Facebook Ads Marketing for Online Courses

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Do you wish to boost subscriptions for your online courses using Facebook Ads? If yes, ​sit back and relax as I ​ show you how to effectively do it. Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a digital marketing agency. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Remarketing. If you check on my site, you will see that I have quite a number of courses that I offer. In this article, I am going to ​share the secret of how I have been able to massively grow subscriptions for my online courses using Facebook Ads. This post covers the following areas;

Getting into the right mindset for Facebook Ads

I often get asked whether or not it’s possible to effectively do Facebook Ads Marketing for online courses. My answer is always a massive YES. Facebook works great when it comes to marketing a wide range of products and services. Online courses are only one example.

If you check through this blog, you will notice that I have written lots of articles on Facebook Ads  Marketing for various businesses. I have an article on Facebook Ads Marketing for Kindle books, as an example. I also have another article on Facebook Ads marketing for eCommerce.

Get your targeting right

Facebook ads marketing targeting

You need to make sure that your Facebook Ads are targeted at the right audience

The beauty ​of Facebook is that it’s so massive. As of the time of writing this article, it ha​d a monthly active user base of over 2.7 billion. And that figure will continue to grow. But why is that relevant? Well, it simply means whatever your target audience, you will be able to find it on Facebook.

It’s essential when doing Facebook Ads Marketing for online courses to get your targeting right. The questions to ask yourself are, who are the people who are most likely to want to sign up for my course? And what are their demographics, interests and behavior?

Let’s say I have created an online course ​introducing people to SEO. Who will likely be in my target audience? Well, in that case, I will probably have to target bloggers and webmasters. Those are the people who are likely to be looking for the skills that are contained in my course. So, when I go to Facebook, I won’t direct my ads to stay at home moms or any other person who has no interest in my online course.

Facebook is cost effective

Some people, particularly those operating on a budget, worry that they are going to have to rob a bank in order to market their businesses on Facebook. Many ask me; Francisco, isn’t it cheaper to advertise on Google or elsewhere?

Well, the truth of the matter is that advertising on Facebook tends to be way cheaper than on any other platform. And it’s cost effective. In fact, you can get started for as little as $1. And for that amount you will be able to reach the right kind of audience.

You can create your own Facebook Ads

That’s ​another advantage of doing Facebook Ads marketing. It’s not that difficult to create your own Facebook Ads. Of course, most people prefer to hire professionals like me. However, if you are not ​afraid to get your hands dirty, you can definitely create your own Facebook Ads for your online courses.

Most people stumble at the setup phase. It can all seem rather overwhelming. That’s why I have come up with my Facebook Ads Setup Plan. If you sign up, I will do all the initial hard work on your behalf. And I will show you the right path. At the end, you will have 2 live ads. And you will have your account set up and ready to go. From there, you will be able to continue creating your own Facebook Ads.

Infuse a sense of urgency and scarcity into your Facebook Ads

create a sense of urgency in your target audience

Creating​ ​a sense of urgency and scarcity has been an effective marketing tool since time immemorial. People will ​react positively if you give the impression that a product or service is in short supply. You may think that ​it’s not possible with online courses, but you would be mistaken. Let me give examples of how urgency and scarcity can be employed to give your ads an edge;


Let’s get back to our example of an SEO course for beginner bloggers. How would you create urgency in that case? Well, Google is always tweaking it’s algorithms, which tends to affect SEO. This is something that you can capitalize on. How about marketing your online course as; “Urgent: ​Learn ​about latest SEO changes from Google before it’s too late!”


Again, people think a sense of scarcity is hard to create with online courses. After all, a digital product is virtually inexhaustible. However, that is hardly the case. You can still instill a sense of scarcity by giving a limited or a limited time offer. How about going for something like; “50% off for the first 50 people to sign up for our online course!” Here the sense of scarcity comes not from the product itself but from the limited offer.

Use Retargeting to get the most out of your Facebook Ads

Retargeting is something that I ​believe ​is absolutely essential when doing Facebook Ads marketing for any product or service. Retargeting essentially involves tracking what people are doing on your website. From there, they are ​shown relevant ads when they visit Facebook.

