How to Do Your First Facebook Ad Campaign to Get People to Your Business

The Complete & Essential Guide

Facebook is one of the most popular and fastest growing social platforms. In fact, some of the latest research shows that Facebook has about 1.23 billion daily active users.

Now, consider this: Facebook also has some of the most powerful targeting capabilities of any major social network.

Translation: Running the right Facebook ad campaigns can help you get out in front of your target audience, helping you:

  • Cultivate brand awareness among your audience
  • Connect with more of your audience
  • See more of your audience turn into potential new clients.

Whether you’ve never run a Facebook ad campaign before — or you’re just not seeing any success in the campaigns you have run on Facebook, here’s everything you need to know to get your Facebook ads set up for success.

Types of Facebook Ads

Before we dive into the details of how to set up Facebook ads, it’s first important to understand the various types of Facebook ads that you can use. Facebook ads can be classified by where they are placed or what they’re asking an audience to do (i.e., the type of call-to-action). In terms of placement, there are three types of Facebook ads:

  • Sidebar Facebook ads
  • Desktop news feed ads
  • Mobile Facebook ads

The right placement for your brand’s Facebook ads will depend on how your target audience typically accesses Facebook. Keep in mind, though, that using a combination of different placement options for your Facebook ads can be a good idea for:

  • Targeting specific segments of your audience
  • Figuring out which placement results in the best engagement and conversions

In terms of calls-to-action, Facebooks can be set up to invite an audience to:

  • Engage with a specific post (read, like, comment on or share a piece of content)
  • Like a business’ page (increase the brand’s Facebook followers)
  • Drive more traffic to a business’ website (increase click-through rates)
  • Get more of the audience to respond to a specific call-to-action (increase conversion rates)
  • Increase app downloads or responses for an upcoming event
  • Increase responses to new offers or deals.

How to Set Up Your Facebook Ads: 6 Steps

Here’s how to get started setting up a Facebook ad that can capture your audience’s attention:

1. Determine your goals — Figure out why you want to run a Facebook ad and what you want your audience to do when they see that ad. Do you want them to visit your website? Respond to a new offer? Call your business? Knowing your goals upfront can help you figure out the best type of Facebook ad to select to meet a specific goal.

2. Navigate to Facebook Ads Manager & choose your goal(s) — Click on any of the blue “Promote Page” buttons featured on your business’ Facebook page. You can also get to the Ads Manager by clicking “Manage Ads” in the main drop menu. Once in the Ads Manager, select your goal(s).

The options for goals generally fall into one of the following categories: 1. Generating Brand Awareness; 2. Getting an Audience to Start Looking for More Information about your Business; and 3. Converting Your Audience.

3. Set your budget and define your audience — You can set a daily budget or a lifetime budget (which will cover the “life” of your ad). Once your budget is set, start defining your target audience. This will include choosing the demographics, such as the age, gender, language and location of your audience (it can also include exclusions — i.e., who you don’t want to include in your audience).

4. Assemble the text & image(s) for your ad — Now comes the creative part! While you can use previously run ads, you can also create new ads from scratch. For new ads, you’ll need to first select the format you want. There are five choices for Facebook ad formats:

  • Carousel, featuring at least two scrollable pictures or videos
  • Single image, showing a single image with as many as 6 variations of your ad
  • Single video, featuring a single video with text
  • Slideshow, showing a looped video that can include as many as 10 images
  • Canvas, featuring both videos and images
Having a hard time keeping track of the right image size & formats for Facebook? Download this free guide!

Here’s what the screen of format options for Facebook ads looks like:

5. Select the location for your ad — Choose whether you want the ad to be placed in the desktop news feed, the mobile news feed or the right-side column. Facebook also offers an “Automatic Placement” option that “automatically allocates more budget to that placement to help you reach more people.” How your target audience typically accesses Facebook — and whether they look to Facebook for news — can impact the best placement of an ad for your brand.

