Facebook is an enormous resource for marketers who want to increase exposure, cultivate a loyal following, and generate leads or make sales.
If you’re just getting your feet wet as a marketer, or if you’re slightly intimidated by Facebook’s huge wealth of data and the complex set of parameters you have to handle when creating ads, don’t worry. You’re in the right place.
But before getting into the nitty-gritty of our step-by-step guide to creating a Facebook Ad, we’ll begin with why it’s essential that you complete the guide and why Facebook is so important for marketers.
Part One: Why Facebook Still Rules the Roost
Facebook is the channel of choice for small business as well as enterprise marketers, and if you’re not harnessing the impressive power of Facebook yet, it’s probably time to step up to the plate (but you already know this: you’re here!). Even with more social media competitors out there than ever, here are a few reasons why Facebook still rules the roost.
Everyone is on Facebook
With 1.79 billion active users spending an average of 20 minutes per visit, Facebook still reigns supreme over the social media universe. Almost half of all Facebook users are logged in on any given day, and half of the 18-24-year-olds check their Facebook feeds the minute they wake up, before even getting out of bed!
Marketers Love Facebook, and So Should You
With stats like those, it’s easy to see why Facebook is the platform of choice for most marketers. If you’re new to Facebook advertising, it’s time to get in on all the marketing action. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to create buzz for your brand or demand for your product.
Nobody Beats Facebook for Big Data
Another reason Facebook is the marketers’ dream platform is the incredible amount of data that’s collect about users. That allows marketers to find exactly the right people for their ads.
It might help you later on, when you’re creating your first ad, to understand just how incredibly rich the data is on Facebook users. Here’s a quick summary of what’s available for narrowly targeting your Facebook ads:
- age, gender
- city, radius from a city
- recent purchases
- education levels, schools, field of study
- custom audiences
There are more, but for a beginner, this list is a good place to start when you’re creating your first ad. Facebook definitely allows you to harness what amounts to “Big Data” for your advertising campaign.
Now let’s begin.
Part Two: Getting Started
There are 3 ways to get started with creating your ad:
This is the fastest, easiest way to create ads so starting here isn’t a bad idea. After you’re logged in, click on over to the page for your business. In the left menu, look for the word “Promote”. Click that button and up pops a question: What do you want to do?”. For first-timers, you’ll be asked to invite your friends to “Like” your business page. Then, if you click “See all promotions”, you’ll see choices to promote the following:
- Your “learn more button”
- Your website
- Your local business
- Your page
- (You can also promote individual posts by choosing the “Boost Post” button on the page you’d like to boost).
Using Ads Manager
This is the tool you’ll want to learn, because it gives you the ability to create more types of ads, beyond what the buttons offer. Starting in Step Three, you’ll be working through how to use Ads Manager.
Using Power Editor
Let’s stick to buttons and Ads Manager for now since you’re new at this. Power Editor is a big chunk to bite off for the moment since it’s a lot more involved and complex. For those of you who want to know, there’s an Appendix, which is all about the Power Editor.
Part Three: Define Your Campaign
If you’ve worked in advertising before, you know that every campaign should have a goal. When creating a Facebook ad campaign, you’ll be asked to choose from a long list of plausible goals (more than a dozen), which are called “Objectives”. The most common objectives are:
- Increase Conversions to Your Website
- Send People to Your Website
- Promote Your Page
- Boost Your Posts
Within every Facebook ad campaign, you may choose to have several different ads. Here’s how you create those ads, one by one:
- In your Facebook account, click the button that says “Create Ads”. You’ll land on the dashboard for Ads Manager.
- Now click on the button that says “Create Ad”. Then you get to choose your objective.
- Now state which page/post/URL to promote.
- There may be more choices to make, depending on which objective you chose.
Part Four: Define Your Audience
This is where the awesome power of Facebook shows its merit. It’s also the part that scares a lot of marketers because there’s just so many data to filter and so many parameters to choose from.
You’ll definitely want to choose to show your ad to people who already like your Page, as well as their friends. It’s a warm market that’s ripe for conversion.
