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Using Facebook advertising to promote your digital magazine

Luca Filigheddu


With over 1.65 billion monthly active users and over 50% accessing the service on mobile only, Facebook has quickly become the channel for discovering news and consuming content. As such, Facebook is keen to help publishers distribute content and publishers are quick to use Facebook Advertising to grow their mobile audience.

While the social media platform has recently launched new features to help publishers monetize content, it seems publishers are most satisfied with using Facebook for acquiring new users.

In an INMA survey of 37 news executives from Europe and the U.S, more than 75 percent of respondents said Facebook was most important for increasing reach and driving referral traffic. While publishers are generally dissatisfied with revenue generation within the newly launched Instant Articles feature, they do value the platform’s ability to increase traffic to their websites and apps using promoted posts and adverts.


While promoting content is a great way to build a web audience, Facebook advertising can also be used to transform casual readers into subscribers and/or app users. Specifically, Facebook Ads can be used to drive conversions on a web subscription portal, while App Install Ads can help publishers promote digital edition apps and drive traffic to the app stores.

Here are 5 tips for creating Facebook advertising campaigns for your digital magazine:

1. Use an effective image

The ad image will likely be the first thing people see so it’s important that it captures attention, otherwise people will scroll on past without a second glance.

Images should be 1200 x 628 px and may not contain more that 20% text. You can check to see if your image adhere’s by using Facebook’s Grid Tool.

Publishers can opt for a single image or they can include up to 5 images to display on a carousel at no extra cost.


Ads for digital editions often showcase the product itself. Featuring the cover of the latest issue or hot topic issue can surely help grab people’s attention. Experiment with different colors, words and whether the image features an app screenshot, people or a device to find what works best. However, keep in mind that people are viewing the ad on mobile, so try to not to use images that are too detailed.

Finally, it’s also a great idea to reference Facebook’s Image Guidelines as ad policies are strictly enforced.

2. Write great ad copy

Once you have an effective image, it’s up to the ad copy to convince people to click to subscribe on your website or download your app.

When it comes to copy, you can customize the body and the headline text.

Your headline should include the key benefit to subscribing or downloading your app, clearly stated in a few words. It’s important to match the tone with your target audience. For example, a business magazine may want to keep things formal, while a glossy tabloid can get away with using emojis.

The body text is your opportunity to share other benefits of your app, in 90-characters or less. Here you might want to bring up what problems the app can help solve or suggest what people are missing out on by not having the app.

3. Create multiple ads to target different audience segments

Rather than creating one ad for your entire target audience, publishers should create multiple ads to target specific segments. While your digital magazine might appeal to a large audience, you can create more effective ad campaigns by narrowing in on different demographics individually.

View your ad campaign’s potential reach as you configure the many targeting options (Credit: Facebook)View your ad campaign’s potential reach as you configure targeting options (Credit: Facebook)

To target ads effectively, publishers should know the basic demographic information about subscribers and/or app users including age, gender, location, language spoken etc. Knowing your audience is the first step to understand which segments are most valuable. And that will help you direct your ad spend to maximize conversions.

You can quickly find this information if you are using an analytics solution like Google Analytics, or if you have integrated the Facebook SDK in your app.

Also, make sure to target your ads according to device. If you are creating an ad to drive traffic to your subscription site, you might want to create different ads for desktop and mobile audiences. On the other hand, if you are using app install ads, they will only show on mobile.

4. Use Custom Audiences to convert existing users

Facebook Custom Audiences (CA) helps you advertise to people you already know – like registered users, subscribers or app users.

Publishers can use CA to reach existing customers, mailing lists, registered website users, etc who you want to nurture towards subscription.  As long as you have the phone numbers or email addresses of the people who you want to reach on Facebook, you can create a CA.

When it comes to re-targeting app users, publishers can create a CA based on specific actions app users have performed like app installs, app launches, screen views and in-app purchases. For instance, publishers can target users that have viewed in-app feed content or who have purchases a single issue, with an ad that promote buying a full year subscription.

5. Use Lookalike Audience to expand your reach

A Lookalike Audience (LA) can let you find people who are similar to an existing CA and target them with ads.

If your CA is made up of loyal app users, creating a LA is a great way to ensure you are reaching a qualified audience that is more likely to install your app. Your LA leverages all the Facebook demographics data to target users whose interests and behaviors are most like your current user base. Now that’s pretty powerful!

Note: In order to use Facebook Audiences you will need to integrate the Facebook SDK into your app and set up your CAs in the Facebook Power Editor. Once you have populated your CA, you can create a LA.

Are you ready to start promoting your app? Get more tips in our App Promotion & User Acquisition ebook – it’s free!

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