You can use Facebook Ads to quickly drive targeted web traffic to your affiliate offers and earn commission.
But the possibility of a quick sale means many affiliates jump into the platform without knowing what they’re doing.
It’s easy to burn through your budget if you don’t build your ad campaign on a solid foundation.
When you’re hard-earned cash is on the line, it’s crucial you give yourself the best chance of a positive ROI.
In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about Facebook Ads for affiliate marketing.
- How to advertise on Facebook without getting banned
- The different types of Facebook Ads
- How to set up and launch your first campaign
- Best practices and tips to help you get more conversions and affiliate sales
Let’s get started.
- Do Facebook Ads Work for Affiliate Marketing?
- Types of Facebook Ads
- How to Advertise on Facebook [step-by-step]
- Facebook Ads Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
- Add the Facebook Pixel to Your Website
- Target Users Based On Income
- Target Parents
- Use Lookalike Audiences
- Frequency and Relevance
- Focus on Mobile Users
- Use Video Ads
- Craft a Compelling Custom Call-To-Action
- Highlight the Value of Your Offer
- Use Simple Language
- Create High-Quality Visuals
- Be Entertaining
- Laser-Focused Landing Page
- Test, Test, Test
Do Facebook Ads Work for Affiliate Marketing?
Yes, Facebook Ads do work for affiliate marketing.
That’s why so many marketers and affiliates use the platform to promote products and services.
According to SocialBakers, 92% of marketer advertise on Facebook:
But you need to be smart about the way you use the platform.
Here are the three basic rules you need to follow when using Facebook Ads for affiliate marketing.
Follow these rules to stay on the right side of Facebook's moderators and make the most of your advertising budget.
1. Don’t Use Facebook Ads for Advertising Your Affiliate Links Directly
Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and other advertising platforms don’t like affiliates sending people directly to a merchant landing page.
Amazon Associates also has strict policies forbidding affiliates from advertising affiliate links directly on Facebook Ads.
It’s a fast way to get your account suspended.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t send people to a “bridge page.”
A bridge page is a page that you own and have control over. It can be an opt-in page for your email list or a content page that contains affiliate links.
2. Understand Facebook's Policies Related to Your Niche
Facebook is one of the largest advertising platforms in the world…
…And they have a bunch of rules and regulations that advertisers need to follow.
Before you set up a campaign and launch your first ad, make sure you read through Facebook's advertising policies.
For example, advertising supplements can be very tricky on Facebook.
When you create an ad, it will go through a manual approval process.
This can take a while, and there’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours designing and writing the perfect ad only to find it’s been rejected for breaching advertising policies.
3. Know Your Audience
This is a rule that you should follow no matter what tactics you are using to promote your affiliate offers.
It’s especially important when you’re paying for traffic.
You need to know who your audience is and what motivates them.
Why should they be interested in your ad?
A deep understanding of your audience influences everything from your landing page creation and ad copy to your campaign targeting and choice of affiliate products.
Types of Facebook Ads
Facebook has come a long way since the early 2000s, and there are more ways to engage users and pay for exposure than ever before.
It’s a really powerful platform for targeting ads to the people that are most likely to be interested.
That’s why advertisers spend so much on advertising on Facebook Ads.
Advertising spend on Facebook from 2014 to 2019:
In 2019, total Facebook Ads spend topped $1.57 billion.
Facebook is constantly coming up with new ways for advertisers to promote their products and services to its users.
What are Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads are highly targeted sponsored posts, messages, stories, etc.
These ads are shown to specific Facebook users based on their location, interests, income, demographic data, and more.
There are a bunch of different ad formats, but some are more suitable for affiliate marketing than others.
For example, a collection ad can be a useful tool for an e-commerce site, but it doesn’t make sense for an affiliate as it involves a purchase being made directly on Facebook.
Here are the ad formats that you should focus on when using Facebook Ads for affiliate marketing:
Image ads are an effective way to catch the attention of users scrolling through their newsfeeds.
They’re also super easy to create.
You can create an image ad in a few clicks by promoting one of your existing Facebook posts.
Here’s an example on an image ad by Hello Fresh:
The key to a great image ad is an eye-catching photo.
As you can see in the example, Hello Fresh uses a high contrast between the black background and the plate, food, and text color.
It’s a good idea to avoid blue as your image can fade into Facebook's newsfeed color scheme.
You also have a couple of sentences to highlight your offer’s value and convince users to click.
Video ads can be displayed in the news feed and as a promoted stories ad.
This type of ad is great for showing a product in action.
People like to see exactly what they are buying before they commit to a purchase.
You don’t always need to film any custom video to create a video ad.
Gifs and animations can work just as well as real video footage.
