Facebook Ads are one of the most important digital marketing channels. They offer marketers a chance to reach millions of people around the world in a highly targeted way.
For beginners, Facebook Ads can be quite daunting at first due to a large number of buttons and options.
This step by step Facebook Ads beginners guide will cover everything you need to know about starting your first Facebook Ads campaign.
From the working principle of Facebook Ads, to the payment methods, to the steps of creating your first Facebook Ad, everything will be covered!
In case you’re looking for something specific, don’t forget that you can use the table of contents to jump to particular contents of the article.
What are Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads are online advertisements that are displayed on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger.
If you are looking to market your product online, you can purchase and manage Facebook Ads through Facebook’s Ads Manager.
In the Ads Manager, you can set up Facebook Ad campaigns with settings like:
- Campaign objective
- Audience selection
Not only that, but you will also be able to create your own Facebook ads with inputs like:
- The product image or video
- Ad description
- Call to action button
- Destination URL
You can create various types of Facebook Ads, but the most important ones for beginners are video ads and image ads.
As the name says, a video ad promotes the product or service with a video, and an image ad promotes a product or service with an image.
You’ve already seen a Facebook video ad example above, so let me now show you an example of a Facebook image ad:
You now know what Facebook Ads are! So, should you actually use Facebook Ads?
Are Facebook Ads worth it?
To determine if Facebook Ads are worth it to use for you, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why people are using Facebook Ads.
The primary reason why people use Facebook Ads is to attract potential customers to their business.
Facebook currently has over 2 billion active users. By advertising with Facebook Ads, you will get access to this huge audience, which can provide massive potential for you and your business.
Other pros of Facebook Ads are:
- Ability to target almost every possible audience: Whether you want to target cold or hot audiences, male or female audiences, architects who love fishing but don’t have an interest in water? Everything is possible with Facebook Ads. (You can learn more about interest targeting in this article here)
- Use Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence: Basically, Facebook uses a system that has become extremely good at predicting its user’s behavior during the last few years. This means that Facebook knows which people are most likely to purchase your product, like your post, visit your website, etc.
- Retargeting possibilities: Facebook tracks everything using the Facebook Pixel, which is a piece of code that you embed in your website. This allows you to have many different retargeting possibilities! For example, you can make ads for people who have visited your website but didn’t purchase yet.
- Lookalike audiences: Using their AI, Facebook can take a sample audience, like all people who have purchased from you, and make a new audience that consists of people who are likely to behave similarly. Using this unique feature can significantly reduce your cost per result and increase your sales!
Nothing is perfect though. There are still some cons of using Facebook Ads like:
- Possible to lose money: No advertisement platform gives you a guarantee to make money. This also applies to Facebook Ads. Your ad might be shown to thousands of people, while no one will buy your product or service.
- Ads Manager is difficult to understand for beginners: However, don’t forget that you will have a much easier time after reading this guide! I will give you a step by step explanation of the basics of creating your first own Facebook ad.
For a more detailed discussion of whether or not you should use Facebook Ads, check out this article.
In my opinion, the pros of using Facebook Ads definitely outweigh the cons, and it’s worth giving Facebook Ads a shot!
What do I need to know about Facebook Ads?
To increase the chances of making a successful Facebook ad campaign, you need to know how the Facebook Ads system works.
You also need to have an understanding of the Facebook Pixel, Facebook Lookalike Audiences, and the Facebook retargeting possibilities.
Finally, you may like to know what a reasonable starting budget for Facebook Ads is.
How does the Facebook Ads system work?
Facebook Ads uses a specific structure to manage your advertisements. The structure is divided into the following levels:
- Campaign: On this level, you will set up your campaign’s objective, like driving website traffic, getting page likes, or getting purchases. (Basically, this is you telling Facebook what you want)
- Ad set: Here, you will set up the budget, audience, placement, and some other settings for your ads.
- Ads: On this level, you will create your ads. The most common ad types for beginners are video ads and image ads.
The Facebook Pixel
The Facebook Pixel is essentially a bridge between your customer’s data and Facebook’s prediction algorithm.
By installing the Facebook Pixel on your store, Facebook can track the user’s behavior as they watch your ad or visit your store.
The more data the Facebook Pixel is fed, the more accurate Facebook can show your ads to the right audience. This is why it’s always important to connect the Facebook Pixel to your store.
A big Facebook Ads beginner mistake is not using and double-checking your Facebook Pixel, as you can read here.
Facebook Lookalike Audiences
Once you have some data on your Facebook Pixel, you will be able to create your first Facebook Lookalike Audiences (or LAA’s).
A Facebook Lookalike Audience is a group of people picked by Facebook’s algorithm, which is expected to react similarly to your ad as your sample audience (from your Facebook Pixel).
