Facebook Ads for Orthodontists – The Complete 2022 Guide

Facebook ads are practically a must for many local businesses, especially in this economy. But despite the platform’s apparent accessibility, running Facebook ads for orthodontists can be really complex. Many local orthodontic offices post a few basic ads for their businesses, fail to get any traffic, and consider the money spent wasted. What gives?

Turns out that running paid Facebook ads in general is easy. But running Facebook ads that convert is tougher. But we’ve got great news – this guide will break down everything you need to know about running Facebook ads for your local orthodontic business.

NOTE: Join our Social Media Kickstarter for Orthodontists Course completely free for more in-depth training on effective social media for orthodontists!

Understanding the Facebook Algorithm

You want to run ads on Facebook effectively, so you have to understand the Facebook algorithm… right? In truth, no one but the software engineers at Facebook really know the ins and outs of the code that, like a digital monarch, allegedly decides which ads live and die on consumer feeds.

Still, the broad strokes of how Facebook organizes advertisements and connects people to local businesses’ marketing efforts are fairly well understood. Let’s break it down now, but keep in mind that understanding how the Facebook algorithm mostly works is not the key to running successful Facebook ads as an orthodontist.

It’s always about people. We’ll return to that later.

In a nutshell, the Facebook algorithm works like this:

  • The broader Facebook ad platform combines machine learning and artificial intelligence to both gather data on users (things like their age on their profile, posts, mention interests, etc.) and gather data on ads, such as format, content length, category, etc.
  • The Facebook algorithm works on what can essentially be thought of as a primary “ad pipeline”, which connects all the major advertisements for a particular market (such as orthodontics) into a single stream
  • Then the algorithm takes the data it already has from users and from the ads posted on the platform and connects them to any applicable users

Say that you had a Facebook orthodontist ad trying to bring in new customers for children’s braces since you have a special promotion going on. Good idea! Facebook takes that ad and puts it on the timelines of people with kids. Let’s get back to our algorithmic process:

  • As people view the ad or, even better, click on the engagement buttons you may have provided (which may take them to your business’s Facebook page or somewhere similar), Facebook gathers that data as well and adds it to its stockpile
  • Over time, the Facebook ad algorithm takes ads out of the primary pipeline and start connecting them to more specific users
  • It continually gathers data on engagement, monitoring things like who clicks on your ads, how long people look at the ad before clicking or moving on, and so on
  • As more people interact with the ads, it builds a profile of your ideal consumer demographic, such as their race, age, interests, and more

It’s through this process that Facebook’s ad algorithm becomes more efficient over time. But what does that really mean for you, the small business owner that wants the best bang from every advertising buck?

This: Facebook’s algorithm will become better for your business over time, but you have to create ads that connect with people first.

You might have noticed that the algorithm does nothing to enhance the ads that you provide to the pipeline. That means it’s on your shoulders to create ads to connect with consumers and reach the people you want to step in to your local orthodontic business.

Principles of Effective Facebook Ads – What Makes Some Ads Better than Others?

From the above, we’ve learned that the Facebook algorithm is effective, but you first have to make excellent Facebook ads worth giving to the social media giant in the first place. So how can you do that?

Fortunately, you can follow a few key principles when making top-tier, consumer-connecting paid ads for orthodontists that don’t waste time and that benefit from the extra targeting the algorithm can give your marketing campaign.

Want to see some visual examples? Check out this YouTube guide breaking down the same subject.

Ask the Right Questions – NOT How to Run a Facebook Ad

When you’re at the drawing board thinking up new ads or a fresh campaign, make sure you ask the right questions. Don’t ask how you can run any Facebook ad.

Instead, ask:

  • What are people looking for from my business?
  • What would make people choose my orthodontic business over others? (What’s your unique selling point? Price? Reputation? Variety of services?)
  • What do people in the local community want from an orthodontist?
  • Do you have competition? What do their ads do correctly that you should emulate?

Starting here, and asking the right questions when forming your ads, will ensure that you make high-quality content over the entire campaign.

Effective Local Ads Aren’t the Same as Effective eCommerce Ads

You should also remember that you have to leverage different principles or focuses when making local ads compared to broader eCommerce ads.

You might have noticed a perplexing irony when it comes to eCommerce ads. They aren’t usually focused on drawing in as many people as possible. That’s because they have a huge potential consumer base to draw from – the entire world or country.

If you’re a local business, your maximum potential customer base is probably only a few ten thousand people. Therefore, you should not limit your ads to a very specific demographic.

Not only does this make your ads more targeted and therefore less appealing to as wide a range of people as possible, but it also has the potential to jam up the Facebook algorithm.

If Facebook detects that your orthodontic ads only appeal to a very select proportion of the population, it’ll have difficulty funneling that ad to new users and may eventually stop trying entirely. Bottom line: make local ads as appealing to as many people in your local area as possible.

