I logged on to Facebook today, scrolled through three wedding albums and one baby shower update.

Inwardly awed at a cute kitten picture and then clicked ‘like’ on a motivational gym post to prove my manliness to myself, briefly read a news piece, clicked on a suggested post about tour packages, chuckled at a ‘This is Bill’ pots, rolled my eyes at… wait a second.

Backtrack a little…

No, not to Bill..

‘Clicked on a suggested post on tour packages.’

And added to Facebook’s $4 billion that it makes through Facebook ads.

By now, every marketer has a fair idea of Facebook ads. For the layman, if you were wondering why you suddenly started to see sponsored and suggested posts, it’s because you are some brand’s probable customer.

Why Facebook Advertising?

Facebook is where your customers are based. No matter how diverse or localized, this is where a good chunk of your prospects reside.

The major advantage of Facebook ads is its laser target. Which even gives this an upper hand even over AdWords.

Facebook ads are targeting customers based on things they relate with or are interested in, while AdWords is based on what they are searching for.

You can publish Facebook ads according to the demography of your prospects, their location, interests and relationship status.

So if you’re a dating-based website looking to place an ad for singles only, target those based on their relationship status.

Or are you an upcoming e-commerce retailing ladies dresses and shoes? Make your ads visible only to women, and if you want to categorize further, then to those who are interested in fashion or shopping.

Other mass advertising options are not just arrows bouncing off the wall mainly, but on that also costs a bomb (I think I watch GoT too much).

So in comparison, Facebook ads are cheaper and focused. You have the option to select a bidding option most in tune with your campaign objectives.

And this is important because correct bidding strategy would ensure that you neither pay too much nor lose out on good exposure by being stringy.

Cost per mile (CPM) where you bid per thousand impressions, Cost Per Click (CPC) is when you want prospects to click on your ad, Optimized Cost Per Click (oCPC) is optimizing your ads to be displayed in front of a targeted group of prospects, and Cost Per Action (CPA) to prompt prospects to respond to your call to action.

Besides the bidding options, another plus of Facebook marketing through Facebook ads is the ease with which you can track ROI.

Don’t mistake Facebook ads with social media marketing. Where SMM is powerful and cheap, it isn’t this direct or measurable.

You can easily understand how much you reap for the investment through tracking a lot of performance metrics. Besides the impression, reach and frequency, you also get insights into the actions your targeted prospects took.

How to get more returns from Facebook ads in 2016

Automated rules are important – If you’ve been marketing through Facebook ads, you know that you cannot basically automate ads like you would on AdWords.

But there are a lot of tools that help with this. Creating automated rules for Facebook ads gives you the leverage to push better-performing ads over underperforming ones.

Harness the potential of Targeting options – The nuanced targeting options can skyrocket the returns from your ad. Choosing any criteria – from zip code to fondness for confectionary – you can target both broadly and specifically.

Facebook has included new categories like engaged recently, married for a year. Those and general interests like that in baking, gardening, books, etc. all fall into a broader category.

Specific targeting is when you aim for content they’ve shared, pages they’ve liked, the apps they use.

Which of the two is more profitable is again subjective. While if you are a bakery school looking to attract students, just ‘baking’ as a category would be too broad. Instead target pages, magazines, accounts that your students follow or contribute to.

Re-targeting is key – A major chunk of your prospects won’t convert the first time around. Re-targeting strategies can work wonders then, like creating a killer blog post related to what you are promoting and then marketing your product.

Or when your website traffic leaves without converting, a site-ranking tag will push relevant Facebook ads to them.

Creating lookalike audience – Simply, your lookalike audience is a clone of your best prospect. They are similar to them in terms of interests, activities, and are as interested in your business as your best prospect.

But this is tricky. And a lot of smart marketers fail at this too. You need to create lookalike audience when you have at least a minimum of 5000 custom audience already sorted.

And the best way to create lookalike audience is through conversion pixel targeting. This gives Facebook insights into which customers are already converting and further optimize the reach for maximum conversions.

Images can make or break your Facebook ad – The image you use for the ad is its backbone, so it makes sense to get a professionally done, high-resolution picture clicked or bought.

Whether you use portraits or typography, don’t use anything off the web. Create, buy or get license to use.

Words are important too – From attention-grabbing headlines to writing descriptions that explore prospects desires and nudge them to take action, your words are as important as your image.

Split test – You might pick out an image that resonates best with your brand, but does it resonate well with your audience?

Test your images and then test your copy too, both separately and together. And make sure you have rotating ads, at least three ads per campaign to understand what works best based on whichever performs well.

Tweak around a little – You might think that your ads are not going to work at all because they didn’t do well the first few days. Instead of scratching it off completely, do some troubleshooting, adjust the bidding amount, redo the text and see if it can work.

Your Facebook ads are only the first step to attract prospects to click on the link but then what? How do you convert them?

Facebook ads is one side of the coin, the second and equally important side is the landing page, an optimized killer landing page is what you need to complete the conversion cycle.