How To: Run Facebook Ads for B2B and B2C.

If your customer (1) doesn't actively search for your product or solution category due to pain, (2) is a somewhat specific customer persona that can be defined beyond 'any consumer' or 'any company', and (3) is not a small TAM (not less than 200k customers), then facebook ads could be good for you.

Facebook Advertising Basics

It’s important to know what levers you have at your disposal in order to run the most effective Facebook ads.

  1. How you structure your account
  2. The creative you use (images, videos and copy)
  3. Your placement strategy
  4. What bid strategies you use and how to allocate your budget
  5. Which audiences you target
  6. The conversion events you set up and
  7. How you optimize your performance

Rules of the game..

1. Keep your Facebook ad account structure as simple as possible

2. Don’t try to game the system with your objective or campaign structure

3. have at least three per ad set. Also, always know what ads you’re running and why. Don’t create 20 campaigns for something you could consolidate into three.

4. Focus on CPA

Understand the Facebook algorithm's "Learning Phase"

The learning phase is what you're in when you start a new campaign, or make a significant edit to an existing campaign, and always before your ad set hits a minimum of about 50 conversion events in your designated attribution window, which is usually 1 day or 7 days for normal campaigns and 30 days for retargeting campaigns. It happens because facebook's advertising algorithm has not become self actualized - it's not confident about what it's doing until you're out of the learning phase.

Once you’re out of the learning phase, you're not safe. You can fall back into algorithm identity crisis by big making creative changes, major bid or budget adjustments of more than 20%, and tweaks to settings at the ad set level.

Test and use Facebook’s smart features

Facebook has several 'smart' features that work well. Here's a list of the ones worth using:

1. Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO): Let AI choose which ad sets to spend on. It’s best to use higher budgets here in order to exit the learning phase (50 conversion events within your conversion window).

2. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO): Let AI test your creative. Test different creative assets and copy in the same ad. The downside is that it’s more difficult to build up social proof.

3. Dynamic Language Optimization (DLO): Run multiple languages in the same ad.

4. Value-Based Lookalikes (VBLAL): Find people most similar to your highest value customers with this smart lookalike audience. You can create it by uploading a seed audience, or Facebook can create it using your pixel or app events. It works really well in combination with value optimization if you’re running app install campaigns. You can manipulate your LTV values before uploading seed audiences.

5. Dynamic Ads: Deliver more relevant product ads to people. Gold standard for e-commerce retargeting.

B2B Facebook + Instagram Ads

Why run Facebook + Instagram ads for B2B?

1. 55% of all Americans use Facebook or Instagram every single day of their lives. This undoubtedly includes your potential customers.

2. Facebook is one of the few scalable digital channels for B2B if your market size is big enough.

I have less than 200,000 potential purchasers...Will B2B Facebook + Instagram ads work as a channel?

Social ads work when you let the algorithms narrow on targeting, and you need a target audience of over 200K to really do that. if you don't have more than 200K people to target, you'll probably find that the channel is simply a most scalable way to waste money.


You can probably use Facebook + Instagram ads as a sales funnel tool with Retargeting your top-of-funnel regardless of your TAM size. This takes your leads that haven't 'converted' into free trails, as customers, etc., or takes your engaged site visitors, and targets them with click-bait to get them back on your site interacting with your brand. A click-baity blog posts or guide in the form of a social media ad works best here.


If you are only targeting CMO's and EVP/SVP of Marketing at Fortune 500 global consumer brands, you can try targeting everyone at a company instead of just that title. This won't work unless the majority of people targeted could be an end user and your persona is just a purchaser/decision maker. Slack and Zoom have done this well.

What type of ads (aka "creative") work for B2B Facebook + Instagram?

1. Test visual headlines until you have one that performs well. The visual headline is the text IN the image, and it matters a lot more than it does when targeting B2C. You are limited by how much text you can include and you need to instantly grab attention. This is over HALF of what makes a successful B2B Facebook ad.

Anatomy of a good B2B Facebook Ad

2. Stick with static ads. At least until you nail down your visual headline, then you can consider moving to video. Start by adding movement to the ad with a free version of Canva. Getting a a legit 15 second spot made that will work is a big creative effort unless you already have plenty of film to work with. Regardless, static typically outperforms video in B2B.

