How do Facebook Ads Even Work?

You may have heard that Facebook ads are capable of having a high return-on-investment value. While this can be true, many are unaware of the science behind how Facebook has the ability to deliberately and strategically grab the attention of its users. For example, have you ever scrolled through your news feed, refreshed the page, and got completely different stories – with only some repeating – but in a different order? Posts from friends, family, or co-workers shuffled with what you may not realize are targeted advertisements – ads appearing based on your Likes, interests, and topics that you have previously had known interaction with. The activity can be quite entrancing, which is why society is constantly accused of being addicted to Facebook – especially Millennials.

As of July 2016, there are 1.7 billion active Facebook users worldwide; a statistic that only keeps growing. Almost all of these active users (1.31 billion) access their accounts daily. 5 new profiles are created every second. The average length of time spent on the site is 20 minutes, and 50% of younger users (18-24) begin browsing the moment they wake up. published an article earlier this year making this incredible statement:

“Every time you open Facebook, one of the world’s most influential, controversial, and misunderstood algorithms springs into action. It scans and collects everything posted in the past week by each of your friends, everyone you follow, each group you belong to, and every Facebook page you’ve liked. For the average Facebook user, that’s more than 1,500 posts. If you 5988075688_83800f77bf_bhave several hundred friends, it could be as many as 10,000. Then, according to a closely guarded and constantly shifting formula, Facebook’s news feed algorithm ranks them all, in what it believes to be the precise order of how likely you are to find each post worthwhile. Most users will only ever see the top few hundred.”

Experts say 7pm is the best time to post on Facebook because it has solidly shown to be the highest clicking rate for advertised sites. A whopping 20% of site clicks are driven by Facebook! Most of this traffic occurs between 1-3 pm midweek, which is perfect for entrepreneurs who may be sitting in their offices during these hours making cold calls. When placed properly, Facebook can be a strong source of lead generation, bringing the customers in without awkwardly reaching.

Creating Your Ad

First go to, and click on “create ad”. From there, you must first choose your objective. What are you hoping the ad will achieve? Then, decide your demographic. This can be based on location, gender, language, interests, occupation, previous pages Liked, and so forth. You can even save this demographic if you plan on going back and posting another similar ad. Decide for how long you wish for it to run; and set a daily budget. The minimum amount you can spend per day is $5, and if you set an end date you will be told exactly how much money (given days and hours) that will be spent. Once published, you well receive updates via Facebook notification on to how your ad is performing.

For something quicker, convenient and more likely to be less expensive, you can also select the option to boost your post. This allows you to monitor the ad directly, share it from other pages if desired, create a less-detailed demographic, and also set a small budget. The minimum is $1 instead of $5.

Do’s and Don’t’s

Do: Make your title short, sweet, and to the point. Formulating an eye-catching title is half the battle.

Do: Use an image that is over 200×200 pixels. This is the standard social media resolution recommendation. Also ensure that the photo is not too wide or too long, as the image will always be cropped close to a perfect square.

Don’t: Boost all your ads at once. If you’re going to create an ad and boost your posts, it’s probably not going to be as effective. The reason for this is to not overload your viewers. People are not going to “Like” nearly two identical posts, for the same business.

Don’t: Double-post. In regards to not boosting each ad in the same span of time, make sure your ads are unique in content, image, and title.  Creating two is redundant and unnecessary because Facebook can spread it throughout different user feeds as much as needed. Creating more ads does not improve the chances of more people seeing it, typically. Facebook controls who sees what, and how frequently they see it, overseeing the ever-changing algorithm. The crazy part is – nobody really knows how they do this.

Slate’s article goes on to say:

“No one outside Facebook knows for sure how it does this [referring to previous quote], and no one inside the company will tell you. And yet the results of this automated ranking process shape the social lives and reading habits of more than 1 billion daily active users—one-fifth of the world’s adult population.”

In terms of “how” – we will leave that to the experts. But hopefully the “why” is very, very clear. Facebook is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to advertise. Save your dollars from what you would be putting into a newspaper ad and instead, put less into a more effective method – as little as 100 cents a day.