This is the third post in a series looking at how to make Facebook ads work for small businesses.
In the first two posts in this series we looked at how to make Facebook ads more effective by starting with strategy and how to set up a sales funnel using Facebook ads to increase lead generation and conversions.
In this post we’re going to look at getting started with Facebook Ads Manager, including how to create a Facebook ad campaign.
Getting Started with Facebook Ads Manager
If you don’t have a Facebook business page, creating that is step one. Here’s a link that will show you how to do that.
Once you have a Facebook business page for which you are the administrator, there are three ways you can access Facebook Ads Manager:
- Use this link to take you to Ads Manager directly.
- Go to your Facebook Business page and choose Ad Center on the left menu, then select All Ads. Scroll to the bottom of that page and click on “Show more details in Ads Manager”.
- Use Facebook’s Ads Manager mobile app on your phone.
Once you’re in Ads Manager you can look around at all the data and tools you have access to. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, and if you aren’t running ads right now there won’t be much to see.
Creating Facebook Audiences
Before we look at creating any ads, we want to set up our target audiences. To do this, click on the square of dots in the upper-left of the screen and choose “Audiences”.
Here are the audiences you should create:
- Your existing email list – upload this into Facebook
- Website visitors – for this you need to have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website. If you don’t, get that done and come back to this one in a few months
- Ideal Customer Demographics
- Lookalike audiences – for audiences 1 and 2
When you are creating these lists, be sure to name them so you will remember what they are.
For the first two audiences, you are going to choose “Create a Custom Audience” and follow the prompts. For your ideal customer list, choose “Create a Saved Audience” and choose from the demographic and psychographic options to make this as narrow as possible while still giving you a large enough list to make it useful. Finally, for your lookalike audiences, choose the “Create a Lookalike Audience”. This last one you’ll have to do after you have given your other audience lists time to populate.
Creating a Facebook Ads Campaign
1. Choose an Objective
Now you’re ready to create an ad campaign. Go back to Ads Manager and navigate to the Campaigns tab. From there click the green “+ Create” button.
Now it’s time to choose your campaign objective. There are 11 options under three categories of Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Most often you’ll be choosing from the latter two categories. Here you have to consider what it is you want people to do.
If you want more likes and shares, choose Engagement. If you want to capture leads in Facebook, choose Lead Generation. If you want prospects to visit a page on your website, choose Traffic. And if you want them to take an action on that webpage, choose Conversions.
When I set up a sales funnel for a client, most often I am driving leads to a webpage so they will download a piece of content like a checklist or ebook so we can get their email and nudge them along to the final goal of a purchase. For this, I would use the Conversions objective.
2. Name your campaign
You want to name your campaign something that will enable you to easily tell at a glance what that campaign was. It may be easy now to remember but think two or three years down the road after you’ve run dozens or hundreds of campaigns. You want to know at a glance what it was.
Some things you should consider including in the name:
- The product or service
- Campaign objective
- The timeline
3. Set budget and choose audience
At the next step you should name your Ad Set. This is the section that contains your budget and audience information. When naming it, try to name it after the audience you will be running the ads to.
You can choose a daily budget or a lifetime budget, a start date and an end date. For your audience, you can choose one of the customer audiences you have already set up or create a new one from scratch.
Next you have to choose your ad placements – this is where Facebook will show your ads. You can leave it set to automatic and Facebook will place the ads where the algorithm thinks you will get the best results. This is the easiest approach, and it can be the best in many cases. Facebook’s algorithm is powerful and able to optimize a lot faster than a human.
The caveat to this is that it will optimize for quantity and this is not always quality. One thing I have seen is a lot of low-quality leads coming from the Audience Network. I will often choose manual and deselect this for that reason.
If you’re just getting started with Facebook Ads Manager, though, I’d probably leave it on automatic and monitor to see what you get.
4. Create your ads
For this step use the work you did in developing your core messaging and using the Transformation Worksheet we discussed in the last post to create your ad copy and choose your imagery or video. You can also use an existing Facebook post as your ad if you want.
For some ad inspiration, you can download this Facebook Ad Writing Tip Sheet to get you started on creating some ad copy that will get your ads performing better.
Now you’re ready to launch, monitor, and adjust to keep your ads performing well. You should be in Ads Manager at least once a week to monitor progress and decide if you need to tweak anything. If you do, try not to change more than one element at a time or you won’t know which change had an impact.
I thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you found it useful. We just scratched the surface in this series of posts. Each one of these posts could have been a book if we were to go deep, but it should get started. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or reach out to me by email. I’d love to hear from you.