The Ultimate Facebook Ads Guide

Struggling with Facebook Ads?

Feeling a bit confused about the whole thing?

Want a bit of guidance?

Well, you’ve come to the right place, my friend. 

I’ve been studying Facebook Ads since 2013 and I’ve seen the platform go through many changes.

Too many changes. 

In fact, it’s changing as we speak.

So, it’s hard to say how relevant this article will be within a few months. But I’ll do my best to keep this thing updated.

But first, let’s talk about why you should even bother advertising on Facebook in the first place.

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Advertising on Facebook - Facebook Ads Guide

There is no shortage of ad platforms out there. In fact, there are well over 5,000 advertising platforms besides Facebook. 

So why this one?

Here’s a few reasons you should consider. 

Reason #1: Increased Website Traffic

It’s no secret that Facebook drives a considerable amount of traffic for a lot of businesses. There are some who solely get their traffic from Facebook. 

According to a 2018 poll by Search Engine Journal, 62% of SEJ’s Twitter audience said that Facebook brought the most traffic to their website. 

If you know what you’re doing, you can get plenty of eyeballs on your website from Facebook. 

Reason #2: It can help build your email list

Ever heard of the phrase, “the money is in the list”?

It’s a bit cliche, but it’s true. 

Your email list is one of the few things you can control. 

You don’t “own” your social media profiles. They can shut you down at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all.

That’s not the case with an email list. 

In fact, Facebook has an ad format that’s specially optimized for collecting contact information.

We’ll talk more about ad formats in a future post.

Reason #3: Generate More Sales

If you know how to put in $1, and get back $2, you will never go broke. 

Sometimes, you can put in $1, and get back $3, $4 or more.

That’s the beauty behind knowing how to run Facebook Ads. 

It’s possible to get a return on the money you put in.

Reason #4: Increase Your SEO Rankings

If you have a website, you’re gonna love this. 

Search engines like Google and Bing use social signals such as likes, shares, and comments, to determine how relevant your content is. 

If people are liking and sharing your post, then chances are, it’s pretty relevant for a particular term. 

You would also have to be writing content that people are searching for, which is another topic in itself.

Reason #5: You can measure your performance in real-time

Back in the day, there were only a handful of ways you could advertise your business. 

The main ones were television, radio, newspaper, and billboard. 

They’re all very expensive, and very difficult to measure. 

At best, you can get a ballpark estimate of how many people you’ll reach. And out of that number, maybe a certain number of people will respond to your ad.

Plus, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a good return on your ad spend. And if you don’t, you’ll have to scrape up some cash and run another campaign.

5 Myths About Facebook Ads

Maybe you’re convinced that Facebook Ads is the way to go. You can see how it can help you grow your business. 

However, I wouldn’t hop on the platform just yet. There’s a lot of misinformation out there that can lead you in the wrong direction. 

Here are the 5 biggest ones you should watch out for. 

Myth #1: You should re-target all of your visitors

If you’re not familiar with retargeting, here’s the quick and dirty version. 

Imagine you just clicked on an ad for a particular product. 

You browse the landing page for a bit and then you get distracted and leave. 

A few hours later, you’re on another website and you see an ad for that very same product. 

That’s retargeting in a nutshell. 

It’s a way of showing ads to people who visited your website in the past. 

And it can be very effective when it’s used properly. 

However, not every advertiser realizes this. As a result, they try to retarget everyone and anyone. This isn’t a good idea because every visitor is at a different stage of the buying process. 

There may be some who are ready to buy right away. Then, there are those who need a bit more warming up. 

When you properly segment your retargeting efforts, your results will go through the roof and you’ll get a higher return out of each dollar you spend.

Myth #2: Relevance Score is the most important metric

In August 2019, Facebook came out with ad relevance diagnostics as a replacement for relevance scores. 

It’s a series of 3 metrics that help you determine how your ads are resonating with your audience. 

The diagnostics are: 

  • Quality Ranking - Your ad’s perceived quality compared to other ads competing for the same audience. 
  • Engagement Rate Ranking - Your ad’s expected engagement compared to other ads competing for the same audience.
  • Conversion Rate Ranking - How your ad’s conversion rate compared with other ads that have the same optimization goal competing for the same audience. 

To be clear, these metrics do have a place. But they are not the holy grail, by any means. 

The most important metrics you should be paying attention to are your KPI’s, which is short for Key Performance Indicator. Your relevance score (or diagnostic) is a secondary metric. 

As long as you’re within KPI, your relevance diagnostics don’t matter very much.

Myth #3: Manual Bidding is better than Automatic Bidding

On the outside, manual bidding can seem very attractive. You’re able to tell Facebook exactly how much you’re willing to pay for your optimization event. An optimization event can be a link click, purchase, post engagement, etc. 

