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How to Spend a Facebook Ads Budget Effectively

Kenny Novak • Updated on July 21, 2022
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Facebook Budget

The number one complaint about Facebook ads is that they can be very expensive in exchange for very little return, very easily. Even if you’re getting a lot of clicks on your ads, those clicks might be meaningless. Either you’re wasting your ad budget on clicks and not actions, or you’re getting new followers who don’t do anything for you.

What are some of the most common issues with Facebook advertising?

  • Boosting posts instead of promoting them.
  • Failing to target the right audiences.
  • Failing to exclude the wrong audiences.
  • Failing to use the right objective.
  • Attempting to target too broad an audience.
  • Attempting to target too narrow an audience.

There’s also the chance that, once you’ve solved all of these issues, Facebook ads will still perform poorly. It’s always possible that Facebook simply isn’t the right channel for your marketing efforts.

The Problem with Boosted Posts

Facebook offers the boost post button as a quick and easy way to convert an organic post into an advertisement, specifically in the news feed. This works, but it has a number of issues. It’s very easy, it allows you to spend a few dollars to reach thousands of people you otherwise wouldn’t, and it gives you social metrics. What’s not to like?

The biggest complaint with the boost post button is how poorly it targets users. It doesn’t have any of the deep targeting options that make Facebook ads a hugely beneficial endeavor.

The button is also great for driving engagement to certain types of posts, but it’s not so great at turning that engagement into conversions. In the end, you’re spending a few dollars to get a few low-quality comments and a handful of likes on your post, but likely no clicks to your website and no conversions.

The cost-efficient alternative to the boost post button is promoting posts using the Facebook Power Editor. This extension for Chrome gives you a wide range of options through Facebook’s actual ads system. With a bit of knowledge – which you’ll learn later in this post – you can stretch your money farther and drive better engagement. Instead of a handful of comments and likes, you’ll get those plus site clicks and conversions. Of course, that’s only if the rest of your funnel is set up properly.

Which Audiences to Exclude?

Imagine you’re running an ad with the intention of getting people to like your page. Using a Facebook default audience, you may be running that ad to people who already like your page. They click your ad and you lose money, even though they can’t perform the action you wanted.

Imagine you’re running an ad for a product, and you’re getting a lot of clicks from China. The kicker is, you only sell your product to the continental US. What good are those clicks from China, if they can’t buy your product?

Imagine you want to run an ad to target everyone who matches the demographics of your current audience. Once again, why would you want to advertise to the people who already follow you?

These are all situations where audience exclusions are beneficial. You can exclude your own audience, or a lookalike audience. You can exclude certain interests or certain geographic regions.

Exclusions kick up the value of each action obtained through an ad, because you’re minimizing the number of people who you know won’t be valuable. The most common exclusions are based on geographic location, blocking out non-US countries or non-English countries. Using lookalikes is a more advanced solution.

How to Pick the Right Objective

Facebook offers ten different objectives for their ads, which is very different from what you see on other PPC networks. Google, for example, only offers one; a click through to the destination of the ad. Facebook’s are all various measurable metrics. The idea is that you pick the objective you want with your ad, you optimize your ad for that objective, and you’re only charged when a user completes that objective. Thus, in order to further optimize your ad spend, you need to pick the right objective.

What are the objectives?

  • Clicks. This is the most basic objective of all. Pay up each time a user clicks through to your website, as specified on the ad.
  • Conversions. Using a Facebook tracking pixel, you follow a user when they click through your ad and see if they convert. You’re charged when they do.
  • Page post engagement. Rather than send users off-site, you keep them on Facebook, sending them to a specific post. You’re charged when they click your link, comment, like or share your post.
  • Likes. Send users to your Page and encourage them to like it. If they do, you pay. This type of ad also has a like box built in, which users can click from the sidebar without ever visiting your page. This still counts and will still charge you.
  • App installs. You send users to your app page and encourage them to download and install. If they do, you pay.
  • App engagement. Similar to app install, only requires an action within the app.
  • Offer claim. A specialized type of app engagement, given that offers are run through apps.
  • Local awareness. A broad paid reach ad that specifically targets geo-local users.
  • Event responses. Similar to page post engagement, only specific for an event page.
  • Video views. Pay for people to load and watch a video you post on Facebook. Does not work with off-site videos.

Targeting, Broad and Narrow

When you create an ad through the power editor, you have a lot of options available for targeting. If you leave them all blank, you run your ad to everyone on Facebook worldwide. Obviously, this is a bad idea; a huge number of those people don’t care about you or your ad, and it only burns through your ad budget to show your ad to them. What can you target, and how should you target each factor?

  • Location. Be as specific as necessary. If you only sell in a certain state of the US, limit your location to that state. Likewise for country if you’re a larger business. Global businesses should still limit to specific countries, to refine individual campaigns for each area.
  • Age. You should know the most likely age ranges for buyers of your product; target them preferentially.
  • Interests. This one is highly variable and is best used via a custom audience.
  • Gender. You don’t necessarily have to set this, but you might want to for gendered products.
  • Languages. Typically limiting your ads to an English speaking audience is a good idea.
  • Education level. Fully optional, useful for certain types of products.
  • Relationship status. Same as the above, useful for couples or singles-specific products.
  • Political views. Typically not very useful unless you’re a politically charged cause or product, angling for a specific party affiliation.
  • Connection. Basic ads run to only people following your page, and are most effective that way. You can also advertise to friends of connections, for a broader audience. You can be as broad as “everyone” as well, though it’s not recommended without other filters.

When you add targeting factors, Facebook displays a meter indicating the reach of the ad. On one hand, you very rarely will reach everyone Facebook claims you will reach. On the other hand, the meter is still a good visual indicator of how well you’re targeting. Avoid targeting too broad an audience, because you’ll end up spending money on lower quality leads. Conversely, avoid using too many targeting factors and narrowing your audience too much. It will be cheap, but it won’t get you much.


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