Category Archives: Facebook Ads

7 Facebook Advertising Tips for 2017


Facebook advertising continues to evolve, so it’s important to keep track of the latest trends and developments.

If you’re planning to advertise on Facebook this year, here are seven key considerations:

1 Make it Video

According to statistics quoted by Social Media Today, video on Facebook accounts for just 0.9% of all posts but 7.15% of all reach on the network. And that number is growing.


The popularity of video is driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Facebook’s algorithmic encouragement of video posts (Facebook is more likely to show your followers video content)
  • the spread of unlimited broadband (more than half of Kiwi households are now on unlimited data plans), so we now have the capacity for lots of video content
  • generational preferences (Gen Y and Gen Z prefer pictures and video to text)
  • limited attention spans, now less than a goldfish
  • scroll speeds on mobile — as we swipe through post after post on Facebook, moving pictures are far more likely to catch our eyes

In other words: if you can, go video, your posts are far more likely to be effective.

PS Check out our Online Video Marketing course if you need help with the medium

2 Use High Contrast Images

The AdEspresso blog suggests:

Ad images are the first touching point between people and your offer. And there’s a lot at stake. It’s either love at first sight or a sorry attempt to gain potential buyers’ attention. If your ad image catches people’s attention, they’ll read through your ad copy as well. It is incredibly important that your ad visuals manage to catch attention in crowded news feeds.

One of the best pieces of advice about Facebook ad design that I’ve ever heard is this: Use a high level of contrast.

Utilize contrasting colors and bold fonts, mix positive and negative space, and spice up your ad with complementary colors.

A high-contrast example:



3 Use an image of a smiling woman

Yes, apparently, according to Kim Garst:

This little trick has proven itself again and again; images of happy, smiling women lead to the highest click-through rates. Facebook also suggests showing people using your products rather than just images of your products:

“Remember that your ad may show in someone’s News Feed, and it should feel like it belongs there. Your image is competing for people’s attention with stories from their friends and family.”

Here’s an advertisement that follows Kim’s advice:


Our own view: if she’s relevant to your product and your target audience, sure, use a smiling woman in your advertisement. Otherwise, don’t.


4 Choose Your Target Location Carefully

Moz warns us to proceed with care when choosing a target location on Facebook:

Let’s say you want to target people who live in Wellington. You might type “Wellington” into the Locations box, leave it at the default 40-kilometre radius, and keep moving.


But, if you did that, you might miss the small drop down menu above the map that says “Everyone in this location.”

See it now? Well, if you click on that drop down, you’ll find out that Facebook’s Locations targeting gets way more granular:


That’s right — not only can you target actual residents whose home is in the selected area, but you can target people currently visiting Wellington who live more than 100 miles away, and people recently in Wellington.


As an example, a 40-kilometre radius for Wellington shows 310,000 audience members for “Everyone in this location,” but only 290,000 audience members for “People who live in this location.”


In other words, 20,000 people, 6% of the default audience, are irrelevant if you’re only trying to reach Wellington residents — which means you could have been wasting at least 6% of your ad budget.


5 Optimise your Ad Specifications

The ideal Facebook Advertisement specifications in 2017, for a single-image ad, according to Buffer, are:

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels

If the post contains a link to a website, ideal link specifications are:

  • Link Headline: 25 characters
  • Link Description: 30 characters


The recommended image size ensures that your image always looks high-quality. The recommended text length is how many characters of advert copy could be displayed on smaller screens (the vast majority of your audience will see your Facebook ads on mobile devices).

Your image should include a minimal amount of text, ideally less than 20%, otherwise Facebook will restrict delivery.

6 Add a call-to-action button

These days, Facebook enables you to include a call-to-action button as part of your advertisement.

It’s a familiar sight to Facebook users, and they are now well conditioned to clicking such buttons, so make sure you take advantage of the option.

You have ten different possibilities:


Choose the one that  is right for you.