Using Lookalike Audiences can help you to reduce the amount of money you pay per purchase (or a different objective)!
Facebook offers some excellent retargeting opportunities.
Using the data in your Facebook Pixel, you can make tailor-made advertisements that are targeted towards an audience who has already seen your brand!
Retargeting ads have many advantages; for example, users who see a retargeting ad are 70% more likely to convert compared to users who see a regular ad.
How do I pay for Facebook Ads?
You can pay for Facebook Ads using:
- Credit cards and co-branded debit cards (American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa)
- Bank account (direct debit) in some supported countries
- Local manual payment methods (varies per country)
If you are using a credit card or PayPal, Facebook will bill you once you override a certain threshold. Alternatively, you can use a payment method or Facebook Ads coupons to deposit money on your Facebook Ads balance.
You set up your payment settings by going to Shortcuts -> Billing -> Payment Settings in the Ads Manager.
What is a reasonable starting budget for Facebook Ads?
This question is somewhat objective; some claim that you can make Facebook Ads work by only spending 1$ per day, while others say that you will need at least 50$ per day.
As I explained before, Facebook’s algorithm needs a lot of data to correctly determine to who your ad should be shown. You will need a budget of at least $10 per day to let Facebook optimize the ads properly in my experiences. However, having a bigger budget will decrease the time it takes for Facebook to optimize and can therefore help with you being profitable faster.
If you are just starting out, I recommend a minimum budget of 300$. This budget will allow you to test several ads for a few weeks and move you past the testing phase. If everything goes well, you will eventually be able to use your profits to feed your Facebook Ads and grow your business.
In the ideal situation, you should have a budget of $1000 for Facebook Ads. This budget will allow you to test plenty of ads, gather a lot of data that you will be able to use for LAA’s, and will therefore increase your chances of finding a profitable way to advertise!
If these budgets sound out of reach for you, you may want to try using a marketing method that requires a lower starting budget, like Instagram Influencers.
Where do I start with Facebook Ads?
Next up, I will tell you the exact steps you can take if you’re asking yourself, “Where do I start with Facebook Ads?”
The first step to starting with Facebook Ads would be to make a Facebook ad account.
How do I create a Facebook ad account?
To advertise with Facebook Ads, you will need a Facebook ad account, that you will use to manage your ads in Facebook’s Ads Manager.
To begin advertising on Facebook, you will have to create a Facebook business page. During the set up of your business page, your Ads Manager account will be created automatically.
You will have to set up settings like time zone, currency, advertising purposes, payment methods, and will have to fill in some of your business details.
You can find a detailed step by step guide on creating a Facebook ad account here.
Once you’ve created your ad account, you will be able to find the Ads Manager by clicking on “More” on Facebook’s homepage and selecting “Ads Manager”.
How do I install the Facebook Pixel?
To make the most out of Facebook Ads, you should install the Facebook Pixel to your store before you start advertising.
The Facebook Pixel settings can be found in the Ads Manager by going to Business Tools -> Events Manager -> Connect Data Source -> Web -> Get Started -> Facebook Pixel -> Connect.
After you’ve clicked on “Connect”, you will need to give your Pixel a name, and you will be given an option to insert your website URL to let Facebook check if there’s an easy setup option available.
If you’re using Facebook’s integration partners such as WordPress, Shopify, or Squarespace, you will be able to install your Pixel in a simple way without requiring coding experience. In that case, Facebook will provide you with on-screen setup instructions on how to install your Pixel.
To manually add the Facebook Pixel code to your website, you can check out Facebook’s guide.
How do beginners run Facebook Ads?
Seeing the Facebook Ads Manager for this first time can be quite daunting. There are lots of buttons and options, and it’s easy to get lost as a beginner.
Don’t worry, though. You will get used to it after creating a few ads!
In this guide, I’m going to give you an Ads Manager dashboard overview and a step by step guide on running your first Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads Manager dashboard overview
To give you a general understanding of Facebook’s Ads Manager, I’m going to show you some of its most essential buttons and options.
I have highlighted the most important features of the Ads Manager and will tell you more about them:
- (1) Business Tools: Using this button, you will be able to navigate to many useful and essential Ads Manager pages. Examples include “Audiences” to manage your Lookalike Audiences, “Events Manager” to set up your Facebook Pixel, and “Billing” to set up your payment methods.
- (2) Review and Publish: After creating a campaign, you can click on this button to let Facebook review and publish your ads. If there are any errors you should address, Facebook will also let you know.
- (3) Facebook Ads structure: As I explained at the beginning of the article, the Facebook Ads system is split up in a three-part pyramid structure; Campaigns, Ad Sets, and Ads. By clicking on each level, you will be able to analyze, edit, and create your Facebook Ads.
