Facebook Ads for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide
Facebook is one of the most powerful social media platforms, with billions of active users worldwide. For businesses, this presents a huge opportunity to reach and engage with potential customers. Facebook Ads is a powerful advertising platform that can help businesses to target their audience with precision, increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their website, and ultimately, generate sales. However, if you’re new to Facebook Ads, it can be daunting to get started. In this guide, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of Facebook Ads for beginners, including step-by-step instructions on how to create your first ad campaign.
Why Facebook Ads?
There are many reasons why businesses should consider using Facebook Ads, starting with the fact that it’s still the most-used social media platform. Here are some of the other key benefits:
- Reach a massive audience: With over 3.7 billion monthly active users, Meta is basically the party that everyone’s invited to. And your business should definitely be there too.
- Advanced targeting: Facebook’s targeting options are like a game of darts, but with way better odds. You can hit your target audience based on factors like age, gender, interests, and location. No blindfold needed.
- Brand awareness: You know what they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” In this new era of marketing, attention is currently and with organic reach all but gone, businesses need a more strategic way to get in front of the right people. With Facebook Ads, you can make sure your brand is always on the radar. And who doesn’t want to be a cool kid on the block?
- Drive traffic to your website: It’s like having your own personal chauffeur that takes people straight to your website. Using Facebook Ads means you can direct traffic to your site and increase your chances of generating leads or sales.
- Analysis, Testing & Optimization: Say goodbye to guessing games and hello to hard data. Meta Ads provides detailed analytics and reporting, so you can see what’s working and what’s not. Time to put on your lab coat and get scientific with it.
So, let me go out on a limb here and suggest that Facebook Ads might just be the wingman your business needs to take things to the next level. Let’s get this party started!
Getting Started with Facebook Ads
Step 1: Set up a Facebook Business Manager Account
Before you can start creating ads, you’ll need to set up a Meta business account (formerly called a Facebook business manager account). This is a free tool that allows you to manage your Facebook Pages, ad accounts, and other business assets in one place. Think of it as your central hub for all things Meta.
To create a Business Manager account, follow these steps:
1. Go to business.facebook.com/overview and click “Create an Account.”
Note: you will need to be logged in to your personal Facebook account. Meta doesn’t allow users to create business accounts without a personal Facebook profile.
2. Enter your business name, your name, and your business email address.
3. Follow the prompts to complete the setup process.
Once you’ve created your Business Manager account, you’ll be taken through to the Meta business suite where you can start adding your business assets and get started creating your first ad campaign.
Tip: Yours won’t look like this! We have a lot of assets in our account because we have access to dozens of client accounts. Your new account will likely have no assets yet.
Assets you’ll want to add to your Meta Business suite:
- Facebook pages you own
- Instagram account
- Ad Account (if it’s already set up)
If you already own a Facebook page, you’ll be able to add it directly using the blue “Add Assets” button. You’ll also need your Instagram login information to connect your Instagram account.
Step 2: Set up a Facebook Ads Manager Account
Ads Manager is a tool within Business Manager that allows you to create, manage, and analyze your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. Business Manager is the overarching platform that lets you manage all aspects of your business on Facebook, including Pages, ad accounts, people, and assets like pixels and catalogues.
When you set up an Ads Manager account, it is linked to your Business Manager account, so you can access it and manage your ad campaigns through the Business Manager interface. This makes it easy to manage all of your business assets in one place and gives you greater control over who has access to your ad accounts.
In Ads Manager, you can create ad campaigns, set targeting options, select ad formats, and manage your ad budget. You can also track the performance of your ads through detailed analytics and reporting, allowing you to make data-driven decisions to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Creating a Facebook Ads account
To create a Facebook Ads account, go to your Business Manager dashboard and click on the “Business Settings” tab. From there, select “Ad Accounts” and click on the “Add” button to create a new ad account. Follow the prompts to enter your business information and create your account.
