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Running Your First Facebook Advertising Campaign — Complete Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide to Facebook Ads

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Before you learn how to run Facebook ads, you will be afraid to lose money. I was too, but when I found out that you can start at a $1 budget, I was relieved.

Do Facebook Ads work?

That is one of the most common questions I always get from friends, family, and business owners looking to increase their brand awareness or want to tell the world about their next product or service. But before we answer that, let’s look at whether it’s worth it putting your dollars into Facebook.

Is it even worth it advertising on Facebook?

First of all, people spend an average of 50 minutes on Facebook per day. There are even more statistics here to give you more reasons to run Facebook ads.

As of 2020, Facebook reported over 1.7 billion active users daily and over 2.7 billion users monthly. The revenue and user base is growing even more each year. With the ROI (Return on Investment) for social media marketers being higher compared to other Social media channels according to this article.

Billions of dollars have been spent on Facebook Advertising by various marketers around the world. Don’t believe that, see these success stories from Facebook.

So, to answer your question, Is it really worth it?

Advertising on Facebook is an excellent way to drive traffic(website visitors), leads, and sales to your business. You can set up your ads today and have a return on your money the next day. That is if you set-it-up right, which is not that easy.

But no worries, because Today, I will show you everything you need to know to start running successful Facebook advertising campaigns.

What are Facebook Ads?

When you scroll through your Facebook personal news feed, it won’t be long until you see your first Facebook Ad. You can tell it’s an ad by the word “sponsored” just below the page name or whoever is advertising.

Notice the word -page name- because you cannot advertise with your personal Facebook profile. You need a business page to start advertising on Facebook. Here, see some example ads to get the idea of what you will learn today.

These ads are sent to user profiles depending on the preferences, interests, and other demographics like age, location, you set… which data Facebook already knows from the data you/users voluntarily filled in while registering or while updating the profile.

So where do Facebook Ads appear?

You can see Facebook Ads on your personal news feed, for both mobile and desktop, and since Facebook acquired Instagram, you can also see ads on Instagram and stories for Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. There is also the audience network and marketplace, however, the two are not available in some countries.

Sounds cool Mugabi, But How Do I Get Started?

There are still a few things you need to know before running Facebook Ads.

Step 1: Working with Facebook Business Manager

To get started, visit business.facebook.com to create a business account.

First of all, the Facebook Advertising structure (Campaign, Ad-sets, Ads) is very important to understand before you run your first ad.

Once you have succeeded in creating a business account, go to the business manager where you will be managing all your Advertising campaigns and ads.

You might not be able to understand the whole structure for the first time.

That’s is why I put together this video, so you can understand the whole Facebook Ads structure in a very simple way.

Here is what you can do with the Facebook business manager

  • Create Ad accounts for running ads on your page via the Ads manager
  • Create new or manage existing advertising campaigns and ad accounts
  • Manage your billings and ad spend limit
  • Create and save custom audiences that you can use to target specific users
  • Track the performance of each ad
  • Test various ads with a similar setting or audience (learn what performs better and optimize for high conversion rate and more sales)

You can even schedule an ad from the business manager.

Note: If it is your first time to run ads, Facebook will guide you through setting up your Ads account (choosing time zone, payment method). By the way, it’s all free to get your Facebook business account.

Alright, so now let’s turn our attention back to the Ads manager for a little bit.

The Ads manager along with the catalog manager (for e-commerce stores) are some of what you will find in your Facebook business manager.

Getting to Know the Facebook Advertising Structure

  • Campaigns — contains the goal of your advertising (website traffic, engagement, purchases)
  • Ad-sets — Contains all your ads and the audience you are targeting.
  • Ads — This is your video or picture or your offer (ad creative). You can create multiple ads within an ad-set.

To set up a Facebook Ads campaign click “Create” in the Campaigns tab in your Ads Manager, if you haven’t verified your business, start by going to business settings and;-

  • Verify your Facebook Business account from your email
  • Set up your payment method

Tip

Always start your campaign by choosing the right (objective) type of ad you want to run, and or whether you are advertising to a (Cold-traffic) completely new audience or re-marketing to (Warm/Hot traffic) people already interested in your products or services . These 3 types of traffic are discussed in more detail in “Defining Digital Marketing”.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Objective/Goal for your Campaign— Over 11 Options to Explore

You see, the thing with running ads is you need to first figure out what you exactly want your money to do for you or your business (Is it to send people to your website, download your recipe guide, signup for your event)?