However, you’re forgetting one small detail. If you’re bidding manually, then you have to constantly stay on top of your campaigns. You have to keep adjust your bids to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ad spend. 

You thought manual bidding was a one-time event? Think again. 

And we’re only assuming that you’re running one ad campaign. What if you had several running at once? Now you really have your hands full. 

To be fair, there may be times when you want to set a manual bid. But in most cases, I would recommend leaving the bidding to Facebook. Their ad platform is very smart and will adjust your bids in real-time to ensure you get the most out of your campaign budget. 

Myth #4: You need a huge budget to run Facebook Ads

Think you need deep pockets to run Facebook Ads?

Not quite.

Even if you have a shoestring budget, you can start running Facebook Ads. 

You can start with as little as $5-$10 per day. 

Heck, I once ran a campaign and spent only $1 per day. It was a Post Engagement campaign and I was targeting a broad audience. You can purchase engagement for cheap on Facebook, especially if your ad is valuable and has quality content.

Obviously, you can’t expect to get the same results with $1 per day as you can with $100 per day. At the very least, you’re putting yourself out there and you can start to get noticed by your target market.

Myth #5: Running Facebook Ads is easy

After doing Facebook Ads for a while, I can say that I have a pretty good handle on things. However, there was a lot of trial and error along the way. 

If you think you can master this over the weekend, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This stuff is easy to learn, but hard to master. 

And if you’re not doing it consistently, that increases the learning curve. Plus, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong in a campaign. 

A lot. 

Here’s a brief list of things you need to get dialed in:

  • Your Target Audience (age, location, interest, etc.)
  • Your Offer
  • Your Headline
  • Your Landing Page
  • Ad Copy
  • Ad Creative

I dare you to mess up on any one of those things.

It’s like throwing money down the drain.

5 Facebook Ads Mistakes

We’ve just gone over some of the biggest myths in Facebook Ads, but we’re not out of the woods just yet. Facebook Ads is easy to learn and it’s also easy to mess everything up. 

So, let’s go over some common mistakes people make with Facebook Ads so you don’t fall victim to any of them.

Mistake #1: Boring Ad Creative

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in marketing is having a boring ad. 

If your ads are boring, nobody will click on it. This is just as true on Facebook as it is on any other ad platform. 

In most cases, you’re better off being offensive to somebody than being boring to everybody. 

If you want an easy way to stand out in the newsfeed, do the complete opposite of what everybody else is doing. For example, if everybody is using blue in their creatives, then use a completely different color. 

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Mistake #2: Poor Audience Targeting

There are many business owners who wrongly believe that their product is for everybody. And maybe your product might work for a variety of different people. 

But I guarantee you that if you try to market to everybody, you will reach nobody. 

Your message will be too generic. And the people who notice won’t take action.

Even if you have different market segments for your products, they need to be clearly defined beforehand before you start putting campaigns together. 

Mistake #3: Not using the Facebook Pixel

There has been a lot of talk about disabling third-party tracking apps in web browsers. For the time being, the Facebook pixel is still a valuable tool in an advertiser’s arsenal. 

It allows you to drop a “cookie” in other people’s browser when they visit your website. From there, you can retarget them at a later date with a similar offer. 

It also helps with tracking conversions on your website, so you know exactly how much return you’re getting on your ad spend. 

In the long run, it helps with creating better Facebook Ads and ensures that your ad gets shown to the right people, at the right time. 

Mistake #4: Weak Headlines

A wise man once said, “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” That wise man was David Ogilvy, one of the top advertisers in the world. 

If your headline fails to catch attention, then you can forget about the rest of the ad. You’re already dead in the water. 

When you’re writing a headline, your best bet is to write out 5-7 possible headlines and choose the best one out of the bunch. This helps to get your juices flowing and increases the likelihood that you’ll end up writing at least one really good headline. 

Mistake #5: “Setting & Forgetting” Your Campaigns

I’ll be the first to admit that launching a campaign is a lot of work. As we mentioned previously, there are a lot of things you need to get dialed in before you can submit your ads for approval. 

After you hit the “submit” button, it’s time to play the waiting game. In the best case, Facebook approves your ad and it’s officially live. Or, you might get denied for some random reason and you have to make some edits. 

Once your campaign is fully approved and running, your work still isn’t done yet. You need to keep an eye on it to ensure that it’s performing to your expectations. 

If you’re not keeping a close eye on your campaigns, something might happen that could cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in wasted ad spend. 

Campaign Structure

At this point, we’ve finished laying the groundwork for understanding Facebook ads. We’re now ready to talk about the actual ad platform itself. 

It would help to start by understanding how Facebook Ads are strcutured. 