Here’s an example by Spotify:
Users can see the steps they will take by clicking on the quiz and how quickly they can benefit from the offer.
This makes the ad very compelling.
Carousel ads display up to 10 images or videos.
This ad format can be an effective way to highlight the multiple benefits of your offer or to display multiple products.
According to a Digiday study, carousel ads are more effective than regular image ads and can drive up to 10x more traffic over three months.
Slideshow ads are an excellent format to use if you want to add a more dynamic feel to your image ads.
They work by showing users a rotation of multiple photos, text, and video clips in a single ad.
The motion of the ad catches the attention of users as they scroll through their newsfeeds.
Slideshows are also smaller files. They use 5x less bandwidth than a video ad.
You can display your ads to people with slow connections without worrying about your video buffering and people scrolling on.
This type of ad is specifically targeted at mobile users.
It makes it super easy for people to convert on an offer and submit their information without having to fill in a lengthy form on their mobile device.
Lead ads are a great way to use Facebook Ads to grow your list of email subscribers, promote a lead magnet, and encourage people to request more information from you.
Rather than sending people to a landing page on your website, lead ads allow Facebook users to instantly fill in sign up forms using their Facebook data.
Over 1.3 billion people use the Facebook messenger app every month.
You can send promoted messages directly to people’s messenger inbox.
When you’re creating your ad, simply add messenger to your desired placements.
You can also use the “click-to-messenger” feature.
This means when someone clicks your ad in the newsfeed, they are directed to a message sent by you in the messenger app:
This can be an effective way to start a relationship with your audience and open up conversations with people interested in your niche.
Stories ads are one of the latest advertising formats, taken from Facebook's partner Instagram platform.
These ads are displayed in a vertical full-screen view.
Stories ads maximize visibility on the screen without users having to turn their phones.
According to a Scientific American study, 72% of millennials don’t rotate their phones to watch a widescreen video.
Because of Facebook's auto-play feature, stories ads are displayed when users finish watching a Facebook friend’s stories.
Stories ads can be very effective. According to an Ipsos survey, 50% of social media users have purchased more online due to stories ads.
How to Advertise on Facebook [step-by-step]
Now we’ve covered the different types of Facebook Ads for affiliate marketing, let’s go through the process of launching your first ad campaign step by step.
You’re reading this guide, so let’s assume that you’ve already set up a Facebook page for your affiliate business, and you’ve signed up to Business Manager.
If you haven’t, check out the previous lesson “Affiliate Marketing on Facebook” for a step by step guide.
Head over to Ads Manager from within your Facebook Business Manager dashboard…
...And let’s get started.
From the Ads Manager dashboard, click on the “Campaigns” tab and then click on “Create.”
You’ll see a pop-up that looks like this:
The first thing you need to do is to choose an objective for your campaign.
There are 11 campaign objectives to choose from under three main categories:
The right objective will depend on what you want to achieve from the campaign.
If you want to drive traffic to a bridge page, select traffic from the options, and click continue.
The next step is to name your campaign.
If you’re running a single campaign for your affiliate site, you don’t need to be too creative coming up with a name.
You’ll also see an A/B test option.
This is an important tool for getting the best ROI for your Facebook Ads spend, but we’ll go into that in more depth later, and you can ignore it for now.
Scroll down the page, and you’ll see the Campaign budget optimization option.
You can set a limit on how much you want to spend in a day, week, or for the lifetime of the campaign.
If you leave the campaign set on a daily budget, Facebook will limit the number of times your ad is displayed or clicked on to ensure that you don’t go over budget.
If you choose a lifetime budget, Facebook will ensure that your total ad spend doesn’t exceed your budget over the entire length of the campaign.
After setting up your campaign name and budget, you’ll need to create an ad set and specify your Facebook Ads campaign’s start date and end date.
Now it’s time to create the audience for your ads.
Facebook offers a bunch of advanced targeting options to help you narrow in on the people that are most likely to be interested in your offer.
You can see a dial on the right-hand side that shows you how narrow or broad your audience is.
You can target users according to their location, demographic data, interests…
…And even their behavioral data.
Once you’ve defined your targeting, click “Save this audience”.
You can now choose your placement options - where your ads will be displayed to Facebook users.
If you’re running your first Facebook Ads campaign, we recommend using automatic placements.
That’s the campaign structure set up.
Now it’s time to create your ad.
After naming your ad, the first decision you need to make is to choose an ad format.
If you have an existing Facebook post you want to use as your ad, you can skip the next few steps using the “Use existing post” option.
The next step is to add media to your ad and write your primary text.
We’ll go into the best practices for writing Facebook Ads later in the guide.
You’ll need to choose the languages your ad will be displayed in and choose the tracking methods.
