In this Facebook ads guide, we’ll help you set up your first Facebook ad, plus you’ll learn how to target your audience and make the most of your ad budget.

According to Statista, 86% of internet users with $100k+ income use Facebook. Facebook is a gold mine for advertisers. If you haven’t yet tapped into this social media giant’s potential, it’s your time now!

How to advertise on Facebook?

You can run ads using Facebook ads manager. It’s an in-built tool for advertisers and brand managers to view, create, edit and optimise their ads on Facebook.

You cannot run ads on your personal Facebook profile. You need a business page to run ads. Once you’ve created a business page for your brand or company, go to Facebook Ads Manager.

Click on “+ Create” to create your first ad campaign.

You can select from 11 different campaign objectives for your ad campaigns:

Brand awareness

Purpose: Exposing your brand/products to a broader audience

Typically used by: Advertisers launching a new brand or products

Reach

Purpose: Maximising your ad impressions over a short period

Typically used by: Advertisers promoting limited-time offers

Traffic

Purpose: Driving more traffic to your site

Typically used by: Advertisers who want to get more site visits.

Engagement

Purpose: Reaching a wider audience and driving engagement

Typically used by: Advertisers who want to build up their social media following and engagement

App installs

Purpose: Getting consumers to install your mobile app

Typically used by: Advertisers who want their customers to install their mobile app

Video views

Purpose: Getting more views on your videos

Typically used by: Advertisers who want to generate more video views.

Lead generation

Purpose: Collecting leads for your business

Typically used by: Advertisers who want to get more newsletter subscribers or leads. These advertisers may be in the B2B or SaaS industry. Note that you’ll need to make sure that your Facebook lead ads are GDPR-compliant.

Messages

Purpose: Starting conversations with your consumers

Typically used by: Advertisers who want to nurture their leads. These advertisers may be in the B2B or SaaS industry.

Conversions

Purpose: Encouraging consumers to visit and convert on your website

Typically used by: Advertisers who want their consumers to convert (i.e., sign up for a form or make a purchase) on their website. If you’re inspired to create lead ads, read on a few tips to generate more leads using Facebook ads.

Catalogue sales

Purpose: Driving more sales for your eCommerce store

Typically used by: Advertisers who want to optimise their ads to maximise eCommerce sales.

Store visits

Purpose: Encouraging consumers who live nearby to visit your local business

Typically used by: Advertisers who want to reach out to local customers. These advertisers may be in the retail industry.

Types of Facebook ads

Here’s the breakdown of different types of Facebook ads:

Single image ads

Facebook single image adSource: Facebook

Always pair your single image ad with a matching caption, just like Sole Society. They have perfectly described their boot in the caption and aided the user’s imagination with an appropriate image.

What it is: A single banner ad

Suitable for: Advertisers who want to drive awareness or conversions.

Pros: Easy and straightforward to create.

Cons: Might be hard to stand out against the competition.

Carousel ads

Facebook carousel ads

Source: Facebook

Show more than one image or video along with their own headline, description and call-to-action (CTA) in one carousel. Hawkers have successfully blended their creatives with the style of the ad to create an immersive experience for their audience.

What it is: An ad that allows you to showcase up to ten images or videos, each with its own link.

Suitable for: Advertisers who want to showcase different products or specific details about a single product, service or promotion.

Pros: Allows you to tell a more compelling story.

Cons: Need to ensure that every single image or video used within the ad is compelling.

Single video ads

Facebook single video ads

Source: Facebook

Use ready-made easy-to-use templates by Facebook to turn your videos into stories.

What it is: A single video

Suitable for: Advertisers who want to draw people in and capture their attention.

Pros: More engaging than banner or carousel ads

Cons: Challenging to create video. Keep in mind that Facebook users prefer shorter video ads with a span of less than 15 seconds.

Slideshow ads

Facebook slideshow ads

Source: Facebook

In the above ad, Charter College has shown different roles of a healthcare professional using slideshow images. They saved time using images whereas a video would’ve taken a lot of effort.

What it is: Video-like ads that use a combination of animated photos and text to tell a story.

Suitable for: Advertisers who want to experiment with video ads, but find it too time-consuming to create a live video.

Pros: Quick and affordable to create (as compared to video ads).

Cons: Though lightweight, they’re less compelling than live video ads.

Collection ads

Facebook collection ads

Source: Facebook

What it is: Ads that redirect users to an “Instant experience” (a full-screen landing page). Collection ads may be used with different templates such as “Instant Storefront”, “Instant Lookbook”, “Instant Customer Acquisition” and “Instant Storytelling”.

Suitable for: Advertisers whose goal is to drive engagement.

Pros: Users can browse through your content without leaving Facebook or Instagram.

Cons: Takes more effort to set up as opposed to standard banner ads.

