill in fields like campaign name, source, medium and term.

Yellow highlight = campaign tag

Blue highlight = medium tag

Green highlight = source tag

When you're evaluating the performance of the average scroll traffic in Google Analytics, you want to focus on things like

·      Bounce rate

·      Average session duration

·      Pages per session

·      Goal completion

UTM parameters give you more power to understand the customer journey beyond just the ad, so you can better decide what's most effective as you move forward in your advertising.

6 Steps to Creating a High-Performing Facebook Ad
Ingram Staff

Ingram Staff

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