In Focus: from Facebook to Meta – the evolution of Facebook ads

Jun 27th, 2022

In this article, we give you the ‘lowdown’ on Facebook Ads, the evolution of the site, some statistics and a couple of hints on setting up your own ad campaign.

Origins to now

The origin of Facebook isn’t a secret, the film ‘The Social Network’ saw to that. Jesse Eisenberg plays the role of Mark Zuckerberg, but this is real life… where Zuckerberg is tasked with acting human.

This role started badly, however, and the first iteration of FB was Facemash (2003), designed to allow students to judge the attractiveness of their cohorts.

However, since overtaking MySpace as the platform of choice, Facebook has continued to be the most active social platform in the world.

In 2021, Zuckerberg announced Meta, a hybrid of today’s online social experiences. In a nutshell, Meta is the parent of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and the list goes on.

Of course, brands need to be aware of what they put online, but with great power comes great responsibility, and Zuckerberg’s empire has lately been held increasingly responsible for upholding the platform’s advertising policies, leading to appearances before the US Congress and to some testing questions from several EU commissions.

Some stats

Love it or hate it, Facebook’s enormity can’t be disputed. Sometimes, as marketers, we have to swallow our pride and think of what is best for the brand, and believe me when I say, Facebook ads is the tool to use to promote your business. Before we get to the walkthrough of setting up an ad on the platform, we’ll have a look at a few key statistics.

  • Facebook has 2.91 billion monthly active users, a 6.2% jump from 2021’s 2.74 billion users.
  • Meta claims their total advertising audience is 2.11 billion people, or 72.5% of their total 2.91 billion monthly active users.
  • Facebook ads reach 34.1% of the global population over age 13.
  • 50% of consumers want to discover new products through Facebook Stories.

The potential for wasted ad spend is high, the bigger the reach, the higher the potential.

In the UK in July 2021, there were over 48.5 million Facebook users; and from December 2021 individuals aged 25 to 34 years made up the largest group of Facebook users by age. The chart below shows the distribution of users by age on the social network.

source: Statista

The cost of Facebook Ads is dependent on a few things, including: what you’re selling, the competition and who you’re targeting. Facebook’s marketing funnel can also change the cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-mile (CPM: you pay for every 1000 views of your ad). Facebook’s funnel isn’t vastly different to the traditional marketing funnel, it shows a prospects’ journey as they go from unaware of a brand to paying customers via Facebook.

The funnel looks like this, with a visual of the funnel below this list:

  • Top of the Funnel (ToFu) – no awareness
  • Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) – fewer prospects, but warmer
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu) – strong prospects who may have converted

Setting up a campaign

For a starting point in this walkthrough, let’s assume you have a business page set up on your Facebook account. To get to your Ads Manager account, click this link and select “Go to Ads Manager”; set up all relevant details including payment method.

The first page you’ll be presented with is your dashboard, which allows you to monitor how different ad campaigns are doing. The image below is what the dashboard looks like – at least for now.

Just before you want to get into the nitty gritty of the ad you want to create, you’ll need to set an objective.

There are 11 different objectives to choose from which are shown in the screenshots:

You also need to choose your audience, of course you will probably have thought about it and maybe you have a persona or two. Facebook’s options are vast, and there might be options for an audience you hadn’t considered before. The next two screenshots show the vast range of filters available.

Facebook allows you to set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget, the former is what it says on the tin – it runs continuously throughout the day at a pace that Facebook ad’s AI sets. A lifetime budget is still pretty self-explanatory, a user will set the length of time the ad will run for and, like the daily budget, Facebook will pace the ad to match the budget and length of time.

Now is the exciting part, creating your ad!

What your ad will look like depends on the objective you set; FB’s Ads Manager will suggest the right type for your chosen objective.

There are two types of content your ads can have; users have the choice of Links and Carousels. Essentially, this means that you can either display a single image ad (Links) or a multi-image ad (Carousel) with three to five scrolling images at no additional cost.

The images below display the types of ads that you can have on Facebook.

When creating your ads, be sure to check the image and copy requirements are correct so you don’t hit any bumps along the road that could slow down your ad being released considerably.

For Link ads, Facebook recommends:

And for Carousels:

From there, you can choose if you want your ad to be viewed on Facebook and Instagram.

In a nutshell, this is basically it in terms of setting up your ads; be sure to sign up to Click’s newsletter to keep up-to-date with developments in the Facebook Ads world.

It goes without saying that your ads need to be relevant, and they mustn’t get stale. A lot of social media users want fresh content, so keep an eye on what’s working and what needs improvement.

A future without Cookies

One of the major updates over the past couple of years, is Google axing third-party cookies in Chrome.

A third-party cookie is placed on a website by someone other than the owner (a third party) and collects user data for the third party.

So what does this change mean for Facebook ads, and how can brands use paid social without cookies?

Third-party cookies have historically been used heavily in social media marketing, but brands have been given more time to prepare (how kind of Google). Changing the way you plan and use your social media strategy will be a big adjustment.

Losing the ability to differentiate between types of customers (remember the funnel) means that the ability to target them with different – and relevant – offerings is lost. Apple’s Safari is already blocking these cookies, which hinders businesses remarketing strategies.

There is hope!

  • You could use first-party cookies. This type of cookie is information you collect yourself about your prospects, customers, and social media followers; and is more accurate than its third-party counterpart. A brand has full control over this data too.
  • Create and use UTM parameters. These are small bits of code added to the end of a URL, they allow you to see how visitors are getting to your site through Google Analytics (link to GA4 blog).
  • Use demographic-based targeting. What seems like a loophole is a legitimate way to get around the third-party issue, most platforms ask users for information like age, location, gender etc —which means it’s first-party data. The way Facebook gathers this data might change, but your access to the data likely won’t.

There are many ways you can adjust your Facebook ads to suit a (third-party) cookieless strategy, to discuss the options get in contact with us sooner rather than later.!

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin Youtube