Marketing for Beginners: A guide to Facebook Advertising


A while back, I was helping a Nigerian food brand design their website. While in the process of conceptualizing, the marketing manager told me an interesting story of why they decided to put so much effort into their online marketing plans. It all started with Facebook.

You see, like every average business that started years back, they hadn’t seen the need for a social media page. After all, they didn’t even have a “youthful” staff they thought could manage the channel. But one day, my clients friend decides to open a Facebook page for the company, in his mind, he was just doing them a favor. Barely two weeks later, he got a message from a retail distributor in Abuja. By the time we were talking, products worth millions had been sold to this “Facebook fan”.

They now have a social media manager, are looking to setup a fully functional website, and they’re even considering online advertising budgets in board meetings.

This is one of numerous stories Nigerian busineses can tell about how the Facebook platform has driven sales for them.

The problem is, what most small businesses have till date is simply a Facebook page with 1,000 or so likes. Mostly gotten by asking friends and family to like and share the page with their own friends. But as a small business looking to drive sales and profitable growth, such small scale, organic methods can be a drag, and that’s where Facebook advertising can become very essential. Here are some useful facts about Facebook advertising:

Estimated Reach and Targeting

The total number of Nigerian users on Facebook as of today stands at 13,000,000 (from 13yrs upwards) almost 10% of its population. This audience can be broken down by state, age and gender. You can also further target by user interest, educational / marital status, device type and a few other options.

Facebook reach

Lets say you sell fashion items at Allen in Ikeja for example, you just got your website up and running, and you’d like to start promoting your products online so customers can visit your store or place an order on BBM or by calling you. If you target users interested in shopping and fashion who live in Lagos and are between 18 – 46, Facebook estimates that you can reach 1,960,000 people. A good enough number to start advertising to right?

Advertising Cost and ROI

Facebook’s billing algorithm is not much different from other advertising platforms. You can choose to get billed for every 1,000 times your ad is shown (Cost Per Mille or CPM), for every time your ad is clicked (Cost Per Click or CPC), for every conversion your ad gets (Cost Per Acquisition or CPA) and many others like cost per like, cost per engagement, cost per app install… the list goes on, but in each of these options, the platform can work in two ways

  1. Automatically maximize your budget to get the most results out of it
  2. You can set manual bids per result (e.g $0.30 per click)

The downside to the second option is that you will compete with other advertisers based on the bid you set, and if you bid too low, your ad doesn’t show up as often as it should.

As for the first option, you can easily get overcharged for the results you achieve, but if your ad works really well, you’d spend much less than anticipated. Here’s a typical example

If you spend $10 a day for a campaign and you’re bidding on clicks, if at the end of the day only 3 people click on your ad, you’re charged $3.33/click. Meanwhile if your ad sees a lot of engagement, you could be charged really low, one campaign I ran got around $0.01/click

Advert Placements on Facebook

Facebook has three major ad placement options, where your ad can show on the Facebook platform, which all have their advantages, disadvantages, and possible options. Along with explaining how they work, I’d share some important tips I’ve learned while using them in this section.

facebook ad units


Facebook Newsfeed Ads

Newsfeed ads show on desktops, laptops and tablets, and they show up as part of the audiences newsfeed stories.

Desktop newsfeed ads have a high reach and can be very high performing placements for specific businesses or industries. They provide an extra spot for more text to be included to talk about your product/service.

Mobile Newsfeed Ads

Mobile newsfeed ads show up on the users mobile device, either the Fabebok mobile app or the  mobile website.

They have, by far, the highest reach on Facebook and can be a very valuable source of traffic to your website or business page. Mobile ad placements can also see very high engagement for lifestyle/food related advertising.

Facebook Right Hand Side Ads

These ads can only show up on desktops / laptops. Mobile devices do not see them.

In most campaigns that I have run, the RHS (Right Hand Side) ads cost more than any other ad placement on an average. But for desktop only campaigns, they can help you increase the number of times your ad shows (ad impressions).

Facebook Advertising Objectives

A Facebook campaign objective allows the platform automatically optimize your ads to get you better results at reduced costs. A campaign objective could be clicks to your website, or getting more page likes, so if you have 2 or more ads running in one campaign with the objective of getting people to like your page, Facebook will automatically show the ad that gets you the most likes at the lowest cost. Here are some of the current campaign objectives used by Facebook.
Facebook objectives


  1. Send people to your website: This objective optimizes your ads to get more clicks to any web page that you specify, this is called a landing page. This is one of the most popular Facebook objectives and can help you drive traffic to your website, also generating brand awareness in the process.
  2. Increase conversions on your website: A conversion is a specific action users take on your website, like downloading an ebook, or signing up for your newsletter, or making a purchase. This objective will help optimize your ads so you get more conversions at lower prices, popularly referred to as Cost Per Acquisition or CPA.
  3. Boost your post: With the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm, only a handful of your fans ever get to see each post you make on your Facebook page. To reach more fans, or even non-fans, you can boost each post with paid advertising, several targeting options available also help ensure you reach the right set of people.
  4. Get app installs: Facebook can also help drive more installations for your app on the Facebook Mobile platform. The ad unit used also has an “Install” button which users can click on to get directed to the appropriate app store to install from. Facebook will automatically optimize your ads so you get more app installs.
  5. Raise attendance at your event: For those of you that already use Facebook events, this objective can help you show your event details to more Facebook users and get more people to attend.
  6. Get video views: Promote your videos not just on YouTube anymore but Facebook too! The video views objective will show your videos to Facebook users likely to watch it based on their historical behavior and also based on your targeting settings.

Watch out for the followup post on advertising for Instagram and a step-by-step guide to setting up ads.

Do you have any questions on Facebook ads? Drop them in the comment box below.