Video Poll Ads

Facebook video poll ads

Source: Search Engine Journal

What it is: A 2-answer poll for your video

Suitable for: Advertisers who want more engagement from users

Pros: Increase user awareness and engagement with your brand

Cons: Increased efforts to create videos with supported file format and aspect ratio

Create Facebook ad campaigns

First add your ad name, and then scroll down to choose your ad format

You have quite a few options here, but to start off with, we recommend going with a simple banner ad.

Once you get more familiar with Facebook, you can start experimenting with other ad formats, such as carousel ads, video ads, and more.

Now that you’ve chosen your ad format, it’s time to create and upload your ad image.

To do this, we recommend using Canva.com, which is a simple drag-and-drop tool that you can use to design images. Or you can use Crello — graphic designing tool, which helps you in designing simple Facebook Ads with ease!

Once you’re done, go back to your “Create An Ad” page, and click on “Upload image”.

Then fill in your text, website URL, headline, and choose your Call To Action (CTA).

As you edit your ad, you’ll be able to check out how it looks in the preview panel on the right.

Be sure to click the drop-down menu on the top, to check that your ad looks good across all the different .

Once you’re done, scroll down and click “Confirm”.

Now all you have to do is wait for your ad to be approved. Once that’s done, Facebook will start serving your ad to users!

Before we move on, here’s one last tip to keep in mind:

Facebook specifies that if you use text overlay over your ad, it shouldn’t take up more than 20% of your ad’s space.

If you’re not sure if your ad is floating that 20% rule, you can use Facebook’s Image Text Check function to find out.

Go ahead and upload your image to the page.

And Facebook will rate it accordingly.

Explore Facebook ad placements

Facebook ad placements are places where users can see your ad. Your ads can appear across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network depending upon your campaign objective.

If you’re new to Facebook advertising, you can use Automatic Placements. Using this feature, Facebook will automatically place your ads across the placement network where they are likely to perform best.

Otherwise, you can choose to add custom placement options which include:

Device type: Desktop, mobile, or all devices.

Placements:

  • Facebook news feed
  • Instagram feed
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Facebook video feed
  • Instagram explore
  • Messenger inbox
  • Stories across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger
  • Facebook in-stream videos (your video appears before, during or after partner video content)
  • IGTV videos
  • Facebook search results
  • Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook ad placements

Set Facebook ad budget

You can set a daily or lifetime budget for your ads. You can also set your budget either at the campaign level or ad set level to have more control over delivery of your ads.

Should you set a campaign or an ad set budget?

You can choose to set an overall budget for your campaign, or set specific budgets for your ad sets.

Campaign budgets:

Campaign budgets are distributed to ad sets by Facebook based on campaign budget optimisation. The ad sets with better real-time opportunity receive more share of the budget, more frequently than other ad sets.

When you set a campaign budget, you don’t have to manually set a budget for your ad sets. It helps you simplify budget management and incur lowest cost-per-conversion.

Ad set budgets:

If you’re not comfortable setting one campaign budget for all your ad sets, you can choose to set an individual ad set budget to gain more control over ad delivery. It’s helpful when you have large differences between target audiences and bid strategies for different ad sets.

Should you set a daily or lifetime budget?

For both campaign and ad set budgets, you can choose whether you want to spend your budget consistently each day or over the entire lifetime of your ad.

Daily budgets:

The average amount you agree to spend each day on an ad set or campaign. If you wish to achieve consistent results each day, this ad strategy is for you. The set amount is not a hard cap.

For example, let’s say, you set a daily budget of $20 to spend on lead ads. Facebook may spend $22.50 on the first day, $18 on the second day and so on.

Lifetime budgets:

The total amount you agree to spend over the entire runtime of your campaign or ad set. It’s useful when you don’t want to exceed your budget.

If you choose a lifetime budget, make sure you select standard delivery (recommended for most advertisers) to spend your budget evenly over the lifetime of your campaign or ad set. Facebook spends more on opportune days than days with less opportunities.

Note:

  1. You must set a lifetime budget for a campaign or ad set to run for less than a day.
  2. If your daily budget gets spent too quickly:
    1. You may have chosen the “Accelerated Delivery” option. You should choose “Standard Delivery” for your ads.
    2. In the learning phase, Facebook agrees that the ad sets learn by aggressively delivering ads to achieve results near to the campaign objective.
    3. If your budget is close to or lower than your bid, it can get spent quickly. Remember to set your daily budget higher than your bid.
  3. Run your Facebook ads on a schedule. It’s an efficient way to spend your budget as you can choose only to serve your ad when your target audience is active on Facebook. You can only set a schedule if you create a lifetime budget for your ad.

