The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Advertising
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Facebook ads for beginners. This Facebook advertising guide is perfect for anyone looking to bring in more revenue for their business. Maybe you’ve just opened your online store and are looking for ways to generate your first sales. If so, this Facebook ads guide is perfect for you.
Are you considering running Facebook ads? After all, Facebook advertising for beginners or even seasoned marketers is possibly the most effective way to promote your products to more than 1.5 billion people around the world. You’ll be able to target specific audiences in any niche with Facebook ads, so you’ll gain a lot of vital information from this Facebook advertising guide.
If you’re just a beginner, it may seem a bit complicated. But don’t worry. In this Facebook advertising guide, you’ll learn everything from pixels and conversion tracking to numerous campaign objectives and the mysterious Power Editor tool.
I’ll share the fundamentals of Facebook advertising for beginners. That way, you can launch your first successful Facebook ads campaign without wasting your time or money.
Let’s get started!
- Why Facebook Advertising?
- How Do Facebook Ads Work?
- 1. Facebook Advertising Guide: Before
- 2. Facebook Ads Guide: During
- 3. Facebook Advertising Guide: After
- Facebook Advertising Tips
- Facebook Ads Guide Conclusion
- Want to Learn More?
Why Facebook Advertising?
With more than 2.45 billion monthly active users on Facebook, some of your potential customers are definitely using the platform. The only question is how to reach them effectively.
Facebook advertising offers ecommerce entrepreneurs extensive targeting options. Notably, you can reach people not just by location (countries, states, cities, and even zip codes), gender, and age, but also by interests, behaviors, life events, and many other alternatives.
In addition, you can promote pretty much any content suitable for your business using Facebook advertising tools: from text posts, photos and albums, to videos, events, offers, and, of course, links to your website.
When you combine an enormous user base, incredible targeting options, and a variety of ad objectives, it becomes clear why Facebook advertising is truly a powerful tool for ecommerce marketing. We’ve broken down how Facebook advertising works below.
How Do Facebook Ads Work?
In this section of the Facebook advertising guide, you’ll learn how Facebook ads work.
Facebook’s goal is to find the most effective way to allocate the limited advertising space they have.
They achieve it by running thousands of mini auctions every second, with advertisers competing against each other for ad space. If you happen to win the auction, you’ll be charged and your ad will be displayed to the audience you defined and chose.
And how much does Facebook advertising cost?
Well, it depends.
Because of these auctions, your Facebook advertising costs will depend on many factors. These include your ad’s target country, audience, placement, and just how good they are.
For example, there’s much more competition in the US, so you’ll have to pay more to reach the same amount of people compared to a cheaper country like Thailand. Even within the US, some audiences can be twice or even three times more expensive to reach. The only way to find out is to test it for your own business and evaluate the results.
In fact, Facebook advertising involves a lot of testing. Try out what you think will work and adapt your campaigns to optimize them. And remember, there’s no such thing as wasting money on Facebook, because all the things you learn from trial and error will help you over the long term.
Now that you know how Facebook advertising works, let’s have a look at how to create an actual campaign.
To make the process easier, I’m going to break it down into three parts:
1. Facebook Advertising Guide: Before
In this section of the Facebook advertising guide, you’ll learn how to set up an account.
If you haven’t created any Facebook advertising campaigns yet, you’ll have to first set up your ad account in Facebook Ads Manager.
Go to Facebook Ads Manager and select your ad account. Then, click on “Settings” in the drop-down menu in the top left.
Once you’re there, fill in your ad account name and check whether you’re buying ads for business purposes.
Next, fill in the remaining info on your business name, address, country, EU VAT number (if applicable), and whether you’re an ad agency.
Next, add a new payment method.
Staying in “Settings”, select “Payment settings” from the left-hand menu and click on “Add Payment Method”.
Choose how you’d like to pay (by card, PayPal, or a Facebook ad coupon) and enter your payment details.
Once you’re happy with the account settings and billing, let’s move on to researching your audience.
Facebook Ads Guide: Audience Research
In this section of the Facebook advertising guide, you’ll learn about audience settings.
Finding the right audience is the most critical part of Facebook advertising. If you choose an audience that’s not relevant enough to your ad, you’ll waste some of your vital Facebook budget on reaching the wrong people.
