How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Sven Scheuerle Last updated 27.05.2021
14 Min.
Facebook Ads
Last updated 27.05.2021

Do you want to promote your product or service with Facebook Ads but you're not sure how to get started? It's simple - Sven Scheuerle shows you in this guide how to run your first campaign and reach your target audience with Facebook Ads.

As of 2020, Facebook's active user numbers amount to almost two billion. This makes Facebook one of the most popular social media networks worldwide. As an entrepreneur, this factor naturally plays into your hands when it comes to placing Facebook ads. Because Facebook also provides numerous personal details that help you as a company to target your advertising. 

New Apple privacy settings

Apple's iOS 14 update has brought some changes that significantly increase user privacy and limit ad tracking. You can read about what this means for your Facebook ads in this post.

In the following article, I would like to show you how you, as a beginner, can quickly and easily find your way around Facebook's ad manager and explain how you can start a Facebook campaign. 

Facebook Ads: What you need to know to get started

You're probably reading this article because you're interested in running Facebook Ads. If I had to guess, I'd say you also use Facebook privately to keep up to date with news or to communicate with your friends and acquaintances - right?

What we don't realize is just how much personal data we actually leave behind in our profiles. This includes, among other things, what our interests are, where we work, our current relationship status is and what other sites we like. 

However, it is precisely this information that makes the placement of Facebook Ads so incredibly effective. In order to reach your chosen target group on Facebook, you can target your content in extreme detail using this and many other data. In the best case, this means that your Facebook ads are only displayed to those users who should actually see them.

Why are Facebook Ads worthwhile for your business?

As mentioned above, Facebook Ads are worthwhile simply for the fact you can target (filter) your target group extremely well. In addition, Facebook allows you to place ads from a starting daily budget of only five euros. 

Especially for beginners or people who want to advertise their products and services with a small advertising budget, Facebook is a good starting point. Because really everyone – whether you're a coach, shop owner, service provider or marketer – can place low-cost advertisements on Facebook. All you need is a so-called Facebook fan page. 

Tips for more engagement on Facebook

If you want to know how to further increase the interaction of your users on Facebook, take a look at these 10 Facebook engagement tips from Mobile Monkey.

Facebook offers these standard ad formats

Facebook offers you a variety of ad formats for displaying your ads. The most important of these include the following options: 

  • Image Ads (product images, brand)
  • Video Ads (Moving Videos)
  • Slideshow Ads (images/videos with text and sound)
  • Carousel Ads (presentation of up to 10 images or videos)
  • Instant Experience Ads (full screen display for mobile devices)
  • Collection Ads (Multiple Products as Instant Experience)

Depending on the campaign goal you decide on at the beginning of your advertising campaign, you have different ad formats at your disposal. 

The most important KPIs

Are you already running Facebook campaigns and you're interested in how to evaluate and optimize them? Then check out my article about the 9 most important Facebook Ad KPIs.

How to get started with your Facebook Ads

As mentioned before, you need a fan page to run Facebook Ads. In the best case, you'll have already created one for yourself or for your company. If not, you can do it via the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/creation/ 

Step 1: The Facebook Business Manager

I recommend using Facebook Business Manager when you create Facebook Ads. You'll have many more functions and possibilities to prepare and optimize your ads than if you activate them directly from your Page. 

I strongly advise you not to place your Facebook Ads directly on your fan page!

Click on the following link to create your business in the Business Manager: business.facebook.com

Once you have created your company in the Business Manager and opened it, you will be taken to the following overview page, which gives you access to your company and the company settings. You can then manage all your sites and advertising accounts via this dashboard. Provided you have linked them to the Business Manager. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

You can then create the link directly in the company settings under "Accounts". 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

This applies to both Pages and advertising accounts. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Step 2: Understand Ads Manager

From the dashboard of your company or directly from the company settings, you can access the so-called "Ad Manager" via the menu bars on the top left. 

If it doesn't appear under "Frequently used", just click on "All tools" in the bar and you'll be shown all possible options you can choose from. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Clicking on "Ad Manager" will take you directly to Facebook's Ad Manager, which you can use to run your ad campaigns.  