That’s is why Facebook has different objectives for various ad types.

When you choose your campaign objective, you give Facebook a better idea of what type of ad you want to run and your intentions to advertise.

There are basically 11 objectives from 3 main categories namely:

3 Categories of Facebook Campaign Objectives

  • Awareness — Get people’s attention, let them know how their problems will be solved with your product or service
  • Consideration — Engage your audience by creating a relationship with them and offers that convert them from strangers to customers
  • Conversion — Create even more offers and funnels (work on retaining your customers, create a long-term relationship with them)

11 Facebook Campaign Goals/Objectives for Your Ads

  • Brand awareness — Let new audiences learn about your business/brand
  • Reach — Expose your content to as many people as possible
  • Website traffic — Drive visitors to a specific page/app/offer
  • Engagement — Encourage people to comment/share/attend an event
  • App installs — Get more installs for your mobile app
  • Video views — Get more people to watch your video
  • Lead generation — Collect more emails and phone numbers for prospects
  • Messages — Get more messages via Facebook or WhatsApp messenger
  • Conversions — Get more purchases, sign-ups, more actions/activities taken on your website/mobile app or Facebook messenger
  • Catalog sales — Increase sales, send ads to people most likely to buy
  • Store traffic — Get more visits to your local physical store

Tip

One thing to keep in mind is different objectives give you different options moving forward to the next steps. Forexample if its a conversions objective, you need to have set up the pixel for this to work, or if it’s a catalog sales, you need to have set up the catalog via the commerce manager prior to running the ad, same with Facebook lead ads, you need to have set up your lead form, and so on…

Step 3: Choosing an Appropriate Budget for your Facebook Advertising Campaign

You have done an excellent job so far, now that you have chosen your campaign objective (you can call it your intention to advertise), the next step is to decide on whether it’s going to be a daily budget (pay per day) or a lifetime budget (Run ads continuously).

So, if you have never run Facebook ads before, how do you decide whether to make it a daily or lifetime budget?

Well, there are a few things that will help you figure this out;-

— First of all, your budget (how much did you budget for marketing/ads?)

— Consider the price of your product or service.

— Which campaign objective do you want to use?

— How many of your items/products are you planning to sell

— Whether you are advertising to a cold, warm or hot traffic (Are visitors most likely to buy or do they still need to learn more about you and your company?). Learn more about driving quality website traffic here.

Tip

After choosing your objective, make sure you give your campaign a descriptive name, a name that will give you a clue on exactly what the ad was about if you come back after a month, especially when you run ads as an agency for different clients. Things like the Client’s name, Facebook page name, location will be handy

Step 4: Setting Up Your Facebook Ads Account

This is a very important step. You should see a button that either says “Continue” or “Next” right at the bottom right corner but if you have not run Facebook ads before, you might see a “Set Up Ad account” button, this is where you set things like your country, time zone, currency, and the ad account name as demonstrated in this video.

The time zone is the time in which your reports and results will be generated. For example, if you launch your ads campaign at 7 am in the morning and you set your time zone in UTC time, your results and reports will be generated in the UTC time zone.

Step 5: Create/Choose Your Target Audience (Who are You Advertising to?)

Probably the most important step while creating Facebook ads is creating/choosing the right target audience (who do you want to see your ads?). If you get this wrong, you might not get any success with your ads.

But don’t worry, if you are just starting, what you need to do is test and experiment with different targeting options and campaign objectives and collect more data about your customers or visitors, until you are and Facebook is sure the audience is the best fit. I guess that's why should start with $1/day.

When we talk about the target audience, we talk about things like:-

9 Facebook Ads Targeting Options for Complete Beginners

Gender — for example, men/women

Age — for example, targeting young entrepreneurs between 25–35

Location — advertise to people in a specific local area or country

Languages — send ads to people who speak a specific language

Education Level— showing ads to Information Technology graduates

Work — you can advertise to people with specific job titles (C.E.O, Founder…)

Interests — Get more engagements/sales by targeting interests and hobbies

Behaviors —People with a specific lifestyle. this is found in detailed targeting

Connections — advertise to friends of your friends or those who like your page

Those are not the only targeting options, there are more like, considering events people attend, relationship status, and all these if used correctly, will increase the possibility of getting the right people to see your ads thereby increasing the success/conversion rate of your ads which means more sales.