Make Ads that Run on Facebook AND Instagram

If you aren’t already aware, Facebook owns Instagram. Luckily for you, this means both ad platforms are totally integrated, so what works for one platform can usually work for the other. Be sure to design your ads so they can run well on Facebook and Instagram and you could potentially reach more people than you would by using just one platform.

Organic Content is a Necessity

Before even making Facebook ads, be sure to create some organic content on your business’s Facebook page. If people click to your page after viewing your ad and find it empty, they won’t exactly be inspired to do business with you, will they?

Customer Must Come First – Understand Customers Before Running Ads

Arguably the most important lesson to take from all of this is that the ad content you create should connect to your customer. Above, we mentioned that understanding the Facebook algorithm isn’t the most critical part of a successful Facebook marketing campaign.

Instead, it’s crafting curated content that connects to your customers and shows that you understand their needs or pain points better than any potential competitors.

Medium vs Message – Which Matters More?

Message, by far. It’s easy to think that marketing content on Facebook has to be dramatically different from content on other platforms, like TV commercials or the web. But at its core, all marketing is about reaching your customer on a fundamental level.

Don’t worry so much about Facebook’s limited ad medium. Make sure the copy sings, the images connect, and that your prospective customers feel heard and seen and your next Facebook marketing campaign will be more successful.

How to Advertise on Facebook – A Step-by-Step Breakdown

Grasping the higher-level aspects of successful advertising on Facebook is one thing. It’s another thing to know exactly how to bootstrap an ad onto the platform from conception to posting. Let’s break it down in detail.

Step 1: Choose Your Marketing Objective

First, log-in to Facebook Ads Manager, then select the Campaigns tab. Click Create and you’ll find a menu of 11 marketing objectives you can choose from. Pick one of them based on how well it aligns with your marketing goals.

For instance, “Traffic” is perfect if you want the ad to drive traffic to a different website, whereas “Messages” is excellent if you want people in your local area to contact your business through the Facebook Messenger platform.

Click Continue when done.

Step 2: Create a Campaign Name

Next, create a campaign name. This is useful if you want to run multiple marketing campaigns at the same time (highly recommended, by the way) and/or want to organize your marketing efforts and associated ads with different objectives, like traffic generation, sales, and so on.

Then click Next.

Step 3: Set Budget Limitations and Ad Schedule

Every Facebook ad campaign has to have budget limitations and a schedule for advertisement posting. At the top of the current screen, you can name the current set of advertisements and choose which of your business profile’s pages you want to promote.

You can also enter different values for your budget, along with scheduling a start and end date and time. Be sure to pay attention to the time zone controls below, too.

Step 4: Build Your Target Audience

Keep scrolling down to start building a good audience for your ad campaign. You can add a custom audience of people if they have already joined your business’s Facebook group, or you can tinker with the existing targeting options, such as location, gender, age, and more.

The right of the screen will have an “audience size” indicator, which can be a helpful tool to show you how well your current ad may perform when out in the wild.

Step 5: Choose Where Ads Should Appear

Keep scrolling! You’re almost there.

Now you have to pick where your ads will appear. Automatic Placements is a great choice if this is your first campaign since it allows the Facebook algorithm to place the ads where it thinks they will be most effective.

But you can also mess with the controls below as you gain experience and start new marketing campaigns, focusing your ads on particular device types (i.e. mobile devices, desktop computers, etc.), certain platforms, and more.

Step 6: Set Controls for Safety and Cost

Scroll down even further to reach Brand Safety controls. These are great if you want to avoid offending anyone, which is likely important for any orthodontic business that serves local families! These controls can help you block sensitive content from appearing in or around your ads.

The cost controls allow you to optimize how you pay for space in the Facebook ad pipeline. The default options that are set before you even enter this page are a good choice if this is your first campaign, but you can also tweak the options here are there as you develop more advanced budget strategies and marketing campaign goals.

Click Next when you’re done here.

Step 7: Make an Ad!

Now it’s finally time to take what you’ve learned and put it into action. Choose the format of your ad, such as a video, image, and so on, then enter any of the content, including media components and text. There are lots of creative controls you can take advantage of here. For example, Turn Into Video allows you to make a short animation, drawing eyeballs more successfully than most static images.

Create Slideshow, meanwhile, allows you to make a slideshow advertisement right on the Facebook platform – no third-party software is needed.

When you’re finally done, click Publish and your ad will officially launch. But keep in mind that it won’t show up on Facebook until the above-set date and time.

That’s it! Naturally, there’s way more to marketing on Facebook as an orthodontist than what we’ve covered so far. Remember, you can watch the YouTube video mentioned above for a more in-depth tutorial.


If running Facebook ads for your orthodontic practice yourself seems daunting, working with a marketing agency like OrthoPatients can help shortcut your success. The benefit of working with us is that we only work with orthodontists, and have such a depth and breadth of experience within the industry, that your practice will be in incredibly able hands.

Click here to watch our free training, or here to schedule a free 45-minute strategy session with a member of our team.
BONUS: Join our Social Media Kickstarter for Orthodontists Course completely free for more in-depth training on effective social media for orthodontists!

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