Setting up payment methods
To run Facebook Ads, you’ll need to add a payment method to your ad account. To do this, go to the “Payment Settings” tab within your ad account and click on the “Add Payment Method” button. You can then enter your credit card information or link a PayPal account. You’ll also choose your time zone and currency.
Adding team members
If you’re working with a team or agency, you can add people to your ad account to collaborate on your ad campaigns. To add a team member, go to the “Business Settings” tab within Business Manager. From there, click on the “Partners” button and enter Meta business ID number. You can then assign them the appropriate level of access to your ad account.
Alternatively, you can add “people” to your business manager by simply adding their email addresses. They’ll be notified you’ve granted them access and will be able to accept or decline. Once they’ve been added to your business suite, you’ll be able to assign roles and access levels to them as well.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to set up your Facebook Ads account and start creating ad campaigns. Keep in mind that Facebook Ads is a powerful tool, so it’s important to make sure you have a solid strategy in place before getting started.
Create and Install Your Meta Ads Pixel
Creating and installing a Facebook pixel is a crucial step in your Facebook Ads strategy. The Facebook pixel is a code snippet that you add to your website to track user behaviour and conversions. This pixel collects data on visitors to your website, allowing you to create more targeted and effective ad campaigns. Once you have created your Facebook pixel, you can install it on your website by adding the code to your website’s header or footer. With the Facebook pixel in place, you can begin tracking website activity, creating custom audiences, and optimizing your ads for conversions.
Understanding Facebook Ads Manager
Navigating Facebook Ads Manager can be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s a user-friendly platform. The dashboard is divided into three tabs, including Campaigns, Ad Sets, and Ads. Each of these tabs has a unique purpose, and understanding how they work is crucial to creating successful ad campaigns. Here’s how the hierarchy works:
- Campaigns: Top level and where you start the ad creation process. At the campaign level, you’ll choose your objective (what you want your ads to DO) and budget.
- Ad Set: The second level in the hierarchy where you choose audience targeting and decide WHO will see your ads.
- Ads: Ads are where you create the actual ad content and decide WHAT people will see and what actions they’ll take. Here you’ll write headlines, ad copy, upload or create creative (images, videos, carousels, etc) and attach your tracking mechanisms (pixel) and choose the destination for your ad (website, lead form, instant experience, etc).
It’s important to note that Facebook Ads Manager supports a variety of ad formats. Some popular options include Image Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads, and Collection Ads. Each of these formats has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to choose the right format for your ad campaign based on your goals and target audience.
By taking the time to understand the different tabs in Facebook Ads Manager and exploring the various ad formats available, you’ll be well on your way to creating effective and successful ad campaigns on Facebook.
Step 3: Creating Your First Facebook Ad Campaign
Facebook Ads offer a variety of campaign objectives, and choosing the right one is crucial for the success of your ad. The campaign objective determines what you want to achieve with your ad and sets the stage for the rest of your campaign.
Choosing a campaign objective:
To get started, log in to your Ads Manager account and click on the “Create” button to create a new campaign. The first step is to choose your campaign objective. Here are some of the most common objectives:
- App Promotion
Defining your target audience:
Once you have chosen your campaign objective, the next step is to define your target audience. You can choose the audience based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and location. This will help ensure that your ad is shown to the right people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
As a beginner, I recommend starting your first campaign with basic targeting options that include:
Location | Where you sell your products or services. The best practice is to start with the primary Country in which you do business. Don’t overthink this, keep your targeting fairly broad and target the entire country. The exception is if you own a bricks and mortar business and only service a local area or you have narrow shipping regions. In those cases, target only the areas you can service.
Age | You should have a clear understanding of your ideal customers, including their age. I recommend targeting an age range that’s slightly broader than your target market. For example, if you target people ages 35 – 45, I would open up my age range to 25 – 55.
Interest | By typing keywords into the interest bar, Meta will suggest interests that match your keywords. Choose one interest per ad set.
Best Practice: The machine learning process that Meta uses to optimize ads has become increasingly impressive which means it’s best to keep your targeting fairly broad (the opposite of what we used to do). I recommend aiming for an audience size of at least 250K – 500K. Anything lower than that will limit Meta’s ability to optimize your ads.