To research your audience, there are seven key questions to keep in mind before determining who your audience is for your Facebook advertising strategy. The answers to these questions are not necessarily complex, but it can be a time-consuming process to collect and verify the answers. Remember, the right audience plays a major part in deciding the success of your Facebook ads.
- Who are the authority figures, thought leaders, or big brands in your niche?
This step is quite straightforward as you have to simply use Google to do some research about the key players in the industry, You can do this by entering the type of industry you are interested in into the search bar and going through the results one by one. You should try to find as many names and players in the industry to target. For books or magazines, you could also use Amazon to do your research.
- What books/magazines/newspapers does your ideal customer read?
Similar to the previous answer, you can carry out your research for this question by using Google search. You can see what magazines are popular among your target audience, which you can also research on Amazon by searching in the books section. Normally, you won’t be able to target the names of the books, but you can try targeting the authors of those books.
- What events do they attend?
This can be a very essential part of your research because normally, people who are very interested in a particular topic or industry are the ones attending conferences or events. So it’s a great opportunity for you to find out what sort of competitions or events your target group is interested in, or is attending.
- What websites do they frequent?
To understand what sort of websites your audience is interested in, you can narrow down your search by looking at the blogs or forums that they are visiting. This way you’ll get better insights into what your audience is talking about or their concerns and issues.
- Where do they live?
This question can be important depending on whether you are interested in selling a product that does well only in a specific geographical area.
- What tools do they use?
To explain this question properly, you can look into what types of tools your audience uses. For instance, ecommerce platforms use plenty of analytics tools, content tools, marketing tools, etc. For other examples, it could be tools that simplify or are related to the activity or product that your audience is concerned with.
- What’s completely unique about this group?
This question might require deeper thinking. Reflect on specific traits or features of your audience that are unique and stand out.
When it comes to targeting with Facebook advertising, I like to get super specific. For example, aim for an audience size in the US that’s between 50,000 and 100,000 people. If it’s a smaller country, the potential audience could also be even smaller.
You should avoid using generic interests like nature, sports, or food. Select very specific ones instead: relevant brands, authors, books, magazines, websites, or even other Facebook pages. If you’re looking to get ahead of the game with your Facebook advertising, you should research what interests your customers have.
To identify them, you’ll need to go to Facebook Audience Insights. You may access it from Facebook Ads Manager itself by selecting “Audience Insights” from the drop-down menu in the top left.
The first step is to enter the “seed audience” you want to analyze in the sidebar.
Then, click “Page Likes” on the top menu bar and scroll down to see a list of other pages that are relevant to the audience you defined.
In the example above, we can see that people who are interested in “running” also follow specific pages like “The Color Run”, “Planet Fitness”, “Whole Foods Market”, and many others.
So instead of using “running” as an interest to promote your running shoes, a great Facebook advertising tip is to choose interests like “The Color Run”, “Planet Fitness”, or “Walking” for your targeting to reach more relevant people.
After you’ve created a list of potential interests and decided on which product to promote, we can get started with creating that Facebook advertising campaign.
Facebook Ads Tutorial: Launching Your First Campaign
You can also check out our “How to Run Facebook Ads for Beginners” video on YouTube:
2. Facebook Ads Guide: During
How to Create a Facebook Advertising Campaign:
In this section of the Facebook advertising guide, you’ll learn how to create your Facebook ads campaign.
There are three main ways to launch a Facebook ad campaign:
- Boost post on Facebook pages
- Self-serve ads Create tool
- Power Editor tool
Boosting posts is the quickest and easiest way to promote your content, but it’s also the least effective one. So, for your Facebook advertising strategy, I suggest you stay away from it.
The Power Editor, on the other hand, is a bit too complicated, especially for beginners who are just starting to learn how to advertise on Facebook. Although it gives you all the campaign features that you’d ever want, it’s not as intuitive to use.
So in this Facebook ads guide, we will create ads in the Facebook Ads Manager with the Ads Create tool.
Choosing Your Campaign Objective
First, go to the “Ads Manager – Creation” page by clicking on this link or clicking on “Create Ad” on your Facebook Ads Manager’s main page.
You will immediately see a list of the main campaign objectives that you can choose from.
There are 11 campaign objectives (although some are only accessible through Power Editor), and you should always go with the one that’s the most relevant to your end goal. This may just seem like a one-click decision, but it is of high importance to your Facebook advertising strategy. One of the reasons is because you can’t change your objective later on. So, keep in mind that the objective should describe the main purpose of your ad.
