How to create a Facebook ad strategy (with template)

How to create a Facebook ad strategy (with template)

I manage Unwinnable’s Facebook page, and twice a year, we use our small ads budget to advertise our biannual Geek Flea event. Those ads get a healthy amount of interest for small-scale, local campaigns.

But that increased engagement isn’t just because we ran a Facebook ad—it’s because we have a strategy for our Facebook ads. We know who we want to reach and what we want them to do, and we use Facebook’s targeting and objective options to accomplish it.

You’ll get better use out of your ad spend when you put a Facebook ad strategy in place, too. Copy my template below, and to make your own strategy, complete it using the tips I provide.

Facebook ad strategy template

I based this Facebook ad strategy template on insights from a marketer who regularly works on Facebook ads, as well as my own experience with Facebook ads. Make a copy of the template, and fill it out with your information to create the basis for a Facebook ad campaign. Keep it handy to reference, and share it with your team as you run your campaign. 

Note: this template and these tips can apply to just about any ad that runs on Facebook, as well as Instagram ads with similar formats.

How to build a Facebook ad strategy

Your Facebook ad strategy will drive a campaign, which can include one ad or multiple ads. Here, I’ll walk through each step to creating the Facebook ad strategy you’ll see on the template.

1. Establish your campaign goals

An add for general contractors
This ad has the objective of encouraging viewers to call for services.

Your campaign objectives will guide the rest of your strategy and help you adjust your targeting as your campaign runs.

Start from the bottom up by establishing the product or service you want to advertise. Then dig into the features of that product or service you want to highlight in your ads. Narrowing your campaign goal down by feature will help you home in on specific benefits, so you can be more descriptive in your ad.

Next, establish what objectives you have for your campaign. Think of your objectives as specific actions you want to inspire from your audience, such as signing up for an event or buying a product. Translate those goals into one of the following Facebook ad objectives—the objective Facebook will follow when looking for people to show your ad:

  • Awareness: Raise awareness about your brand or product

  • Traffic: Send people to another page on Facebook or the internet, like a Facebook event, your website, or your app

  • Engagement: Get more engagement on Facebook, such as likes on your page, event responses, or messages

  • Leads: Collect leads through forms, messages, calls, and web pages

  • App promotion: Encourage people to install your app or perform an action with it

  • Sales: Convince viewers to buy your product through Facebook or on your site

2. Determine your budget

The average Facebook CPC in September 2023: $0.707

Advertising can get expensive if you don’t pay attention to your spend, so establish your budget before you invest in your ads. Between September 2022 and September 2023, the average cost per click for Facebook ads was about $0.71. It will of course depend on the campaign, but keep this number in mind as you set these aspects of your budget:

  • Spend per month: Look at your overall marketing budget, and decide how much of it you want to spend on Facebook ads per month.

  • Spend for this campaign: Figure out how much money you’d like to dedicate to this campaign.

  • Length of this campaign: Choose how long you want to run your Facebook ad campaign, keeping your monthly ad spend and total campaign spend in mind.

3. Identify your audience

A LEGO ad targeting adults
This ad targets adults who like LEGO—an audience you might not immediately associate with the brand.

To get the best performance for your buck, you should match your campaign’s specs to your audience’s goals and preferences. Capture these audience details in your template to consider as you design your campaign and ad:

  • Audience overview: A summary of the people you want to reach with this ad, such as “ceramics enthusiasts in Canada” or “single moms who like to hike”

  • Customer persona: The marketing persona from your roster that most closely matches the audience you have in mind

  • Funnel stage: The stage in the lead generation funnel your ad audience is in, based on their awareness of your product and interest in it

With those details established, consider how you’ll target your audience. Facebook allows you to customize the audience you target through all sorts of factors. I included these popular targeting strategies for you to try:

  • Site or app retargeting: Using the Facebook Conversions API or Meta pixel to show ads to customers who have already engaged with your brand

  • Demographic targeting: Showing ads to people based on demographics like age, gender, and location

  • Behavior or interest targeting: Targeting based on lifestyle or interests, like purchasing behaviors or hobbies

  • Custom audience targeting: Using Facebook’s custom audience features to target people based on factors like email list membership or recent purchases

4. Design your ad(s)

An ad for an escape room
This ad combines creative copy and video to immerse the viewer in an escape room’s premise.

With all of the above factors in mind, establish the creative direction for the ads included in your campaign. You’ll decide on your ad placement and include the specs you want to share with your copywriters and designers here.

Determine your ad placements first. Meta offers a huge list of places for you to display your ads, including:

  • The main Facebook feed on web and mobile

  • The right column on the web feed

  • Facebook Marketplace

  • Facebook’s video feed

  • Facebook Business posts and menus

  • Facebook Messenger inboxes

  • Facebook Stories and Facebook Messenger Stories

  • Facebook Reels

  • Facebook partner streams

  • Facebook and Facebook Marketplace search results

  • Sponsored messages in Facebook Messenger

  • Facebook Instant Articles

By default, Facebook will use what it calls Advantage+ placements, where it will automatically choose placements suitable for your ad format. So you don’t have to get too granular if you don’t think it’s necessary, but the option is there if you have a super specific plan. You can also customize the assets for each placement if you want full creative control.

Along with placement, choose what format your ad will have.

  • Photo: A single image with a text caption

  • Video: A video with a text caption

  • Story: An image or video with customizable and interactive elements that appears in the Stories menu

  • Messenger: A multimedia ad that appears in a user’s Messenger inbox

  • Carousel: A series of up to 10 images or videos with their own links

  • Slideshow: A slideshow of images with motion, sound, and text

  • Collection: A video or image with three smaller images for visitors to explore

  • Playable: An interactive preview of your app

Now that you know where you’ll display your ads and their format, write down these notes for your copywriters and designers:

  • Creative direction: Give an overview of your overall creative vision, such as what pain point you want to address and how you’ll offer to solve it.

  • Design notes: Note any specific assets, color schemes, or other visual elements you have in mind for your ad to pass on to your designer.

  • Copy notes: Inform your copywriter of what kind of direction you want your copy to go into. Here are some Facebook ad copy ideas to start with.

Stay flexible with your Facebook ad strategy

As you run your campaign, you may need to change your audience or targeting parameters to get more conversions and a better cost-per-click, and that’s totally normal. Be flexible, and revisit your strategy if it’s not bringing the results you want.

You can also take the manual effort out of your Facebook ads by using Zapier integrations for Facebook apps like Facebook Conversions and Facebook Lead Ads. Learn more about how to automate your Facebook ads:

This article was originally published in August 2021 by Ana Gotter. The most recent update was in October 2023.

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