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Facebook Advertising Explained: What Economic Development Marketers Need to Know


With 1.32 billion active daily users, Facebook is a great channel for getting your brand in front of a younger audience for talent attraction or tourism efforts. Out of Facebook’s 2 billion users, nearly one-third are between the ages of 25 and 34. Additionally, users around the globe spend an average of 50 minutes each day on Facebook’s suite of apps, which includes Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

Advertising on these platforms is cost-effective and enables organizations to reach key audiences as a part of the social media content users are already consuming.

The first step in setting up a campaign is determining your organization’s objectives and goals. Facebook will distribute your ads differently depending on these goals. For example, if the goal is to drive traffic to a website, rather than increasing brand awareness, the ads will likely show slightly less often, but will show to users who are more likely to engage with the ad and visit the landing page. After establishing the goals of the ads, the campaign can then be set to target specific users.

Similar to other social platforms, Facebook enables advertisers to segment users on a granular level, giving options for targeting by demographics such as age, interests, geography, behavior and job title. As Instagram and Facebook advertising is run on the same platform, Instagram has the same targeting capabilities as Facebook.

For economic development organizations aiming to attract talent, targeting users in the categories “likely to move” or “job hunting” can get the region’s messaging in front of users who may be considering relocating or looking for a career change.

The more specific the targeting parameters, the smaller the reach will be, but there is a better chance of reaching people who are interested in your content. Targeting broadly can mean relying on Facebook’s algorithm to decide which people to serve the ad to. Targeting broadly may be helpful for collecting data on who exactly to target, or if the ad applies to a larger audience set.

There are a variety of advertising formats to choose from on Facebook and Instagram. Each of the formats combines text, video or images and can be used to spread brand messaging in different ways.

Below is a breakdown of the ad formats and their best uses.


This ad format allows for up to 10 photos or videos in one ad. Users can scroll through the photos to get a full understanding of an organization’s offerings.

  • Carousel ads perform well because they’re bigger than the single-image ad format, interactive and allow advertisers more space to tell their full story.
  • This format is best used to show multiple products, explain a process, highlight multiple features of a single product (or region), or create a narrative.
  • A potential downfall to this format is the limited space for ad copy. Since the focus is mostly on visuals, the character limit for text is relatively small.


Single Image:

These ads comprise a single photo, a newsfeed description, a headline, ad copy and a semi-customizable call-to-action (CTA) button.

  • This format is beneficial for brand awareness and obtaining a far reach. Because there is more room for text, users can be exposed to the brand and messaging without interacting with the ad.
  • Advertisers can upload up to six pictures to easily create six different versions of the ad. This feature can be beneficial for A/B testing purposes.
  • The single image format is equally focused on text and the image. This allows for more extensive ad copy than some of the other ad formats. Although there is no set character limit, be sure to preview the ads to ensure that all copy is correctly displayed across all devices without having to click the “read more” button to see the entire text.

Single Video:

Ads in this format are made of a single video and a newsfeed description.

  • More than 100 million hours of video content are consumed on Facebook daily. Video has proven to be a successful medium for engaging users on social media, capturing short bursts of attention.
  • Keep the video under 15 seconds and add captions to engage users with the volume turned off.
  • This type of format is beneficial for communicating more complex messaging or showcasing a region from a storytelling perspective.
  • Keeping the description short and to the point will increase the likelihood that Facebook will approve the ad.



This ad format allows advertisers to upload three to 10 images, which are turned into a video slideshow, that uses motion, sound and text to tell a story.

  • One of the biggest advantages of this format is that advertisers can easily create engaging video-type content using only images.
  • When creating the slideshow, advertisers can enhance the video by adding overlay text and background music.
  • Other than the overlay text added to the video, text copy is limited to the newsfeed description text.



This format offers users a collection of different media in a single ad, and is primarily used to showcase a variety of products, but can be used to highlight different aspects of a region as well.

  • Users can open the ad to a full-screen experience, allowing for a more engaging experience and providing more opportunity to guide user behavior.
  • Facebook has pre-set templates to help advertisers create their customized ads, CTA buttons and full-screen experiences
  • The Collection format accepts both images and video and allows advertisers to assign a unique landing page for each photo.
  • The biggest drawback to this format is that it is currently only available to display on mobile devices, meaning that targeted users on desktops will not be shown these ads.
  • With 79% of all internet users (and 69% of all adult Americans) logging into Facebook, it is a valuable platform for EDOs to engage with target audiences and keep their region’s brand top-of-mind.








Has your region had success advertising on Facebook? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below or tweet at @AboutDCI.

Written By

Susan Brake

Susan Brake is Vice President at DCI overseeing the digital media strategy for all the firm's economic development clients. Since joining the company, she has effectively leveraged traditional and social media tactics to reach target audiences for her clients large and small.

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