The reason – Facebook does a lot of optimization automatically. Depending on which campaign objective you choose, Facebook will try to generate the least expensive results for you.
If you’re promoting an online store with Facebook advertising, you’ll want to choose either “Traffic” or “Conversions” because that’s what Facebook will optimize for – website clicks or website conversions. To use the latter, you need to set up some additional tracking on your Shopify store, which we’ll cover next time.
This time, we’ll aim for driving traffic to your online store so select “Traffic”.
Next, you’ll have to decide on a campaign name and whether you want to conduct A/B testing and optimize your budget across your ad sets. To keep things simple, we’ll leave the latter two off for now and click “Continue”.
This takes you to this next page, where the first thing you’ll have to do is name your ad set and choose where you want to drive traffic to. Since we want to drive customers to your online store, select “Website”.
We’ll also leave “Dynamic creative” and “Offer” switched off for now.
The next step in our Facebook ads guide is vital. For your Facebook advertising efforts to be effective, you’ll need to specify the audience, the budget, and the schedule.
Select Your Audience
Finding the right audience is absolutely critical for a winning Facebook ads campaign, so you need to choose the location, age, and gender of your audience.
One of the most popular Facebook ads questions is: What should be the size of my audience?
Your audience size will depend on the country that your audience is based in. So, according to the size and population of the targeted country, your audience size will vary.
For instance, audience size in the US will be much larger than that in the Netherlands due to the difference in their market sizes. Typically, when targeting the US market without any specific interests or with lookalike audiences, the perfect size of an audience is around 500,000 people.
It’s good to target small audiences when you’re using interest-based targeting with very specific interests and you’re sure that nobody except your desirable audience can be reached there. When targeting small audiences, try using the “Engagement” campaign objective, it allows you to reach all the people in that audience.
Additionally, it is best to avoid combining audiences from different countries. I suggest using only one country per ad set. But if your target audience is too small to do that, try grouping similar countries.
For example, the US audience should always stand alone because its market differs from that of other countries. Buying ads in the US is more expensive than in any other country.
Also, Scandinavian or Baltic countries could be grouped because their markets are basically the same, as well as advertising prices. Moreover, consumer behavior is similar in Scandinavian countries. The same would apply to Baltic countries.
A handy Facebook advertising tip is to avoid making any demographic- or age-based assumptions when starting your first advertising campaign. The biggest age groups on Facebook are 18- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 34-year-olds, but maybe you’ll uncover a goldmine in the older generation. That’s why try targeting all age groups and after a few days or some time, you can make data-driven decisions.
Next, plug one or a few interests you’ve already discovered into the “Detailed targeting” section.
You can even use a combination of interests by using the Narrow Audience feature – e.g. targeting people who are interested in all of the above AND “Whole Foods Market”:
By doing that, you’ll make sure you’re reaching the most relevant audience, which means a higher response to your ads.
“Detailed targeting expansion” can help to improve your performance as it increases your ad reach beyond the demographics you’ve defined. This kicks in only when Facebook’s algorithm detects the potential to get you cheaper and/or better results. We will leave this unchecked.
Decide on Placements
The next step is to decide whether you want your ad sets to be placed automatically as determined by Facebook’s algorithm, which is configured to maximize your ad budget, or manual placements.
Here, we’ll go with the recommended option of automatic placements.
Set Your Budget & Schedule
Once you’ve found an optimal audience and decided how you want your ads placed, you’ll need to decide on your budget and schedule.
Those who are completely new to Facebook advertising might find this step a bit tricky. The reason is that with Facebook advertising costs, nothing is set in stone. Different market conditions may require you to set your budget differently.
So, in this step of our beginner’s guide to Facebook advertising, we’ll try to clear out the confusion you might have in mind.
First, decide how you want ad delivery to be optimized. Select from “Landing page views”, “Link clicks”, “Impressions”, and “Daily unique reach”.
Under “Cost control”, you can also choose your bidding preferences. It deserves a separate article just for this one topic, but I’d generally suggest beginning with the default options: optimizing for link clicks to your website or website conversions.
Moving on to budget and schedule. Don’t be afraid to set a bigger daily budget on the first day because when you are just starting a campaign, Facebook won’t be able to spend the whole budget on the first day.
And if your Facebook ad is successful, you won’t have to increase the budget. If you are not satisfied, you can always alter it in the future, but it will give you a much better understanding of how you perform.