7 Track your ads to see which are the most effective

As Kim Garst notes:

There is nothing more frustrating than paying for ads and then having no idea if they are working. Conversion tracking solves this problem by allowing you to know exactly which ads led to conversions.


For more on this, see Facebook’s help article on Conversion Tracking and Optimization.


There are, of course, plenty of other tips that we offer to help guide your Facebook activities and 2017 beyond. We recommend that you check out our Complete Facebook Marketing course (for those new to Facebook marketing) or our Facebook Accelerator course (for more experienced Facebook marketers).

The Dirty Secret of Facebook Promoted Posts

Are you failing on Facebook? Do your posts attract plenty of likes, comments and shares — or do they just sit there, covered in cyberdust?

As you’re probably aware, over the years Facebook has steadily dialed back on organic (i.e. free) reach of Facebook page posts. Nowadays, if you want to get seen by more than a few percent of your followers, you have to pay to promote your posts.

That’s not news. But there’s another BIG BAD SECRET that you might not know about: just paying to promote your Facebook posts is not enough.

Pay to promote posts that no-one wants to read — “Sale Today”, “Here’s some dull news about our company” — and, guess what, no-one will read those posts even though you’re paying to show them to your followers.

You need to promote posts that already work. Otherwise you could be just throwing your money away.

There’s a bit of a Catch-22, though. If hardly anyone sees your unpaid posts, how will you know which works and which doesn’t?

Two Solutions

As you may or may not know, we’ve been focussed on Social Media in general, and on Facebook in particular, for the last six and a half years. We’ve been running online training courses since 2010.

Along the way, we’ve purchased or commissioned a number of software tools to enable us to dig deep into Facebook, gather data and crunch numbers.

As a result, we have tools that have allowed us to:

  • build a 150,000-strong global database of Facebook pages (including more than 25,000 NZ Facebook pages)
  • add thousands more in any specific category at any time
  • track Facebook page performances in terms of likes and talks whenever we wish (typically weekly and monthly)
  • identify the most effective Facebook pages in terms of likes, talks and overall engagement
  • drill down into those pages and find their most effective posts

So, for example, if we wanted to identify the most effective types of posts in the Real Estate category, we would:

  • assemble from our database all the Real Estate pages we currently monitor (several hundred)
  • using our specialist Facebook search tools, gather additional NZ Facebook real estate pages (around 2300 relevant Kiwi pages at last count)
  • gather additional Facebook real estate pages for major towns and cities in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada (i.e. the primary English-speaking markets)
  • upload that specialist real estate database to our Facebook monitoring software to determine the most effective, most engaged Facebook pages amongst them
  • select the top-performing pages and then, using another software suite, identify the most effective (in terms of likes, comments and shares) posts for those pages
  • reverse-engineer the most effective posts and then recommend the strategies to follow to develop engaging content that your followers will want to share

For example (sticking with our real estate category), we’ve uncovered:

  • killer wording that almost forces prospects to like and engage with your page
  • a strategy that turns a dollar donation into a compelling engagement tool
  • a tactic that you simply must not use — because you’re attracting totally unqualified leads
  • a truly delightful content strategy that really pays off and proves the power of words
  • a low-cost but dramatically effective way to use Facebook video

You could do all that too, if you had our software tools, our database, our six-and-a-half years of social media expertise and our forty-plus years of marketing experience.

Or you could opt for one of our two recommended solutions:



Sign up for our “Creating Effective Facebook Posts” short course, which will take you through the twenty most effective types of Facebook posts (crammed with tons of examples). Full details of this course are here:

The next course starts on Wednesday 28 February, 2018, and EARLY BIRD BOOKING DEADLINE for that course (saving you $100) is WEDNESDAY 21 February, 2018.



Alternatively, you could sign up to for our extensive analysis of your Facebook product category, out of which we will identify at least 15 content strategies for you to use to create effective and compelling posts.