As an example, somebody may visit our website and browse through our courses. He or she could show a particular interest in our DIY Facebook Ads ​Marketing ​Course. If that person does not sign up for our course, their interest will be noted.

retargeting gives you a second chance to get it right

Remember that conversion rates for eCommerce are below 3%. So, ​a vast percentage of people will leave your site without taking the desired action. It doesn’t mean that they are not interested. It means that they are simply waiting to be convinced.

In our case, because we run Facebook Ads, we will get a second chance to do the convincing when they visit their Facebook. What then happens is that they will be shown an ad featuring our DIY Facebook Ads Marketing Course. That way, we have the chance to boost our conversion rate by up to 400%. So, remarketing is effective.

Use testimonials in your Facebook Ads

Testimonials can be an effective tool when it comes to creating Facebook Ads for Online courses. Remember what we said about people leaving your site without taking the desired action because they still need convincing?

Well, one good way of convincing them to sign up for your online courses is by including testimonials in your Facebook Ads. Get people who have already signed up for your courses to give testimonies. You can have these testimon​ials on your site. And you can include them in your ads. These testimonies can be in the form of videos. In fact, these tend to be rather effective.

Steps to Create Facebook Ads for Online Courses

Facebook Ads are created in Ads Manager

​Go to Ads Manager to start creating Facebook Ads for your online courses

Okay, now that we have put aside the motivation, it’s time for us to get to the fun part. The process of creating Facebook Ads is almost the same across the board. Almost! There are sufficient differences to blur things a bit, particularly for beginners. If at any stage you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Facebook Ads are what I breathe. I will be able to help you. So, where do you start? Facebook Ads are created in Ads Manager. The process ​roughly has 3 steps.

  • Choosing a Campaign Objective
  • Setting up your target audience in the Ad Set
  • Creating the Ad

Choosing a Campaign Objective

This is the first port of call when creating Facebook Ads for online courses. A Campaign Objective defines where you wish to go with your Facebook ads. It’s why I gave you the first section of this post; to make it easy for you to understand the path that you wish to take. Facebook provides the following 11 Campaign Objectives, from which you are required to choose only one for your each Campaign;

  • Brand awareness
  • Messages
  • Store traffic
  • Traffic
  • Conversion
  • Catalog sales
  • Reach
  • Video views
  • App installs
  • Lead generation
  • Engagement

Which Campaign Objective to choose when doing Facebook Ads for Online courses

Choose campaign objective for your Facebook Ads

Some people struggle here. They are not quite sure which Campaign Objective to choose when doing Facebook Ads Marketing for online courses. The thing that I can says is; your choice will depend on what you hope to achieve.

There are no prescriptions here. Feel free to play around with your settings till you have come to the right formula. That’s the beauty of Facebook Ads. You can do lot’s of A/B testing. Possible Campaign Objectives when doing Facebook Ads for Online Courses include Brand awareness, Lead generation, Messages and Video views. 

For this example, we are going to go with Traffic for your Campaign Objective. The assumption is that we have a landing page on which people can sign up for our course. So, we wish to get people from Facebook to that landing page. We are gunning for the most number of visits.

Setting up your Target Audience

Your ​Target ​Audience is largely dependent on the kind of online course that you wish to market​ on Facebook. I have a DIY Facebook Ads Marketing Course. You ​will probably have something else. For this article, we are going to continue with our example of an SEO course. Facebook gives you the following ​tools that you can use to define and narrow down on your target audience;


Where do you wish to have your Facebook Ads delivered?

Where do you wish to have your Facebook Ads delivered?

Where do you wish to market your online course? Most businesses are rather localized. A restaurant, as an example, can only draw customers from ​so far around it’s physical location. However, there are some other businesses that have wider reaches.

You could conceivably sell your online courses worldwide, as an example. Or you could sell them countrywide. Use the Location setting to define where you wish to have your Facebook Ads delivered. For this example, we will target people in the United States.


This is another tool that you can use to define your ​Target ​Audience. What are the age groups that you would normally expect to sign up for your online course​? For our SEO example, we can expect people over 18. It’s ​possible for someone below that  age to run a thriving blog or website, but that’s probably rather rare.