- (4) Create: The “Create” button is the first step of creating a new campaign, ad set, or ad!
- (5) Edit: If there’s anything you would like to change to your campaigns, ad sets, or ads, you can select them and click the “Edit” button. You will be taken to the same page where you created the campaign/ad set/ad and will be able to make changes on the budget, audience, ad copy, and more.
- (6) Campaigns/ad sets/ads table: This table will provide you an overview of all your campaigns/ad sets/ads. You will be able to analyze the performance of your Facebook Ads with your favorite metrics, select and edit them, and there are even possibilities to change small settings like your budget on the fly.
Step by step tutorial on creating and running your first Facebook ad
Awesome! You currently know what Facebook Ads are, the most important things about Facebook Ads, and already made a start by creating a Facebook ad account and installing the Facebook Pixel to your store. You’re doing great!
You are now ready to start creating your first Facebook ad, and I will show you exactly how to do that with a simple step by step guide.
Step 1: Create a new campaign
Click on “Create” under the “Campaigns” tab to start creating your first Facebook ad!
Step 2: Choose a campaign objective
Next, you will have to choose a campaign objective that Facebook will try to optimize your ad delivery for.
If you own an online store and your goal is to make sales, you should pick the “Conversions” objective.
To quickly test your targeting or products, you can also go for the “Engagement” objective. To find more information about this, click here.
Step 3: Set up your campaign settings
Start by giving your campaign a name.
If you’re just starting out with Facebook Ads, you can just scroll through the rest of the page and leave everything as is.
An option you will probably test later on is “Campaign Budget Optimization” (CBO).
Turning this on will allow you to set your budget on the campaign level instead of the ad set level.
Facebook will then distribute your budget across the best-performing ad sets. To read more about “Campaign Budget Optimization”, you can click here.
For beginners, I recommend setting a budget at the ad set level and leave CBO off. This way, the budget will be evenly distributed across your ad sets, and you will have access to more accurate results when determining the best performers.
Click on “Next” to continue.
Step 4: Name your ad set and select a conversion event
Next up are the ad set settings. To start, give your ad set a name.
If you’re selling products online, you should select “Website” for the conversion event location and “Purchase” for the conversion event.
Now, Facebook will show your ad to the people who are most likely to purchase your product. Don’t worry if there’s a red dot next to “Purchase”, it will automatically turn green after your first few sales.
Next to the settings, you will find “Audience Definition”. It will tell you what the potential reach is for your ad and if your audience selection is broad or narrow. Try to keep your audience in the green area. The audience shouldn’t be too broad because your campaign won’t be efficient and not too narrow because Facebook won’t be able to optimize.
You will also see your ad set’s “Estimated Daily Results”, in which you can see the estimated reach and conversion number. Don’t take these numbers too seriously, especially the conversion number. It’s a broad guess by Facebook, and the real conversion number can vary significantly to the number they give you.
Step 5: Set your daily ad set budget
The next step is to define your daily budget.
A budget of $25 per day is sufficient if you’re a beginner. In that case, you will be able to test 5 different ads with 5$ per day to see what marketing angle works the best.
We are writing more about Facebook Ads, like how to set your budget correctly, so stay tuned!
Step 6: Select audience
Next up is a crucial step, the audience selection. Make sure to do some research beforehand and try to get a rough idea of how your audience looks like and what their interests are.
Then, set up the following settings:
- Custom Audiences: Leave empty for your first Facebook ad. This field is used for custom audiences like Lookalike Audiences later.
- Locations: Select the countries that you want to target. If you’re not sure yet, we have an article available that will definitely help you with picking the right countries to target: 15 Best & Worst Countries to Target When Selling Online.
- Age: Leave at 18-65+ for your first ad. Facebook will automatically optimize over time and show your ad to the best performing age group.
- Genders: Leave at “All genders” unless you’re selling a product that is clearly for a certain gender, such as make-up for females.
- Detailed targeting: Add or exclude demographics, interests, and behaviors that you think will match your audience. Don’t narrow the audience down too much, and don’t let it be too broad. Read more about your audience size here. Later on, you can create many other ad sets with different detailed targeting settings to find your best-performing audience.
- Languages: Leave on “All languages”, except if you have an English store and are targeting a country that doesn’t have a significant English-speaking population. In that case, set it to “English (All)”.
- Connections: Leave as is.
Step 7: Placements
For the “Placements”, the default Facebook setting is “Automatic Placements”.
However, for beginners creating their first Facebook ad, I recommend switching to “Manual Placements”, switching the “Platforms” to Facebook and Instagram, and selecting both “Facebook News Feed” and “Instagram Feed” for the placements.
These are the primary placements for Facebook Ads either way, and won’t require you to create your ad in many different formats.