Tip

As you refine your settings, check for the potential reach number in the audience definition guage at the right hand side of your screen. Once you have your audience set up, Facebook lets you save your audience and use it for another campaign or ad in the future.

Visit the Facebook business help page to learn more about this?

2 Types of Target Audiences You Should Know

  1. Custom Audience — This allows you to target your ads to people in your contact list, people who visited your website (with a Facebook Pixel installed), downloaded/installed your mobile application, and more.
  2. Look-Alike Audience — Now that you know about custom audiences, when you create a lookalike audience you are simply telling Facebook to create another audience from (an already existing audience) a custom audience.

What is the Difference between Detailed Targeting and Retargeting?

Detailed targeting allows you to refine the group of people who see your ads. You can do this with things such as demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Detailed Targeting may include showing ads to people based on;-

  • Ads they click
  • Pages they engage with
  • Device usage, and travel preferences
  • Demographics like age, gender, and location
  • The mobile devices they use
  • The speed of their network connection

You can even exclude a specific location or gender or device if you prefer.

Retargeting, however, means showing ads to people who have already shown interest in your products and services. Have you ever noticed that sometimes you visit a website and when you go back to your Facebook news feed, you find the same ads with the same products or services that you viewed on the third-party website? That’s re-targeting working on you.

Step 6: Choosing the Right Facebook Ad Placement

Ad Placements are the places in which your ads are displayed. For example on the Facebook news feed, Instagram stories, Messenger, and Audience Network.

Remember what we said about (Step: 2…) choosing the right ad's objective?

Now, depending on the objective you chose when you created your campaign, your ads will appear on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Marketplace, Audience Network...

Below are some of the Facebook Ad placements:-

  • Facebook Stories: Ads appear in people’s stories on Facebook.
  • Instagram Stories: Ads appear in people’s Stories on Instagram.
  • Messenger Stories: Ads appear in people’s Stories on Messenger. Learn more about ads in Messenger Stories.
  • Instagram Explore: when someone clicks on a photo or video. Learn more about ads on Instagram Explore.
  • Messenger Inbox: the Home tab of Messenger. More about ads in Messenger.
  • Facebook In-Stream Videos: in Video on Demand and in a select group of approved partner live streams on Facebook.
  • Facebook News Feed: the desktop and the mobile News Feed
  • Instagram Feed: Instagram Feed ads only appear to people using mobile
  • Facebook Marketplace: Your ads appear on the Marketplace home page. Learn more about ads in the Marketplace.
  • Facebook Video Feeds: between organic videos and Facebook News Feed.
  • Facebook Right Column: the right columns on Facebook. Right column ads only appear to people browsing Facebook on their desktop computers.
  • Facebook Search Results: in relevant Facebook-Marketplace search results.
  • Messenger Sponsored Messages: as messages to people who have an existing conversation with you in Messenger.
  • Audience Network Native, and Banners: on apps on Audience Network.

Tip

You can schedule ads or select a time frame for your ads. It only works if you set a lifetime budget.

2 Types of Ad Placements any Facebook Advertiser Must Learn

Automatic — seems obvious right? I mean automatic. Anyway, we have just looked at the different ad placements. When you set your Ad placements to automatic, Facebook distributes your ads to those different places depending on which performs best for your target audience.

Manual — this is where you get in and edit your placements, you tell Facebook where to display your ads by choosing where your ads should appear. This is the recommended thing to do, it gives you more control over your budget and ultimately better results.

Step 7: Optimize Your Budget & Control Your Costs

One of the cool things you can do within Facebook Ads manager is to control how much and how you spend on ads. For example, you can set your bidding strategy. This means you decide how much you are willing to pay for a click, purchase, or sign up. Keep in mind that Facebook will suggest bids based on other advertisers’ behavior to give you an idea.

Remember these two budget optimization options.

