The Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Facebook Ads

By March 4, 2019 No Comments
The beginner's guide to setting up facebook ads

With highly sophisticated targeting and the largest user base of any social media platform (over 1.5 billion daily active users, as of 2019), Facebook presents one of the most lucrative advertising opportunities available. Businesses large and small utilize Facebook ads to expand their reach, sell more products, and engage with their audience. Facebook’s unique ad buying system makes it easy to get more bang for your marketing budget, as long as you set up your ad properly. We’ve made this beginner’s guide to setting up Facebook ads to help you get started.

The Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Facebook Ads

Connecting your Accounts

To set up Facebook ads, you will first need a personal Facebook account. You can create and manage Facebook ads directly from your personal account if you choose, which may be helpful for musicians, writers, entertainers or sole proprietors. If you are setting up Facebook ads for a business, you’ll want to create a separate business account and connect the two. You can then add any employees or partners to the page as well (you’ll find this under Settings, People and Assets, People), and select permissions accordingly.

Business Manager

how to set up facebook ads for beginners

You can find the business manager by pulling down this menu.

With your accounts connected, it’s time to set up your first Facebook ad. From your home Facebook page, use the arrow in the upper right corner to toggle the menu. Click on the Business Manager button. From here, you can select from any businesses you manage and see the ad campaigns you’ve started. Click on the business you want to set up a new ad for. This will then bring up the Ads Manager tool. From here you can create ads, measure their performance, adjust them, change pricing, and more.

Setting Up Your Facebook Ad

Before you start, it’s helpful to understand the relationship between Facebook’s Campaigns, Ad Sets, and Ads. A Campaign is the highest level, where you determine the purpose of your ads and measure their overall results. Ad Sets are groups of ads within a campaign. You might use Ad Sets to target different markets or use different bidding strategies within the same campaign. Finally, there are individual ads. These are the actual images, videos, and text that will appear to other Facebook users.

To set up a new ad campaign, click on the green Create button in the Campaign tab to get started on your first Facebook ad campaign. From here you can go through the creation wizard, or use the Quick Create option. This will be easier to set up, but will give you fewer targeting options. For the purpose of this blog post, we’ll go through the more detailed setup wizard.

Set Your Marketing Objective

setting up facebook ads for beginners

Which marketing objective you choose will depend on your marketing goals.

The first thing you’ll have to decide is the purpose of your Facebook ad campaign. You have a variety of options categorized under three areas: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Awareness activities will be more difficult to measure, since these ads are more focused on extending the reach or reputation of your brand, and not on direct actions.

Consideration ads, particularly those measured by traffic, are very common. The Lead generation or Conversions objectives can also be useful. With Lead generation, users are encouraged to enter their emails, which is ideal if you are building a lead list. With the Conversions objective, you’ll need to use the Facebook Pixel on your site. The Facebook Pixel is a small bit of code you’ll include on your site which will show when a user completed an activity. The most common of these is the Traffic objective, which drives viewers towards a particular page, such as a landing page. This is what we will select.

To conclude the first step, you’ll need to name your campaign. You can also choose to do a Split Test and to distribute your budget evenly across your ad sets. Since we’re setting up Facebook ads for the first time, we won’t worry about these options right now.

Make Your Ad Set

This screen can be intimidating for beginners creating their first Facebook Ad. Remember that you can switch to Quick Creation using the button in the upper right if you would like something simpler. We’ll cover the most important selections here, and skip over those you can learn more about as you gain experience.

First, since the objective of our ad is to drive traffic, we need to decide what we’re driving traffic to: a website, app, messenger, or WhatsApp. The most common choice will be a website.


One of the most important parts of your Ad Set is defining your audience. This will heavily impact how much your Facebook ad costs, and how effective it is. While every business likes to think their product or service is suitable for anyone, it’s best to be specific here. Use common traits of most of your customers, or your ideal customers.

beginners guide to setting up facebook ads

Detailed audience targeting will help to optimize your ads.

One of the best ways to define your audience is to use the Detailed Targeting section, which will show your ad to people with certain interests or behavior. This is one of the key advantages of Facebook advertising. You can narrow your audience very closely by choosing multiple interests that must all be met. To add these, you’ll need to select the Narrow Audience option. For example, a new bed and breakfast with a remote location might advertise to those interested in travel and digital detox, spiritual retreats, or yoga retreats. There are hundreds of options to choose from, so think carefully about what interests your audience shares.

Budget & Schedule

At this stage you can choose the budget for your ad. First, it’s helpful to understand how Facebook’s algorithm determines ad prices. Every ad competes in an instantaneous “auction” every time it is about to be shown to a user. The highest “bid” in these auctions, which is partially determined by the algorithm and partially by user’s pricing selections, wins the spot. This means some competitive industries with high lead values, like real estate and banking, tend to require higher bids. However, you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to compete. Localizing your ads, narrowing your audience, and making effective ads will win you more spots with lower bids. Remember that Facebook wants their user experience to be high-quality, so is will give preference to ads that users like and engage with.

By toggling the Budget option, you can choose from Lifetime Budget and Daily Budget. This impacts the way Facebook’s bidding algorithm works on your ads. A daily budget may limit the appearance of your ad to the beginning of the day, while a lifetime budget may make your ad appear more often towards the beginning of your campaign. After about a month, the Facebook algorithm will adjust itself and this will equalize, but it may appear unbalanced at first. Which option you choose will depend in part on how you allocate your marketing budget.

You can also set a Bid Cap in this section. This generally limits Facebook’s ability to optimize your ads, so it isn’t recommended. However, if you know it doesn’t make sense to pay more than a certain amount—for example, more than what a lead is worth—you might set a bid cap here.

Make Your Ad

The Format of your ad and the Media you choose are the two most important parts of this section. In the Format section, you can choose from a single image or video, a carousel of images, or a collection. Any of these can be effective, depending on the product or service you’re offering. Further down, you’ll want to add links and explanatory text. As you design your ad, keep the following in mind:

  • Images: Use only high-quality images. Images with people in them, especially faces, tend to get more engagement. Limit the text in your pictures, even business logos or signs. You can add this information in the text section.
  • Videos: Videos tend to perform better than images. If you do use a video, consider adding subtitles, or using a video that doesn’t use dialogue, since an estimated 85% of Facebook video watchers don’t use audio.
  • Text: Keep your text brief and enticing. Clearly state the benefit the customer would receive and where they can get it.
  • Links: Make sure you’re using the correct URL for the ad, whether that’s your homepage or a landing page.

You’re finished! While there are other selections that can help you optimize your ad or create different types of ads, you’ve successfully created a basic Facebook ad generating traffic to your website or landing page. As your ad runs, Facebook’s algorithm will adjust your ad’s appearances based on interactions. If your ad receives a high number of clicks, Facebook will automatically prefer your ad over competing ads that do not perform as well. This makes careful audience selection and high-quality graphics particularly important. Now that you know the basics of setting up Facebook ads, you can try it for yourself.

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