Facebook set ad budget

Target your audience

Go to the “Audience” section, where you’ll find “Detailed Targeting” to add the interests of people you want to target.

Use “Detailed Targeting” to specifically select people based on their demographics, behaviours and interests. You can go a step ahead and choose very specific interests in sports, such as people interested in running or yoga.

Facebook target audience

Target people according to brand appeal

Adding popular brands to your targeting strategy can prove useful. Your ad is served to people who follow brands like Adidas and Nike, who have a large number of loyal followers.

This strategy is best-suited for sports and fashion, as you get access to a large number of loyal brand followers in one setting. Such followers are most likely to convert.

Facebook target audience using brands

Target people who follow particular publications/influencers

You can also target people who follow certain publications and influencers. For example, “Kayla” is one of the prolific influencers in the fitness industry.

This Australian personal trainer and entrepreneur owns an app called “Sweat with Kayla,” and here’s how you can target people who use her app.

Facebook target audience using influencers

Target people according to job profiles

Next, you can also target people with job profiles. For our fitness category, job profiles such as Fitness Manager and Fitness Trainer or Coach seem perfect.

Facebook target audience using job profiles

Target people who like your Facebook page or app

Reach out to people who have liked your page before or have used your app and their friends. You’ll find this option under “Connections.”

Facebook target audience who liked your page

Target people who visited your website using Facebook Pixel

You can even target people who haven’t interacted with you on Facebook using Custom Audiences and Pixel.

Custom audiences let you find your existing contacts on Facebook. You can provide sources such as customer lists, website and app traffic (using Pixel), and engagement data from Facebook.

Custom audiences are people who already know your business. Those include website audience, app activity audience, customer contacts list audience, and engagement audience. You can add up to 500 custom audiences per ad account.

The most influential feature of custom audiences is to create “Lookalike Audiences”. These audiences share similar characteristics with people who are currently engaging with your business.

Facebook create new custom audience

Facebook create custom audience

Click “Website Traffic” and import your website traffic data from Pixel.

Facebook Pixel is a tool that helps you keep track of people who have visited your website. Show your ads to these people, who have either visited a page or taken some desired action on your website.

Pixel also helps you set up automatic bidding to reach people who are more likely to convert based on their interactions with your website. Also, it’s a great analytical tool to understand how people interact with your ads.

Check out this guide to set up your Facebook Pixel.

Target people from your mailing list

Target people who have signed up for your newsletters, and serve them with Facebook ads. Click on the “Create New” button under the “Custom Audiences” feature and choose “Custom Audience”

Then click on “Customer File” (above “Website Traffic”).

Facebook add external custom audience

You can either upload your customer’s email addresses manually or connect your Facebook ad account to Mailchimp to import the addresses.

Create an irresistible ad offer

You’ve shortlisted the target audience. Now, the next step is to create an irresistible ad offer. Facebook’s inherent purpose is to allow you to connect with other people, watch and share content, and share your thoughts with the world—not to shop for products.

An ad interrupts the flow, asking people for their attention. If your offer isn’t attractive, you won’t stand a chance against funny cat videos.

Here are some ways you can create a high-converting ad offer:

Craft your ad design for mobile devices

According to Statista, more than 98% of Facebook users access the platform using some kind of mobile device. This is important to notice. Your ad strategy should be aligned to design mobile-friendly ad images and videos. This doesn’t mean that you completely neglect your ad efforts on desktop, you have to create specific posts for desktop and mobile devices.

Schedule your posts on every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Sprout Social identified the best times to post on Facebook. These best times for user engagement have been updated for 2021. You can post on Facebook every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday between 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Create more vertical videos

As per a study by SocialInsider, among landscape, vertical, and square video formats, vertical videos have the highest average engagement rate, followed by landscape and square videos. Yet, still landscape videos are considered to be more popular, contributing to 52% of all videos.

Offer lead magnets

If your campaign objective is lead generation, offer incentive to your target audience in return for signing up to your webinar, clicking your website link or visiting your eCommerce store.

A lead magnet is a give-away in exchange for the name and email address of the user. Your ad should revolve around the lead magnet. Some lead magnets include

  • A copy of an eBook
  • Access to an exclusive video
  • Subscription to free/paid online-training resources
  • A relevant white paper document
  • Access to a free/paid webinar
  • A free video consultation with you

Follow this guide to create high-value lead magnets.

Experiment with repeated ads

Back in the days when everyone watched television, we all had our favourite ad jingles. We used to recite them as they appeared on T.V., just like McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It.”

A user won’t remember your business brand just because they saw your ad once on Facebook. They hardly know your brand. Facebook I.Q. research indicates that more exposure to an ad leads to higher purchase intent up to a limit. After the limit, the benefits of more exposure to the same ad start to slow down.