  1. Impressions — you spend when someone sees your ad
  2. Clicks — you spend when someone clicks your (button) call-to-action

If you want to control your cost you will need to set a lifetime budget (continuously run ads or choose a specific period of time). Refer to (Step 3: Choosing the Right Budget for your Ad Campaign)

Another cool thing is you get to choose a delivery type for your ads;

  1. Accelerate —ads delivered at optimal speed and lowest cost
  2. Standard —ads quickly delivered, *may lead to higher ad costs

Tip

Always optimize & pay for clicks not impressions. However, sales-focused objectives like purchases usually cost more than awareness-focused objectives such as page likes, post engagements and button clicks. Remember, the more the clicks, the more you pay.

Step 8: How To Create Your Ad/Creative Fast

You bet this is the most interesting part of the process. This is where you choose which type of content (video, text, images) to put in your ad. These ads are what users on Facebook will see in their feeds, stories… as seen in (Step 6: Choosing the Right Facebook Ad Placement), so you want them to look good and attractive.

However, if you are just beginning to advertise on Facebook or Instagram, you don’t want to put a lot of things in your ad. You need to keep it as simple as possible and experiment first.

Take a look at these Facebook Ads examples to get more ideas and tricks.

You start by giving your ad a cool descriptive name.

Up next, you choose your ad type. Note that the type of ad depends on the objective you chose in (Step 2: Choosing the Right Objective/Goal for your Campaign…)

Facebook Ad Types & Design Recommendations

Ad Types

  • Image ads
  • Video/Gifs ads
  • Facebook/Instagram Stories ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Slideshow ads
  • Collection ads
  • Instant Experience ads
  • Messenger Inbox ads
  • Desktop/Mobile Feed ads

File Formats

  • File type: jpg or png — (gifs are uploaded in video ad type)
  • Image ratio: 1.91:1 to 4:5
  • Recommended resolution: Upload the highest resolution image available.
  • Primary Text: 125 characters

With Link

  • Image ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1
  • Recommended resolution: at least 1,080 x 1,080px
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Description: 30 characters

Facebook has set a limit on how much text can appear in the image of your ad. Luckily for you, Facebook also has a free tool to help you gauge how much less text you need to have in your image for it to meet the recommended guidelines.

If you have an Instagram page connected to your ad account and you want the same ad to appear on Instagram, press the “Add Instagram placement” button.

Next up, after choosing the right ad type, now is the time to choose whether to upload an image or use an existing image from an existing live post. You can paste the post ID or manually select the post.

Step 9: Setting Your Call To Action Button

Alright, you are almost launching your first Facebook Ad campaign. But before you get to publish your ad, you need to tell Facebook what you want users/prospects/visitors to do when they see your ad (Call-to-action).

On your call to action button, you can include things like;

  • Sign Up
  • Learn More
  • Watch More
  • Download
  • Apply Now
  • Shop Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us

A call-to-action must have a URL (Unique Resource Locator/destination).

You must include an address, the location of your download, sign up form, product page, or whatever your offer is. The use of the call-to-action (CTA) button is to take your prospect to the right page, offer page, or video.

Conclusion

Lastly, if you want to track your ad performance and conversion, like how many sales, or clicks your ad contributed, you must set up your pixel.

Or connect an already existing pixel. Especially if you want to run remarketing or retargeting campaigns. A must-have for e-commerce stores and websites.

By the way, if you need to build an eCommerce online store in minutes without any experience watch this video or better yet create a *Free Wix Blog, watch how in this video.

Once you have everything set, Review and Publish your campaign/ad.

Pro-Tip

Let your ads run for a few hours to let Facebook learn more about your audience and after finding the successful ad, increase your budget and test your images, headlines, to optimize performance and increase sales.

Now it’s time for you to set up an ad for your own so you can increase awareness for your brand, generate more traffic/visitors for your website, and get more people to attend your event or purchase your products and services, go on. Start by choosing your ideal prospects on Facebook or Instagram.

What objective will you advertise for?

What is your preferred Ad placement? Leave some comments

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Mugabi Imran

Mugabi Imran

Metaverse Enthusiast | Copy writing Student | Google Certified Digital Marketer | eCommerce Agency owner | Jumia Sales Consultant