Facebook Advertising: The Complete Guide To Getting Started

By January 04, 2019 Inbound, Strategy



Facebook Advertising use is steadily growing, but if you read the headlines you may think the opposite. How often do you hear statements like this:

“Facebook is only for old people.”
“Instagram has way better engagement.”
“Organic reach is dead for business pages.”

As of September 2018, more than 2.2 billion people are using Facebook. That is over 25% of the entire world population, but who’s counting. The bottom line is this: Facebook is very much alive and well. This statement is even more true for Facebook Advertisers, who are spending more money than ever on the platform.
Before we jump into how to set up a successful Facebook Advertising campaign, let’s first discuss an important question, why should you advertise on Facebook?

5 Reasons To Advertise on Facebook:

Facebook Advertising is Extremely Effective

According to an eMarketer study, 96% of social media marketers consider Facebook the most effective social media advertising platform. Facebook Ads work for both B2C and B2B companies, which means it is an effective option for your business. Yes, I am talking to you.
If you think it is too late to jump on the Facebook advertising bandwagon, don’t worry. As Facebook’s user base continues to grow, so will new advertising opportunities.

Simple Setup Process

Setting up digital advertisements can be difficult. There are different creative types, placements, targeting options, bidding options, and the list goes on. Below we will dive into exactly how to set up Facebook Advertisements, but compared to other advertising platforms Facebook offers a very simple and easy-to-use platform. Even better, your ads will start serving immediately, which is vastly different than some of the other advertising options.

Granular Targeting Options

The true value of Facebook has always been the data it collected. Facebook knows how old you are, where you live, your relationship status, what you are interested in and much more. Many people have stated that Facebook knows people better than their own family members and there is a lot of truth to that.
As an advertiser, Facebook offers unprecedented targeting options; meaning you can serve your ads to the right people, at the right time, every time. These granular targeting options make Facebook Advertising much more attractive than traditional advertising platforms that offered less granular targeting and significantly broader tracking metrics. Regardless of your industry, Facebook can help you target your ideal customers.

Remarketing Capabilities Are Incredibly Powerful 

Facebook’s targeting capabilities grow exponentially more powerful when you install and leverage the Facebook Pixel. We will discuss the pixel in more detail below, but in short it is a tiny piece of code that once installed on your website allows you to target people who visit your site.
Ever been shopping online and start seeing Facebook Ads promoting exactly what you were just looking at? That is Facebook remarketing at work. As an advertiser, remarketing is a dream come true. We can finally stop chasing cold leads and instead can focus on warm leads that have already expressed interest.

Facebook Advertising Platform Keeps Getting Better

Since its launch, the Facebook Advertising platform has continued to improve month after month. Whether it is new targeting criteria, new ad types, or an updated UI, Facebook has made their commitment to Ads apparent. This is great news for businesses, as the benefits of advertising on Facebook are continually growing.

Set Goals

Before you start running your Facebook Ads, it is important that you take time to set goals. Think about why you are advertising and what you hope to achieve. As a HubSpot Agency Partner, we have adopted the SMART goal mindset. A SMART goal is:

  • Specific: your goal should be unambiguous and communicate what is expected, why it is important, who’s involved, where it is going to happen and which constraints are in place.
  • Measurable: your goal should have concrete criteria for measuring progress and reaching the goal.
  • Attainable: your goal should be realistic and possible for your team to reach.
  • Relevant: your goal should matter to your business and address a core initiative.
  • Timely: you should have an expected date that you will reach the goal.

Below are examples of SMART Facebook Advertising goals that you could set:

    • Increase website traffic by 10% in the 1st quarter
    • Generate 50 new leads in the next 30 days
    • Deliver 75 gated eBooks to specific buyer persona in the next 60 days
    • Garner 20,000 impressions in the next 45 days

When you set these goals, make sure that you document them. Being able to see them on a day to day basis will help you stay focused and greatly increase your chances of success.

