Social Media Marketing Guide: Facebook

Everything you need to know about the six most popular social networks for businesses: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. In today’s post, Facebook.

Recently I won the Biggest Social Geek competition generously hosted by Marin Software, the largest third-party aggregator of paid search spend globally. As a result, I am winning a trip to the SMX Social Media Marketing Conference. Prior to doing the social media quiz, I made detailed notes on the largest social networks and listed facts and figures about all of them. I decided to compile them into a useful document that we could use internally at Little Web Giants for quick reference. Then I went a step further and thought I ought to give this back to the social media marketing community. So without further ado, here it is.


Facebook is a social network for individuals and businesses. It has a range of privacy settings allowing users to share content privately with select contacts or to share more broadly. Businesses can create pages and accrue fans. A page can be leveraged by a business to communicate with and listen to its customer base as well as to promote interesting content or campaigns. Advertising on Facebook allows for very fine demographic targeting with features including custom audiences, lookalike audiences, interest targeting, and more.
Monthly Active Users 1.35 billion (Facebook)
Headquarters Menlo Park, CA
Founded 2004
Founder(s) Mark Zuckerberg
Eduardo Saverin
Andrew McCollum
Dustin Moskovitz
Chris Hughes
CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Net Income $1.5 billion


Facebook has a broad demographic reach, yet recent years have seen teenage users migrating to Tumblr and Snapchat due to privacy concerns while more older users join the site. Facebook is used by most internet users (67% in the U.S., 82% in the U.K., 56.44% in Australia and 85% in Canada). Its ubiquity means that it is a must for any business. For more detailed information about Facebook demographics, check out iStrategyLabs’ Facebook Demographics Report.



A profile represents an individual person and they must use their real name. Profiles can post status updates, life events or create events (see below). They also contain a Profile Picture (180 × 180 pixels) and a Cover Photo (851 × 315 pixels). A profile can have a maximum of 5,000 friends, but there is no limit to the amount of followers one can have.

Some well-known public figures (celebrities, journalists and government officials) are verified by Facebook as having an authentic identity. This is not done on request, but carried out manually by Facebook. Verified accounts have a blue badge with a tick next to the name.


Organisations can create pages and accrue fans. A page can share content, add an app (see below), post an offer, host an event (see below) or mark a milestone. They also contain a Profile Picture (180 × 180 pixels) and a Cover Photo (851 × 315 pixels). In addition, a page can use a scheduled post, which will appear at a given time in the future. A post can be scheduled up to six months in advance in five minute intervals.

In the past few years the organic reach of pages has declined, meaning pages must pay more to continue to reach their fans (even for non-profits and community groups).

There are six categories of pages:

  • Local Business or Place
  • Company, Organization or Institution
  • Brand or Product
  • Artist, Band or Public Figure
  • Entertainment
  • Cause or Community

Pages can have multiple users in charge of their maintenance and these users each have a role. There are five types of roles (ordered from those with the least privileges to the most):

  • Analyst: Can view insights and see who posted as the page.
  • Advertiser: Can also create ads.
  • Moderator: Can also send messages as the page and respond to and delete comments and posts.
  • Editor: Can also create and delete posts as the page, edit the page and add apps.
  • Admin: Can also amend other users’ roles and edit the page settings.

Once a page gets more than 25 likes, it can claim its own username, which allows it to have its own elegant URL like

Pages can also track activity on their page and user demographics using Page Insights. These data can be downloaded as a CSV and further processed or integrated with other data. They are very useful for gauging which posts really resonated with followers based on engagement.


A group can share content, conduct polls and allows for free interchange between its members. There are three privacy settings for a group:

  • Secret: It is not visible unless a user is added or invited.
  • Closed: It is visible and so are its users, but its posts are only visible to members. A user must request to join.
  • Public: It is visible and so are its users and posts. Anyone can join instantly.

Once a group contains 250 or more members, it must be made Closed or Secret and can no longer be Public.


