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A Guide to Facebook Ads: How to Create, Set Up and Run

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Everyone is on Facebook these days, from your best mate to the sweet little old lady across the road.

In fact, we estimate that nearly 60 million residents in the UK have a Facebook account – that’s nine out of ten people!

This means if you’re looking for a paid social platform to promote your business, Facebook Ads can get your product or service in front of many potential customers.

Looking for the ultimate guide to Facebook Ads? 

We’ve got you covered. In this Facebook Ads guide, we’ll show you how to set up, manage and optimise your Facebook Ads so you can get those leads and sales rolling in!

(And remember, we’re here to help if you get stuck!)

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How to set up Facebook Ads

The first step in our guide to Facebook Ads? Creating an ads account. 

Login to your Facebook account and access the Facebook Ads Dashboard. Don’t have a Facebook account? The time has come to create one. Don’t worry; you don’t have to post selfies or videos of your lunch!

If it’s your first time, Facebook will ask you to click on Account Overview and provide some additional information, including:

  • The Facebook page you want to run ads from
  • A payment method – you can use a debit or credit card, PayPal or charge your bank account directly. Make sure you choose the right currency and location, as you can’t change this afterwards
Setting up Facebook Ads account

After providing this information, you’re ready to create some ads! 

Click on the Campaigns icon on the right-hand side (which looks like a calendar) and click the green Create button to get started.

How to create a campaign

The second step in our Facebook Ads Manager guide is to build a campaign.

What’s a campaign? A campaign is a series of ads that achieve a certain objective. You can have multiple campaigns in your Facebook Ads account and multiple adverts under each one. 

Campaigns make it easier to manage your adverts; for example, you can have a campaign that focuses on brand awareness and another one for generating leads.

The first thing you need to do is choose a campaign objective. When you do this, Facebook can suggest ad types that help you achieve your goals. These objectives are:

  • Awareness – showing your ads to people who are most likely to remember them
  • Traffic – showing your ads to people who are most likely to go to your website, app or Facebook page
  • Engagement – showing your ads to people who are most likely to like, comment, and share
  • Leads – showing your ads to people who are most likely to make an enquiry
  • App promotion – showing your ads to people who are most likely to download your mobile app
  • Sales – showing your ads to people who are most likely to buy your product or service
Determining Facebook Ads campaign objective

You can’t change your campaign objective once you’ve chosen, so think about what you want to achieve. Don’t stress if you choose the wrong objective, as you can create as many different campaigns as you need. (Well, up to 5,000, but if you go over this, you might want to rein things back in a little!)

When you’ve done this, you can give your campaign a name. Make sure it’s distinctive so you can identify it at a glance. You can also give your ad set and ad a name (more on these later), but you can skip this bit if you’re not ready yet.

Before you publish your campaign, you’ll be asked to declare if your ads are related to credit, employment, housing or politics.

You’ll still be able to run campaigns in these categories; you just need to ensure your ads don’t breach guidelines.

When you’re happy, click Publish, and your campaign is ready!

How to define an ad set

Third stage of our Facebook Ads guide, and we’re getting into the nitty gritty – how to create an ad set!

The ad set is the layer between your campaign and ad set – a collection of ads that share the same budget and audience. This means no messing around later down the line, create your ad, and you’re good to go!

If you don’t create an ad set when you create your campaign, Facebook will ask you to set one up before you launch your ad.

The first thing you need to do when you create your ad set is define your audience. This is the set of people Facebook will show your ad to.

Defining an ad set on Facebook Ads

As Facebook collects so much information about people, you can set your ads to target prospective customers with laser precision! 

As well as targeting people by location, gender and age, you can target them by hobbies, interests, and even by the other pages they engage with.

Let’s say you run a small business, a baby clothes boutique. You can target your ads to be shown to Facebook users who have updated their life events to say they’ve just had a baby, as well as their friends who might be looking for a celebratory gift!

When you set your audience, Facebook will let you know how many people you may potentially target, as well as how many of these people may potentially interact with your ad.

This isn’t definitive, but it can give you a good insight into who your ad might reach. And remember, you can always come back and tweak the targeting later.

After targeting, you need to set your budget. This is the amount of money you’re willing to spend on your ads. You can either set a daily budget or a lifetime budget.

If you set a daily budget, bear in mind that Facebook may spend slightly more or less each day to get you the best return on investment.