During our custom analysis we will:

  • assemble from our database all the pages in your category that we currently monitor
  • gather as many additional Facebook pages in your category as possible, for major towns and cities in New Zealand
  • gather additional Facebook category pages for major towns and cities in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada
  • determine the most effective, most engaged Facebook pages in your category, based on current, real-time data
  • select the top-performing pages and identify the most effective (in terms of likes, comments and shares) posts for those pages
  • recommend at least 15 content strategies to follow to develop engaging content that your followers will want to share
  • suggest strategies that enable you to create original compelling content that will stand out from the crowd because it is unique

As you might imagine, despite the software tools we have at our disposal, this project requires significant individual analysis and insight, which is why we’re limiting the offer to just six clients.

For this service, we could easily charge $1500 or more, and that would be a fair price for all the effort involved.

Still, since this is a new project for us, we’re looking for some social proof in the form of very satisfied customers. So we’ve decided to offer our Facebook Custom Analysis programme for just $997+GST.

Here’s the link to sign up and pay via PayPal (and yes, it will automatically switch to sign you up for a waiting list once all six spots are taken):

You’ll be taken to our PayPal payment page, where you’ll be asked to provide your name and email details and to pay for the programme.

If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice, please send an email to [email protected] with your requirements.


You’ll receive our emailed confirmation of your booking (normally fairly quickly, but please do allow up to 12 hours for us to get back to you). Then we’ll be in touch by email to gather more information from you.

PS Sure, you can pass these offers by. We just don’t want you to have any regrets if/when your Facebook posts fail.

Were Your Posts Just Banned By Facebook?


Late last week, Facebook gave businesses the bad news:

Overtly promotional posts will no longer be shown to page followers, beginning in January 2015.

Exactly what types of posts are banned? Here’s what Facebook specified:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Facebook gave some hypothetical examples of undesirable posts, but here are just a few of the millions of real Facebook page posts that would seem to fall foul of Facebook’s new rules.

Posts that only talk about products you should buy:


Or contests you can enter:



And even big brands have Facebook page posts unlikely to survive the January 2015 promotional massacre:


Those 762 people who like the above post? They’re going to be out of luck, when January rolls around. They won’t see the Uniqlo promotional posts in their newsfeeds, so they won’t know about the deals.

The Continuing Push Towards Zero Facebook Engagement

This move by Facebook is just the latest step in the social network’s efforts to:

  • reduce unwanted clutter on users’ Facebook newsfeeds
  • drive down the reach of brands’ Facebook page posts (towards zero)

From a user-centric point of view, Facebook’s motives are not merely practical but praise-worthy. As Facebook notes, “our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed”.

From the point of view of businesses, however, Facebook’s moves are typically not viewed in such a benign fashion.

As re/code notes, it’s “likely going to anger brands in the process, many of whom spent years building up a following for this very purpose. Why would Coca-Cola pay Facebook to promote one of its posts when it already has 90 million users following its updates?”

Facebook’s own guidelines for business pages spell out the social giant’s thinking:

Publicize exclusive discounts and promotions with ads
If you’re looking to inspire more purchases from your posts, create Facebook Ads with special discounts or promotions.

  • Use link ads to drive people to your site, and include special codes they can use at checkout
  • Drive urgency with a time prompt like “free shipping, this weekend only” or “12 hour flash sale”
  • Promote only products or services you think your audience is most interested in
  • Advertise end-of-year contests and giveaways to drive customer loyalty and sales

In other words, if you want to use Facebook to actually sell stuff, you can now expect to have to PAY.

Overcoming Facebook Frustration & Reaching Your Followers

So what should you do? Simply abandon your carefully-constructed Facebook presence? Or pay every time to reach your followers?

