Best Practices

Your Guide to Facebook Ads

By Editorial Staff

Reaching an audience of 2 billion monthly users isn’t the only draw to advertising on Facebook – such a huge variety of types of businesses use Facebook ads, that the site has streamlined ad management for marketers and social media managers at all levels. Using Facebook ads is easy and makes it simple to reach marketing goals, so let’s jump right in and learn some quick ins and outs of running Facebook ads. 

Getting Started

Everyone with an existing Facebook account has the ability to use Facebook’s Ads Manager. Ads Manager is Facebook’s ads creation tool. It allows marketers to create ads on any and all of Facebook’s family of apps and services including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or Audience Network. Brands practicing an integrated marketing approach love this feature because it enables advertisers to create a coordinated marketing effort with consistent content across all channels.

Facebook’s Ad Objects

Facebook divides the process of ad creation into three specific categories that are collectively referred to as “ad objects.” Campaigns may contain multiple ad sets, and ad sets can contain multiple ads. Editing an ad set creates changes that will apply to all ads within it; editing a campaign impacts the associated ad sets and ads.

1. Campaigns: Containing ad sets and ads, Facebook allows you to select options at the campaign level that reflect a solid business objective. 

    • Defining the ad’s business objective at the campaign level allows Facebook to help determine the best ad placements, formats, and calls to action so the messages are delivered to the right people. Categories Facebook includes for marketing objectives include awareness (the goal of driving attention and interest), consideration (the goal of engaging and persuading), and conversion (the goal of encouraging meaningful results).  
    • Every ad set or ad within a single campaign will share the same ad objective.

2. Ad sets: Facebook’s Ads Manager lets you set priorities around delivery at the ad set in order to define your strategy. At the ad set level, you can:

    • Specify an audience
      1. Core Audiences – New audiences created manually within an ad set are called Core Audiences. Targeting options include location, gender, age, language, interests, and behaviors. These specifications use Facebook data to reach specific audiences.
      2. Custom Audiences – Custom Audiences let you securely input your customer data or leverage Facebook engagement data to reach people you already have a relationship with. This may include people who’ve visited your website, provided their contact information, or liked your Facebook Page.
      3. Lookalike Audiences – Lookalike Audiences find people with similar characteristics to people who’ve engaged with your ads or Page by combining Custom Audiences or Saved Audiences with Facebook data. 

Facebook Ad in feed

    • Select placements
      1. Facebook ads can appear in News Feeds, Instant Articles, In-Stream Video, Stories, Suggested Videos, Marketplace, and in the Right Column on desktop.
      2. Instagram ads can appear in Feeds and Stories. It’s important to note that if you select “Instagram Stories” as a placement, that ad won’t run anywhere else.
      3. Audience Network extended your ads to other app and website publishers in a range of placement types including native, banner, interstitial, in-stream video, and rewarded video. 
      4. Messenger ads can drive re-engagement and scaled communication. They may appear in the Messenger home screen or they may be sponsored messages.
    • Choose a budget and schedule

Set a daily or lifetime ad budget and set start/end dates for the ad sets. Ads Manager tells you how many people are likely to see your ad and estimated reach based on the budget you choose. Optimization options and when you get charged may vary based on the campaign objective and placements selected.

3. Ads: Time to get creative! Ads belong to ad sets. At the ad level, you can choose the ad format and provide the content that people will see in the ad on Facebook or Instagram including:

    1. The ad’s headline
    2. Content 
    3. Photo or video assets
    4. Destination URL

The ad objective and placement can impact which formats are available, but generally, they are: 

    • Carousel – a scrollable sequence of 2-10 images or videos
    • Image – a single photo or graphic
    • Video – an ad anchored by a single video
    • Slideshow – a looping video ad composed of up to 10 images and/or frames extracted from a video to which you can add transitions and music
    • Collection – a visual and immersive way to promote your business or products
    • Instant Experience – marketers can add an Instant Experience to some ads based on the objective selected. This fullscreen post-click experience, optimized for mobile, encourages playful exploration and interactions within the ad itself.

Facebook Ad on Instagram as an in feed display

Editing and Managing Facebook Ads

Now that you’ve launched an engaging Facebook ad, you can use Ads Manager to locate, manage, and update them. 

Ads Manager allows you to edit at all levels of ads objects, as well as edit multiple ad objects at once. 

    • Campaign – At the campaign level, you can edit the campaign’s name and spending limit. You can change the ad objective as well, but this may impact ad and ad settings. 
    • Ad set – You can edit any of the options at the ad set level including budget and schedule, audience, placement, optimizations, and delivery. This is where you can modify objective-specific details such as the offer connected to a conversion ad.
    • Ad – Finally, you can edit an ad’s name and creative at the ad level, previewing changes as you go along. 

Additionally, you can make certain edits in the reporting table that are applied immediately with no further review including the budget, bid, schedule, title, and status. 

Measuring the Effectiveness of Facebook Ads

According to Facebook itself, “good marketing requires good measurement,” and we couldn’t agree more. Ads Manager helps marketers monitor results of ads using the metrics that matter – this goes far beyond measuring traditional metrics like clicks or post engagement. We’ll take a quick look at some of the essential data Ads Manager provides to help optimize Facebook ads.

First: Measurement vs. Reporting

Although they’re often used interchangeably, measurement and reporting are two very different things. Reporting tools display the results of a campaign while measurement solutions apply more sophisticated techniques to your data to help you better understand campaign performance. You’ll likely use both when you monitor campaign performance and measure results. 

Mobile display of Facebook Ads Manager

Key Facebook Ads Metrics

Here’s just a few of the important metrics you’ll want to pay attention to when monitoring Facebook ads:

  1. Cost per Result – shows you the average cost of your ad based on the result where the result is a custom metric you define based on a specific business goal; for example, you could set a result that’s tied to conversion and count a success each time someone makes a purchase through your website after receiving a specific ad.
  2. Ad Impressions – tells you how many times your ad was viewed; Facebook automatically sets the bidding strategy based on budget and campaign length in order to get you the most impressions.
  3. Ad Frequency – the number of times your ad was viewed, on average, by an individual; Facebook ad automation can be used to help manage what to do when the frequency starts to go up.
  4. Ad Clicks – the number of times someone has clicked on your ad; it’s important to remember that most clicks occur on mobile.
  5. Click-Through Rates (CTR) – tells you the percentage of people who click an ad out of all the people who saw the ad.

When managed properly, Facebook ads can greatly help brands reach business and marketing goals, and Facebook Ads Manager makes creating and monitoring ads simple for all levels of expertise. Check out Facebook Blueprint to dive into the nitty-gritty Facebook ads capabilities, and become a Facebook ad expert in no time!

This article was written by Stephanie Vivirito

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