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Facebook Ads 101: Learn How to Advertise on Facebook

Did you know, on average, Facebook users spend 35 minutes a day on the network? That’s the second-highest amount of time spent on any social media platform.

It’s an insane number if you ask me!

With more than 2.6 billion people using Facebook every month, and nearly 1.7 billion users every day, Facebook offers up a unique opportunity for marketers to augment their organic efforts.

The brilliant thing about Facebook ads is, it gets your message in front of exactly the right segment of those people. The people who are most likely to actually want your products or services.

But these days we’re so used to scrolling through Facebook and seeing ads that we almost don’t notice them, and for marketers, this is a powerful tool.

So how can you put Facebook ads to good use for your business and see that all-important return on investment?

When done right, Facebook advertising helps both B2B and B2C businesses leverage paid advertising to get new leads and convert them into customers.

To help, I’ve written this guide that discusses everything you should know about advertising on the platform.

Let’s get started.

What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads are paid messages that businesses place on Facebook. This gives you the flexibility to write in your own voice. Plus, you can reach the people who matter most to you.

The essential component of this definition is the word “paid.” Anyone can post on their Facebook page for free but you never know who’s going to see your post.

A paid ad lets you target a particular demographic, and you can be as specific or as broad as you’d like.

Why Should You Use Facebook Ads?

It’s hard to look past Facebook’s reach. With nearly 3 billion active users, that’s a whole lot of people seeing Facebook ads on a regular basis.

When it comes to detailed targeting, Facebook is almost unparalleled. It knows so much about its users, and this information helps advertisers reach the right people with the right message.

Because Facebook collects a lot of user data (such as age, location, and interests) you can create ads and post-click landing pages that are perfectly tailored to them.

Currently, more than 3 million businesses actively advertise on Facebook. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider Facebook as a viable paid advertising channel for your business.

  • Growing audience size: Facebook now has a total of 2 billion monthly active users, of which 83% are women while 75% are men. Plus, Facebook’s Audience Insights make it a lot easier for marketers to narrow down their target audience.
  • Attention: People spend a lot of time on social networks. Marketers can leverage this time to put the right ads in front of the right people.
  • Targeting options: Facebook offers allow businesses to target users by location, demographics, age, gender, interests, behaviour, and much more.

How Do Facebook Ads Work?

Facebook ads now come in several varieties. You can promote your Page, posts on your Page, actions users took, or your website itself. Despite Facebook’s increasing focus on native ads and keeping traffic on its site, you can still be successful in sending users to your website.

Facebook ads are targeted to users based on their location, demographic, and profile information. Many of these options are only available on Facebook.

After creating an ad, you set a budget and bid for each click or thousand impressions that your ad will receive. Users then see your ads in the sidebar on Facebook or in their newsfeed.

As marketers, our main goal is generally to drive traffic to our own websites. Building your Facebook presence is great, but when you bring someone to your website, you control the medium, and this gives you the best chance of converting on your goals.

Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook Advertising has a suite of ad types and formats for your business to choose from. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones:

Image Ads

These simple ads are a great way to get started with Facebook paid 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.

Video Ads

Video ads can run in the 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 travel ad from Airbnb.

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.

Poll Ads

This mobile-only Facebook ad format incorporates an interactive component by adding a two-option poll to an image or video ad. You can add a separate link for each poll choice.

Both you and those who answer will see the tally of responses to each poll option.

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, several different products or even use all the photos together to create one large panorama image.

Each image or video can have its own link. In the ad below, each “Shop Now” button goes directly to the sales page for the plant in the accompanying image.

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.

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

Collection Ads

These Facebook paid ads, which are offered only for mobile devices, allow you to showcase five images or videos that customers can click to buy a product or service.

Collection ads pair with Instant Experiences and allow people to buy your products without ever leaving Facebook. This makes online shopping easy when people are on-the-go.

Lead Ads

Lead ads are only available for mobile devices. That’s 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 allowing people to ask for more information from you.

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 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. People can use it to have a one-on-one conversation with one of your salespeople or customer service reps.

Stories Ads

Mobile phones are meant to be held vertically. Stories ads are a mobile-only full-screen vertical video format that allows you to maximize screen real estate without expecting viewers to turn their screen.

In the example above, Stillhouse Spirits ran Facebook Stories ads as part of a campaign to reach U.S. males aged 21 to 40. They specifically targeted the ads to those interested in alcohol, cocktails, hiking and the outdoors.

How to Run Facebook Ads?

Facebook advertising has great potential but it isn’t as easy as just creating a bit of copy and watching the sales come in. Getting Facebook Ads right takes a considered approach and lots of optimization until you find the perfect strategy.

Here’s what you have to do:

Create an Account With Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook’s Ad Manager is a sophisticated dashboard that provides users with an overview of all their campaigns.

The dashboard is organized by columns, which makes it easy to filter through your ads so you can create a custom view of your results.

Key numbers like reach, frequency, and cost are readily available, making reporting on performance a no brainer.

In order to use the Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll need a Facebook Business Page. This is because you can’t run ads through personal profiles.

Then, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to
  • Click the button that says “Go to Ads Manager”
  • Confirm your information on the ad account setup page
  • Set up your payment method
  • Save changes

Once set up, the Ads Manager becomes the control center for your Facebook ads.

Start Creating an Ad Through Facebook’s Ads Manager

Once you log into the Ads Manager, you’ll see a performance dashboard where all of your campaigns, ad sets, and ads will be listed including the results they’ve driven for your Facebook page. Unless you’ve already created an ad for your Facebook page, this dashboard will be empty.

