A Quick Introduction to Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising has been going through a lot of changes recently, but it certainly isn’t going anywhere. Despite only recently becoming the forefront of the business world, Facebook advertising is, possibly, the most important marketing tool of the modern day. TV killed the radio spot, and social media has usurped the throne from television. Facebook is where people’s attention is in 2018, so your business better be there.

If you’re looking to start running Facebook ads, I’m sure you’ll be excited to learn that they might be one of the simplest things you’ll ever do — that is, of course, assuming you know the right places to go. Yes, you’ll, unfortunately, have to do some reading before you get going. Luckily, you can learn everything you absolutely need to get started in less time than it would take to make a cup of coffee.

Where and How to Start Running Facebook Advertising

When running Facebook ads, you’ll find everything you need right here. If you need something a little more mobile optimized, you can also download the Facebook Ad Manager app from both the Android and iOS app stores. You’ll also be using this API to run ads on Instagram if you’re interested in that.

Before you can get going, though, you do need to make sure that you’re running things through a business account. For Facebook, this is as simple as having a page setup and inputting some credit card information. Instagram advertising is similar, but it does require some extra steps. Before you can run ads on Instagram, you’ll need to link your Instagram page to your Facebook. You can do this through the settings in the app. Look for “Switch to Business Profile” under the Account settings.

Your First Ad

With that all set, you’re ready to start running Facebook ads — or to start the process of running Facebook ads, at least. From the Facebook Ads Manager page or app, navigate to the “Campaigns” tab. If this is your first time, it should be empty. From there, click on the “Create Campaign” button. The first page will ask you what the goal of your campaign is, which could be an article (or series of them) on its own. For now, you’ll likely be looking for one of these three, though:

  1. Brand Awareness: The brand awareness objective is fairly self-explanatory. This will get your ad in front of the most faces possible, but won’t lead to a lot of click-throughs and conversions. It’s generally preferred over the reach objective, despite their similarities. Brand awareness is more targeted — “more targeted” is often going to be your goal in Facebook advertising.
  2. Traffic: Traffic, again, is a pretty simple objective: the ad drives traffic to your website. The other objectives listed with traffic are similar but lean towards a particular type of traffic. If you know that you want leads or messages, go with the more appropriate objective. Traffic will do just fine if you’re unsure, though.
  3. Conversions: The conversions objective does one thing really well: it creates sales. If you are looking to sell a product or service, this is the objective you should choose. It will lead to a decrease in reach and, subsequently, traffic, but instead targets people who want to buy your product. This is also a great objective for retargeted ads.

Once you’ve set an objective, you’ll name your campaign and start setting it’s audience, budget, and schedule. Budgeting is fairly straightforward. Hopefully, you’ll know what you’re ready to spend by the time you’ve gotten to this step. You’ll then schedule when the ad will run, and how much will be spent on it daily. If you’re looking for quick returns, you can blow the whole budget in one day, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, you should schedule the ad to run only when your audience is likely to be active.

Much like objectives, setting your audience deserves many, many articles. You likely have an idea of your target audience, though, and that’s good enough to get started. Facebook ads can help you to learn and refine your target audience, especially with A/B testing being done. You can specify your audience by age, gender, likes, job position, and almost anything that might be relevant. Facebook provides a useful meter to help you here: as long as you’re in the green, you’re doing good. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to lean more towards the specific end. As your audience gets smaller, your ability to reach them grows.

Now that you’ve got that set, you can start creating your ads. You can do this through the Facebook Ads Manager, or through Facebook itself. Through the Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll construct a post much like you would on the website, with some additional tools at your disposal. There are a few tips and tricks here: start at the top and work your way down, and remember to check and double check your preview to see how the ad looks. You can also boost a post on your Facebook business page, which should now be available when you visit your page, or under “Use an Existing Post” on the Ad Identity page of Facebook Ads Manager. If you’re looking to increase engagement, it’s useful to boost a post that’s already seeing decent traffic. You know that your audience already likes it, so other people should, too.

Now you just have to do one more thing before you’re ready to launch the ad…

Finding the Facebook Pixel

If you are sending people to a website, then you should set up a Facebook pixel. Despite nearly all marketers knowing how important pixels are, few seem to understand how to use them. The process is much simpler than it seems. You can create a pixel in Facebook Events Manager (found in the same place as Ads Manager) here. On that page, you’ll be taken through the process of setting a pixel up, and then be asked if you want to: use an integration tool, install the code yourself, or email instructions to a developer.

  • If you work with a web developer, email the instructions to them.
  • If you developed your own website, you’ll have to install the code.
  • If you use a service like Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix, you’ll use an integration manager.

Once that’s done, you can use the Pixels tab to track actions that you care about from your customer. What they clicked on your website, how long they stayed, where they went after, etc. Once you’ve determined what those are, you’re ready to go — you’re ready to launch your first Facebook ad.