What are Facebook ads?

Most people have seen Facebook ads, even if they don’t think they know what they are. These are ads that appear in the right-hand column of Facebook on desktop and laptop computers, on profile pages, or under the heading of “Suggested Post” within the News Feed. 

Facebook ads are just that – they’re ads that appear within Facebook. They can appear vertically or horizontally, and they typically include a title, an image of some sort whether that’s a still photo or video, and the body copy of the ad. They are simple to create and don’t have to cost a lot of money. Many business owners will find that Facebook ads bring a host of benefits to their hotel. 


How can Facebook ads help my hotel? 

Of course, before going any further, hotels want to know if creating Facebook ads will be good for their business. Facebook ads are one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing a business could use, but they will still take money from the marketing budget and no hotel owner/manager wants to spend money without believing they’ll be getting productive results in return for that. 

Generally speaking, Facebook ads are great for hotels, because they do have the potential to bring lots of benefits. Those include:

  • Targeted demographics. This is by far the biggest benefit Facebook ads hold for hotels. Facebook pulls information from users’ profile pages and uses that to create a target audience for your ad. Because of this, ads can be extremely targeted depending on their location, their age, their gender, their occupation, and more. Most hotels want their advertising to be as targeting as possible. Not only does Facebook allow this, it actually encourages it. 
  • Easy to track campaigns
  • Total control over how much of the budget is spent
  • Can be very inexpensive
  • Easy to set up and manage


Do I need a business page to create a Facebook ad?

No, but this comes with some caveats. 

The first is that while you don’t need a business page to create a Facebook ad, you do need a personal profile. The features found within Facebook, including ad creation, are really only intended for Facebook users. Because of this, you can’t do anything within Facebook without having a personal profile page. Note that this is a personal profile page. Facebook prohibits businesses from creating personal profiles, instead directing them to Facebook pages for business. 

Users that want to create a business page must also have a personal profile, unless they want to assign admin duties for the page to another Facebook user that does have a personal profile. 

So, what does this have to do with ads? 

In order to create an ad, you will need a personal profile, but you don’t need to have a business page set up. This however, does limit the options for the ad. Ads that are created and not linked to a business page will only be able to:

  • Show ads in the right-hand column (not on mobile devices or within the News Feed)
  • Use only one image (no video) in the ad format
  • Use the traffic advertising objective, meaning that people can only be sent to the business’ website

Facebook pages don’t just give business owners more options when it comes to creating their ads; they can also be a great way for businesses to gain more exposure on Facebook. It’s highly recommended that businesses considering using Facebook for any reason first set up a personal profile as well as a business page. 


Can I create an ad without the people who have liked my Page seeing it?

Speaking of Facebook Pages, there may be times when you have an ad but you don’t want the people who have liked your Page to see it. Maybe you’re offering new customers a discount not applicable to existing customers, or maybe you’re just trying to increase your reach and customer base. Fortunately, this can be done. 

You will need a Power Editor to do it, and within Power Editor you can create what’s known as a Dark Post. The ad will appear on your wall as though it’s a wall post, but your current audience won’t be able to see it. 


What’s the difference between Facebook for Business, Ads Manager, and Power Editor?

Sometimes hotels will start to create a Facebook ad and find that they end up in Power Editor or in the Ads Manager, and wonder ‘Where am I?’ and ‘What am I supposed to do here?’ This can be confusing, but it’s easy to understand once you understand the different facets of Facebook ads. 

Facebook for Business is the platform that oversees all of the marketing features within Facebook. It will contain both the Ads Manager and Power Editor, and business owners can go here to see a complete overview of all their Facebook ad campaigns. 

Ads Manager is the option that business owners will use when they want to create a simple ad campaign. This is where Facebook ads will actually be created, where business owners can update their interface, choose a campaign goal, and link to an account. 

Power Editor is the most powerful tool for creating Facebook ads, but in actuality most hotels don’t use it. This app is really designed for extremely in-depth Facebook marketing campaigns that involve very complicated ads, and a high number of them at that (80 or more). 


What kind of ads can I create?

This will depend on the objective you’ve chosen for your campaign. The objective is the action you want people to take after seeing your ad. The actual ad and the ad format you use will depend on the objective you choose, so it’s important to give it some consideration. The choices you have will also depend on whether you’re creating ads in the Ads Manager, or the Power Editor. 