So if you set a £20 daily limit on your ads, Facebook might spend £25 on one day and £15 on another day, but no more than £140 in a week.

(Important note: you can also set an account spending limit. That way, if you reach your limit, all your ads will automatically stop running. This can be useful if you have a lot of campaigns and ads on the go.)

You can also define the date and times Facebook will serve your ads to people. For example, if you’re running ads for a B2B business, you may opt to focus on showing ads during work time rather than evenings and weekends.

How to schedule running time for Facebook ads

How to create an ad

Fourth stage of our Facebook Ads guide – we’re nearly there, we promise!

Picking an ad type can feel daunting, just as there are lots of different ones to choose from. That’s why putting your campaign objective in is useful, as Facebook will prioritise the ad types that best suit your needs.

Here’s our quick and dirty Facebook Ads format guide:

  • Images. The simplest type of ad, this is a photo or image with copy and a call to action. Looks good on mobile and desktop
  • Video. One step up from an image ad, this allows you to upload a short video. You can either create a video yourself or use Facebook’s video creation tools to make one
  • Carousel. Got more than one video or photo you want to show off? Why not use them all? The carousel ad is great for mobile, as users can scroll through the different assets 
  • Instant experience. This is the equivalent of a glossy magazine. When someone clicks on your ad, they can access a full-screen experience, view photos and videos, go to your website, and even browse your product catalogue
  • Collection. If you want to highlight all the products you sell, the collection ad will let you do this. Prospective customers can even buy your products directly from the advert!
  • Lead. Only available on mobile, lead ads let people give you their contact information with just one click

When you’re starting out, it’s good to try at least two different types of ads, for example, an image ad and a video ad. You can then see which type of ad your customers engage with the most and funnel your budget into that one.

When you’ve chosen the right ad type, it’s time to upload your images, videos and ad copy. The assets you’ll include will depend on the ad you create.

Looking for a Facebook Ads size guide? 

We recommend that all images have a resolution of at least 1080 by 1080 pixels. That way, your pictures will look great no matter what ad type you choose.

Make sure the photos and videos you upload are engaging, high-res and tell a story. People spend hours scrolling through Facebook, so you want to use something that stops them in their tracks!

Don’t neglect the words/cAd copy you use either; these can make the difference between someone clicking on your ad and moving on to the next story in their feed. Keep your copy clear, simple, and lead with value – how will your customer benefit from clicking on your ad?

Try some A/B testing with your ads. For example, you could run two ads with exactly the same wording/copy but different images. Even little changes can lead to big results!

How to manage your ads

The final stage of our guide to Facebook ads – your ad may be live, but the hard work isn’t over!

It’s essential to keep a regular eye on your analytics. Facebook Ads isn’t something you can ‘set and forget’ – it’s important to see what’s working well and what needs to be improved. That way, you can make little changes to ensure that return on investment stays nice and high.

You can see how your ads are doing on your campaign page. Stats you can access include:

  • Reach – the number of people who have seen your ad
  • Impressions – the number of times your content was displayed (bear in mind that your ad might be shown in someone’s feed, but they don’t see it)
  • Cost per result – how much money each engagement has cost you
  • Amount spent – the total amount of money you’ve spent on each ad
Facebook Ads campaign dashboard

If your impressions are low, is there anything you can do to make your ad stand out more? 

Alternatively, if you’re spending a lot of money on your ads but don’t have much to show for them, can you review your targeting so your ads focus on the right people?

Facebook Ads guide? Completed it!

We hope this Facebook Ads guide has given you the information you need to get started with your paid social advertising. There may be a lot to take in, but once you’ve set up your account and launched your first ad, things get a lot easier, we promise!

Don’t forget, if you need a little extra support with your Facebook Ads, we can set them up and manage them for you. After all, life’s too short to mess around with audience targeting!

Need a helping hand with Facebook? Take advantage of our free Facebook Ads audit

Have you set up Facebook Ads but aren’t getting the click-through rate or cost per click you expected?

Rather than bang your head against the wall, why not let us audit your ads for you?

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Our team of PPC experts will analyse your adverts, check your copy and targeting, providing lots of useful feedback you can use to tweak your Facebook Ads to perfection.

And best of all… it’s completely free!

Get in touch today to receive a free marketing plan – let us boost your ads and increase your sales.

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