Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads was a feature introduced to the platform in 2007. While a lot has changed over the years, the foundational principles have remained the same. Every online marketing channel has its own ad platform, and each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses, but what makes Facebook Ads stand out is its ability to target its users using information that it collects from our profiles, posts, pastimes, and people we’re connected with.

Just because Facebook Ads have been around for a while, don’t think that you’ve missed the boat. You may be surprised to learn that there are 60 million pages on Facebook and only 7 million ad accounts, so there is a lot of potential for you to tap into.

If you don’t already have a Facebook business page, read our blog post with tips on how to start off strong.

So, why should you consider using Facebook Ads instead of putting your time, effort, and budget into another advertising channel?

Why use Facebook Ads?

Organic reach on Facebook is great to build a dedicated audience, but paid Facebook ads are the best way to get content in front of new people or people who’ve previously considered your brand but have not entered your sales funnel. Paid reach guarantees that your posts appear in people’s timelines instead of hoping that the organic algorithm works in your favour.

By targeting your ads, you can put your content in front of people who would be interested in what you have to offer but don’t already follow your Facebook page.

Metrics (also known as Facebook Insights) are how marketers gauge an advertisement’s success. No matter the platform, there are a lot of metrics available at the tip of your fingers (if you know where to look). Facebook provides about twice as much detailed metrics on their ads than their organic posts. From here, marketers can break down & analyze performance specifically and learn so much about what type of ad content drives your traffic, what calls to action secure leads, and which users are your best customers.

Set Your Goals & Objectives

Before putting time, effort, or money into any marketing initiatives, it’s important to first define your objectives. Facebook wants your advertising efforts to be as effective as possible and will ask you what your objectives are so that your ads’ audiences and placements are tailored to achieve the results you want. Each objective relates to a different stage in a customer’s buying process.

The three main types of campaign objectives and subcategories are:

  • Awareness: Generate interest in your content or your product
    • Brand awareness
    • Reach
  • Consideration: Make the audience interested in searching for more details about your business
    • Traffic
    • Engagement
    • App Installs
    • Video views
    • Lead generation
    • Messages
  • Conversion: Get the audience to purchase your product or service
    • Conversions
    • Catalogue sales
    • Store visits


If you have a brand new business and you want to make more people aware of it, then you should focus on awareness and reach. If you want to promote your business to potential customers and/or increase physical sales, then you should focus on conversions and store visits.

Conversion campaigns are the most valuable in terms of seeing immediate return on your ad spend, however they require more setup from the backend. For example, in order for a user to complete a conversion, you’ll need a website landing page where a conversion can take place (i.e. sale, lead, phone call), and you’ll need to set up conversion tracking with your Facebook Pixel

Message campaigns are a great way to open a dialogue with your potential customers. People will often ask questions in a Facebook message that they feel aren’t worth calling about. This one-on-one communication creates a relationship between you & the customer, and it’s easier to perform customer service or sales in a private message than in post comments.

Lead generation campaigns eliminate the need for a landing page and collect information directly from customers’ Facebook profiles. These types of campaigns are easy for you to set up and reduces friction for a customer to share their info with you. The only problem with its ease of use is that you may get a lot of people signing up that turn out to be poor quality leads. It’s also important to know that you will need a privacy policy on your website to use lead ads.

It’s important to know that Facebook needs at least 50 actions per week to properly optimize your ads, so choose your type of campaign accordingly. If you have a small business and don’t expect to get that many leads (for instance), pick a different goal & ad type.

Target Your Audiences

One of the problems with traditional advertising is that it broadcasts to anyone and everyone equally. The advantage of online advertising is you can target ads to people who would be more interested in what you have to offer, and this is where the power of Facebook advertising lies. Facebook knows a lot about each of its users and you can take advantage of that data by choosing to show ads to one of three types of audiences:

  • Core audiences: manual selection of the audience based on your set criteria
  • Custom audiences: upload your contact lists to discover an existing audience
  • Lookalike audiences: find people similar to an existing target audience

Core audiences allow you to find consumers based on demographics, locations, interests, genders, and even behaviours. By hyper-targeting your audiences in this way, you can give your ads the best chance of converting. This is most effective if you have customer personas established.

Custom audiences allow you to upload your contact lists of existing customers, or even old ones that you want to re-engage with. You can also choose to target people who’ve interacted with your page or website within a set time period, or target friends of these users. This is an easy way to blend your physical activity with your online presence and develop an improved relationship with your audience.

Lookalike audiences include people that you haven’t engaged with in the past but they meet the criteria of your ideal audience based on comparisons to your existing customers and user base.

Boost Post is the ‘easy button’ of advertising. It will automatically show the post to people who are most likely to engage with it. For clicks, conversions, or messages, use an ad campaign. We’d recommend using the Boost Post when a particular organic post begins performing well, to give it an extra ‘Boost’.


