Getting the most from Facebook ads – placement & targeting

by | Nov 17, 2019 | Beginner, Facebook Ads, Insights, Level, Paid Search, Uncategorized

So you designed a lovely series of Facebook ads ready to go and grab loads of new business – but then realise you have no idea what to do with these ads. Or worse still, you designed the ads, pushed them live and then watched your budget fall while without your leads column rising in the other direction.

Assuming you’re sure the designs and ad copy aren’t to blame (and you need to honest with yourself if there’s any doubt here), it could be down to either placement or targeting – or both. So what should be done with each of these key areas?


There are multiple places you can set your ads to display, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. This means placement needs to be a careful consideration depending on budget, audience and the aim of the ad.

Newsfeed: This has the highest CTR and engagement, and often leads to an uplift in organic performance too thanks to the increased visibility it brings. and is great for sales and leads in general. However, the payoff is that ads placed here usually come with a slightly higher cost.

Right-hand column: These ads are cheaper, but the trade-off is that they come with a lower performance. However, like their Google Display counterpart, the purpose for these ads is retargeting and brand awareness rather than generating loads of clicks, leads and sales, so they definitely have a place in the Facebook mix.

Mobile newsfeed: Got an app that you want to boost installs for? Then the mobile newsfeed is the one for you. It is, however, tougher to get actual website conversions here – especially if you’re advertising a product that people will be unlikely to buy from a mobile device having seen one ad, or you’re a B2B with a long buying cycle.


The beauty of Facebook is the amount of data it holds, and therefore how specific you can be with who sees your adverts. Here are a few of the ways you can reach the people who matter – and some things you need to bear in mind:

Country – there’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to countries, with huge variations in cost and performance between nations. With that in mind, ads aimed at different countries should be separated into different ad sets.

Interests – while this used to be the best option for getting specific, it has become less effective due to spam and like buying. Done right, it can still be useful – especially if you’re using a tool like Interest Explorer to uncover extra interests that Facebook’s ad tool typically doesn’t reveal to you.

Gender – though this won’t be relevant for certain businesses, there will be some where gender can make a huge difference. There are also times of year when the usual gender split may change – think clothing ads that may skew towards females for 10 months of the year, but lean toward males for Valentine’s and Christmas. Anticipating this – or even better, looking at data from previous years if it exists – enables you to plan in a change of ad creative and steal a march on your competition (while also ensuring your ad spend is being used efficiently).

Custom Audiences – the way to go!

With the waning effectiveness of Interests, Custom Audiences is the option that really unlocks Facebook’s full potential. Got a database of email addresses (GDPR compliant of course!) that you’ve been reaching with eshots but want to go further? Exhausted your email database but want to find other people who share the same likes and dislikes, and who are therefore a potential target? Want to retarget people who started the buying process but left before checkout? All this and more is possible with Custom Audiences.

It’s worth pointing out that they burn brightly, briefly – their specificity means Custom Audiences have a limited reach and will start to degrade pretty quickly. But when they’re good, they’re very good, with an estimated 5x ROI versus non-Custom Audience ads. Take the time to get your audience right – and make sure you have others queued up when the current ones start to fade – and you’ll reap the rewards.

Not got enough time to tackle Facebook ads? Drop us a line, we can help take the strain!