Raising the budget is a sensitive action and needs to be dealt with carefully. As a general rule, if you decide to increase your budget, do so by a maximum of 30 to 40 percent and don’t make any changes in the following two to three days.
Then, choose whether to run it continuously or between a specific date. If you are new to Facebook ads and are not yet familiarized with what the best schedule for your campaign should be, you could leave it as the default setting offered by Facebook. This way, Facebook will run your ad continuously.
If you decide to set a start and end date for your schedule and you see that it is not working well for your Facebook ads, you can always go back and change the schedule.
Once you’re happy with the settings, click “Continue”.
Here, select the Facebook page you will be running the ads from. You can connect your Instagram account too if you want to show your ads on Instagram.
Design Your Ads
This is one of the most important aspects of our Facebook advertising guide. There are two ways to create an ad: from scratch or choose an existing post that you’ve already published on your page.
Also, decide whether you want to use a single image or video in your ads, or go with multiple images (also known as “Carousel” or multi-product ads):
If you wanted to promote a few products from the same category in one ad, go with the multiple images format. If you have just one specific offer, choose “Single image or video”.
Next, select the media for your ads: images, slideshow, or a video. I would suggest beginning with using images for your ads.
You can select up to six images when creating a new Facebook advertising campaign, which will create up to six ad variations of your campaign.
By creating a few ads, you can quickly see which image is working the best. You can choose this one and pause the other ads to save your ad budget.
The recommended image size is 1200 x 628 pixels and I suggest saving them in .png format.
After images, move on to the text part of your Facebook ad.
Here, enter the primary text, headline, and description that will be used for your ad. Text will appear above the image and the headline immediately below it.
For the headline, you have a character limit of 25 symbols, and for a post text, you have 90 characters.
First of all, make sure you add value propositions in your primary text. In this text, you will also want to emphasize the value your product brings to your potential customers.
The second thing to include is a clear call-to-action. This is why you don’t always have to put any call-to-action on the ad image itself. The call-to-action should very clearly declare what you’re seeking with your campaign. If you want people to buy from you, use “Shop Now”, “Buy Now”, “Get One Now”, etc. to grab their attention.
Third, add a link to your preferred landing page. You should give your users as many opportunities to click through and visit your store as possible.
Your headline should be short and it should reveal the main characteristics of your product. If your primary selling point is the product’s price, use it in your headline to emphasize how reasonably priced it is.
Don’t use more than one selling point here because the headline will be too long and you will confuse your potential customers with too much information, which could come off as pushy.
The description is optional. Facebook’s algorithm will decide whether to show this depending on its relevance to the viewer. That said, it may not always appear and its position on the ad also isn’t fixed.
Next, we’ll define the link. Select the destination type your ad is taking visitors to. Since we’re driving traffic to an online store in our example, select “Website”.
Don’t forget to enter the URL of your store’s page. You can also use a shortened link (display link) instead of the complete URL. This is entirely optional but works well if the full URL is too long.
Next, choose an optional call-to-action button. Call-to-action buttons tend to get mixed reviews. On one hand, it is good to have a clearly visible call-to-action button in proximity to the ad image where you want people to click. On the other, it puts even more elements onto your ad image, which distracts people from what’s really important – your product.
If you decide to use a CTA button on your banner, use the RGB color wheel to decide which color your button should be. This method is simple. Look at the main color of your banner, find it on the RGB color wheel, and then look at the color opposite of it. This is the color your CTA should be.
There are a few reasons you shouldn’t add too much text to your image. The first is Facebook’s 20 percent text rule. This means that no more than 20 percent of your image should be covered with text (logo excluded). Facebook doesn’t disapprove of ads, even if they have more than 20 percent text on it, but it will lower the ad’s delivery. Another reason is additional elements on the image would distract attention from the product itself.
Moreover, you shouldn’t use text over your image because Facebook leaves you a lot of space above and below the ad image for you to write about your product, its pricing, and where your audience can get it.
Languages and Tracking
The two final steps here are “Languages” and “Tracking”.
Under “Languages”, you can select whether you want your ad to be automatically translated into other languages or provide your own translations. This is handy if you’re advertising to people in various languages in one campaign.
Tracking is useful to measure results that you can use and analyze later to further improve on any future Facebook ad campaigns you may create.
Once you’re happy with all of the above, double-check your campaign settings, and click “Confirm”.
Congratulations – you’ve just created your first Facebook advertising campaign!