In our Facebook online training courses (Facebook Accelerator and the Complete Facebook Marketing course), we tackle the issue head-on, and recommend that you:

  • use Graph Search to learn more about your followers and the sort of content that will interest them
  • identify the types of posts that your followers are most likely to share
  • create more of those types of posts
  • create posts in styles and formats that encourage more engagement
  • identify when your followers are most likely to be active on Facebook
  • publish your posts at those times
  • post more frequently than in the past
  • pay to promote the best of your posts to your followers
  • bump evergreen popular content
  • aim to drive Last Actor engagement as much as possible
  • crunch your numbers regularly to see exactly how well you’re doing (and whether or not you’re fulfilling your potential)
  • use Facebook advertising to drive Facebook users to your website


Free Report on Facebook Advertising

If you want to sell anything through Facebook, it’s time to face the grim reality:

you’re simply going to have to pay to promote your products, through Facebook Advertising.

A word of warning, however: if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to burn through a lot of money fast, with minimal results.

To help, we’ve put together a special FREE report on getting started with Facebook Advertising.



This free report will tell you the 5 essential tips you simply MUST KNOW before you start advertising on Facebook.

So go ahead — grab your FREE copy right now!

Just click here for your free report.




Atlas by Facebook

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Facebook is relaunching its Atlas advertising programme, enabling marketers to tap into its treasure trove of consumer data. Re/Code explains:

  • Facebook is reintroducing Atlas, the underused platform it bought from Microsoft last year.
  • Facebook says Atlas can help marketers track the effectiveness of their ads around the Web; it also says it will allow them to buy ads on non-Facebook websites and apps, using Facebook targeting data.
  • Facebook makes a point of saying these ads aren’t “Facebook ads.” But it is also playing up the notion that the ads marketers buy via Atlas will be more effective than other big ad platforms, because they use Facebook’s data.
  • Facebook says it is working with lots of partners, but so far has named only two. Ad holding giant Omnicom, which already has deals with Facebook, Google, Twitter and most other big digital players, says it will buy ads with Atlas. Facebook’s Instagram will also work with the platform. The most tantalizing notion I’ve heard this week is that Facebook has talked to Twitter about joining up, and that the idea remains a possibility.
  • What’s that? You’re worried about people using your Facebook data to serve you ads? Facebook says you shouldn’t worry, because your identity will remain anonymous to advertisers and publishers — they’ll just know some basic facts about you. But really, if you’re worried about this kind of thing you shouldn’t be on Facebook. Actually, the whole Web is probably a no-go zone for you. Sorry.

From a marketer’s perspective, the Atlas initiative is an inevitable development, as Facebook attempts to out-monetise Google.

As Pando notes, there’s another important side-effect to the Atlas initiative, as the world goes mobile:

Atlas solves a technical problem that has frustrated advertisers since consumers flocked to mobile devices: the inability to see how ads viewed on one device influence purchases made on other devices because digital “cookies,” the Web’s little stalkers, can’t track smartphone activity.

Check out the video, and check out Atlas, coming soon to a marketer near you.

Facebook Ads: Smart Or Not?

Are Facebook Ads a good idea?

As we’ve pointed out in the recent past, marketers can no longer rely on “organic reach” to build a relationship with followers: a steady succession of algorithm tinkering by Facebook, accompanied by more and more noise on the social network, means that now you can typically expect no more than 2-6% of your followers to see your Facebook posts.

Oh sure, there are exceptions. Take for example Team Midwives Whangarei, which has around 20% of its followers talking about its Facebook Page:

Midwives don't need Facebook Ads

Clearly, Whangarei midwives don’t need Facebook Ads, at least not right now. But what about the rest of us?

If we want more people to talk about us on Facebook, then we need to either:

1. Create posts that are relevant to our brand but have the potential to go feverishly viral (like this one by NZ-based Paw Justice):

With posts like this, who needs Facebook Ads?

2. Pay to boost any of our posts that we believe are worth promoting:

Was this post worth promoting?

3. Buy Facebook Ads


PS Facebook Ads are one of the topics we cover in our Facebook Accelerator course. More details by clicking here.