6. Submit the ad — Click “Place Order” button to get the ad in queue for review by Facebook. Once reviewed and approved, the ad will go live, and you’ll receive a confirmation email from Facebook that the ad is up.

Refining Your Facebook Ads: How to Narrow Your Audience

After running a few Facebook ad campaigns, check out the analytics data for each campaign to evaluate engagement. You can see this data under the “Insights” tab, like this screenshot shows:

This can uncover how many people responded to the ad’s call-to-action and when more (and less) of those responses were made. Understanding these results can help you start to narrow — and better target — your audience.

Some of the ways you can start to effectively segment your audience include via:

  • Interest targeting, allowing you to target an audience based on the interests included in their profile information or based on their behaviors on Facebook
  • Connection targeting, getting the ad in front of people who are (or are not) fans of your page or friends of your fans
  • Targeting via custom audiences, which allow you to target an audience you have assembled (as long as you have emails or Facebook IDs) — This can be especially effective when it comes to sharing special deals with newsletter subscribers or former clients, for instance.

Installing the Pixel

If you want to take advantage of Facebook’s dynamic product ads, targeting an audience based on their past action or inaction on your site, you’ll need to:

  • Upload your product or service catalogue to Facebook
  • Install the Facebook Pixel on your site.

Here’s how to get started installing the Facebook Pixel:

  1. In Facebook Ads Manager, select the Facebook Pixel tab.
  2. Click “Create a Pixel.”
  3. Name the pixel. Select a name that represents your business (because you only get one pixel per ad account).
  4. Click a box to “Accept the Terms,” then click “Create Pixel.”

To add the pixel code to your website:

  1. In Facebook Ads Manager, select the Facebook Pixel tab.
  2. Click “Actions,” then “View Pixel Code.”
  3. Highlight the code by clicking on it.
  4. Copy the code (via right click & “copy” or Ctrl+C/Cmd+C)
  5. Click “Done”
  6. Navigate to your site’s HTML and paste the code in.

Re-Target the People Who Engaged

As you start seeing engagement with your Facebook ads, make sure you have a plan for retargeting the people who showed interested in your ad. An effective way to do this is via a retargeted campaign. Here’s how it works:

  1. Someone expresses interest in your Facebook ad and clicks through to your website (or otherwise responds to your call-to-action).
  2. When they leave your site, their browser is cookied. The cookie tells retargeting platforms to run specific ads related the pages on your site that the person visited.

On Facebook, here’s how you can set up a retargeting conversion campaign:

  1. Assemble your list of leads (i.e., the list of people you are retargeting based on their previously expressed interest in your ad or site)
  2. Import the list to Facebook’s Audience Manager
  3. Create the campaign
  4. Segment your audience as preferred and follow steps 1 through 6 listed above.

Running Successful Facebook Ad Campaigns: More Tips

  • Keep an eye on the comments — As you set up your ad, be sure to click to get the URL for it so you can monitor any comments posted by your audience. This feedback can help you understand what your audience is enjoying and engaging with versus what they find off-putting, insensitive, etc.
  • Regularly check the analytics and performance data — In the days and weeks after your Facebook ad goes live, check out how the ad is doing. Keep an eye on the lead costs, and compare them across campaigns to see what ad strategies and topics are the most effective at generating leads for your business. The more you dig into these numbers, the better handle you can get on your Facebook ads. And that can mean a better ROI for this investment.

Check out this screenshot of Facebook ad performance metrics below:

  • Keep it fresh & try new tactics — The robust nature of the Facebook Ads Manager means that there are lots of options for getting your ads out in front of your target audience on this network. As you get comfortable using certain formats or options, start pushing into new territories, switching up the format, theme, messaging and/or tone of your ads. This can help you stumble onto great new tactics for engaging your audience via Facebook ads.

What has your experience with Facebook ads been? Have you had any really great (or terrible) campaigns? What did you learn from them?

Share your experiences and keep the conversation going in the comments below and/or on social media.


(This article was originally published on the Digital Authority Blog)