Facebook Ads for Rookies

Kristin Vidler blogs

“What?! You can advertise on Facebook?”

If that was your initial response to the headline, then you’re a little late to the party… But don’t stress, we’ll get you up to speed.

Since 2004, Facebook has grown a staggering user base, boasting over 1.94 billion monthly active users as of May 2017. Facebook Ads are quickly becoming the go-to online advertising avenue for businesses. Why?

  • Organic reach is below 2%
  • You can run a campaign for as little as a $1 a day
  • Facebook has the largest collection of user data in the world
  • The targeting capabilities are insane
  • The results are measurable

Facebook has a number of different advertising options to help you effectively engage with your audience, but for the average Jo choosing the right option can be a confusing task. So we’re here to set the record straight, and guide you through all the mumbo jumbo. There are two main choices when it comes to promoting content on Facebook: Boost and creating an Ad.

Let’s jump right in and look at Boosting first.


Boosting a post is the most basic form of advertising. All you need to do is click “Boost Post” in the lower right corner of your post, set a budget, time limit, target audience, and BAM you’re done. As organic reach has collapsed over the past few years, many businesses are turning to “Boost” to get their messages in front of their fans.


Since it’s so easy, it’s tempting to always resort to the ‘Boost’ option to promote your page…. But I’m here to tell you to STOP BOOSTING POSTS.

Boosting is a quick and amateurish way to get people to advertise without having to go into ads manager and do all the “complicated” targeting. It’s basically taking advantage of the people who don’t fully know what they are doing… but don’t worry, you’ll be in the know after reading this blog. 😉

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are a more advanced and sophisticated way to advertise and require a Facebook Ads Manager Account.

Unlike a boosted post, once the Ad has finished it vanishes and doesn’t remain on your business page.  You don’t have to be a multinational company to advertise on the platform either. It’s available to anyone that has a business page and at least $5 to put towards a Facebook Advertisement. If your ears just perked up, then keep reading.

Everything you need to Know about Facebook Ads

Before you dive in and create the Ad you need to think about why you are advertising and what you hope to achieve to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Ehhh goal setting?! Yes, trust me, you’ll thank me in a few steps time.

For example:

  • Acquire 100 registrants in two months
  • Increase page likes by 10% in a month
  • Get 100 people to claim the offer

How to set up a Facebook Ads Campaign

There are three levels to Facebook’s Ad structure:

  1. Campaign: The overarching umbrella
  2. Ad set: Where you define your target audience, budget, schedule and placement.
  3. Ad: Come on’ you should know what this one means 😉

With that terminology out of the way, let’s dive into creating an ad.

  1. Campaign

Welcome to the campaign screen:

Basically, this is where you chose the objective for your Ad… based on your goals identified above (I told you not to skip the boring “goal setting” stage!).

For example: Mates Rates Mowing has just joined Facebook and want to build a tribe of fans on their page so they would select the ‘engagement’ objective. They also put together a time lapse mowing video to promote their service so they would use the ‘video views’ objective.

When you’re starting out, picking an objective can sometimes seem like choosing which bin to put your coffee cup in – confusing! If you’re having trouble, check out this blog from Facebook which breaks down each objective. https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1438417719786914.

Once you’ve selected your marketing objective, you’ll then be asked to name your campaign:

  1. Ad Set

This is where the action is at! DO NOT gloss over this section. Here is where you set your target audience, placement, budget and time frame.


There are many factors that can lead to success or failure of your campaign… but spoiler alert: Nothing is more important than targeting! You can create a cracker advertising campaign for dog collars, but if you target cat lovers you’re barking up the wrong tree and your campaign will be a flop.

There are two types of targeting:

  1. Custom audiences
  2. Demographic, interest and behaviour targeting

Custom audiences

Custom Audiences allows you to target people in your email database, people who have visited your website (providing you have a tracking pixel) and people who use your app. It’s basically the missing link between the Facebook world and all your external data. How cool is that?!

But it gets better, you can even create a ‘Lookalike Audience.’ Facebook does all the hard work for you by analysing people in your custom audience and creating a new list of Facebook users that share similar interests and demographics. This is a HUGE shortcut and definitely a ‘safe option’ when it comes to optimising campaign targeting.