Don’t forget that you don’t need to combine them in one adset; you can also split it up into two adsets with the same targeting, but both on a different news feed.
You can leave the rest of the settings on the page untouched and click on “Next” to continue creating your ad.
Step 8: Continue with the ad setup
Start by naming your ad, selecting your Facebook Page and Instagram Account under “Identity”, and continue with the ad setup.
You will have to create an ad. For beginners, I recommend using a “Single Image or Video” ad format.
If you have a good video ad available for your product, I would recommend using a video ad since they tend to perform well. Try to test both to find out which format works best for you.
Step 9: Create your ad under the “Ad Creative” section
Finally, you’ve made it to the step where you actually create your Facebook ad!
Here’s what you should do (you can turn on ad preview to see changes in your ad creative):
- Media: Select your ad image or video. You can also edit the image or video within the Facebook Ads Manager to crop it, add your logo, etc.
- Edit Placement: Not needed if only using Facebook News Feed and Instagram Feed.
- Primary Text: The main description of your ad.
- Headline: You can use this section to insert your product name, the solution it offers, or your sale offer.
- Description: A small description beneath the headline. Often used for the sale offer.
- Destination: Select “Website”.
- Website URL: Enter your product page URL.
- Display URL: If your website URL is long, you can use this field to enter a custom URL that is short&clean and will be displayed on your ad.
- Call to Action: I recommend “Shop Now” or “Learn More” if you’re selling your product online.
When creating your ads, some inspiration is always beneficial. That’s why we created an article that showcases 9 Awesome Facebook Ads Examples. Go check it out!
Step 10: Publish your ad
Those were all the important ad settings. Finally, you can now publish your first Facebook Ad. Congratulations!
Once you click “Publish” and confirm, the campaign will go under review for up to 48 hours. After it gets accepted, it will automatically start advertising.
If it’s not accepted, then don’t forget to go through Facebook’s ad policies.
Plus, you can check out our other article here about advertising restricted products.
6 tips to get the best results on Facebook Ads
Great! Now that you know how to create a Facebook ad, I will give you some tips on how to get the best results with Facebook Ads. Don’t skip this part because it could cost you money!
1. Use “People living in this location”
In the ad set settings, under “Locations”, the standard setting is “People living in or recently in this location”.
I recommend switching to “People living in this location” to avoid targeting foreign tourists who aren’t actually living in the country you wanted to target!
2. Turn off “Detailed Targeting Expansion”
I recommend turning off “Detailed Targeting Expansion” to prevent Facebook from showing your ad to an audience that is outside of your selected audience.
3. Preview your ad on Facebook and Instagram before publishing
You should always preview your ad on Facebook and Instagram to see if everything is as you expected and if your landing page works.
Imagine paying a lot of money, not getting any sales, and later finding out that there was an error in your landing page URL and it wasn’t working the entire time!
4. Invest in a product video ad
I believe that your ad is one of the most important elements to a successful ad campaign.
Having a good-quality video can increase your profits by a lot and can turn your business into a profitable one.
It’s both the part of your business that is seen by the most amount of people, and it’s the first thing that many people will see from your brand.
If you’re not good with video editing, I recommend hiring someone on Fiverr to shoot or edit your product’s video ad. In my opinion, you should invest your money here first before purchasing any premium domains or paid themes!
5. Be patient
Never turn off your ads if the first day brings bad results.
As I said, Facebook needs time to process the data and optimize the ads to show it to the best performing audience.
Depending on your budget, your ad sets will be in the “Learning Phase” for the first few days. This means that Facebook is still optimizing your ad delivery.
6. Change only one variable at a time when testing
When testing different ads, you should only change one variable at a time.
This way, you will get to know the exact effect that that variable has on the entire ad.
If you would change multiple variables at once and the ad performs better, you wouldn’t know what variables contributed to that performance in a positive or negative way.
That was it! If you are looking for more tips and mistakes, you should check out our other article about Facebook Ads: 13 Facebook Ad Beginner Mistakes & How To Avoid Them.
Definitely read it if you’re new to Facebook Ads!
Plus, you can check out this article here if you’re wondering why your Facebook Ads aren’t converting yet. It contains 11 tips to help fix it.
I understand that creating your first Facebook Ad could be slightly more challenging than you expected, but hopefully, this guide has made it slightly easier for you.
If you’re still hesitating whether or not to use Facebook Ads, you can check out our article: Should You Use Facebook Ads for Your Online Store?
Or you can check out this article here if you’re wondering if you can get started with the Facebook Marketplace first.
In case you get stuck on any of the steps or if something isn’t clear for you, leave a comment, and I will reply as soon as I can!
I wish you great luck and success in your Facebook Ads marketing journey.
See you next time!