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

These are the different tabs you'll find within the Ads Manager: 

  • Account overview
  • Campaigns
  • Advertising groups
  • Advertisements

Don't worry, the Ads Manager is much simpler than it first appears at first sight!   

Account overview 

Here you'll only find an overview of how your Ads are performing. This tab has basically nothing to do with the actual structure of the campaigns or advertisements. 

Campaigns

You can create a separate ad for each ad campaign to run on Facebook Ads. For example, if you want to advertise a new "dog food", create a new campaign. 

Advertising groups

Here you can store different ad groups for your campaign, for example. This makes sense if you want to advertise to multiple target groups or test different placements. 

Advertisements 

You'll find the actual advertisements you place for the respective ad group under this tab. 

This is an example of how they could be structured in the Ads Manager: 

  • Campaign (e.g. new dog food)
  • Ad groups
    - target group 1 / display format 1
    - target group 2 / display format 1
    - target group 3 / display format
  • Advertisements
    - Advertisements 1
    - Advertisements 2
    - Advertisements 3

Step 3: Create campaign

To create an advertising campaign, you need to go to the "Campaigns" tab. Click on the button "+Create". 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Choose the objective of your campaign in the next step. You can choose between three superordinate categories: awareness, consideration and conversion.

These marketing goals are behind the individual options:

Awareness

  • Brand awareness: Increase the awareness of your brand
  • Reach: Reach as many people as possible with the advertisement

Consideration

  • Traffic: Send people to a destination (e.g. website, app, messenger).
  • Interactions: Get more post interactions (e.g. "Like")
  • App Installations: Encourage installation of your app
  • Video views: Get your audience to watch your video
  • Lead generation: Gain more leads (e.g. email addresses of people)
  • Messages: Get more messages via Messenger

Conversion

  • Conversions: Increase profitable actions (e.g. website)
  • Catalog sales: Automatic display of articles from the shop
  • Store Traffic: Increase of the number of visitors in the store

In our example, we decided to use the common campaign objective of generating more traffic. In other words, we wanted to get Facebook users to visit our website, landing page or blog via the ad. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

After selecting "traffic" as the campaign objective here, you can assign a name and set a daily or total budget for your campaign. You can also create an A/B test for this campaign too.

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Once you've entered a campaign name and your daily or term budget, click on the "Set up advertising account" button. By default, the campaign will be optimized for the "Lowest cost" bidding strategy. 

Tip

Create a custom audience before you start your advertising campaign: Menu → Target groups → Create target groups → Custom Audience. This allows you to target people who've already visited your website and is called retargeting.

Step 4: Set up an advertising account

If you're running Facebook Ads for the first time, you'll need to set up your advertising account in the next step. You'll need to enter your country, currency and time zone whereby this information is usually already set correctly for you. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

After checking, click on the "Next" button.

Step 5: Set audience

In the audience section, create a name for your audience and select where you want to generate traffic. You can also define your target group and placement and define where you want to optimize the ad delivery (e.g. link clicks, landing page views, impressions, individuals reached daily).

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

We choose "website" for traffic. Simply because this is most likely to apply to you as a beginner. The points "Dynamic ad design" and "Offer" we leave out of this guide for now. Of course, this doesn't prevent you from placing profitable ads. 

Under the item "Audience", you can define a new audience or use a saved target audience. For the target group analysis, I always recommend using Audience Insights. I explain how to proceed in more detail in a separate section. If you've defined and saved your target group with Target Group Insights, you can select it via the item "Use saved audience". (Attention: according to Facebook, the "Audience Insights" feature will be discontinued on 1 July 2021).