Facebook Ads Tutorial: How to Create a High Converting Banner
You can also check out our video tutorial for creating a banner which will help your Facebook ads convert.
3. Facebook Advertising Guide: After
In this section of the Facebook advertising guide, you’ll master how to get better insights into your ad effectiveness by analyzing reports.
Some countries, age groups, gender, interests, placements, and ads performing will better than others. The most important thing about optimization is that you shouldn’t start to optimize campaigns one day after running them.
Let the Facebook algorithm learn about your audience. Usually, it’s optimal to start making some changes to campaigns three or four days after starting them. This also applies to budget adjustments and ending the campaign – wait three to four days before making a final conclusive decision.
What’s truly amazing is that you can find all that information in your ad reports in Facebook Ads Manager, so make it a habit to come back every few days and evaluate your campaigns.
For example, under “Columns”, you can check the “Performance & Clicks” report to see how the ad is doing overall.
As a rule of thumb, aim to achieve at least a click-through rate of one percent on Desktop News Feed or Mobile News Feed.
If you’re getting a very high click-through rate, that means that your offer, audience, and ad design are working well. If you see that you’re not hitting one percent, you will want to continue testing. To make the most out of your Facebook advertising campaigns, you can test other products or other audiences. It’ll help your ecommerce store grow in the long run.
Also, see how many clicks you’re receiving and what is the cost per click for different ads and audiences. This will help you plan your future Facebook advertising campaigns.
Finally, check the breakdown of the results of your Facebook ad campaign by segments.
With “Breakdown”, you can very quickly analyze your results by various segments. For example, different countries, ages, genders, and placements, and identify any hidden gems that work well.
Look for the best converting age group, and push the entire ad budget there. If your audience is big enough, and several age groups are performing well, you could split them into several ad sets in order to get a clear test. This is a good idea, especially when both the 18-24 and 35-44 age groups are performing. Because you can’t simply exclude the age group in between them, in this situation, you’ll have to split the campaign.
If you see that either men or women are converting more on your products, exclude the other gender and focus on the one with a higher conversion rate.
This process is more time-consuming in comparison to the others. It’s best not to optimize based on regions at the beginning. If you’re targeting several different countries in the same ad set, it makes sense to optimize if any particular country is dragging the performance of the ad set down.
If you’re starting with the desktop and mobile news feeds, you need to know if your customers are visiting your store and buying products more on mobile devices or on their desktops. Take a look at placement breakdown metrics and exclude placement that isn’t converting while burning most of your budget.
Find those hidden opportunities, edit your ad campaign accordingly, and focus on segments that are bringing the best results.
Facebook Ads Tutorial: Optimizing Your Facebook Ads
If you’re looking for more info, you can also check out our video guide to optimizing your Facebook ads.
Facebook Advertising Tips
- When you see that your best-performing ad sets are no longer performing as well, clone them and restart. This way usually you’ll get a great ROI again.
- Warm-up your new banners to get social proof on them. The Facebook algorithm still likes posts with lots of reactions, comments, and shares.
- Start with a slightly larger budget than you want to spend. Facebook won’t spend your entire daily budget at the beginning, but you won’t have to adjust it if the ad set works. Adjusting the budget is a very sensitive topic. Quite often, the algorithm messes up the performance of your ad set if you adjust your budget by too much or too frequently.
- Before turning your ad set off, try changing the image of the ad you’re using. Many times it’s down to banner blindness that causes low ROI. Change the image, wait for a few days, and then decide.
Facebook Ads Guide Conclusion
Congratulations! You’ve finished this Facebook Ads guide. Now that you know all about Facebook advertising for beginners, you’re ready to create your first Facebook advertising campaign to promote your ecommerce products.
Also, you can research audiences, choose your campaign settings, and design your ads.
You should also be comfortable with analyzing your campaign performance by reviewing different performance metrics. For example, click-through rates, cost per click, and breakdowns, which will lead to much better advertising decisions.
Now, it’s time you follow these steps above and create your first successful Facebook ad campaign.
Want to Learn More?
- The Definitive Guide to Facebook Advertising
- Facebook Video Tutorial: Launching Your First Campaign
- How to Sell and Advertise on Facebook
- 10 Facebook Statistics Marketers Need to Know
- The Complete Guide to Social Media Marketing
Is there anything else you’d like to know more about and wish was included in this Facebook Ads guide? Let us know in the comments below!