More advanced advertisers can start to leverage custom audiences for a more sophisticated ads strategy. Custom Audiences are a powerful feature in Meta Ads Manager. They allow advertisers to create targeted audiences based on their own customer data. With Custom Audiences, you can create segments of people who have engaged with your business in specific ways. For example, people who’ve visited your website or made a purchase. This allows you to create highly targeted ad campaigns that are tailored to specific groups of people, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Custom Audiences can be created using a variety of data sources, including email lists, website traffic, app activity, and engagement on Facebook and Instagram. By using Custom Audiences, you can take your ad targeting to the next level and drive even more successful campaigns.
Setting a budget and schedule:
After you have defined your target audience, the next step is to set a budget and schedule for your ad campaign. You can choose between a daily or lifetime budget and set the start and end dates for your campaign. You can also choose to run your ad continuously or set specific times and days when your ad will be shown.
It’s important to note that the budget can be set at the campaign level or the ad set level. By setting a budget at the campaign level, that budget is shared across all ad sets within the campaign. This allows for easy budget management and allocation across multiple ad sets. However, it may limit the ability to optimize spend at the ad set level, since the budget is fixed across all ad sets.
On the other hand, setting a budget at the ad set level allows for more granular control of ad spend. Each ad set can have its own budget, which allows for more precise optimization and testing of ad performance. This approach can be particularly useful for campaigns with multiple ad sets targeting different audiences or with different ad formats. However, managing budgets at the ad set level can be more complex and time-consuming.
Choosing ad formats and creative:
Finally, you can choose your ad format and creative. Facebook offers a variety of ad formats, including image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and more. You can also choose the placement of your ad, such as in the news feed or in the right-hand column. Once you have chosen your ad format, you can upload your creative, which can include images, videos, and text.
It’s important to note that the best ads, don’t look like ads! After spending hundreds of thousands inside Ads Manager with our agency clients, we’ve found that ads that act like organic posts almost always perform best.
Step 4: Optimize & Monitor Your Campaign
Once you’ve launched your Facebook ad campaigns, it’s essential to monitor their performance and optimize them for maximum effectiveness. Here’s how to do it:
- Tracking Ad Performance Metrics: Use Facebook Ads Manager to track your ad campaign’s performance metrics, such as impressions, clicks, and conversions. Use these metrics to evaluate the success of your campaigns and identify areas for improvement.
- Using A/B Testing to Optimize Ad Campaigns: Experiment with different ad variations using A/B testing to determine which ads perform best with your target audience. Test variations such as ad copy, images, and calls to action.
- Adjusting Budgets and Targeting Based on Performance: Use your performance metrics to adjust your ad campaign’s budget and targeting to ensure you’re reaching the right audience with the right message.
- Leveraging Facebook’s Optimization Tools: Facebook offers a range of optimization tools that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. Use tools such as Facebook’s Automatic Placements and Campaign Budget Optimization to automate the optimization process and improve campaign performance.
By consistently monitoring and optimizing your Facebook ad campaigns, you can achieve the best possible results and get the most out of your advertising budget. It’s all about testing! And, ironically, this is the part where most advertisers fall short.
Successful ad campaigns take constant refinement, testing and optimizing. There is no magic formula for creating a winning ad campaign. Each business is different and every audience is different.
I hope this “Facebook ads for beginners” guide is informative and helpful. Meta ads can be overwhelming but what other agencies don’t want you to know is that it’s more simple than you think.
Anyone can learn to create and run profitable ad campaigns! It’s a learnable skill that comes down to understanding how to create a custom strategy and knowing which buttons to press. Facebook ads are the shortcut to growing an engaged audience, increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic and generating leads and sales in your business.
If you want to learn Facebook Ads yourself and save thousands by NOT hiring an agency, we can help. The Marketing Minimalist Academy is our signature program, where we teach our complete marketing system from A to Z. That includes everything you need to know to run your own Facebook Ads.