Within the Ads Manager, you can create ads that will:

  • Boost the posts on your business page for increased engagement
  • Promote your overall Facebook page
  • Direct people to your website, where they will have a greater likelihood of booking a stay or engaging with your business
  • Increase attendance at Facebook events, such as live videos
  • Encourage more people to view your videos
  • Promote offers you’ve created on Facebook

Because Power Editor is considered to be the most powerful ad creator within Facebook features (albeit too complicated for business owners wanting to just create simple ads), it does offer more objectives for Facebook ads. But because of the complexity of the Editor, many business owners will find many of the objectives don’t apply to them, or that Ads Manager offers the same objectives. The objectives Power Editor allows are:

  • Clicks to the website
  • More desktop app installations, as well as more engagement within those apps
  • Increased attendance at Facebook events, such as live videos
  • Generation of more leads, particularly with ads that will help people fill out mobile forms
  • Increased installation of mobile apps and more engagement within those apps
  • More exposure for offers that have been promoted on Facebook
  • Increase page likes on the business’ Facebook page
  • Increase engagement on posts on the business’ Facebook page
  • Encourage more views of video posts on Facebook

Depending on the action you want people to take after seeing your ad, you can link it to a website, a product page, or another Facebook page. 


What images can I use in Facebook ads?

Most hotels know that it’s the image of the Facebook ad that will first capture a user’s attention. And this is one reason why they get hung up on it and become very indecisive about which image to choose. 

Of course, the image does need to be attention-grabbing and stand out among the many images that are uploaded to Facebook every day. But in addition to that, Facebook also places restrictions on the images they allow in ads. Stock images are fine, so business owners don’t have to worry about taking their own, but they cannot be copyrighted or go against copyright law in any way. Images also can’t be violent, of an adult nature, or be illegal. A full list of the types of images does not allow can be found at www.facebook.com/policies/ads

In addition to the type of images that can and cannot be used, Facebook also has other rules placed in ads. For instance, images must be of a certain size (1200 x 628 pixels) and that they not contain more than 20 percent text. 


How can I make sure my ad has a great design?

Of course, the first thing hotels want to do is make sure their ad, everything from the images used to its overall design, adheres to the policies and guidelines Facebook has laid out for advertising. But, you can make sure you’re following all the rules and still end up with a pretty boring ad. In order to make sure the ad has a dynamic design that will grab people’s attention, there are some things business owners can do within their ad.

  • People like to interact with people, not walls. Because of this, it can be very effective to show people in your ad, using your product and experiencing the benefits it has to offer. 
  • Don’t load the ad up with text. The online world is a very visual one, and users will react better to an image than they will with a lot of text that they’ll have to read through; most won’t bother. Also don’t load up images with text. While Facebook restricts text on images to 20 percent or less, it’s best to go with even less text than that and when possible, none at all. 
  • Use a consistent theme when running multiple ads. This will help keep the overall marketing strategy consistent, making it more recognizable to users and seem more natural when it appears in their News Feed. 
  • Use high resolution images. This doesn’t mean you have to hire a professional photographer for your ad, but it does mean you have to pay attention to the resolution and quality of the image. The Facebook Ads Guide, which can be found at www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide can help determine the best image to use with a specific ad. 
  • Experiment with different images and text before running the ad. This is different than testing different ads once they’re in the market (although this should be done, too). It’s important to experiment with different images, different text, and different formats of an ad before actually running it. This will let you know how the ad may look with different elements, and shed light on something you’ve been overlooking – such as one image popping out at you more than another. 


Do Facebook ads have to be approved, and what’s taken into consideration?

Absolutely ads need to be approved. Facebook will review every single ad that’s placed on their website and if it goes against any of their policies or guidelines, they will not approve it. 

Facebook will take into consideration:

  • Whether or not the ad complies with their guidelines and restrictions. If for instance, the image is too large, the entire ad will be turned down. In addition to images, the text, targeting, and positioning will also be reviewed and these are all reasons an ad may not be approved. 
  • Ads with inappropriate landings pages may also be returned without approval. Landing pages can be deemed inappropriate if they’re not fully functional, if they don’t match the product or service that’s being promoted in the ad, or if the landing page itself doesn’t comply with Facebook’s advertising policies. 