To create a new campaign, ad set, or ad through the Facebook Ad Manager, tab over to the type of ad you want to create and click the green “Create” button to far left of these ad types, as shown below. You can see from this screenshot that we’re currently set to create a new campaign.

Choose an Objective

Facebook’s Ads Manager, like many social media advertising networks, is designed with your campaign objective in mind. Before getting started, Ads Manager will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign.

There are 11 different objectives to choose from. The list includes everything from general brand awareness, to getting installs of your app, to increasing traffic to your online store.

By choosing one of these objectives, you’re giving Facebook a better idea of what you’d like to do so they can present you with the best-suited ad options. As shown in the screenshot above, Facebook’s ad options include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Website traffic
  • Engagement
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Catalog sales
  • Store traffic

Choose Your Audience

Your next step is to configure your target audience – you can do this for each ad set that belongs to the same campaign.

To help you narrow your focus, Facebook’s targeting criteria are accompanied by an audience definition gauge. This tool takes all of your selected properties into consideration in order to come up with a potential reach number.

If you’re wavering between choosing a specific audience over a broad one, consider your objective. If you’re looking to drive traffic, you’ll probably want to focus on the type of people you know will be interested in your offering.

However, if you’re looking to build brand awareness or promote a widely appealing offer, feel free to focus on a more general audience.

Facebook’s built-in targeting is vast, including options such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (U.S. only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

Set your budget

Facebook allows you to set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Here’s how they differ from each other:

Daily budget: If you want your ad set to run continuously throughout the day, this is the option you’ll want to go for. Using a daily budget means that Facebook will pace your spending per day. Keep in mind that the minimum daily budget for an ad set is $1.00 USD and must be at least 2X your CPC.

Lifetime budget: If you’re looking to run your ad for a specified length of time, select lifetime budget. This means Facebook will pace your spend over the time period you set for the ad to run.


The Schedule determines whether the ad set will run continuously from a particular selected date, or within a selected date range. If you’ve selected a lifetime budget, the ad set must have an end date.

Doing this allows Facebook to spend the selected budget, and pace the ad set delivery evenly across the ad set’s lifetime.

Whereas with a daily budget, you don’t have to set an end date, Facebook will keep delivering the ad set until you pause the campaign or reach the account’s spending limit.

Optimization & Pricing

Choose whether or not you want to bid for your objective, clicks, or impressions. By doing so, you’ll pay for your ad to be shown to people within your target audience that are more likely to complete your desired action, but Facebook will control what your maximum bid is.

If you don’t want Facebook to set optimal bids for you, you’ll want to opt for manual bidding. This option awards you full control over how much you’re willing to pay per action completed.

However, Facebook will provide a suggested bid based on other advertisers’ behaviour to give you a sense of what you should shoot for.

Delivery Type

Facebook Ads Delivery Types

The delivery type determines how Facebook spends your budget. There are two options to consider:

  1. Standard Delivery: The ads are delivered, and your budget is spent evenly over the duration of the campaign – this is known as pacing. Pacing allows you to get the most out of your budget by discounting your bid when it’s appropriate.
  2. Accelerated Delivery: The ads are delivered, and the budget is spent as quickly as your target audience and bid allows. Which means Facebook prioritizes speed over efficiency when choosing who to show your ads to, and when. There’s no pacing in accelerated delivery, so there’s a chance your lifetime budget can be spent in less than a day and the daily budget can be spent in only an hour.

Create Your Ad

What do you want your ad to look like? It all depends on your original objective.

If you’re looking to increase the number of clicks to your website, Facebook’s Ad Manager will suggest the Clicks to Website ad options. Makes sense, right?

This ad option is broken down into two formats: Links and Carousels. Essentially, this means that you can either display a single image ad or a multi-image ad with three to five scrolling images at no additional cost.

Once you select an ad type, the Ads Manager will prompt you to identify how you’d like to display your ad. The options they provide are as follows: Desktop News Feed, Mobile News Feed, and Desktop Right Column.

Monitor your ad’s performance metrics

Once your ads are running, you’ll want to keep an eye on how they’re doing. To see their results, you’ll want to look in two places: the Facebook Ad Manager and your marketing software.

According to Facebook, here are some of the key metrics to look for:

  • Performance: Can be customized further to include metrics like results, reach, frequency and impressions
  • Engagement: Can be customized further to include metrics like Page likes, Page engagement and post engagement
  • Videos: Can be customized further to include metrics like video views and average % of video viewed
  • Website: Can be customized further to include metrics like website actions, checkouts, payment details, purchases and adds to cart
  • Apps: Can be further customized to include metrics like app installs, app engagement, credit spends, mobile app actions and cost per app engagement
  • Events: Can be further customized to include metrics like event responses and cost per event response
  • Clicks: Can be further customized to include metrics like clicks, unique clicks, CTR (click-through rate) and CPC (cost per click)
  • Settings: Can be further customized to include metrics like start date, end date, ad set name, ad ID, delivery, bid and objective


Facebook Ads can provide huge benefits to all types of business whether small, medium or big.

In a nutshell, you will be able to reach a wide audience that is perfectly targeted at a very reasonable price and on top of that Facebook Ads provides you with tracking insights to measure all your campaign metrics.

Now that you know how to set up an ad, it’s time to create one of your own so that you can spread brand awareness on Facebook and generate traffic and leads from your ideal prospects on the platform.

Get advertising!!!

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