How Hard Is Facebook Advertising?

Last updated


Daniel Wade


August 30, 2022

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Facebook advertising can be a goldmine of revenue for some, but most shy away from its somewhat unintuitive interface. That doesn’t have to be you. In fact, it shouldn’t be you.

The short answer is that Facebook advertising is simple if you’re willing to put the time and money into learning its platform. Online courses will only take you so far though, the real expertise comes the old fashioned way: lots and lots of first-hand experience.

Facebook advertising is hard if you’re not willing to put the time in, or if you’re wanting quick results and only use the bare essentials. But not only can taking the time to learn Facebook advertising be extremely lucrative, but it’s also necessary if you want to set yourself apart in today’s increasingly competitive digital landscape.

Fortunately for you, there is no shortage of gurus, teachers, and bloggers that claim to have “expert advice” and “ninja tricks” on how to make Facebook ads work for you. Unfortunately for you, it can be hard to cut through the noise. Here though, we try to lay out only what we know works, and what most definitely doesn’t.


Table of contents

Why Do Some People Think Facebook Advertising is So Hard?

Since nearly 1/3 of the entire world’s population has an active Facebook account, it’s little wonder why advertisers start salivating at the prospect of bringing their goods and services directly to their exact market. But that pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow is precisely what makes it so difficult to compete: If everyone’s fighting for the same audience, how do you see a good click-through rate?

Most people take the same approach to Facebook ads. They log on to the ads manager platform, play around with some loose targeting campaigns, and then sit back and wait for the money to pour in. When they get zero clicks and no revenue, they call it wasted money and give up.

If you’ve tried that before, don’t give up. Facebook advertising doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can actually be pretty exciting once you understand just how powerful it can be. Still, those who tend to give up tend to fall in one of several categories, such as the ones outlined below.

Facebook Advertising is Hard if…

You’re Worried About Losing Money

There’s just no easy way to put it: You’re going to lose money with Facebook advertising. Whether that comes in the long periods of experimentation where you’re trying to learn how to use all the right buttons, or you’re starting brand new campaigns with new audiences, it’s a virtual certainty: You can — and most definitely will — lose money.

But that doesn't mean you have to lose money all the time. In fact, once you get past all of the rookie mistakes and those first initial campaigns where you’re testing different ads, you should notice a significant increase not only in your direct product revenue, but an auxiliary sales. Up charges, lead generation subscribers, and even traffic to your website can boast other revenue sources that you may not have thought about.

You Just Use the Boost Button

The "boost" button is so easy, isn't it? Facebook dangles it just to the right of every post, allowing you to reach a certain number of people with only a few dollars. Many marketers will hit the “boost” button, and watch in awe as the "number reached" continues to pile up.

What that "boost" button doesn't do, however, is give you a lot of concrete data that you can build for their campaigns off of. It also doesn't tell you data like conversion rate, click-through's, or any kind of detailed demographic data that tells you what kind of audience you are reaching in the first place. The only thing you realize at the end of it is that your ad passed a certain number of screens, and you now owe Facebook some money for it. Infuriating, to say the least.

You Don’t Use the Data

If you want to achieve the real riches that come with using Facebook's ad platform, you have to be willing to dive into the data they give you. Understanding what ages are responding to your advertisements, what locations your ad may be appropriate for, as well as what type of device people engage the most in with your ad is the name of the game. Without it, you're just shooting in the dark.

If you don't use the data, mainly because you claim you’re "not technically minded," Facebook ads will, and continue to be forever, extremely difficult. But if you can get your hands dirty, it'll be like getting a peek behind the Wizard's curtain, seeing all of the wheels behind the Facebook ads platform shift into motion and using them to your advantage.

You Set Your Budgets Low All the Time

Some people, in an attempt to stave off the number one fear of losing money, will set their ad budgets low all the time. That's not a problem when you're just beginning a new ad; in fact, most marketers recommend a five dollar a day ad budget to start with, unless you're in a particularly high ticket market.

The problem becomes when you never increase your budget, or conversely, you increase it too fast. A good rule of thumb is to increase your ad budget by about 20% every week or two as you see the results pouring in. But if you hesitate to raise the budget, afraid that you'll just spend more money than you have coming in, you'll never see the type of exponential growth that is possible with Facebook ads.

Facebook Advertising Is Not Hard If…

You’re Willing to Test

Think about this: The best hitters in major league baseball get a hit about three out of every ten at-bats. That means 70% of the time, they go straight to the dugout after entering the batter's box. And yet, we call them a success.

The same is true with Facebook marketing. Not every campaign that you start will be a winner. If we’re being honest, most of the campaigns that you start, no matter how much research you put into them, will flutter out unspectacularly. That's why you need to have multiple campaigns to achieve the same purpose, testing different ad audiences and creatives, to find the right mix and the right approach that will generate the results that you want.

You Want to Learn the Platform

Although I mentioned earlier that there are so many gurus trying to teach you Facebook ads these days, the truth is that you need to have at least some knowledge of the platform in order to make it work. You don't need to sign up for every $5000 course in order to understand the "secret hacks" behind Facebook advertising, but you definitely need to invest in some self-education to familiarize yourself with what's going on.

This is actually one of the easiest ways to shortcut your entire learning experience; with so many people trying to teach Facebook ads, you can find thousands of courses available at little to no cost, allowing you to learn quite a bit about Facebook advertising without having to spend a single penny. Take advantage of it when you can, and only tackle Facebook advertising when you're ready to get some firsthand experience.

You Want to Learn How to Market

At its core, Facebook advertising is exactly that: advertising. Marketing is a skill all its own, one that people have an innate talent for or, far more often, one that they have to develop if they want to make a living as an online marketer.

No matter how advanced you think your skills are, there's always room for you to learn more and more about the marketing world, and most of the principles that are taught in courses around the world are hundreds of years old. The only trick is adapting them to a modern, digital landscape.

For instance, understanding the difference between hot, warm, and cold audiences is a great place to start. You'll want to target certain types of people with one type of ad, and then re-target them with a different set of ads. These "custom audiences" that are already exposed to your product or service will be much more likely to buy, and, as a result, you’ll net a much higher return on your investment.

You Understand the Campaign Types

This part could actually make or break your business. Facebook has several different campaign goals that they create based on the responses that certain people have to different actions. Someone may be much more likely to sign up for a mailing list, for instance, rather than go to your website and give you direct traffic. The key is pairing the right campaign with the right objective at the time.

Understanding these different campaign types — and then utilizing them based on your specific audience type — can make all the difference in the world. Use lead generation ads when you want to build your mailing list, create engagement ads when you want people to like or comment on your post, and have a conversion campaign when you think they’re ready to buy.

Facebook knows their audience better than you ever will. Use that to your advantage.

How Hard Is Facebook Advertising?


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost