Digital Marketing Optimization + Social Media & Audience Development

Getting to know your followers with Facebook ads


Ben Wilson
Ben Wilson

on 2/16/2016

Point: Facebook ads are super-easy!

It’s easy! If you are a business who has customers, you should probably be advertising with Facebook. It’s super easy to set up and even for a little bit of money, you’ll gain valuable data and insights about your customers. It’s just 5 easy steps:

  1. Choose your objective
  2. Set your audience and budget
  3. Choose your ad creative
  4. Run them thangs!
  5. Profit!

We’ve found that even for modest spends, you can greatly increase the reach of your Facebook posts, Facebook likes and even traffic to your website.

Me: “And there you have it.” (brushes hands together and walks away)

Counter-Point: No, they aren’t.

Other me: (loudly) Ahem.

Yes, Facebook has made it extremely easy to take your money and shotgun ads out to your customers. So, in that respect, yes, Facebook ads are “super-easy”. However, if you really want to get the most for your money, you have to do the work.

  1. Identify strategic campaign goals and conversions
  2. Know your audience: create personas
  3. Create compelling ad creative
  4. Segment your audience and serve them the appropriate message
  5. Repeatedly report on and analyze the data

All of that above is, in short, why people pay us to help them run Facebook ads. It’s an easy game to learn, but a hard game to get good at.

Case in (Counter?)Point

We recently completed the 3rd iteration of a Facebook ad campaign for our friends at Louisville Public Media, specifically The goal was overall awareness with a specific conversion of people listening to WUOL online. Below is one of the many executions of the campaign:

Simple enough, right? Lead in, image, tagline and a landing page. Toss it up on Facebook and let ‘er rip? Nope. There is a lot of deliberate work that goes behind making an effective campaign, and they align with the steps I mentioned in the Counter-Point above.

(before you go on, remember all of this below is just a hypothesis…a calculated bet. got it? good.)

Strategic Goals and Conversions

We worked closely with WUOL to identify what the overall goal of the campaign would be, whom that campaign should target, and what we’d like for them to do.

Know Your Audience (Creating Personas)

Being a long-standing broadcaster, they have a very good handle on their audience demographics and provided us with some of the most detailed information we’ve ever encountered. But even with that, they need someone like us to make calculated slices of their audience – which you might already know as “personas”. These personas identify things like location, gender, age, and education – and thanks to Facebook’s knowledge of it’s users, we can also target using a lot of other data points, like existing affiliations to the brand (do you already like WUOL? etc).

Create Compelling Ad Creative

I won’t (and frankly can’t) go into how the creative mind works – it’s MAGIC! But that’s OK – all you need to know is that the prior two steps – goals & conversions and audience knowledge - feed directly into the image you see above.

After the ad creative is complete, we move on to the next two steps, which we will repeatedly iterate for the life of the campaign:

Segment your Audience, Report and Analyze the Data

When we started with WUOL’s audience, we knew a lot about their listening audience, but not a lot about their online audience. So, rather than creating a ton of super-specific segments that would have frankly been guesses, we started with a broad segment.

Letting the ads run for a little bit gives you an amazing amount of data broken down by demographic lines. Gender, age, desktop/mobile, and tons more.

For example, guess which of the ads below did better with Men aged 18-24:

If you guessed the hip dude with the Beats headphones and the iPad… you’d be wrong. It was the mom and kid, by a 2:1 margin. (It’s all a calculated bet!). We put that ad into a specific 18-24 segment, and it did gangbusters.

And that’s not to say we were wrong about anything – but we found an insight along the way, and adjusted.


The bottom line on that WUOL campaign above is this: we more than doubled the click-through-rate (CTR) for the same set of ads by repeatedly testing and segmenting our audiences, based upon the knowledge we gained from reporting and analyzing the data.

And none of that would have been possible if we hadn’t done the work – the deliberate, hard work of setting goals and knowing the audience – up front.

Want to know more?

You can read more about the process we’ve created to allow us to do this work here: Our Process

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