In this guide we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about advertise on Facebook—from planning your first Facebook ad to advanced strategies.

Facebook advertising is an important way to connect with your audience on the world’s largest social network.

The ever-changing Facebook algorithm can make it a challenge to connect organically with fans. But Facebook’s micro-targeting features allow you to reach your exact target audience. That means Facebook ads can get your message in front of the people who are most likely to want your products or services.

That’s great for your budget, conversion rates, and return on investmentYou only pay to reach the most valuable potential customers.

It’s important to understand the different Facebook ad types and targeting options before you dive in if you want to get the best results. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from planning your first ad to developing advanced campaign strategies.

TOP 5 Reasons to Advertise on Facebook

Reason #1. Facebook Advertising is Highly Effective

No one would have guessed in 2004 that Facebook would become what it is today. With more than 2.2 billion monthly active and close to 1.5 billion daily active users, Facebook is a major part of people’s lives. This is a trend that is not going to change any time soon as we continue to ride the waves of the information era.

Facebook is considered one of the top advertising channels online, and digital ad spend accounts for a whopping 51% of total advertising spend in the US. If you are not sure whether Facebook ads will work for you, just let the data speak for itself:

Facebook has seen a steady increase of advertising revenue year over year in the last decade because Facebook ads work.  In a survey by Kleiner Perkins, it was found that 78% of American consumers say they’ve discovered products on Facebook.

Facebook ads can work for you, too, if you take the time to master the complex art that is creating highly effective Facebook ads.

As of June 2018, 55.1% of the world’s population has internet access, so the potential for growth on Facebook is great now and into the future as more people gain internet access and join Facebook. Facebook and the internet as a whole will continue to be the best way for you to connect with consumers and generate sales using ads.

Reason #2. Simple Set-Up Process and Fast Results

Setting up a Facebook campaign takes little time and can yield excellent results for your business. It is an undeniable truth that digital advertising produces a great ROI and it can happen very quickly with the right campaign and product. That is why you see Facebook ads for small local businesses as well as large corporations.

Anyone can log on to Facebook and create a business manager account, set a payment method and publish a campaign in a matter of minutes. You can even experiment with your campaign to find the lowest possible cost per lead through ad creation tools such as AdEspresso.

The following chart shows variations in CPC (cost per click) throughout the year on different placements using data from 2017. The Instagram placement had a CPC of $1.15 in Q4 2017 while desktop newsfeed placement in the same quarter had a CPC of only about $.50.

We can see that you can start driving traffic to your website starting at .10 cents a click. You don’t need an extraordinarily large budget to get started, and compared to running ads on other digital channels such as Google getting started with Facebook ads is quite simple.

You can boost a single post to reach users directly from your Facebook page, or you can create a more complex campaign that targets custom audiences and produces even greater results with the business manager.

After this guide, you’ll be confident on how to use business manager to create a winning Facebook campaign.

Reason #3. You Can Reach Your Ideal Audience

We’ve already touched on just how many people use Facebook every day, so is it any surprise that it is a great way to reach your ideal audience? Facebook provides tons of detailed ways to reach specific people based on their behavior on your website, their known likes, engagement with your Facebook page, and other various elements of their demographic such as age, gender, and location. You can create extremely granular audiences that produce a high ROI using Facebook ads.

In a 2017 study, it was found that 57% of consumers say that social media influences their shopping. Out of that 57%, 44% said that Facebook of all social media platforms was most influential.

With the targeting options available to you as an advertiser and the influence Facebook has on consumer behavior, Facebook is the perfect channel for reaching your ideal audience.

Reason # 4. Facebook Ad Campaigns Are Highly Customizable

You can construct the perfect ad experience using Facebook ads. Contrary to another big name in the digital ad space, Google, your Facebook ad experience can be designed to attract your perfect audience. That is because Facebook has a wide range of ad formats to choose from.

You can create a compelling video ad that millennial dog owners can’t resist watching, or an immersive canvas ad for senior citizen dog owners that explain every detail and benefit of your dog food product, for example.  We will explore in depth the different Facebook ad types in Chapter 4 of this guide, but let’s have a look at how many campaign objective options there are: 

That’s 11 different Facebook ad objectives you can choose from based on your different goals. You can customize your ad design, copy, landing pages and virtually every element of the campaign including technical aspects such as:

  • Target audience
  • Bidding
  • Delivery optimization

These options make Facebook the most customizable advertising network, allowing you to create very specific ad experiences.

Reason # 5. Facebook Is Adding New Features Every Month

Facebook is constantly adding more features and improving user experience for both advertisers and normal Facebook users. This is a large part of why Facebook has sustained growth for so long, it’s always providing more value.

In 2018, we saw many changes on the platform that impact advertisers from new carousel ads for Instagram stories to categories for dynamic ads. With all  of these Facebook updates, we can expect that Facebook continues to make their ad network more powerful and easier to use.

The faster you learn to advertise on Facebook, the sooner you’ll unlock the full potential of social media advertising. The best way to start learning about Facebook ads as a beginner is to just set up your Facebook Business Manager account and get in there and create your campaign!

That is exactly what we’re going to do in this guide.

Types of Facebook Ads

Image Ads

These simple ads are a great way to get started with Facebook advertising. You can create one with just a few clicks by boosting an existing post with an image from your Facebook Page.

Image ads may be simple, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. For example, you might think socks are a pretty ho-hum product, but Happy Socks puts them in surprising contexts to create fun Facebook photo ads.

Video Ads

Video ads can run in News Feed and Stories, or they can appear as in-stream ads in longer Facebook videos. Video ads can show your team or your product in action, like this quick demo video ad from We Are Knitters.

Your video ads don’t need to use filmed video footage. You can also create GIF-like graphics or other animations to capture attention or explain your offer, like in this ad from the New York Times.

Also notice the targeting on this ad: It specifically mentions an offer for Europe (where I live). In my feed, I can also see which of my friends already like the NYT Facebook Page. This makes the copy extra-compelling.

Video Poll Ads

This mobile-only Facebook ad format incorporates an interactive component with video polls. It’s a brand-new type of Facebook paid advertising, but Facebook’s early data shows that these ads can increase brand awareness more effectively than regular video ads.

Carousel Ads

A carousel ad uses up to 10 images or videos to showcase your product or service. You can use this format to highlight different benefits of one product, a number of different products, or even use all the photos together to create one large panorama image, like this:

Slideshow Ads

Slideshow ads offer an easy way to create short video ads from a collection of still photos, text, or existing video clips. If you don’t have your own images, you can choose stock photos directly from Ads Manager.

Slideshow ads have eye-catching motion, just like videos, but use five times less bandwidth, so they load well even for people on slow internet connections. They’re an easy, low-impact way to draw attention.

Collection Ads

These Facebook paid ads, which are offered only for mobile devices, allow you to showcase five products that customers can click to buy.

Collection ads pair with Instant Experiences (more on those below) to allow people to buy your products without ever leaving Facebook. This makes online shopping easy when people are on-the-go and may not have a great internet connection.

Instant Experience Ads

Instant Experience ads used to be called Canvas. They’re a full-screen ad format that loads 15 times faster than a mobile website outside of Facebook, like this example from American Express.

You can also link to additional Instant Experiences so people have access to even more instant mobile content.

Lead Ads

Lead ads are only available for mobile devices because they’re specifically designed to make it easy for people to give you their contact information without a lot of typing. They’re great for collecting newsletter subscriptions, signing someone up for a trial of your product, or otherwise allowing people to ask for more information from you.

Tokio Marine, an insurance company, used lead ads to generate 11,000 leads in just 17 days. In addition to an easy-to-complete lead form, the ads used a Messenger bot to further qualify potential new clients. The campaign reduced the cost of lead collection by 60 percent.

Because these ads are such a great way to feed your sales funnel, we’ve got a whole guide to using Facebook lead ads that breaks down all the details you need to know to make the most of this important type of Facebook ad campaign.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads allow you to promote targeted products to the customers most likely to be interested in them.

For instance, if someone has visited a product page or placed a product in their shopping cart on your website, but then abandoned the purchase, dynamic ads for that precise product will appear in their Facebook feed.

This reminds the potential customer to complete the purchase, and can be a very effective Facebook marketing strategy.

The French store Smallable used dynamic ads to retarget potential customers with carousel, collection, image, and Stories formats. Smallable showed Facebook users ads for products they had already expressed interest in, resulting in a 124 times return on ad spend.

Messenger Ads

Facebook Messenger ads give you access to the 1.3 billion people who use Messenger every month. When creating your ad, simply choose Messenger as the desired placement. You also need to select Facebook feed.

You can also run “click-to-Messenger” ads in the Facebook feed. These ads feature a call-to-action button that opens a Messenger conversation with your Facebook Page, so people can have a one-on-one conversation with one of your salespeople or customer service reps.

Stories Ads

Scientific American found that 72% of millenials won’t rotate their phones to watch widescreen videos. Stories ads are a full-screen vertical video format that allow you to maximize screen real estate without expecting viewers to turn the screen.

These ads have proven highly effective. A Facebook-commissioned Ipsos survey showed that more than half of people said they were making more online purchases because of Stories ads.

Stories Augmented Reality Ads

Augmented reality ads use features like filters and animation to allow people to interact with your brand. This ad format is new to Facebook, but 63% of U.S. Internet users say they have already tried an AR brand experience. Facebook AR Stories ads go into open beta this fall.

Playable Ads

This is another new ad format that incorporates interactivity. You create a game experience that encourages people to interact with your creative content.

How to Set Up Your Facebook Advertising Account

If you’re unsure how to get started with Facebook advertising, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

Up next, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for setting up your Facebook advertising account, including the guidelines for working with Facebook Business Manager and Facebook Ads Manager.

What is Facebook Business Manager?

Business Manager is a tool designed for managing your Facebook Pages and ad accounts.

By using Business Manager, you can:

  • Manage access to your Facebook Pages and ad accounts – see what individuals have access to your Pages and ad accounts and remove or change their permissions.
  • Work with agencies – you can also share your Business Manager account with agencies so that they can help you manage your ad campaigns.

You can have multiple ad accounts and users all combined under your Business Manager account.

Here’s a quick overview of the two roles available in Facebook Business Manager: Admin and Employee:

There’s a different set of roles for Facebook ad accounts that you can also manage and edit in the Business Manager.

In order to create a campaign, your business manager must manage at least one Facebook page.

To add a Facebook page to your business manager:

  • Go to Business Manager Settings
  • On the left, click on Accounts -> Pages
  • In the Pages column, click on the “Add Page” CTA
  • Select one of the 3 options: “Claim a Page”, “Request Access to a Page” or “Create a New Page”
  • If you choose to request access or claim a Page, enter the Facebook page name or URL

To add an advertising account to your Business Manager:

  • Go to Business Manager Settings
  • On the left, click on Accounts -> Ad Accounts
  • In the Ad Account column, click on the blue “Add Account” CTA
  • Choose one of the 3 options: “Claim Ad Account”, “Request Access to an Ad Account” or “Create a New Ad Account”
  • If you choose to request access or claim an ad account, enter the ad account ID 

Before you can start advertising, you’ll need to give Facebook additional account information and enter your credit card data as a payment method for your ads.

Setting Up Your Ad Account Info

You can’t publish your first campaign without setting up your payment method. This pays for the running of your ads. Once you set up your ad account, you won’t have to do this again until you need to change the payment method or create a new ad account.

Let’s navigate to our ad account settings and set this up!

Go to your Business Manager and from there, click on  “Ad Accounts” located under “Accounts”. Fill in all the blanks by entering your company’s name, address, and other relevant information.

If you’re a business in the EU, you’ll also be prompted to insert your VAT number. Facebook will allow you to choose your billing currency and your timezone. Be extremely careful with this information as you won’t be able to change it once you’ve created your ad account account.

Once you enter your company information, you will need to enter your billing details.

Setting Up Your Billing & Payment Information

Now it’s time to add our payment method so we can move forward with creating a Facebook campaign. Click on your ad account settings -> Payment Settings. From here, we can insert our cc or payment method details.

You will land on the Billing page where you can:

  • Add new payment methods
  • Edit your current payment methods
  • Set your account’s spending limit
  • See your next bill 

To add a new payment method to your ad account:

  • Click on “Add Payment Method” button
  • Choose the method you want to add
  • Fill in your information
  • Click on “Continue”

Facebook accepts multiple payment options, including credit cards and PayPal payments so you have a good amount of flexibility when it comes to how you are paying for your Facebook ads.

If you need additional help, here’s Facebook’s guide that explains how your ad billing and payments work.

How to Advertise on Facebook

If you already have a Facebook business page (and you should), you can head straight to the Facebook Ads Manager or Business Manager to create your Facebook ad campaign. If you don’t yet have a business page, you’ll need to create one first.

We’ll follow the steps for Ads Manager in this post. If you’d prefer to use Business Manager, you can get the details in our post on how to use Facebook Business Manager.

Step 1. Choose your Objective

Log into Facebook Ads Manager and select the Campaigns tab, then click Create to get started with a new Facebook ad campaign.

Facebook offers 11 marketing objectives based on what you want your ad to accomplish. Here’s how they align with business goals:

  • Brand awareness: Introduce your brand to a new audience.
  • Reach: Expose your ad to as many people in your audience as possible.
  • Traffic: Drive traffic to a specific web page, app, or Facebook Messenger conversation.
  • Engagement: Reach a wide audience to increase the number of post engagements or Page Likes, increase attendance at your event, or encourage people to claim a special offer.
  • App installs: Get people to install your app.
  • Video views: Get more people to watch your videos.
  • Lead generation: Get new prospects into your sales funnel.
  • Messages: Encourage people to contact your business using Facebook Messenger.
  • Conversions: Get people to take a specific action on your website (like subscribe to your list or buy your product), with your app, or in Facebook Messenger.
  • Catalog sales: Connect your Facebook ads to your product catalog to show people ads for the products they are most likely to want to buy.
  • Store traffic: Drive nearby customers to bricks-and-mortar stores.