OG_TagsThird-party developers can use the Facebook SDK (available for iOS, Android, JavaScript and PHP) to develop custom apps on the Facebook Platform. These apps interact with the Graph API, which feeds data to and reads data from Facebook’s social graph. For developers to integrate their webpages into the social graph, they use the Open Graph protocol. To turn a webpage into a graph object, it requires the following four <meta> tags in the <head> of a page:

  • “og:title” – The object title or name, such as “How do we perceive colour?”
  • “og:type” – The type of object, such as “article”. Some types have standardised schemas, such as music, video and article.
  • “og:image” – A URL for an image, such as “”
  • “og:url” – The canonical URL of the page, such as “”

There are also a number of optional (but recommended) metadata including og:audio, og:description, og:determiner, og:locale, og:locale:alternate, og:site_name, and og:video. For more information, read Facebook’s documentation on the Open Graph.

A good illustration of why Open Graph tags are important is evident if one compares the look of a shared article with or without Open Graph tags (see image on right).


Pages and profiles can create events. An event contains the following details:

  • Name: The name of the event
  • Details: Details about the event
  • Where: Location of the event
  • Tickets: (Pages only) A hyperlink to a ticket purchase webpage
  • When: Time of the event
  • Privacy: (Profiles only) Public; open invitation; guests and friends; or invitation only

Events posted by pages also allow targeting by gender; relationship status; educational status; interests; age; location; and language.

A user who is invited to an event can Join, click Maybe or Decline.

Tools for Businesses

Graph Search

Graph Search is a semantic search engine that lets a user search with natural language terms such as “Restaurants in Berlin my friends have been to”. There are many ways marketers can use Graph Search, including learning more about their own fans or those of their competitors.

Advertising on Facebook

Campaign Level

There are nine types of objectives for a campaign on Facebook:

  • Page Post Engagement: Promotes a post so more people see it
  • Page Likes: Promotes a page to get more likes
  • Clicks to Website: A traditional banner ad that links to an external website
  • Website Conversions: Similar to “Clicks to Website”, although conversions are also measured via a conversion pixel (see below).
  • App Installations: Promote purchases of an app
  • App Engagement: Promote usage of an app
  • Event Responses: Promote an event
  • Offer Claims: Promote an offer in a store
  • Video Views: Promote a video

Conversion Tracking

Conversion pixels are used to track conversions on clicks to a website. These may include form submissions, user registrations or goods sold on an e-commerce website. When used in conjunction with optimized CPM (oCPM), they enable marketers to prioritise their marketing goals and measure and track the success of different ads in achieving those goals. For example, one can set the name, id and type of a conversion pixel (checkout, registration, lead, key_page_view, add_to_cart or other), and then assign that conversion a monetary value.

This then allows Facebook’s oCPM system to automatically deliver ads in the most financially effective way to achieve the desired goals. It also allows a review of all the conversions and conversion types for an entire advertising account.

Advert Set Level

Targeting Options

At the Advert Set level, Facebook allows targeting based on the following characteristics:

  • Location: This can be a country, state or suburb. If the latter, it can also include a radius of 20, 50 or 70 kilometres surrounding the suburb. Exclusion targeting is also allowed. Facebook determines location by the user’s IP address, their stated location and the location of their friends.
  • Age: This ranges from 13 to 65+ and is determined simply by the user’s date of birth.
  • Gender: This can be “all”, “men” or “women”.
  • Languages: Select the desired language here. It is also possible to limit it to “English (US)” or “English (UK)”.
  • More demographics:
    • Relationship: Interested In; Relationship Status
    • Education: Education Level; Fields of Study; Schools/Universities; Undergrad Years
    • Work: Employers; Job Titles; Industries; Office Type
    • Financial: Income; Net Worth
    • Home: Home Type; Home Ownership; Home Value; Household Composition
    • Ethnic Affinity: Currently only allows targeting of Hispanic people in the U.S.
    • Generation: Baby boomers, Generation X or Millenials
    • Parents: All Parents; Mums
    • Politics (US): Ranges from Very Conservative to Very Liberal, with an Active category also
    • Life Events: Away from family; Away from home town; Friends of newly engaged, newlywed or recently moved (past 30 days); Long-distance relationship; New job (past 6 months); New relationship (less than 6 months); Newly engaged (1 year/6 months/3 months); Newlywed (1 year/6 months/3 months); Recently moved (past 6 months); Upcoming birthday (within a week)
  • Interests: Facebook determines users’ interests by information from their account and what they like and share. In the U.S., online activity outside of Facebook also contributes. If multiple interests are selected, users who have either of those interests will be targeted. For example, if people who like coffee and energy drinks are targeted, people who like either coffee or energy drinks will be targeted, not just people who like both. The main interests (which break down into sub-categories) comprise:
    • Business and industry
    • Entertainment
    • Family and relationships
    • Fitness and wellness
    • Food and drink
    • Hobbies and activities
    • Shopping and fashion
    • Sports and outdoors
    • Technology
  • Behaviours: Users’ behaviours are determined by their activity on Facebook and by offline activity data provided by consumer data collection companies Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon. The main behaviours (which break down into sub-categories) comprise:
    • Digital activities
    • Mobile Device User
    • Residential profiles
    • Seasonal and Events
    • Travel
  • More Categories: These Partner Categories are determined by offline activity data provided by consumer data collection companies Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon. They are only available to U.S. audiences.
  • Connections: This can be “All”, “Only people connected to page”, “Only people not connected to page” or “Advanced Connection Targeting”. The latter allows inclusion or exclusion of people connected to a given page, app or event, as well as inclusion of people whose friends are connected to a given page, app or event.