What to do for Ad Placement on Facebook and Instagram?

Auto placement to start. There are a bunch of placement options...Facebook feed, Facebook story, Instagram feed, and Instagram story, side bars, partners, group pages, bla bla bla. You can't split your placement strategies up unless you have more than 30 'conversions' (tracking back into facebook as a conversion event to feed the algorithm with data). You need to let the algorithm learn, so go with auto placements for now. When you get to 300 conversions every week you can start with splitting up Instagram and Facebook with different bids.

What to do for Bid Strategy on Facebook and Instagram?

Start with auto bid. It's the lowest cost option to start and you need to optimize for learnings. When you get to more than 30 conversions per week, and by conversion I mean lead forms, trial sign ups, or paying customers - not clicks - then you can look at switching to manual bidding strategies with cost capping.

What to do for Audience Targeting on Facebook and Instagram?

Ideally, start with a custom audience of current customers and target a lookalike audience based on that upload. If you don't have a large list of customers to seed a lookalike audience with, leads work but you'll be low-key breaking Facebook's terms and conditions (which is hysterically hypocritical of them). Know that you'll have a hard time matching facebook users to business emails. Mobile numbers work better. Facebook user ID's work excellent - and it may be possible to scrape those (also a no-no).

What to optimize for with Conversion tracking?

You need to optimize for (track your conversion events) somewhere on the continuum of your funnel. The common options are a lead form fill/sign-up as a top-of-funnel conversion event or trial sign up as a middle-of-funnel event or a paying customer as a bottom-of-funnel event.

There are pros and cons to each.

TOF (Top-of-funnel) is going to fill up more quickly with data which gets you closer to exiting a testing phase, but your leads will be lower quality.

MOF (Middle-of-funnel) is going to typically give you ok leads in a not fast time frame.

BOF (Bottom-of-funnel) is going to give you high quality leads which gets you tighter algorithmic ad targeting, but it's going to take a lot longer.

TLDR; go with TOF if your TAM is on the smaller side and BOF if your TAM is huge, but not BOF if theres a free trial period because tracking conversion after free trials is too annoying and practically impossible to do well. You can always run through your facebook leads and make sure the quality isn't horrible. If the quality is bad you need to adjust your creative, targeting, or go further down the funnel with your conversion.

Notes on converting B2B Facebook + Instagram Leads and ads.

If you run a self-serve platform (your customers sign up, activate and onboard themselves as paying users without talking to a sales person), then you need to make sure that: 

  1. Your activation flow from lead to customer works well on mobile.
  2. You have a good activation email, notification, messaging, etc. system in place to drive users back into the system and onto desktop if applicable. (intercom, drift,, etc.) 
  3. You have event-based analytics (like kissmetrics, mixpanel, amplitude, heap, etc.) embedded in your website and product with benchmarks on conversion that you can compare to your paid traffic.

If you run a sales process in your funnel (every customer speaks to a sales person before becoming a paying user), then you need to make sure that: 

  1. Your sales team is expecting to call and email these leads with much lower performance results than they have with inbound leads. They should perform as well as if not a bit better than your cold outbound/direct lead conversations and worse than your inbound lead conversations.
  2. Timing is very important. The sooner you can call and email your facebook leads the better. Conversion into opportunities will fall the longer you wait.
  3. Have your sales team spend more time qualifying on the first outreach than they do with other channels.

B2C Facebook + Instagram Ads

How to run Facebook + Instagram ads for B2C

I have less than 200,000 potential purchasers...Will B2C Facebook + Instagram ads work as a channel?

No, this channel probably won't work for generating new leads... but retargeting should work, which takes your website visitors who haven't 'converted' into as customers and targets them with ads to get back on your site and complete a purchase.

What type of Creative works for B2C Facebook + Instagram?