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

After you audience has been added, you'll also see in the top right-hand corner under "Audience size" how specific or large it is. More, you'll see the estimated daily results for your campaign objective. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

As a beginner, I recommend that you leave the "Automatic placement" setting under "Placements". This leaves the selection of placements to Facebook. Your ads will then be displayed on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Of course, you can also use the "Manual Placements" option at any time and decide yourself where your ads should be displayed. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Under the item "Optimization for Ad delivery" you determine what you want to optimize the ads for. The following options are available to you here: 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

What you're trying to achieve or to whom or how Facebook shows the ads, is described under each item. You can also choose whether a chosen audience starts immediately or is only active for a specific time period. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

You can also select a spending limit for the audience and choose what you want to pay for. When you're starting out and if your advertising budget is small, you can't go wrong with "Impression" (number of times your ads are on screen). 

Step 6: Design your ads

In this step, you can now design your ad. Among other things, you can define an ad name, select the Facebook site or Instagram account for which the ad is to be created, the format you would like to use and enter a corresponding text and links. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

You decide how your Ads should be designed in the "Format" area. You have the choice between carousel, single pictures, video or collection. For our example we choose the classic variant "single image or video". 

You can also choose whether you want to create a new ad or use the ad from an existing post on your Facebook Page. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

In the "Media" section, you can add pictures or videos to your ad and create slideshows or videos. We chose to add an image here in our example. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

In the following window you can upload your own photos or use pictures you've already posted on your Page. Under the menu "Standard photos" you'll also find plenty of Shutterstock images to use for your ad. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Select an imagine and click on the "Next" button. The picture will then be displayed in your ad. 

In the section "Text and Links" you can now add appropriate text and a link for your ad.

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Enter your texts for the advertisement in the left-hand column. In the right-hand column you'll see a live preview of your ad. The middle section allows you to view the ad in different formats and check how it'll be displayed on different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Instant Articles, etc.

Under "Tracking" you have the option to use conversion tracking. If you've not already done so, you should definitely set Facebook Pixel as default here. This can be done in general settings or at the latest here before you confirm your ad. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Click on the "Set up" button. In the following window, you can assign a name and specify a website on which you've embedded the pixel. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Then click on the button "Next". In the following window, click on "Set up the pixel now". 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

You now have three different options to choose from. We selected "Add pixel code manually to the website". 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

You can now place the following base code for example via a WordPress plugin in your header area.

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners
Note

Since the GDPR requires caution and the visitor must consent to the use of the pixel, you should use the pixel in conjunction with a GDPR plugin. More about this in the section "GDPR and Facebook Ads".

If you've set up the Facebook pixel correctly, click on the "Confirm" button at the bottom right. In order for your ad to be displayed, you now only need to enter a suitable payment method so Facebook can debit your advertising budget. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Audience Insights

Audience Insights only until 1 July 2021

Facebook has announced that the Audience Insights feature will no longer be available from 1 July 2021. Instead, users should use the Business Suite Insights.

In Audience Insights you have the option to select your audience or to compile and save it. To create a new target group for your advertising campaign, select an audience first. In our case, this is usually "Everyone on Facebook".

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Now you get to the menu where you can set numerous parameters for your target group. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

I'd like to explain the whole thing to you once using the example of "dog food". Please not that this really is only an example; the approach as well as the target group determination will always be very different. 

For the ads, we want to limit ourselves to Germany and target Facebook users who are interested in dog food or even dogs in general. For this purpose, I've provided the following information in Target Group Insights. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

I selected "Germany" as the location, limited the age to 18-64, selected "All" as the gender and "Dogs" and "Dog food" as the interests. In addition, I've selected "German" for language to further restrict the target group.

In the middle, you see blue and grey bars (demographic information). These show you at the top, for example, how high the proportion of women and men is in the respective age group - on Facebook in general (grey) and in your selected target group (blue).

In the lower area, you can view further details such as relationship status, education and the industry in which your selected target group is active. 

If you change the parameters in the left menu, the statistics in the bar graphs will change accordingly. 

Under the tab "Like information for sites " you will also see sites your target group likes. In our case, it now looks like this. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

As you can see here, among the top three are exclusively topics that have to do with animals or dogs. Also in the following rankings we find here pages that revolve around dogs or animals in general. You can take this very well as orientation at the beginning. So we're not doing too badly with the target group selection. 