Who sees your ads is one of the best things about advertising with Facebook but where those people see your ads is also very important. When you advertise with Facebook, you also have the ability to place your ads within all of its other platforms, products, and subsidiaries; Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other apps within the Facebook Audience Network.

You don’t have to pick the placements for every ad. It all depends on who you want to target and the type of ad it is. However, depending on the type of creative you have for an ad, you can optimize for specific placements (ex. Vertical image ads for Facebook Stories, and horizontal ads for Facebook Newsfeeds).

Specify Your Budgets

Once you’ve decided on your advertising budget, you have to decide how to allocate it. You can choose for Facebook to charge you based on the overall amount you spend or the cost of each result you get from the ads.

The success and the cost of your ads depend on ad auctions and how your ad performs towards your target audience and their interests. Facebook uses ad auctions to determine the best ad to show to a person at any given time. The winning ad maximizes value for both the consumer and the business.

Facebook allows you to set limits so that you don’t exceed your budget while still giving them the freedom to place your ads as strategically as possible.

For more on budget optimization, read our blog post.

Media & Formats

Every campaign message is best told using a different format. One message might be perfect for a graphic while the next might work best as a video. Facebook ads can take any form, each of which will help achieve different objectives and resonate with different audiences.

Media Formats
  • Photo: Use the power of images to tell your story
  • Video: Find engagement with the right use of image, sound, and motion
  • Lead ads: Use this format to make lead generation easier
  • Dynamic ads: Find the ideal target audience for your products in a sophisticated, automated way
  • Link ads: Bring more people to your website
  • Carousel: Add more than one image or video in one ad
  • Slideshow: Create a series of lightweight video ads without the cost or the time of video ads. This is a quick and affordable way to create video-like ads
  • Collection: Showcase your products by telling a story in an easy and immersive way
  • Canvas: Aim for a full-screen, fast-loading experience that is designed for mobile


Keep in mind that Facebook will limit your ad’s reach if the image you’re using contains too much text. Use a graphic to hook someone’s interest and go into more detail in the body of the post. Use Facebook’s Image Text Check tool to ensure that images will clear before you try to launch your ad.

When it comes to writing copy to accompany your visual media, make sure that it’s compelling and gives people all of the information they need. Most people won’t follow a link to a landing page if you didn’t already hook their interest. Similarly, make sure that the text “above the fold” is really compelling. Again, people will be less likely to click “See more” and continue reading if you didn’t hook them right from the top.

Measure Performance & Adjust

A lot of elements of Facebook Ads are decided during the creation of the campaign, like audiences & placement, but this does not mean that you should just “set it and forget it.” Once your ads are approved and start being displayed, you can get insights about how they’re performing. You can use this data to make small adjustments or overhaul the campaign entirely.

You can analyze the data for overall ad sets or for individual ads (where one campaign may have had a variety of different ads). Clicking on ‘view charts’ will give you further insights into the ad’s performance, whether it met your objectives, the demographics that it reached, and its placement.

You should give it 3-5 days to get accurate data since the time of day can affect how your ad is being shown and received.

What’s useful is that the metrics will be relevant to your ad’s objective. For example, an ad aimed at generating awareness is not measured by the same metrics as an ad focusing on increasing app installs. By presenting you with the most relevant data, you can confirm that your budget was well spent and you’re able to track the most relevant metrics for your campaign.

Once you have this data, you can use it to adapt your strategy and your individual ads or campaigns. You don’t have to wait until the end of the campaign to do this. If you see that your ad is performing really poorly after a few days, you can make changes and try again. Small changes in an ad graphic, a headline, or the body of a post can make a world of difference.

To test variations of an ad, change one element at a time and give it a few days before changing another. Start with imagery because that’s what will (or won’t) grab people’s attention.

It’s important to keep in mind that Facebook’s popularity doesn’t guarantee your ad’s success. Its numerous advertising options can make it harder to pick the right one if you don’t know exactly what you want to achieve. Stay focused on your key objectives and adjust according to your audience’s behaviour.

Focus on what’s important to your company and your campaign goals, and use the right format for delivering that campaign’s message. If you’re still new to Facebook advertising, you can start with a small budget to test the available options until you feel more comfortable rolling your ads out on a larger scale.

For more tips on making the most of your Facebook Ads campaign, read our blog post. If you’d like your Facebook Ads to be managed by one of our experts, connect with us via the form below. 

Tags: , , , , ,

One thought on “Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads

  1. Great piece of information, as Facebook advertisement is taking the online market to the next level. Through Facebook ads, you can easily run your ads for the targeted audience. It helps build your brand and make people aware of your product and services. You can easily set goals and budget for your ads and get the online conversion. Everything is explained very well as a beginner i would love to start my facebook ads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.