This setting can be used if your course is focused at a particular gender. As an example, if you are a beautician who has come up with an online course, you would expect most of the people who sign up to be female. The gender setting is really useful in terms of defining the correct audience for your ads. For our example, we will go with both genders. 


Language is another setting that can be used to define the target audience for your Facebook Ads for Online courses. Perhaps your course is in Spanish or French. If that’s the case, use this setting to make sure that your Facebook Ads are delivered only to people who speak the language. Otherwise your ads are going to be delivered to English speakers who will not sign up because they don’t understand Spanish.

Detailed Targeting

Use the Detailed Targeting section to zoom in on your target audience

Use the Detailed Targeting section to zoom in on your target audience

The Detailed Targeting section is where you narrow down on your target audience. So, far, we have just generalized in the definition of our target audience. We said we want to have our ads to people over 18 living in the United States. That’s a large pool. We need to narrow things down. The detailed targeting section allows us to do so using demographics, interests and behavior. For this example, we will target the following people;

  • ​People who list Blogging as their employer
  • ​Those who have expressed an interest in SEO
  • ​Those interested in Blogger
  • Those ​who have liked pages relating to Webmasters
  • Those that have expressed an interest in pages relating to Websites

Budget and Schedule

Budget and Schedule

See how budget can affect your CTR

The ​Budget and ​Schedule section is actually one of the first in the Ad Set. It’s important for you to take some time to set things up right here. Facebook has now added a section where you can see the number of clicks that you can expect to get at various budgets. In the above example, we have set a daily budget of $20. 

So, increasing your budget can bring better results. But I would advise against jumping in with the highest budget. Start small as you explore the terrain. You will find the right balance eventually. What you don’t want to do is to leave ​your budget open ended. Otherwise Facebook will deduct money from your account forever.

​You need to define ​budget limits. You can do that in two ways. First, you can set a start and end date for your Facebook Ads. So, you will know what you are going to spend for the entire campaign. Another way of keeping control of your spending is by defining a budget limit for the entire campaign.

Creating your Facebook Ad

This is the third step when doing Facebook Ads Marketing for Online Courses. Remember that the ad is what people will see. Everything that we have been doing so far will be in the background. But the ad is what’s visible. So, you need to put some thought into it.

The beauty of Facebook is that you don’t have to hire professionals to create your ads. Of course, that would be great. However, there is a certain level of informality on Facebook that’s forgives even armature content. Your Facebook Ads can be in the following formats;

  • Single Image
  • Video
  • Carousel

Which one to go for?

Any of these formats will do. However, you need to do lots of split testing to find out what’s best for you. You can start off with a Single ​image. From there, try a video. Find the best format in terms of getting the desired results.

Put some time into your landing page

Remember that we chose Traffic as our Campaign Objective​? It means we are going to have to add a link taking people to our landing page. The landing Page itself needs to be up to scratch. Make it such that you ​get the most in terms of conversions. Otherwise you are going to waste potential leads. If you need help creating a kickass landing page, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Ad Preview

Our Ad Preview

A preview of our example Ad

You can see a preview of our ad above. Note that it is composed of the following sections;

  • There is an image. You can get that from Shutterstock free of charge. Facebook corroborates with Shutterstock. You can also upload your own images and videos.
  • We also have a Primary Text in our ads. That’s important because it’s what people read first. So, you need to convince them that you are the real deal in a few words. Don’t turn the Primary Text into a composition. I always try to keep it at about 2 lines.
  • You will also ​need ​to give you ad a Headline. That’s an extra line on which to convince people to click on your ad. The headline is optional. But real estate is prime, as it is. So, why waste it? Come up with something great to act as your headline. 
  • There is also a Call-to-​Action on our ad. People want to be prompted to take the desired action. Otherwise they will move on to other things.


Creating Facebook Ads can be a complex undertaking. Fortunately, I am here to help you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you need further clarification. In this article, I showed you how to put yourself into the right frame of mind to do Facebook Ads Marketing for online courses. I also gave you a step-by-step guide to creating your ad. Remember that everything rests on your ability to correctly define your ​Target ​Audience. So, that’s something about which you need to do a lot of thinking.

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