Facebook usually only takes 24 hours to review an ad although in some cases it may take longer. 


What can I do if my ad isn’t approved?

Of course editing the ad is really the only thing that can be done if an ad was submitted to Facebook but wasn’t approved. Facebook will send an email to all business owners that don’t have ads approved and this email will explain why the ad was turned down. This email can be very helpful when trying to determine what needs to be edited within the ad. Once the changes are made and saved, the ad will be resubmitted for review. 

When business owners can’t determine what needs to be edited within their ad, or they don’t agree with the decision, an appeal can be made. Facebook has an online form that can be found at www.facebook.com/policies/ads and filled out to submit an appeal for an ad. 


I’ve already boosted some of my Facebook posts. Is this a Facebook ad?

Boosting posts is a great way to increase engagement for certain content the business owner wants to put right in front of customers, and boosting posts can also be done within the Ads Manager. However, boosting posts is not really creating a Facebook ad although they do have some things in common. 

Boosting a post can be done by simply clicking on the “Boost Post” icon found beneath all posts that are published to the Facebook page. This can work very effectively when increasing engagement on the page and expanding an audience, as typically only a fraction of people that like and follow your page will actually see your posts. In fact, boosting a post can also get that post in front of people who don’t even like your page. 

While they should be thought of separately from Facebook ads, boosting posts can also be done in the Ads Manager and this will also give more options. For instance, boosting posts from the icon will only make it show up in the News Feed, but when going through the Ads Manager, business owners can also choose to have that post appear in the right-hand column of Facebook. 


How much do Facebook ads cost?

Just like any other form of advertising, one of the first things hotels want to know is how much Facebook ads cost. The problem is, there’s no real set answer for this question. 

This is because Facebook ads are based on an auction system; there is no fixed cost. Business owners will state how much they’re willing to spend on an ad or in other words, how much they want to bid. If business owners don’t choose to place a bid (which is actually recommended for those not familiar with ads) Facebook will automatically calculate a bid based on the stated budget and how long the business owner wants the ad to run. 

It’s important for business owners to understand that bids for Facebook ads are just that; they’re bids, not guarantees. Other business owners will be making those same bids, and there’s no way to know when Facebook will choose one ad over another. For this reason, it can be very unpredictable to know how much one Facebook ad will cost. 

However, hotels do have complete control over how much they spend. Once they make a bid, their ad will not cost more than that bid. 


I’ve been using Facebook ads for a little while and I still haven’t got any bookings. Why is this?

Unfortunately, there might be a few reasons why any given ad isn’t working. These include:

  • The wrong approach. No one logs onto Facebook in order to find a service or book a stay (well, some people might but they are in a very small minority). When it comes to Facebook ads, intent accounts for a lot; and the intent should not actually be to sell more products or get more customers. Instead, the intent should be to increase awareness of the hotel and brand, and this in turn will sell after. 
  • The wrong target audience. Facebook allows business owners to target their audience in ways that other forms of marketing just don’t allow. But hotels have to be able to properly utilize the ability to target that audience. It’s best for hotel to start with a broad audience such as choosing the audience’s age, sex and location, and then moving onto narrower audiences, such as their interests. It’s recommended that hotels use an awareness-stage audience of 1 to 2 million. An audience larger than this will only return wasted results while smaller audiences won’t provide the feedback the hotel needs. 
  • The wrong bid. Using the lowest possible bid may be a good idea at first when business owners are just getting their feet wet with Facebook ads. But the lower the bid, the less likely any audience at all is going to see them. While hotels do want to be able to budget for their marketing expenses, simply choosing a bid they’re comfortable with and sticking with it probably won’t work. Just like you need to try different images and different text, you also need to try different bids to see what’s going to generate the most leads. 

Just because the first one or two Facebook ads you tried didn’t work the way you wanted them to doesn’t mean that Facebook ads don’t work. Most often it’s a simple matter of switching things up and trying different elements within the ad and the Ads Manager in order to determine what’s going wrong and change it. 


What are the goals for my Facebook ad campaign?