Choose a campaign objective based on your goals for this particular ad. Keep in mind that for conversion-oriented objectives (like sales) you can pay per action, but for exposure objectives (like traffic and views) you will pay for impressions.

For this example, we’ll choose the Engagements objective. Some of the options you see in the next steps will vary slightly based on which objective you choose.

Step 2. Name your Campaign

Scroll down to name your Facebook ad campaign and choose whether to set up an A/B split test. You will also choose whether to turn on budget optimization. This option can be useful if you’re using multiple ad sets, but for now you can leave it turned off.

For the Engagements objective, you’ll also choose whether to focus on post engagement, page likes, or event responses. For this example, we’ll choose Page likes.

Step 3. Set up your Ad Account

If you’ve already set up an account, you’ll see a button that says . Click that to move on to the next step.

But if you’re new to Facebook advertising, you’ll see a button that says Set Up Ad Account. Click that and you’ll be prompted to enter some key details to create your ad account. Enter your country, preferred currency, and time zone, then click Continue.

Choose wisely, because if you want to change these options later, you’ll have to create a separate ad account.

Step 4. Target your Audience

At the top of this screen, you will name your Facebook ad campaign and choose which Page to promote.

Scroll down to start building the target audience for your ads.

You’ll see the first option is to add a custom audience of people who have already interacted with your business on or off Facebook. We’ve got a separate guide to walk you through Facebook custom audiences, so here we’ll focus on the targeting options.

Start by selecting your target location, age, gender, and language. As you make your selections, keep an eye on the audience size indicator on the right of the screen, which gives you a sense of your potential ad reach.

You’ll also see an estimated number of Page likes. These estimates will be more accurate if you have run campaigns before, since Facebook will have more data to work with. Always keep in mind that these are estimates, not guarantees.

Now it’s time for the detailed targeting. Remember: Effective targeting is key to maximizing ROI—and there’s no shortage of ways to target your audience using Facebook Ads Manager. You have two fields here in which to make your audience as specific as you choose:

  • Detailed targeting: Use this field to specifically include or exclude people based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. You can get really specific here. For instance, you could choose to target people who are interested in both meditation and yoga, but exclude people who are interested in hot yoga.
  • Connections: You can target or exclude people who have an existing connection to your Facebook Page, your app, or an event you managed. For example, if you want to reach a new audience, your would select “Exclude people who like your Page.” If you want to promote an offer or new product to existing fans, select “People who like your Page” to reach people who already know your brand. You can also choose to target friends of people who have previously interacted with your brand.

Check out these eight essential Facebook targeting tips for more on this subject.

Step 5. Choose your Facebook ad Placements

Scroll down to choose where your ads will appear. If you’re new to Facebook advertising, the simplest choice is to use Automatic Placements. When you select this option, Facebook will automatically place your ads across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Audience Network when they are likely to get the best results.

Once you have more experience, you may wish to place your Facebook ads in specific locations. You have the following options:

  • Device type: Mobile, desktop, or both.
  • Platform: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, or Messenger
  • Placements: Feeds, Stories, in-stream (for videos), messages, in-article, and apps and sites (external to Facebook).

Specific mobile devices and operating systems: iOS, Android, feature phones, or all devices.

Step 6. Set your Budget and Schedule

Next, you decide how much money you want to spend on your Facebook ad campaign. You can choose a daily or lifetime budget, then set the start and end dates if you want to schedule your ad in the future, or choose to make it live right away.

You can also add in an optional cost and bid controls, which will cap the amounts per action rather than for your overall campaign.

You can get into pretty fine detail about how you want to spend your money using the advanced budget options.

Keep in mind that running your Facebook paid ads on a schedule may be the most efficient way to spend your  budget, since you can choose only to serve your ad when your target audience is most likely to be on Facebook. You can only set a schedule if you have created a lifetime budget for your ad.

When you’ve made your selections, and you’re happy with the audience size indicator, click Continue.

Step 7. Create your Ad

First choose your ad format, then enter the text and media components for your ad. The formats available will vary based on the campaign objective you selected back at the beginning of this process.

Use the preview tool at the bottom of the page to make sure your ad looks good for all potential placements (mobile, desktop news feed, right column, and so on). When you’re happy with your choices, click the green Confirm button to submit your order, then wait to get an email from Facebook notifying you that your ad has been approved.

Facebook Audiences and Targeting