Your creative is the most important thing for your social advertising success. Especially in B2C. Some things to know:

  1. Right now, videos typically perform better than static ads (for B2C). Although they are more expensive,  you can use them for a longer period of time and have a better chance for engagement. Remember you can choose your own thumbnail. The video should never be longer than 15 seconds, and 7 seconds is ideal. The average cost to product a 15 second video is $1,000.
  2. Static ads work well too (obviously) and are much easier to make, but especially if you're in e-commerce. Static ads typically outperform video in e-commerce. If you're selling products, try a carousel. If you can get a short video as the first item in your carousel, you'll see the result differences.
  3. There are multiple tools for sizing, but if you're limited on time and resources (or if all your creative is video), just use a 4:5 size ratio which will work on most all non-horizontal ad placements.
  4. Bright creative. High resolution. Less copy (visual header). Having people in the creative works well. If you're selling products - show, don't tell.
  5. Make your ad copy short and sweet - nobody will click 'read more' to expand the text.
  6. Use facebooks dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to test different copy with your best performing creative.
  7. Don't just test pitches but test tone with different levels of flair.

Creative ad formats worth testing as well include:

  1. Carousel ads, especially for e-commerce with a video ad for the first slide.
  2. HTML5 playable ads, especially for exciting apps like games. Tip: expensive to make but you can use canva templates.
  3. Stories, especially if you feel your creative is strong and you feel confident with your swipe up text. Stories typically convert well.

How to test and optimize your creative? 

The average cost to get to statistically significant winner is $500 in ad spend and only 10% of creative concepts end up succeeding on average.

  1. Scientific method with a control. Compare new ads to your best performing ad with the same audience (your best audience) and same campaign structure. Spend a couple hundred dollars until on creative is a clear winner with statistical significance. Use CTR for everything but mobile apps. Use IPM for mobile apps.
  2. Throw spaghetti method. Throw your all your new creative into an active ad set and see what sticks. Facebook typically won't spend money on things that aren't meeting the objectives of your ad campaigns.

Remember to exclude things that aren't working. Instagram often beats out facebook placements even though the CPA is higher. Don't be afraid of excluding facebook if it's not working!

Use Facebook library to see what your competitors or similar products are putting spend behind.

What to do for Ad Placement on Facebook and Instagram?

Auto placement is a good start. With large numbers of potential customers, don't be afraid to cut out what's not working. Some people like to split instagram and facebook into two different campaigns. Although instagram has a higher CPA, it usually performs better than facebook. TLDR; remove the placements that aren't working after you're getting 50 conversion events within your conversion window.

What to do for Bid Strategy on Facebook and Instagram?

Start with auto bid. It's the lowest cost option to start and you need to optimize for learning. Get the most conversions you can and sacrifice cost. Get a baseline CPA to work from. Most people never switch from autobid to manual bid strategy with cost cap. If you feel like you're CPA is too high, you can move on to manual bidding.

If you move to manual bid, don't change your bids by more than 20% per day because you can knock yourself back into the learning phase. Start with your base CPA as your bid and increase by 20% every day until you're spending your full budget and getting your target results.

What to do for Audience Targeting on Facebook and Instagram?

The best thing to do is upload a list of high value customers and target a lookalike audience. You can also use Value-Based Lookalikes (VBLAL) where the algorithm finds people most similar to your highest value customers. You can create it by uploading a seed audience, or Facebook can create it using your pixel or app events. It works really well in combination with value optimization if you’re running app install campaigns. You can manipulate your LTV values before uploading seed audiences to help weigh your best customers. If you can't target a lookalike audience, just narrow down onto your persona with demographics and psychographics. Facebook steals everyone's data so it knows them very well.

What to optimize for with Conversion tracking?

Make sure you use the Facebook pixel and app events to track everything.

For B2C, you should track conversion at the lowest possible stage in your funnel (Bottom-of-Funnel). For example, if you're in e-commerce you should track your conversion event at purchase so you can optimize your targeting for purchases. Especially with VBLAL.

If you’re running mobile app ads, test app event optimization (AEO) and Value Optimization (VO). These two settings can be found at the bottom of your ad sets. If you’re running app install campaigns and revenue is your primary objective, these are so much better than optimizing for installs. It’s also worth running a combination of AEO and VO at all times, as performance tends to shift between the two every so often.

iOS14 has ruined AEO and VO - so going forward you can try to track conversion at a what you deem your 'most valuable in app event' or, what many in the valley call, your 'aha' moment.

How to optimize your campaigns

  1. Add 1 piece of new creative per day at most.
  2. Move from auto bid to manual bid when you're ready to get your CPA down.
  3. Remove placements that don't perform well.

Use facebooks automated tools whenever you can to get out of the learning phase. Facebook should crush it for most consumer products and apps - you just need to get to a good CPA.

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