If your affiliate website is targeted towards a demographic in a particular location or country, use the languages option to narrow your targeting.
You can preview your ad before you publish and go live.
There are quite a few steps, but setting up a campaign is easy on Facebook Ads.
The dashboard is intuitive, and you can quickly work your way through the above steps.
Once you’ve created your first ad set, you can repeat the process to create new ad sets to promote different affiliate offers or target different audiences.
The more targeted you can make each ad, the more you can speak to a specific audience, and the more likely they are to convert.
Facebook Ads Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
Now you know how to set up your first Facebook Ads campaign…
…But so does every other affiliate marketer using the platform.
In this section of the guide, we’re going to cover the best tips, tricks, and best practices to elevate your campaign above the competition.
1. Add the Facebook Pixel to Your Website
The Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that can be added to your website to track the number of conversions your ad campaign generates.
It also allows you to create lookalike audiences based on Facebook users who have converted…
...And the ability to remarket to people who have already shown interest in your content and your affiliate offers.
Before you launch your campaign, you should install the Facebook pixel.
You’ll start collecting data from the moment your campaign is live and be able to optimize your ads based on real conversion and audience data.
2. Target Users Based On Income
If you promote expensive luxury products, you don’t want to waste your time and money advertising to Facebook users that can’t afford your offer.
For example, if you’re promoting a $25,000 a week private yacht charter in the Caribbean, there’s a specific audience of high-earners that will be interested in your offer.
There isn’t anyone on a $40k a year salary willing to spend that much on a vacation.
You can get really specific with your targeting to avoid wasting your budget on irrelevant clicks and impressions.
Using Facebook's targeting to display your ad to high average income users is more likely to generate a positive ROI on your ad spend.
You can also target Facebook users that spend more than the average person online.
These people love online shopping, making them the ideal audience for affiliate marketers…
…Especially when you narrow in on specific interests related to your niche.
3. Target Parents
This tactic is effective if you’re in the parenting/baby product niche.
Kids are expensive.
The average cost of baby food, diapers, and baby formula alone is $50 per week.
When you throw in the costs of one-off purchases like baby carriers, toys, high chairs, and more, the spending mounts up.
Facebook Ads enables you to target parents according to the age of their children.
If you promote parenting products, this is a powerful way to get your affiliate offers in front of your target audience.
You can even target “expectant mothers.”
4. Use Lookalike Audiences
This is one of the most powerful Facebook Ads targeting tools.
Lookalike audiences enable you to use the data you have gained from the Facebook pixel to create a new custom audience with the same characteristics as your existing audience.
You can target your ads to the Facebook users that are most similar to the people that have already engaged with your site and converted on your affiliate offer.
If you have an email list, you can also upload your list of subscribers to target Facebook users similar to people who have already opted-in to your list.
Once you create a lookalike audience, you can add more layered targeting to control the size of your audience.
If you think the targeting may be too broad, you can also use the sliding 1 to 10 scale to reduce the number of users that will see your ad.
It’s important not to get too narrow with your targeting. You need to find a balance between frequency and relevance.
5. Frequency and Relevance
These are two of the most important Facebook Ads metrics you need to keep an eye on.
Frequency shows the average number of times a user sees the same version of your ad.
Ideally, you want to keep the frequency metric below three.
If somebody has seen your ad five times and is yet to convert, you’re probably wasting your budget paying to show the same ad again and again.
You can keep frequency low by targeting a large enough audience.
This is especially important if you decide to scale up your ad spend.
Pay close attention to your frequency to make sure you’re not wasting your budget.
Relevancy is a metric used by Facebook to judge how relevant your ad is to your targeted audience on a scale of 1 to 10.
You want to keep the relevancy score as high as possible.
The more clicks, likes, and shares your ad receives, the higher your relevancy score will be.
If a user hides your ad from their feed, your relevancy score will take a hit.
A higher relevancy score increases the chances of your ad being displayed in news feeds and can even lower your advertising costs.
6. Focus on Mobile Users
Most Facebook users access the site using their mobile phones.
Device usage of Facebook users worldwide as of October 2020:
You should design your ads with mobile users in mind.
Content created for mobile users works well on desktop…
…But content created for desktop users doesn’t always translate into an excellent mobile experience.
Follow mobile-first ad creative, including:
- Keeping videos under 15 seconds long
- Use vertical videos
- Shorten text
- Make sure your landing page is mobile-friendly
- Don’t rely on sound to communicate your message
- Clear and concise choice of language
7. Use Video Ads
Facebook users love video content.
Back in 2016, Mark Zuckerberg told Buzzfeed that he expected Facebook to become mostly video-based by 2021.