Setup Ads Manager/Business Manager

Now that you have set your goals it is time to make sure your Facebook account is set up properly. Facebook offers two ways to manage your ads:

  • Facebook Ad Manager: Until recently Facebook’s Ad Manager was an introductory platform for people who were just getting started with Facebook Advertising. Recently, however, Ad Manager has seen major updates that have made it much more powerful. Unless you are planning to manage multiple Facebook Advertising accounts, we recommend that you use Facebook’s new and improved Ad Manager.
  • Facebook Business Manager: Need a more robust solution? Planning on managing multiple business-related assets? Facebook Business Manager is a one-stop shop for managing your Facebook Pages, Facebook Advertisements, user roles, etc. While you may think more is better at first glance, Facebook Business Manager can be more confusing for new advertisers.

Initial setup of Facebook Ad Manager and Business Manager are fairly simple. Information on both can be found below:

Install Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel unlocks the true potential of Facebook Ads by allowing Facebook to track every person that visits your website. This is accomplished by installing a small piece of code on your website. Once installed, Facebook will be able to see exactly who visits your website and drop a cookie on them for retargeting purposes.
For instructions on how to install a Facebook Pixel, click here.
Still not convinced about the power of the Facebook Pixel? Below are some of the top reason you should install a Facebook Pixel on your website immediately:

  1. Remarketing: Run advertisements only to people who recently viewed your website. These individuals know about your company and are much more likely to buy.
  2. Lookalike audiences: Facebook takes what it has learned about your current website traffic and automatically creates a new audience. You heard that right, Facebook does all the targeting work for you!
  3. Custom conversions: Imagine being able to advertise only to people that added something to their cart but didn’t purchase. With custom conversions, also known as Event Code, this is 100% achievable and the results can be equally unbelievable.

At Outspoke we help clients use Facebook Pixel to greatly reduce their cost per click, while simultaneously increasing conversions. The Facebook Pixel can be as simple or complex as you want, so start experimenting with ways to use it to your benefit.

Choose Your Objective

Now that you have completed all the required setup, it is time to create your first Facebook advert. The first thing you will have to specify is your objective, which should be easy since you have already set SMART goals. Below is a screenshot of objective choices:


You will notice there are three main objectives: awareness, consideration, and conversion.

  • Awareness: Objectives that generate interest in your product or service.
  • Consideration: Objectives that get people to start thinking about your business and look for more information about it.
  • Conversions: Objectives that encourage people interested in your business to purchase or use your product or service.

Based on the goals you set earlier, it should be easy to decide which of the high-level objectives makes the most sense. Then, you will have to choose from the list which ad type makes the most sense.

Pro Tip: For small budgets, awareness campaigns offer a lot of value and can be used as a way to learn more about specific audiences.

Define Your Audience

The next step will be defining your audience. This is arguably the most important step. Choosing the wrong target audience can result in extremely high CPCs, with low conversion rates.
To better define your audience, first audit your existing buyer personas. If you haven’t created buyer personas yet, click here. Well-crafted buyer personas will make defining your target audience much easier. Instead of trying to market to all of your personas, focus on one persona for each advert.
There are also several tools you can use to better understand your audience, such as:

  1. Facebook Audience Insights
  2. Google Trends

Below are some of the data points you will want to specify in order to narrow your audience.

  • Location
  • AgeNew call-to-action
  • Gender
  • Interest
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

While it might at first glance seem amazing to have a massive potential audience, you will want to narrow your audience as much as possible. Facebook has a great built-in tool that shows how narrow or broad your audience is, so make sure to check before moving forward.
It is also important to note that retargeting audiences and lookalike audiences are created during this step as well. If you are ready to start putting your Facebook Pixel to work, this is where you will specify this audience.

Define Your Budget

Now that you have selected your target audience, it is time to choose how much you want to spend on your ad. It is important to pay close attention to how your ad will be charged. There are two options:

  • Daily: A daily budget is the average amount you will spend on every day. Facebook may spend slightly more or less than this amount based on availability.
  • Lifetime: A lifetime budget is the maximum amount of money you will spend during the lifetime of your advert. Choosing this option will require you to specify an end-date.

We recommend that you start small with your budget and ensure it is set up efficiently before scaling your budget. How small is too small? Below are the minimum daily budget requirements based on ad objective:

  • Impressions: $1/day
  • Clicks: $5/day
  • Conversion Events: $40/day

Create Your Advert

Now it’s time for the fun part, actually creating your advert. This is what people will see once your ad goes live. It’s time to choose the images (or videos), headline, body text, and post type.