There are 3 distinct levels you need to be aware of when setting up your ad campaign:

  • Campaign Level
  • Ad Set Level
  • Ad Level

Campaign Level - Facebook Ads Guide

The campaign level is the topmost level of any Facebook Ad campaign. At this level, we define our ad objective, which is the ultimate end-goal of your campaign. 

There are 11 ad objectives in total. We’ll go over them in detail in another article. 

If you’re doing campaign budget optimization, this is also the level where you set your total daily campaign budget or lifetime budget. 

Facebook also has a special ad category if you’re running ads related to housing, credit, or politics. You can select that option here as well. 

As a quick note, Facebook is removing ad set budgeting in favor of selecting a campaign budget, so make sure you’re familiar with it.

Ad Set Level - Facebook Ads Guide

Each campaign can have a maximum of 50 ad sets. However, you probably won’t need that many to begin. 

The ad set level is divided into several key sections:

  • Delivery
  • Dynamic Creative
  • Budget & Schedule
  • Audience
  • Placements

Delivery

Depending on the placement you choose, you can drive your traffic to one of 4 destinations. 

Not every ad objective has every destination available. 

In no particular order, here they are: 

  • Website
  • App
  • Messenger
  • Whatsapp

Dynamic Creative

If you activate this feature, you can supply Facebook with various assets like Headlines, images, and ad copy. 

Next, the algorithm will automatically test different variations to find the best one for your chosen objective. 

If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend messing around with this.

Budget & Schedule

Although the budget is set at the campaign level, you’re able to have some control over how the budget is spent at the ad set level. 

If you want to ensure that you spend a certain amount of your budget on a particular ad set, you can set an ad set spend limit for the desired amount. 

You can also set your start date and end date for each ad set. If you don’t wish to set an end date, then you can choose to let it run indefinitely. 

Audience

In this section, you get to define exactly who you want to see your ads. The beauty behind this is that you can get very specific to ensure you reach the right person. 

At a basic level, you can target people by age, location, and gender. 

You can also leverage detailed targeting where you can target people by demographics, interests, and behaviors. 

For demographics and behavior, some data is only available in the US. 

Placements

Here, you can define where you want your ads to get shown. 

You can choose whether to show your ads on mobile or desktop. 

There are 4 platforms in total where your ads can appear: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger. 

There are 7 categories of placements where your ads can get shown: 

  • Feeds
  • Stories
  • In-Stream
  • Search
  • Messages
  • In-Article
  • Apps & Sites

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When setting your placements, you can either do it manually or allow Facebook to set your placements. 

If you do it manually, there’s a chance that your ads may underdeliver. But you’ll have greater control in where your ads get shown. 

If you allow Facebook to choose, they might show your ads in 1 or 2 placements. Still, this will help maximize your budget and ensures your ads get shown to more people.

Ad Level - Facebook Ads Guide

As the name implies, this is the level where we create the actual ads. 

Facebook allows you to have a maximum of 50 ads per ad set. However, each campaign can only have a maximum of 5,000 ads. Only 1,000 of these 5,000 ads can use dynamic creative. 

Identity

In this section, you choose the Facebook Page and Instagram Page that represents your business when running ads. 

You cannot run Facebook Ads without a Facebook Page, but you don’t need an Instagram account to run ads on Instagram. You can use your Facebook Page on both platforms. 

Audience Insights

There’s an old saying that goes, “The business that knows its customer the best will win.” In order to do that, you need information on your side. This is where Audience Insights comes into play. 

Facebook created this tool to help provide aggregate and anonymous information about its people. There are 2 main groups of people this can be used for: people connected to your page and people on Facebook. 

Audience Insights can be used for gaining a deeper understanding of your audience’s demographics like gender, marital status, education and job title. 

Page likes helps with determining what your audience may be interested in and what may appeal to them within an advertising campaign. 

You can also narrow down your audience by city, country, and language. 

Last, but not least, Audience Insights gives you a glance into how active your audience is on Facebook. You can find out stats like how many pages they’ve liked, how many posts they’ve shared, number of ads clicked, etc.

You can even find out what types of devices they prefer to use like desktop or mobile. Or, you can narrow down by operating system like iPhone or Android.

Facebook Pixel

facebook ads guide - facebook pixel

If you’re marketing on Facebook, and you don’t have the pixel installed on your website, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. 

It’s a small piece of code that takes seconds to install, but the benefits are immense. 

For example, when someone visits your website, a “cookie” gets dropped into their web browser. This is a unique identifier that allows you to retarget that person at a later date. 

The pixel gets smarter over time as you feed it more conversion data. This will help you get a greater return on your ad spend while getting your ad in front of the right people. 

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