Put more effort into creating an excellent ad copy that gets more exposure than making one hundred ad copies to go online only once.

Run the best Facebook ads

In this section, we’ll help you optimise your ads. The goal is to create the best Facebook ads to convert as many users as possible while spending the least amount of money!

Facebook ad best practices and optimisation methods

Your best results with Facebook ad campaigns is an outcome of 20% ad performance and 80% ad optimisation. Spend most of your time testing and optimising your ads. Run several ads with small budgets to determine what works best for your ad strategy.

A study by Facebook showed that refining ads performance lowered the cost per action by 26%. Also, you can re-allocate your budget from the under-performing ads to good-performers. Improve your ad performance by analysing your ads based on daily, weekly and monthly recommendations.

Optimise Facebook ads & creatives

Apple is known for their “out of the box” thinking. They launched the iPod with the tagline “1000 songs in your pocket.” What if they said “16GB worth of memory,” it wouldn’t have made such an impact.

Copywriting is your best friend when it comes to making an impact with ads, whether on Facebook or any other platform. Read more on writing better ad copies using copywriting formulas to make your ad stand out.

Copywriting example

Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in your ad copy (yes, despite the fact that you have another CTA button within your ad). This will encourage the user to take action, and drive more conversions for your ad campaigns.

Use powerful and emotive words (example, “skyrocket your leads”, “destroy your competition”). This increases the likelihood that your ad will evoke emotion.

Experiment using emojis in ads. Again, this boils down to standing out. Go ahead and jazz up your caption with some eye-catching emojis!

Use Facebook ad targeting to lower your costs

Experiment using Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. With the former, you can target people who like your page or people who have joined your mailing list; with the latter, you can reach out to people who have similar profiles as your highest-paying customers.

Re-target users who have previously visited your site. Re-targeting your existing customers is shown to be a lot more effective than reaching out to a new pool of customers. In eCommerce, you can target users who have added items to the cart and left the page without buying.

Use Facebook Audience Insights to refine your targeting. Look at your campaigns, figure out what’s working and what’s not, and then fine-tune them accordingly.

A word of caution: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to running Facebook ads, and what works for other people might not work for you.

Run A/B tests on your ad campaigns

If you want to optimise your ads, you’ll have to measure and track everything about your progress.

A/B testing allows you to track the success and effectiveness of TWO different variants of the same campaign, ad set or ad.

Once you figure out which variant is more effective, you can then switch out all your campaigns, ad sets or ads to mimic that variant. This will boost your conversion rate, and decrease your cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-action (CPA).

There are two ways in which you can A/B test your ads.

The first way is to create an “official” A/B test using Facebook

To do this, toggle the “Create Split Test” option after you create a new campaign.

Facebook split test toggle

On the next page, decide what variables you want to test:

Facebook split test

Your options include:

  • Creatives
  • Delivery optimisation
  • Audience
  • Placement

After you decide on your variables, the next step is to set your budget and determine how you want to split it. (You should always go for a 50-50 split; allocating more budget to a certain ad set or variant will mess up your results).

Facebook split test a/b testing

Run your A/B test manually

If you want to test your targeting, you can set up two different ad sets within the same campaign:

Ad Set 1 = Male, 25-50, United States, Interest: Nike

Ad Set 2 = Male, 25-50, United States, Interest: Adidas

Make sure you only change ONE element at a time. If you change multiple elements, you won’t know which factor is the one that has contributed to the ad success.

Test your ad copy

Simple — set up two different ads within the same ad set:

Copy for Ad 1 = “Shop our hiking gear at 20% off now.”

Copy for Ad 2 = “Waterproof backpack for hiking, rated 5-stars by 2,000+ customers. Now at 20% off!”

Again, when you’re testing your ad copy, you shouldn’t change any other element of your ad.

Your CTA, headline, banner — everything has to remain the same.

Experiment with different Facebook ad formats

Apart from optimising your ads, you should also experiment with other ad formats. More specifically, we recommend creating vertical video ads.

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch a video, but they only retain 10% of that same message when reading it in text.

Well, statistics show that marketers who use video grow their revenue 49% faster than those who don’t use videos.

If you want to experiment with using video ads in your Facebook campaigns, we recommend using a tool such as Shakr.

Nurture your Facebook leads

To nurture your leads using email marketing, you have to manually import the spreadsheet from Facebook ads manager to add your leads in email marketing platforms, like Mailchimp.

Instead, use automate.io to connect your Facebook lead ads to Mailchimp or any other email service app to trigger automated emails to your new leads. You don’t have to import or export data every single time. Automate your email marketing using this simple, no-code integration.

Author

Cherie is a full-stack marketer who is in love with writing and communications, and also fascinated by the power and precision of digital marketing. For fun, she likes hiking, travelling, and drinking tea.