If you’ve done any work for your business along the lines of developing a customer persona, you’ll be happy now because it will help you immensely. If not, then take a moment to try and define who your ideal customer really is.
Use the filters to narrow down your audience to a size that’s ideal: under one million but more than half a million. Of course, if you’re building a “local” campaign, which is geographically limited, these numbers won’t apply. Chances are your audience will, in fact, be much smaller if it’s a local campaign.
Part Five: Set a Budget
For beginners, set a low budget of around $10 per day. This will give you time to play with the results of your campaign and make tweaks to your ads for maximum performance. Later on, when you’re more adept at creating ads and targeting the right audiences, you can begin to increase your budget.
Choose to let Facebook do your bidding on the ads rather than electing to do it manually yourself.
Also, choose to be charged for actual clicks on your ad(s), not just views.
Part Six: Scheduling
Set your preferences to have ads run immediately, rather than doling them out over the week. Also, choose to have your ads run all the time. You’ll see “more options” but leave that for when you have a better grasp on the system.
Finally, choose “Standard” delivery, which means they'll run all day and not just during certain hours.
Part Seven: Visuals & Text
Here’s where you create your ad. Graphics are essential, so spend time getting them right. Here’s a handy checklist for that:
- Always use high-quality images.
- Use engaging, fascinating, relevant images that evoke positive emotions.
- Use the right text-to-image ratio in your ad (not too much text!)
- Use the right size (1,200 x 628 pixels is a good rule of thumb)
For the text:image ratio, refer to Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool.
The rest is simply a matter of filling out some fields:
- Call-to-Action Button (definitely use this!)
- News Feed Link Description
- Connect a Facebook Page
Part Eight: Placement Options
Where would you like your ad to appear? You may choose all of the following, or just one. Once you’ve got the hang of things, you can even create different ads within your campaign, with each ad running on a different option. The options are:
- Mobile news feed
- Desktop (right column)
- Desktop (news feed)
- Audience Network
Once you’ve chosen your placement options, you’re ready to launch. But first, it’s recommended to review your ad carefully. Click “review ad”, then once you’re satisfied that everything is OK, hit “Place Order”.
It will take up to 24 hours for your ad to get approved. If your ad is rejected, Facebook will explain what the problem was.
Now it’s up to you to watch the results roll in, then tweak your ads for better performance. Once you’ve done this for a few weeks, you can move on to the most advanced aspects of Facebook Advertising (like Power Editor, explained in the Appendix below). And finally: congratulations are in order: you’re no longer a total newbie when it comes to marketing on Facebook!
Appendix: Power Editor
For advanced users, Power Editor offers the ability to do these things:
- Run ads on posts you haven’t “published”, which won’t appear on your timeline. Called “dark posts”, these are ads are like news feeds rather than posts. They’re super target-able and powerful.
- Use more characters in the text part of the ad.
- Perform bulk uploading or bulk editing.
- Access even more powerful targeting, both online and offline.
For example, let’s say you run a luxury pet accessories business (only the finest silk dog collars and velvet cat pillows). Your ideal customer might visit the pages of a pet insurance business or an organization that advocates for dog-friendly restaurants in big cities. They might also frequent the American Kennel Club’s Facebook page. You might want your ads on all those pages, where your customers might find them.
This step is time-consuming because there is such a rich variety of parameters to work with, even from outside sources.
For example, Facebook buys data about your travel preferences from travel sites. Do you belong to a hotel membership program? Facebook probably knows about it. They even collect data about your offline behavior.
Much of the data you have at your fingertips is actually collected by third-party partners of Facebook (Datalogix, Acxiom, and Epsilon). It’s the type of the data Facebook can’t get (yet) since of course, people don’t use Facebook for everything!
Now you’re starting to understand the power of Big Data… and you should be excited that Facebook allows you to harness it with Power Editor!
Ben Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Content, a boutique writing agency focusing on helping small business clients take their websites to the next level. From social media topics to articles on niche industry issues, NoStop's articles are written with style, attention to detail, and with the client's audience in mind.