Business owners should never enter into any marketing campaign or idea without having a goal for that campaign. And this is true for Facebook campaigns as well. Before an ad is even created, business owners need to consider what they want their campaign to achieve. Some goals for Facebook ads might include:

  • Increasing traffic to their hotel’ Facebook page
  • Increasing the amount of engagement on their Facebook page
  • Increasing attendance to an event, especially an event on Facebook such as alive video or live event
  • Generating new leads and attracting new guests
  • Gaining more exposure for posts, images, videos, and other content on Facebook
  • Increasing engagement with current guests, or potential leads on an email list


What are the objectives for my Facebook ad campaign?

Many hotels may mistake their objective as being the same thing as their goal, and because the two have such similar meanings, it’s an understandable mistake. However, the two are different as Facebook actually outlines three objectives for ad campaigns. These are Awareness, Consideration or Conversion. Hotels that know the goal of their Facebook ad campaign will have a much easier time choosing their objective for it. 

When the goal is to boost the content on a hotel’ Facebook page, or to increase attendance to an event, the objective chosen may be Awareness or Consideration. If the goal is to get more customers to your website or to navigate away from Facebook, it’s appropriate to choose Conversion as the campaign objective. 


Am I targeting the right audience?

Facebook does excel over other forms of advertising because it allows you to really hone in on one target audience and blast your message to them. However, while Facebook is set up just for this, you as a hotel still need to be able to utilize it to the best of your ability. 

This is because if the audience hasn’t been targeted correctly, your ads will be shown but not necessarily to an audience that will appreciate it or need or want your product or service. So how do you know if your ads are reaching the right or wrong audience? By checking the relevancy score Facebook provides. If the relevancy is too low, it means the ad is not reaching the appropriate audience.

Just like anything else with Facebook ads, testing is crucial. And as a hotel, you should experiment with multiple different targeting options including interest-based targeting, custom audiences, targeting by demographics, and lookalike audiences. 


What’s the difference between a campaign, an ad set and an ad?

In order to provide more organization to business owners, Facebook has three different levels within an ad campaign. These are the campaign, the ad set and the ad. 

The ad level can be considered the bottom of the pyramid; this is where all ads will begin. Within the ad there will be an image, positioning formats, a title and of course, the ad copy. It may also have a URL, a target audience, and a budget. This allows you to create and run an ad, but this level alone does not allow you to test that ad without creating an entirely different campaign. 

This is where the ad set level comes in, and it’s Facebook’s newest addition to its ad family. Within the ad set, you can group similar ads together which can be very helpful when split testing them. Here you can make one slight change to the ad without creating an entirely new ad, or an entirely new ad campaign. You may want to change the copy of the ad, the image, the title, or the target audience. Whatever you want to change within the ad, it can be done here at the ad set level.

The campaign level is the overall organization for all ads sets within a given objective on Facebook. The ad sets for any one campaign can be seen within this level and changed as needed. 


What are the important metrics I can’t see on Facebook?

One of the best things about advertising on Facebook is that the ads can be highly targeted; and business owners can easily see who their ads are reaching and how effective they are. However, not all metrics can be seen on Facebook and these metrics could actually make it seem as though an ad is performing better than it actually is. The biggest metrics that can’t be seen on Facebook are those on mobile devices, and fake or duplicate accounts. 

Mobile might seem like the best way to advertise on Facebook, and in many ways it is. But it can also cause some problems. The biggest one is that junk clicks are far more common on mobile ads than they are on desktop. This is because when a person is sitting at a computer, they’re likely to be fairly precise with what they’re clicking on. But mobile devices can have users accidentally clicking on ads because their thumb or finger accidentally hit it, kids can accidentally click on an ad when using their parent’s phone or device, or a person who’s intoxicated may accidentally click on an ad. 

Fake or duplicate accounts present the same problem as junk clicks, although in a different manner. These accounts can be created by people for a number of reasons, including those who want to engage in activity they don’t want showing up on their personal profile page, such as ads. When using these accounts, people may click and click and click on an ad, as many as 50 to 100 times Facebook will allow before it stops displaying the ads to those users. 

Both of these can be problematic because it will inflate the business owner’s CTR (click-through rate) without actually driving more customers to the hotel’s website or other third-party website. 


How does CTR work? What is a good CTR?

