The ABCs of Facebook Ads

min read
March 12, 2020
Photo by:
Will Francis on Unsplash

Learning how to run ads can be tedious. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be fun. Like learning your ABCs. Easy as 1–2–3, remember?

Today, I’m going to cover the essential terms used in and around Facebook Ads. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a great idea of what you’re getting into and where to get started.

A — Audience

You don’t need a guide to tell you that an audience is essential to all marketing your business does. Your audience will mould everything that will go into your ads.

B — Budget

Your budget is what you’re willing to spend on your Facebook Ads over a set period of time (i.e. 30 days) or daily until stopped.

C — Call to Action

Call to Action is essentially what the purpose of your ads are. There are many CTAs, but the most popular with FB Ads are:

  1. Follow/Like my page
  2. Click my link and sign up for my free webinar/course
  3. Click my link and get a free copy of my book/lead magnet

D — Demographics

Facebook holds a large amount of data on every one of its users, and you can tune your ads to target only your ideal audience. But to do that, you need to keep a checklist of important data points about who that ideal target audience even is.

E — Engage

E is for Engage, and not the wedding type!

Engagement in terms of Facebook is people taking certain actions on your ads — that could be liking your ad, sharing it, clicking on it, and commenting on it.

F — Frequency

Frequency is one of the many metrics that you can view on your ads and it stands for how often your audience has seen that ad. The metric is measured in a number. Here’s what you should do depending on the number:

0.01–1 = Keep your ads running. Not every single person in your audience has been targeted by the ad yet.

1–3 = This is the typical amount of time somebody needs to see an ad before they take action. So at this stage there is no action. However the closer to 3 the ad gets, you need to be prepared for what happens next.

3–5 = After 3 times, people will start to get sick of seeing your ad. If your results are starting to become worse, then turn your ad off and start a new one. However, if your ad is still performing well then continue.

5+ = By this point your audience should be sick of seeing your ads, and you shouldn’t be getting any results from it at all — so you should definitely turn the ad off now.

G — Goal

When you create a brand new Facebook Ad campaign, the first thing you’ll be asked is what your goal is. There will be a number of different goals including making sales, getting visits to your websites, or creating engagement on your content.

H — Headline

Headline is a short amount of text you can have on all ad types in addition to the main text box. The headline is positioned so it stands out more than the main text box, and is great for summarising your ad text and call to action in a few short, snappy words.

I — Interests

Interests are another batch of information Facebook has on their users, alongside Demographics covered in D.

Combining interests with demographics will make your ads so much more effective, getting you higher quality traffic that is perfectly suited for your products and services.

The list of interests is massive and continues to be added to, but some examples include:

  1. Tony Robbins — great if you have products on self-improvement and mentoring
  2. Buy To Let — great if you’re in property investment and in particular buying properties to let out
  3. Shops Online — perfect if you run an ecommerce store on shopify or other platforms

J — Junction (applicable or not)

As you know, a Junction is where there are two or more paths for somebody to take — and that person will choose which path is best for them and their goals, and take it.

It’s important to do the same with your Facebook Ads. You can do the greatest job determining your audience, targeting only the very best people for them. But unfortunately not every person who views your ad will take your offer and the action you want them to.

And even if they do, they might not be in a position to spend the money you want them to later down the line with your offers.

So a key job of your ads is to not only attract the right people, but put the wrong people off too.

K — Knowledge

An important aspect of any Facebook Ad and getting people to take your offer is to clearly demonstrate your knowledge and experience.

A simple short paragraph in your main text like the example below will achieve that and make your ad perform much better as a result.


With over 3 years experience of running over £1,000,000 worth of Facebook Ads for clients in niches including ecommerce, education, property, and marketing, I know what it takes to successfully manage large scale campaigns and create unrivalled levels of cost per conversions.

L — Lookalike & Custom Audiences

These are additional ways of targeting your ideal people alongside demographics and interests already covered in D & I.

Custom Audiences is essentially a list of email addresses you want to target to. For example, if you had a list of 20,000 people and you wanted to run ads to them promoting your new product, you can upload the list and promote only to them.

You’ll typically see a higher conversion rate from custom audiences compared to demographic and interest based audiences, because these people already know you.

To make this even stronger, you can also run lookalike lists. This is essentially where you give Facebook a list of people who are your ideal audience, and Facebook will go out and find everybody who has similar demographics and interests to them.

M — Management

It’s one thing to build a create Facebook Ad campaign and start it running. It’s another managing it. Far too many people leave it days between checking on the performance of their ads. Sadly this just doesn’t work. You have to be all over your ads, ensuring you’re getting the results you need, and writing and building new ads to replace ones which are not performing.

