Facebook ads are a great way to increase the reach of your posts. Long gone are the days of “free marketing” that Facebook once delivered. With rumours of around one percent of your fans now seeing organic posts, you need to pay up to give your posts greater visibility.

Creating Facebook ads can sound pretty daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Many people working with social media for the past decade are now in the position where they need to pay for reach with their Facebook ads, so many people are in the same boat where they need to skill up on something they’ve never needed to know about before.
If you’re just starting Facebook ads for the first time, you probably have a few questions about just what’s involved.
Here is one such question from my inbox:

QUESTION: This may be a really dumb question – but I know you’re the person to ask – if I boost a post in Facebook, and set a daily spend limit for a set period, do I then have to pay additional $$s for each click??
ANSWER: There are a few points to unpack here… see the answer at the bottom of the article!

Let’s run through the common questions people ask when running Facebook ads for the first time…

How do I create Facebook ads?

There are two ways to create Facebook ads. If you run a Facebook Page, you can “Boost” any post, and select the audience you want to send it to (either your own Page fans, or a new audience). If you’re just doing one or two ads with the aim of engaging your existing community, you might find boosting from your Page is all you need.

Otherwise, you can use Facebook’s Ad Manager tool in Business Manager. If you’re running a series of campaigns, it’s worth learning how to use Business Manager because Facebook can optimise your ads based on your objective.

Related: Facebook Boosted Posts vs. Facebook Ads

How does running an ad work?

Whether you’re boosting an existing post, or using Facebook Ad Manager, you need to lock in your ad design and copy. 

Facebook will then ask you:

  • How much money do you want to spend on the ad
  • What dates do you want to run the ad for
  • Where to display the ad (If you are Boosting a post, you don’t get a choice – it’s just the newsfeed. Otherwise, if you use Ads Manager, you can choose from placements like the desktop right-hand side, Instagram, Messenger and more.)

Facebook will run the ad for that set period, doing its best to evenly spread the money across that time. It will not spend more than your allocated budget.

Can I use any images?

Facebook does have guidelines around the images you can use (nothing too saucy or violent), but overall, you can use whatever you would like as long as you have the rights to use the images. If you’re looking for some sweet looking stock images which are creative commons, I’ve got a listing of awesome sites here.
Keep in mind that the ad is likely to be viewed on mobiles, so keep your image clear and easily seen on a mobile.

The thing you need to keep in mind with Facebook ads is to avoid using text on the image. In the past, Facebook prefers that you don’t have more than 20% text on an image, but this rule has been scrapped in 2020.

Instead of putting more text on an image, you can use your status update, headline, and link description areas as places to load up additional info, so you can keep that image clean.

Related: The Best Free Image Sites You Need to Bookmark Immediately

Does Boosting a post just increase the percentage of my page fans who can see the post?

Yes, Boosting your post can increase the number of your fans who see your post if you choose that option. However, it’s not the only thing you can do when you boost a post from your page.
You can also serve your post to new audiences, using targeting like demographics to serve the ad to new audiences.

Can I post an ad without my page fans seeing it?

Sometimes you want to post a Facebook ad, but you don’t want your existing Page fans to see it (for example, if it’s an ad to entice new customers). To do this, you can create an ad in Facebook Business Manager using Ad Manager tool, and select to exclude existing Page fans.
This is known as creating a “Dark Post” on Facebook – because it looks like it’s a wall post, but it’s not seen by your existing Page fans at all. Neato!

Do I need to learn Business Manager to run ads?

When you boost posts from a Page, it serves the ad to the audience you choose (such as your page fans), serving the ad as a default to people who are likely to engage with your post (ie. do actions including like, share or comment). If your goal is to engage your community, then Boosting posts might well be all you need. However, if you are boosting a post to try to get more traffic to your site – it might well be a waste of money because Facebook isn’t optimising your ad based on traffic.

The other option is using the Ads Manager tool in Facebook Business Manager (also known as Power Editor).
If you are wanting to do things like drive traffic to your site or online store, it is recommended to learn Ads Manager, because Facebook will serve ads to people more likely to click on your ads (not just people who will like or comment, which is what Boosting a post does.).

Ads Manager optimises your ad based on your objective –  whether it’s clicks, views, downloads or purchases. You additionally have the option of paying by CPC, niche interest targeting, and advanced options like targeting people on your newsletter, your site visitors and more.

Learning Business Manager isn’t essential for everyone, but it is useful to understand the limitations of just boosting a post because it might not be meeting your objectives.

How much does it cost?

Facebook ads don’t need to be expensive, especially if you’ve got a specific audience in mind. You set how much you’re willing to pay. It could be $2. It could be $1000.

But it is important to keep in mind your objectives. Ads are charged differently based on whether you want people to see your ad, or engage with it. If you are using Ads Manager, you will need to understand how these are different.

CPC “Cost Per Click” = You are charged on a number of people who click on your ad.  Example: $1 CPC.
CPM “Cost Per Thousand” (in Roman Numerals) = You are charged per thousand of people who see your ad. Example: $8 CPM.
These are not the only types of payment, but the most common. For other terms, check out this guide or this one.

If you want people to see your ad (for example, you’ve just launched a new product), you are likely to want to pay for the number of people who see the ad using CPM as the payment model (so it might cost you $8 for 1000 people to see it).

If you want people to click on your ad and visit your site, you might want to pay just for the clicks, irrespective of how many people see it, using CPC as the payment model (so with a $1 CPC, you would be paying $100 for 100 visitors).

Based on this, it’s useful to keep in mind that how much you spend on an ad will impact your results. If you only pay $2 a day using CPC, you might only get one or two site visitors a day from that.
Having a clear idea of your objectives does define your budget – but you can choose how much, or how little, you want to spend.

Related: How To: Project Your Facebook Ads Budget

The answer

So now you’ve got the background, we can now answer the question from the start of this blog post…

QUESTION: This may be a really dumb question – but I know you’re the person to ask – if I boost a post in Facebook, and set a daily spend limit for a set period, do I then have to pay additional $$s for each click??
ANSWER: Facebook keeps within your spending budget, so you don’t need to worry about hidden costs. To clarify, paying for clicks (CPC), is a different to paying for views (CPM), so you don’t pay for views AND clicks. It’s one or the other.
But since you mentioned clicks, it’s worth mentioning that boosting a post on Facebook is better for engagement, rather than providing traffic, so if you are wanting clicks, you might want to look into using Ad Manager selecting your ad objective for Traffic so Facebook can optimise for that objective.

The rundown

When you’re getting started with Facebook ads, it can seem pretty scary. But it’s important to take it one step and a time and consider your key objective. What is the one thing you want this ad to do for you? Create engagement? Create traffic? Reengage your audience?

Once you know what you’re trying to do, you can decide if you want to boost your post from your Page, or use Ads Manager. There’s nothing wrong with starting off with boosting a Page post, but be aware that it is best used for increasing post Likes, Comments or Shares.

Decide on your budget, keeping in mind that a smaller budget means fewer results. If you’re just starting for the first time, start off with a smaller budget of $15, and learn from your data.

Craft your copy and images, keeping in mind many people will view it on mobile and that you want to keep it less than 20% text. Over time, you will learn to test different versions of ads to see which one engages your audience the most.

Got any more questions? Give boosting a Facebook post for a few dollars a go and see how you feel it went.

Ready to plan your ads? Check out the guide on How To: Project Your Facebook Ads Budget and grab the tool below on Rachel’s online shop.


This post was originally posted in 2016, updated in 2017.

Want to work with Rachel?

Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.

She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.

She is based in Sydney, Australia.

Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.