What are Facebook Ads 

#1 Basics

1. What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads are an online advertisement to be displayed within the Facebook platform.

It is a type of social media advertising that is similar to Twitter ads and Instagram ads. Because of the large number of users, targeting accuracy, and ease of use for business, it is one of the most preferred social media advertisement among businesses.

While LinkedIn is the social media platform more often used as a business networking in western countries, Facebook is more often used to connect work-related people in Japan.

With Facebook, not only the posts and information of friends that a user became friends will show up on the user’s feed but also the ones from friends of friends flows to the users’ timeline. Because of this, Facebook still is a very effective marketing medium for business use.

​2. How Popular is Facebook in Japan?

The number of monthly active users in Japan are 28 million (2017). This is about a quarter of the Japanese population. Monthly active rate is 56.1% (2015) which indicates that many people still use it.

Below is a graph showing the number of users by age:

The data shows that 95% of Japanese Facebook users are consuming Facebook content via smartphones. For this reason, even if you have not advertised on smartphones, by advertising on Facebook, it allows you to run a campaign targeting audiences on mobile phones.

​3. How Popular is Facebook Overseas?

There are 2.23 billion monthly active users, and 1.47 billion daily active users all over the world (2018). Although the numbers of users are declining in some countries, Facebook users still continue to grow globally. This makes Facebook Ads as one of the best social media advertising platforms.

4. Characteristics of Facebook Ads

Accurate Audience Targeting

One of the biggest features of Facebook ads is that it allows advertisers to select the characteristics of the specific targeted audience. 

Advertisers can select characteristics of targeted audiences such as gender, age, locations, interests and even income level and marital status. This means, more clear vision of your target audience characteristics you have, more beneficial it is to use Facebook ads. Facebook’s database opens up the possibility of delivering ads to the targeted audience who meets the intent of the advertiser.

Facebook Ads : Stages of the Sales Funnel

Facebook can be used for all three of the sales funnel. (Awareness / Interest/ Purchase). Here are how you can use Facebook ads differently at each stage.


If you want to provide a product or service, you must first get yourself recognized. As described above, Facebook ads can be delivered with detailed targeting. You can deploy awareness-raising ads to users who may be interested in your products and services.

Type of ads that are effective for the audience in this awareness stage are the ones to appeal to the eye, such as video ads. If your ad is visible while a Facebook user is checking the timeline, you can increase your awareness without being tied to a specific action.


Type of ads that is most likely effective for the audiences in this stage is “Dynamic ad”.

With “Dynamic ad”, you can display products with high relevance based on the site browsing history of the user, which can lead to direct purchasing behavior. One catch for this ad is, it requires to have a Facebook pixel installed and accumulate data from large enough audiences before the implementation of this ad.

There are so many variations of Facebook ads that you can create depending on which stage of sales funnel your targeted audience is at.

People-Based Behavior Tracking Rather than Devices-Based

When analyzing user behavior, it is important to keep people-based behavior in mind since the same user could be using multi-devices. In recent years, due to the growth of mobile devices and their usage, purchasing behavior is shifting to multiple devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Until recently, cookies have been a mainstream tracking method for advertisers to analyze audience behavior and purchase histories. However, with the cookies method, behavior data from multiple devices cannot be tracked.

Facebook accounts allow tracking people based information using their login information. Facebook has a rich login linkage with other applications and systems.

Facebook became one of the most effective advertising platform to allow people-based marketing because it is possible to identify the user's purchasing process even through different device systems.

Where Facebook Ads Appear

How Facebook ads look differ depending on where they appear on the PC or smartphone.


Facebook ads on PC are displayed in the timeline news feed and in the side menu next to the timeline.

The timeline news feed is the main area that users consume content. When your ad appears in this section, it is often recognized by a large number of users.

Ads on the side menu are displayed next to the timeline feed. Since these ads are placed where users do not often look or use daily, they are much cheaper compared to the timeline ads. This form of ad might be ideal for branding or remarketing ads.


For smartphones, the ads will always be displayed in the timeline news feed. Due to the size of the screen, the entire screen will be used for your ads. It will always be seen by the target user.

Pros and Cons of Facebook Ads 

Facebook ads can benefit many companies depending on their operation, but it is not perfect.  Understanding both the pros and cons makes it easier to determine which social media ads better suits your business.


  • Audience targeting allows you to show your ad to the right people
  • Ad campaigns can be started from a small budget
  • If you have your own page, you can communicate with your fans
  • You have control over when to stop and resume ads


  • The audience will be limited to the users on Facebook
  • Requires continuous campaign operation
  • Requires advertisers to keep up with the interface changes and updates.

Because Facebook has many additions of new functions and specification changes, it is necessary to keep up with the latest update.

Understand both the pros and cons will help you consider whether Facebook ads are suitable for your marketing strategy.

There are various types of advertising forms in Facebook ads. You can improve performance by determining which type of ad is appropriate for your service, product, and target audience. If you are interested, please continue reading the next section.

Continue reading

  • What is Facebook Ads #2: Ad Type and Cost
  • What is Facebook Ads #3: How to launch a campaign