Planning Your First Facebook Ad Campaign

According to Facebook’s most recent 2021 demographic statistics, the platform has 1.73 billion users per day. About 57% of the world’s active internet users access Facebook at least monthly. It is the largest social media platform in the world and presents an enormous opportunity to reach prospective customers.

If you are planning to run a Facebook ad campaign for the first time, it can be a bit daunting. Facebook’s Business Suite and the Ads Manager are chock full of tools and terminology that can be slightly overwhelming to the newbie. But once you have created and run a few of these ads, you’ll realize it’s not that difficult to do, and can yield some fantastic results.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that you already have a Facebook page (aside from a personal profile) for your business or organization. (Click here for an explanation of the difference between a personal profile and a business page.)

Before you start, you will need to have admin access to the Facebook page for the business or organization for which you are going to be running ads. If you are not currently an admin for the page, the existing admin will need to make you one under the Page Settings (Page Roles) section. Or they can make you a Business Admin through Business Suite -> Settings -> People -> Add People.

Understanding Facebook Ads Terminology

Business Suite – This is where you manage all aspects of your FB business account. Find this at and you should be prompted to set this up if you haven’t already. Here you will find an overview of what’s going on with your business page, like recent posts, recent ads, trends and more. Make sure that your Facebook page is linked up here under Settings -> Accounts -> Pages. If it’s not showing up, you can add it.

Ads Manager – This area hosts your ad account (or accounts if you manage more than one FB business page).

Ad Account – Each business has one Ad Account, so if you are managing more than one Facebook page, you should have an account for each business.

Ad Campaign – This is where you set up the type of ad or ads you are running, and where you set your budget and start/end dates. For instance, you may have a short-term “One-Day Summer Blowout” campaign, and a long-term “Increasing New Subscriptions” campaign and more. At the campaign level, you will select what you want to achieve, for instance, creating awareness of your brand, driving traffic to a web page, increasing sales, etc.

Ad Set – This is your target audience, and you may have different target audiences for different ads.

Ad – This is your actual ad including the visuals and text copy that users will see.

Getting the Most from Your Ads

Some of the most powerful things about Facebook ads is that you can target very specific audiences and you can spend as little or as much as you want, so you can take the opportunity to run different ads for small amounts of money to see which perform best before you invest any larger sums. You can test the same ad directed at two different audiences, or you take an ad and tweak the visual or the text copy to see which one performs better. This gives you an amazing bang for your buck.

Selecting Your Objective

This is the most important part of creating your ad campaign. You will be given a bunch of campaign objectives which will influence how and to whom Facebook will target your ads. Carefully consider what you are hoping to achieve. It’s easy to think, well, I want to increase sales of course. But if you are a new business or trying to break into a different market, it may be smarter to first work on increasing awareness of your brand, getting people to view a promo video or finding more fans for your page.

Objectives are broken into three main categories: Awareness (building an awareness of your brand, your name and your product or service), Consideration (getting some kind of commitment of interest like traffic to your website, messages or leads) and Conversion (making a sale, booking an appointment, etc).

Within these main categories, you will pick the specific objective that makes the most sense for your ad campaign, for instance, getting people to view a promotional video, getting clicks on a specific link, getting people to sign up for your newsletter, etc.

Tracking Sales

You may be wondering how Facebook knows whether someone that clicks on your ad ends up purchasing a product or signs up for your mailing list. The answer is that they don’t unless you set up your website with the Facebook Pixel. The pixel is simply a piece of code that you embed in your website so that you can track what a user does when they reach your website via Facebook. This allows you to know exactly how much money or activity you generated from a specific Facebook ad, which is very powerful information to have.

To create and install a Facebook Pixel, you will need to work with whoever maintains your website.

Setting Up Your First Ad

Once you have selected a campaign objective, there are a lot of ad settings that you can tinker with, but if it’s your first time creating an ad, just go with the defaults and create a good targeted audience (Ad Set), as getting to the right users is really key.

There are a variety of ways to create an audience, including uploading a database of existing customers if you have them. You could also simply target the fans of your page, and/or their friends. You can create a lookalike audience of people similar to your fans. Or if you have a limited audience and are still trying to build your following, you can create an audience based on demographics like age, gender, location or interests. It’s well worth creating several different audiences and running side-by-side ads targeting each one to see which performs best.

Run, Tweak, Repeat

Building a successful campaign is mostly careful trial and error. Try a bunch of different ads and audiences to begin with and track carefully using the insights tools in Facebook Business Suite. Eliminate the ads and audiences that aren’t producing and tweak the ones that are until you find a combination that gives great returns. Once you’ve hit gold – run with it!

Need some assistance with managing effective online ad campaigns? Contact us at J&M Business Solutions to customize a plan for your association, nonprofit or business!