With the growth of stories and Facebook Live, the platform is well on the way to fulfilling that prediction.
Using video is a great way to boost engagement and get your ads in front of a bigger audience...
...But there are certain rules you should follow when creating video ads.
Facebook released a graphic showing how people consume video advertising:
To make an impression, you need to load up the start of your video with the most critical information.
If you don’t get to the point quickly, people won’t stick around.
Showcase the value of your offer as quickly as possible, be specific, and don’t try and cover too much information in a single video ad.
It’s also worth noting that many people are unlikely to watch your video with the sound on…
…So make sure your message is clear with just the visuals, and use captions if you need to.
8. Craft a Compelling Custom Call-To-Action
Rather than adding a boilerplate “sign up” or “learn more,” you can craft a personal CTA that is targeted to your audience.
When you create your ad, you’ll see an option that allows you to include a custom CTA.
Go to the “text and links” section from the ad creation dashboard, and you’ll see the “custom call-to-action” option.
Think about what you want people to do after seeing your ad, and consider A/B testing to make your CTA even more compelling.
9. Highlight the Value of Your Offer
When you’re paying for exposure, it can be tempting to cram in as much information about your offer as possible.
Don’t do it.
The most effective Facebook Ads are short and concise.
Highlight the value upfront, and keep it short to boost engagement and conversions.
Focus your ad copy on the benefits people will get from your offer.
Here’s an example from Robin Sharma:
The first word, “FREE,” is capitalized and lowers the barrier to conversion…
…And the rest of the copy is focused on the benefits and goals the offer can help the audience achieve.
10. Use Simple Language
The key to excellent ad copy is attracting attention, communicating value, and compelling people to take action.
You need to be as efficient as possible with your copywriting.
If a word or sentence is difficult to understand or unnecessary, cut it out.
Anybody reading your ad should immediately be able to answer the following questions:
- What is the offer?
- How will it benefit me?
- What’s the next step?
You can use the free tool HemingwayApp to analyze your ad copy and make it clearer and more concise.
11. Create High-Quality Visuals
Low-quality images and videos are a sure-fire way to waste your ad budget.
Your ad copy needs to convince people to take action, but your visuals are the first thing people will see and make the first impression.
A grainy or pixelated image is going to kill your campaign from the get-go.
There are a bunch of websites where you can download high-quality royalty-free images, including:
If you’re not confident in your graphic design skills, consider hiring a freelancer to help you create the visuals for your ads.
12. Be Entertaining
If your ad is boring, you’ll struggle to gain any traction on Facebook Ads.
Focus on making your ads as engaging and entertaining as possible.
The more they feel like a shareable organic post, the better.
Here’s a breakdown of the most engaging social ad content according to a survey conducted by Sprout Social:
Entertaining ads are the most engaging.
Even if you’re operating in a serious or “boring” niche, try to make your ads entertaining by adding humor, shock value, or a “wow” factor.
13. Laser-Focused Landing Page
A landing page is the web page people land on after clicking the CTA in your ad.
Whether you want people to click on your affiliate link and make a purchase or opt-in to your email list, you’ll convert more Facebook users if your landing page is laser-focused on a single goal.
Your landing page copy and page design should all contribute towards the goal of converting visitors.
Remove any navigation links, social media icons, and anything else that could send people away from your landing page without converting.
The less distraction on your landing page, the more conversions you’ll generate.
14. Test, Test, Test
A key benefit of paid traffic is the ability to test and make data-driven improvements to your campaign.
When it comes to Facebook Ads, test everything.
Try out variations to your copy, CTA, image, landing page, and more.
Test your changes against your previous ad versions to see which is more effective at generating clicks and conversions.
Consumer preferences are constantly changing, and what works for one affiliate might not work as well for another.
The only way to keep your ROI high and generate as many leads and conversions as possible is to keep testing and optimizing.
Always set a budget for your campaign that you’re willing to lose.
You don’t want to wake up in the morning, check Ads Manager, and find out you’ve massively over-spent on ads.
You can set your campaign budget according to:
- Daily Budget
- Weekly budget
- Lifetime budget
Whichever method you choose to set your budget, never invest more than you can afford to lose.
For beginners using Facebook Ads for affiliate marketing, you can expect to earn a little less than you invest.
The data you gather from your first campaign will help you improve your next campaign and become more profitable.
You’ll have a better understanding of your audience and what they like, and you’ll be more experienced at writing ad copy that converts.
Facebook Ads offers some of the most advanced targeting options for advertisers.
For affiliates, that means you can get your affiliate offers in front of the people most likely to convert.
The best way to get started with Facebook Ads for affiliate marketing is to start with a small budget and get specific with your targeting.
Track your performance and make continual improvements to your ads and landing pages.