Budget can be set to be Per Day or as a Lifetime Budget.

A Per Day budget will never be exceeded on a given day. If it is altered throughout the day, it will be spent as a percentage of the hours left in the day (e.g. if an ad set with a daily budget of $8 begins at 6 a.m., then 75% of the day is left, so the budget will not exceed $6 for the day). The minimum daily budget for any ad set is US$1.00 and it also must be at least double the cost-per-click (CPC) bid.

A Lifetime Budget will be spread evenly over a given period selected by the advertiser. If it falls short on a given day, Facebook will attempt to make this up on consecutive days.

Bidding can be optimised for the selected objective (CPA), clicks (CPC) or impressions (CPM). When optimising for the objective, the maximum bid is set automatically. When optimising for impressions, the bid must be manually set. When optimising for clicks, the user can choose for automatic or manual bidding.

Advert Level


Any images used in Facebook advertising may only contain up to 20% text. For each type of ad, the following image sizes and ratios are recommended:

  • Page Post Engagement: 1,200 x 900 pixels
  • Page Likes: 1,200 x 444 pixels
  • Clicks to Website: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Website Conversions: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • App Installations: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • App Engagement: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Event Responses: 1,200 x 444 pixels
  • Offer Claims: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Video Views: Thumbnail image should be at least 1,200 x 675 pixels
    Video should be 1,080 pixels wide with a 16:9 ratio (1 GB max.)

Headlines can be a maximum of 25 characters, Text can be a maximum of 90 characters, and News Feed link descriptions can contain up to 200 characters.

Power Editor

Facebook’s Power Editor is a bulk ad management tool built especially for large advertisers. It runs in the browser and is optimised for Chrome. When Facebook adds new features, it rolls them out to the ads API and the Power Editor first. Thus, it gives advertisers an edge on the competition in terms of targeting and other features. It also has bulk editing features and duplication of ads for quick editing and split testing. For more information, see Jon Loomer’s Power Editor Guide or read the Facebook help docs on Power Editor.

Partner Categories

Partner categories allow integration with offline activity data provided by consumer data collection companies Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon. They allow for extremely precise targeting based on previous purchases and details about those purchases. These are only available to U.S. audiences, but coming soon to the U.K. For more information, see Jon Loomer’s Partner Categories Guide or read the Facebook product docs on Partner Categories.


Facebook’s FBX ad exchange is a retargeting network that is run in conjunction with partner networks that track users’ visits to client sites. When a user visits one of these sites and then logs back on to Facebook, they can be retargeted and more easily driven to the previous site. Retargeting platforms on the FBX network include AdRoll, Chango, Triggit and Perfect Audience. For more information, read this study that showed retargeting increased website conversions by 73%.

Custom Audiences

An advertiser can create a Website Custom Audience (WCA) using email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, app user IDs or mobile advertiser IDs. It is another form of remarketing (like FBX), although does not require a third-party platform and is much more flexible and powerful. A Custom Audience must have a minimum of 1,000 people.

Lookalike Audiences

If a Custom Audience list has been exhausted, Facebook can generate similar audiences with the Lookalike Audience tool. This is a list of people that share similar interests and characteristics as the Custom Audience. It can be optimised for Similarity or Greater Reach. If optimised for Similarity, it will include the top 1% of people in the selected country, opting for precision over volume. If optimised for Greater Reach, it will include the top 5% of people in the selected country, at the expense of precision.

Lookalike Audiences can only include people from one country at a time and they can take 24-48 hours to be populated once created.