N — News Feed Description

As mentioned in H, the NFD can be used to support the main message of the advert in a few short snappy words. It’s important to note however that this isn’t available on every single ad type.

O — Optimise

O is for Optimise — my favorite word in the world! Why? Because by its very definition allows for endless possibilities.

Optimisation is the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.

And with Facebook Ads, the art of optimisation can allow you to maximise your profits, sales, and conversions consistently. Isn’t that what everybody in business wants?

P — Platforms & Placements

These are essentially different places your ads can appear.

Platforms include Facebook itself, Messenger, and Instagram.

Placements include Messenger chat, the right hand side of Facebook News Feed, and between News Feed posts.

Running ads to each of these will net you varying results, depending on which your audience prefers. So test -> measure -> optimise them all!

Q — Quality

By quality, I mean the quality of the information you’re giving away. If you don’t already know by now, marketing in a lot of niches require an upfront investment to capture somebody’s data before you can go on and sell to them. An example of this would be giving away a document (much like the one you’re reading) for absolutely free to capture a person’s details.

Alongside the cost of producing the document, you also have your ad spend. But the key at this initial stage is to make the freebie of such great quality that the readers come to realise how awesome you are. This will make them much easier to sell to later down the line.

R — Re-target

Re-targeting has other names you’re more familiar with, such as abandon carting. Essentially it is the specific targeting of only people who have visited your pages but left without taking the action you wanted them to.

Re-targeting is a must-have Facebook Ad campaign as it allows you to get a greater return on your ads. Instead of targeting people who have never heard of you, you’re targeting only those who have been on your site at least once.

S — Scale

Scaling is where you slowly increase your ad spend to increase your overall results when you know you have ads that will consistently perform well. This was briefly covered in Budget above, but it’s important to mention this:

It’s very, very tempting to upscale your ads three-fold or more when you have ads running at a cost per conversion you’re happy with. But the key with scaling is you need to do it bit-by-bit. Your ads may be performing great at that level, but if you suddenly put more money into it, you may well find that your cost per conversion easily breaks the budget.

T — Text

Facebook Ads are largely composed of a main text box. If you’re able to get your audience to pay attention to your ad by having great visuals and video (see V), then the next step they will take is to read your Text.

Regardless of what your offer and call to action is, your text should always include these key elements:

A way of qualifying the right people to your offer (see J Junction)

Your expertise and knowledge (see K)

Call to action (see C)

A URL you want them to click (see U next)

These four parts, in the order shown, will typically net you the highest conversions of any other combination of text in your ads.


URL is the link you want people to go to after they click on your Ad. This link will be visibly shown on your ad, so you need it to look professional and safe to click on — for example,

A bad URL would be something like:

V — Visuals & Video (To Make Up For The Missing X)

Visuals and video comprise of the most significant part of your ad. The job of these are to make people stop scrolling their news feed and to pay attention to your ad by reading the text.

As with every aspect of Facebook Ads, you first must consider what your ideal audience will want to see in these — for some it will be images, others will prefer video. And if you’re not sure which, test both and find out!

Your choice here will also depend on your call to action — for example, if you were advertising a free event, a video showing a previous event might work well. Or an image of a previous event too!

If you have a strong brand and people recognise it, images/videos showing your brand may work well too.

If you’re selling a specific product direct from your ads, for example a book, images of that book might do well.

Remember, you need to hook people into reading your ad, not ignoring it alongside the thousands of adverts each and every person comes across every single day of their lives.

W — Why?

Why should your audience take a second of their busy life to view your ads? What’s in it for them? Are you really going to help them in some way, or are you just after their money?

You need to ask those questions to yourself and implement the answers into your ads. The text, image, and call to action should all be focused on this. Make it worth their while, and they will pay you back manyfold in the future.

Y — Yield (conversion rate)

Y stands for Yield—in other words, conversion rate. This is how many people will take the action you want them to take out of the total people viewing your ads. For example, if you ran an add to 1000 people and wanted them to buy your book, and 100 did, your conversion rate would be one in ten, or 10%.

Z — Zoom

Last but not least, Z is for Zoom. As I’ve covered in O for Optimisation, a key element of the Facebook Ad process is to measure your results — so you learn what works the best and keep using that.

To measure, you have to zoom deep into your ads. There are multiple components of Facebook Ads, and you need to zoom deeply into each to test, measure, and optimise them.

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Dan Todd
Helping Businesses Grow
A complete glossary and guide to the most popular PPC advertising platform.
Share this article
Dan Todd
Helping Businesses Grow
A complete glossary and guide to the most popular PPC advertising platform.
Share this article

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