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6 min read

A Beginners Guide To Facebook Ads

This article was updated on: 07.09.2022

Advertising on Facebook for the first time can be a daunting prospect. It’s difficult for advertisers to stand out amongst the newsfeed holiday snaps, engagement announcements and mass of friends tagging each other in memes. Luckily, this blog post will give you all the info you need to set up your first campaigns in Ads Manager, and you’ll be reaping the rewards of Facebook advertising faster than you can say Atticus Finch.

Campaign Objective

First up, you have to decide what the overall goal of your campaign is. Do you want to drive traffic to your website, encourage visits to your brick-and-mortar store or generate leads?

Facebook has campaign objectives to help you achieve all of the above, as well as the options below:

  • Reach – to reach as many people as possible near to your business
  • Engagement (and event/offer engagement) – encourage as many people as possible to engage with a particular post, redeem an offer/promo code or respond to an event.
  • Messages – to start a dialogue with potential customers, or qualify customers and drive transactions
  • App installs – to encourage people to download your app
  • In-app conversions – to encourage further interaction with your app

Once you’ve launched your campaign, bear in mind that you can’t alter your objective, so make sure you’re clear about what exactly you want to achieve before you click publish.

That being said, there is the option of split testing different campaign objectives alongside each other, if you have the funds available to do so.


When allocating budget to your Facebook campaigns, you’ve got a number of options. You can allocate a daily budget per ad set, or you can allocate a ‘lifetime’ budget at campaign level and allow Facebook to optimise it across the different ad sets.

The daily budget option means that Facebook will aim to spend the entirety of each ad set’s budget every day, whether spending this money is likely to result in your desired goal or not. On the other hand, Facebook’s campaign budget optimisation will shift the budget (often unequally) across all ad sets, and allocate it to the ad sets where a conversion is most likely. It will additionally aim to ensure that the lifetime budget allocated to the campaign lasts until the campaign end date. But, it’s a good idea to check in on your campaigns from time to time and see whether the budget is being spent too quickly/slowly.

With regards to how much budget you should allocate to your campaigns, it’s advisable to start small and then gradually increase your budget once you find out which settings are most effective.

As well as this, it’s not a great idea to give your campaigns a huge budget if you have a finite audience. For example, if you’re a ladies hair salon, wanting to target women within 5 miles of your shop, the number of people in your target audience is limited. If your campaign budgets are too large, your budget will be spent on showing ads to the same people multiple times when there are no longer any new users who match your targeting criteria.  

A key metric to keep an eye on is frequency, which indicates the average number of times a single user sees your ad per day. Advice differs on how many ad views per day is too many, but I personally don’t like to see any of my ad frequencies rise above 4.


If you’re a regular Google Ads user, you’ll be familiar with the concept of an ad schedule. It simply means that you can decide the days of the week, and the times of day that you want your ads to show. For example, if you’re selling a business service, like training courses, you may only want to show your ads during 9 – 5 working hours on weekdays. This can enable you to spend your budget more effectively, by only spending it when your ads are most likely to be clicked on.

Audience targeting

Facebook has a wealth of – sometimes unnervingly precise – targeting options. The people you want to target will differ depending on your business, but the ways in which you can refine your audience include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages

There’s also a ‘Detailed targeting’ option, which allows you to target people based on further demographics, life events and interests. You can target the newly engaged with your custom wedding invitation service, or promote the opening of your new cocktail bar in Nottingham to young adults with an interest in nightlife in the city.

It’s important not to make your targeting too specific, or you’ll risk not reaching enough users. Going back to our new cocktail bar opening, if you attempted to target all the people in Nottingham who like Rock City, are aged 22 – 32 and additionally work in digital marketing, you’ve probably narrowed things down too much. Equally, you can be too broad with your targeting. Targeting everyone in the UK aged 22 – 32 and hoping they’ll turn up on opening night is probably over ambitious.


There’s an ever-expanding list of where you can place your ads on Facebook. These include the news feed, instant articles, stories and most recently, Facebook marketplace. You can also elect to advertise on Instagram directly from Ads Manager – it’s as simple as checking a box. Instagram ad placements are currently limited to the feed and stories, although we predict that they’ll be sliding into our dms very soon.

Alternatively, the ‘Automatic Placements’ feature allows Facebook to optimise your placements across Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network for you. You can read about this in more detail here.

Copy & Creative

Now we reach the creative part! Your ad copy. Unlike Google Ads, there’s no character limit or restrictions on punctuation and emoji use

However, Facebook advises that you focus on one clear message in your copy, foreground your brand, and use a storytelling technique where possible. You could talk about your motivation behind starting your brand, or the journey your brand has taken to become what it is today.

In terms of creative, images of people/faces tend to be the most effective. This is because blend in most naturally with the content people are likely to see on their newsfeed already (e.g pictures of friends and family enjoying avocado toast). ?

One restriction Facebook does have however, is that your creative image can be comprised of a maximum of 20% text. In fact, the less text the better. In my experience, clean images with minimal text overlay perform the best. If you’re promoting an offer, mention it in your ad copy rather than including it in the visual creative.

Additionally, if you’ve got the resource to do so, creating some video content is well worth the investment. Video ads statistically convert on paid social channels at a much higher rate than static images. For more info on running profitable video campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, check out this blog.

Once your campaigns are live…

It’s a good idea to check in on your campaigns frequently, to see how the budget is pacing, and optimise towards your best performing targeting settings. Hopefully you’ll see some great results.

Happy ads-managing! (Or, if you’d like us to do all this for you, get in touch with our award-winning PPC team).