In addition, you can see at the top under (New target group) how large your currently selected target group is. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

This can be crucial in determining how much advertising budget you need to spend to be profitable. The better you've selected your target group, the better your ROI (return on investment) is. Of course, you can narrow down your target group even further. Especially here it's test, test, test!

If we now want to use this target group for a later advertising campaign, click on "Save" in the top bar to save the target group. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

In the following window you can give your target group a name and save it. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

The Facebook Pixel

You can also find the Facebook Pixel via the Facebook Business Manager. As mentioned above, you can set this up at the end of the campaign creation or directly via the menu bar, which you will find above the Business Manager. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Click on the menu icon at the top left and then click on "All tools" to display all options. Under the item "Measurement and Reports" → "Events Manager" you'll find the Facebook pixel. 

To set up the pixel, or to be able to call it up, click on "Pixel". 

In the following overview, you can find the Facebook Pixel. You can also see an overview of the activities, i.e. whether and how often the pixel was triggered on your website. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

You'll also find the pixel ID here. You'll need this if you want to integrate the pixel into your website using GDPR -Plugins. If you need the pixel code to integrate it manually into the web page header, you can call it up by clicking on the pixel name → Set up. In case you haven't set up the pixel beforehand. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Custom conversions

What you should know in connection with the Facebook pixel are the so-called custom conversions. Because with the help of the custom conversions, you can track Events. 

Example: 

You would like to know how many users have bought a product or entered their email address on your website. Then you can create a custom conversion for this. 

Click on "Custom conversions" in the Event Manager. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

In the overview that follows, go to "Create custom conversion". 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

The "Create a custom conversion" window will then open. Here you can enter the website event, e.g. a purchase or a lead. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

In addition, you define the rule here that allows the event to become active. In the case of a purchase, this would be the URL of the "thank you page". Under URL, you can define this with the parameters "contains", "does not contain" or "is the same". Of course, you can also store several rules of this type. 

At the end, you can also give the custom conversion a name and determine a value that triggers the "purchase". Once you've entered everything, click on the "Create" button and your custom conversion / event for your Facebook Ads is active. 

GDPR and Facebook Ads

With the introduction of GDPR, the placement of Facebook Ads has become a bit more complicated. Because the GDPR clearly states that the user, in simplified terms, must agree before the Facebook pixel can become active. Even if this is still ignored on many websites, I'd still like to briefly explain to you today how you can be completely safe here. 

In fact, the easiest way is to use a corresponding GDPR plugin where you can store the Facebook pixel via pixel ID. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

As soon as the user then visits your website, a cookie box should appear indicating that the pixel has been integrated and that it will only be activated after the user has given their consent. 

How to Start Your First Facebook Ads Campaign – Our Guide for Beginners

Personally, I almost exclusively use the Plugin "Borlabs Cookie" for this purpose, which I have also already reported on in detail here. The user must also have the option to revoke consent at any time. You can also implement this with Borlabs Cookie and within your privacy policy. 

Other very useful GDPR plugins for WordPress, which offer similar features to Borlabs Cookie, are listed in this article on BLOGGiraffe (available only in German). 

Final thoughts

Facebook Ads offers you, as a beginner, the perfect opportunity to place low cost ads on Social Media. Especially the procedure for the target group research you may see here only as an example, because the procedure can – and should be – different for everyone. Of course, you can do the targeting in much more detail than I have done here. 

In addition, it should be said that you can burn a lot of money with Facebook Ads. Therefore, I recommend you read a book or work through a video course in advance. With a deeper knowledge of Facebook Ads – also regarding the analysis of results – you can tailor your ads even better to your target group and react to successes and failures with appropriate measures.

Any other questions?

Do you have questions about using Facebook Ads or want to share your experience? We're looking forward to your comment! Do you want to hear about new articles on online marketing? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or via our newsletter.

Sven Scheuerle - Independent freelancer and passionate affiliate marketer - has been working in online marketing for many years. He is also a blogger and regularly posts on his blog BLOGGiraffe.de about self-employment in online business.

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