As mentioned, CTR stands for the ‘click-through rate’ of any given ad. The CTR is calculated by dividing the number of people who saw the ad by the number of people that clicked on it. Generally speaking a good CTR for an ad is between 0.05 and 0.1 percent. This translates into approximately one click for every 1,000 to 2,000 impressions (how many people saw the ad). When ads are not changed often, users will grow weary of them and that will cause the CTR to drop significantly. Also, the higher the CTR on an ad, the cheaper the ad will be to run. 


Should I send people to my website, a specific post, or my Facebook page?

You might think that you already know where you want to send users, but this is an important question you should still ask because after giving it a little more thought, the answer might not be what you thought at first. 

The best way to really know the answer to this question is to test different ads and see what works best. However, there are some guidelines you can use to point you in the right direction. 

For instance, if you have a product and you want people to book a stay, learn more about the hotel, it may be appropriate to send them to your website. But if you want to tell a bit of a story that can engage more Facebook users, you may want to send them directly to your timeline. 

Of course, in addition to what you want people to see, you should also consider what you don’t want them to see. For instance, if your mobile website currently isn’t working, you don’t want to send mobile users there. And if your Facebook page doesn’t have a lot of content that you’re really proud of, you may not want to send people there either, until you have a chance to revamp it. You must take everything into consideration when deciding where to send your audience. 


Which users should I target on specific devices?

So you’ve decided who you want to target and where you want to send those targeted users. But what about when it comes to desktop vs. mobile ads? How do you know which users to target on specific devices? 

  • Mobile devices. Targeting mobile users is best when you want your ad to get noticed the most, as these ads will appear in the news feed. These ads are also best for local businesses to use, as they will grab the attention of those customers that are just outside your door. However, if you want to avoid junk clicks, mobile ads are not the way to go. 
  • Desktops. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your ad, a desktop ad that appears in the right-hand column is the best way to do it. And unlike mobile ads, desktop ads are best if you have an international or national audience as it will also be the most cost-effective. Desktop ads will generally increase website traffic if you’re trying to drive people to your website. 


Do I need a mobile-friendly website in order to advertise on Facebook?

It’s not necessarily a requirement for Facebook ads, but it is important that the website is mobile, particularly if your ad is meant to send people to your site. Consider that the majority of people today own a smartphone and that Facebook is the number one app in the world and it’s easy to see why having a mobile website is so important for hotels. 


Am I using the right bidding method?

If there’s anything that hotels are going to be the most hesitant and unsure of, it’s how to bid on Facebook ads properly. And just like any other component of these ads, you can’t really be sure until you test it. Lower bids may work for some, while others may have to go higher or try targeting a different audience with that ad. 

While testing is crucial, there are a couple of mistakes you can avoid when bidding. The first is bidding on impressions (how many times the ad actually appears to users) when the goal is to get conversions. And, if the bids have simply been manually set too low, Facebook won’t even deliver them, meaning they’ll be completely ineffective because people won’t be seeing them. 

It’s also important to remember that while testing is important, the amount of time given for any one test is also important. Just because the ad doesn’t perform in 24 hours doesn’t mean that the bidding method should be changed. This could actually hamper the results of an ad that would have been really effective, because it doesn’t give Facebook enough time to optimize for those ads. Typically running an ad for a week before checking the results is a good length of time. 


Should I choose CPC or CPM?

This goes hand in hand with asking whether or not you’re using the right bidding method. CPC means ‘cost per click’ and you will pay into the ad every time a person clicks on the ad. CPM on the other hand means ‘cost per mille’ or, the cost per one thousand impressions (the number of times it’s seen by the audience). 

If you’re working with a smaller budget, working with a CPC bid makes the most sense because it will offer the most value for the $3 to $5 that are being spent that day. While this bidding method can cost a bit more, you’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that people are actually clicking on the ad rather than just seeing it. 


How do I measure success?

This is perhaps the most important question business owners should be asking once they start running Facebook ads. It does no good to simply run an ad and then let it go on its own without ever knowing whether or not it’s returning results. 

Ads Manager is the best way to track the success of any one ad or campaign. Here you’ll be able to see many different metrics pertaining to the ad such as the cost per click, the impressions the ad is getting, the frequency (how often each person is seeing an ad), the relevancy, and more. From the few metrics that are provided here, there’s a lot to learn about how the ad is performing.