You have two ways to create your adverts, using an existing post or creating from scratch. Let’s quickly discuss both options.

Using an existing post

Not all post types support existing posts, but you can “Boost” a post for example directly from the Ad Manager. To do this, select the “Use Existing Post” option and then choose which post you would like to use.

While using an existing post is useful, we recommend using this option sparingly. The main reason for this is context. When you post to your Facebook Page, you are writing to everyone. Your ads should speak to specific buyer personas and thus, should be crafted differently than organic posts.

Create a new advert

If you would like a blank canvas to craft your add, the first step will be selecting which format you want to use. Facebook has several different formats and each can be used strategically to improve the performance of your ad. Currently, the ad formats are:

  1. Single Image: Create up to six variations of your advert using single images
  2. Carousel: Create an advert with two or more scrollable images or videos
  3. Single Video: Create an advert with one video
  4. Slideshow: Create a looping video advert with up to 10 images
  5. Canvas: Combine images and videos to create an immersive experience

*The formats available will vary based on the objective you set for your advert
It is important to experiment with different ad formats in order to figure out the best way to communicate your message. We highly recommend A/B testing all ads you run, so you can better optimize them.

Image Requirements:

  • Size – 1,200 x 628 pixel
  • Ratio – 1.91:1
  • Other Recommendations – Minimal or no text on the image

Video Requirements:

  • Format – .MOV or .MP4
  • Aspect Ratio — 16:9
  • Resolution – 720p at minimum
  • File Size – 2.3 GB maximum
  • Max Length – 120 minutes (Facebook), 60 seconds (Instagram)
  • Thumbnail Image – 1,200 x 675 pixels, 16.9 ratio

Choose Your Placement

Now that your ad is created, you will have to tell Facebook where you want the ad to be shown. Your placement options are:

  1. Desktop Newsfeed
  2. Mobile Newsfeed
  3. Desktop Right Column
  4. Instagram Feed
  5. Audience Network: Your ads appear on apps and websites in Facebook’s Audience Network
  6. Instant Articles: Your ad appears in Instant Articles within Facebook mobile app and Messenger
  7. In-Stream Videos: Your ads appear as short videos in other videos
  8. Stories: Your ads appear in people’s stories on Facebook and Instagram
  9. Marketplace: Your ads appear in the Facebook Marketplace
  10. Messenger: Your ads appear in the Home Tab of Facebook Messenger

If you are feeling overwhelmed with options, Facebook recommends using the default placement option. Doing so will allow Facebook to optimize your placements in order to improve your results.

However, we have found great success with manually selecting placements. This allows us to craft ads that are optimized for the placement type(s). Another benefit to this is more transparency into the cost for each placement.

Regardless of what placement you choose, be sure to A/B test to figure out what works best. Also, take into consideration your audience’s online behaviors. Marketing to teenagers, for example, should be done primarily through mobile placement, since most of their time is spent on mobile devices. If your landing page requires desktop functionality, you will obviously want to exclude mobile placement.

Place Your Order

Congratulations! Your first Facebook Advertisement is ready to be launched! Once your order is placed, you will have to wait to be approved by Facebook. This process is generally extremely quick, meaning your ad should be live in no time. While this is an exciting moment, there is still work to be done.

Monitor Results

Once you Facebook Ad is live, it is time to closely monitor the analytic data and optimize your ad. This process might require you to tweak your target audience, change you advert collateral, change your bidding strategy, etc.

Pay close attention to the Relevancy Score that Facebook assigns to your ad. This score is calculated based on positive and negative feedback received. A low relevance score can increase your CPC and is generally an indicator that your ad needs work. Consider improving your targeting and messaging to make your ad more relevant to the people viewing it.

Need Professional Help?

While advertising on Facebook is significantly easier and more accessible than other advertising mediums, you may still be feeling overwhelmed. Or maybe you just want to maximize the results of your ads. Either way, professional help is a smart option when it comes to advertising on Facebook.

At Outspoke, we manage advertising campaigns for many of our clients. This has allowed us to experiment in many different industries and with companies of all sizes.

Need help executing an upcoming Facebook Advertising campaign? Let’s chat.