Demographics, interest, behaviour targeting

Facebook offers a plethora of targeting options so you can pin point your target audience based on age, sex, location, interests and behaviour.

If you’ve ever been targeted by Facebook Ads, you know it’s almost borderline stalky. Thanks to that good ol’ “Like” button and nosey nature of the platform, Facebook knows exactly what you’re interested in: cafes you like, the Netflix series you’re addicted to, the music you listen to, the charities you support, the people who inspire you, and so on. Also, by targeting to specific life events, you can catch your target audience at the perfect purchase point in the funnel. As you start to narrow down your audience, keep an eye on the dial on the right-hand side of the screen which will give you a rough indication of how many people are in your target audience.


For example: if you were selling high end golf clubs you may think to target people who like Tiger Woods. While I get where you’re coming from, you’ve just made a vital mistake and are now throwing money down the drain targeting a completely irrelevant group of people. What!? How? Although Tiger Woods is a golfer, he’s also an international celebrity who attracts more than just golf fans. You need to be specific… really specific when targeting. In this case it would be more effective to target people who like Bubba Watson. Bubba who? My point exactly! You wouldn’t know the person unless you were a golf fan.


As the name suggests, this is about where your ads will appear. By default, it is set to automatic where Facebook has the power to place your Ads… yeah no thanks, I don’t want my Ads ending up in the dodgy right hand column where no one looks.

We recommend unticking everything but Facebook Newsfeed as in our experience this is the most effective. However, if you have an Instagram account and want to run Ads on Insta too, then you can click that box – just be aware of your budget.


Budget and Timeline
Finally, it’s time to hand over your precious moolah and tell Facebook how long you want your campaign to run for.

There are two options for your budget: daily budget and lifetime budget. Let me break it down.

Daily Budget – You’re basically saying: “Hey Facebook! Spend all of this money everyday.” Using a daily budget requires more attention on your end and limits your targeting options, as you cannot choose what day, or time of the day you want your Ads to appear. For these reasons, we suggest using a lifetime budget. With a lifetime budget, you’re saying: “the Facebook algorithm has got this covered and knows the optimal deployment times according to my budget and time frames.” While I’m sure Zuch and the team would have a giggle at these explanations, it’s inherently true.

Now to the million-dollar question on everyone’s lips: “How much should I spend?” There’s really no correct answer to this. The minimum spend on Facebook is just $5 a day, but ultimately your budget should reflect your goals. After all, it’s not reasonable to expect 10,000 likes from the change in your back pocket.

  1. Ad

This is where the fun begins!

Your first task is to select the format you’d like to use for your advert:

  • Single image – As the name suggests, it’s just an Ad with a single image. This is the most basic and popular type.
  • Carousel – Create an advert with two or more scrollable images or videos.
  • Slideshow – A looping video Ad with up to 10 images.
  • Video – Tell your story with sight, sound and motion.
  • Canvas – Tell a more immersive story by combining images and videos.

** Note: The formats available to you will vary based on the objective you chose in the beginning.

Then add text and a call to action and Bob’s your uncle!

Here’s a few tips we’ve discovered from our experience in creating ads:

  • People respond best to video Ads as they are the most engaging. But don’t just take our word for it, according to Adobe, shoppers that view videos are 1.8x more likely to purchase than non-viewers.
  • If you use Facebook Ads chances are you’ve had an Ad rejected thanks to the 20% rule. Images may not include more than 20% text in the image to ensure people only see high-quality content. Want to check if your image passes the test? Check out Facebook’s image checker here!
  • Catchy copy is key if you want your Ad to stand out.
  • Include a call to action so your audience don’t get lost. What do you want them to do? Call now? Claim offer? Buy now?

Once you’ve finished fine tuning, you’ll see the preview of your Ad on the right-hand side of the screen. If you’re happy with how it looks, click the ‘Place Order’ button in the bottom right-hand corner. You’ll receive an email from Facebook (usually about half an hour later) once your Ad has been approved.


Pat yourself on the back (or maybe grab a glass of wine 😉 ), you made it to the end!

Once you’ve had a play and got the hang of things we recommend doing split testing. This is where you run two slightly different Ads to see which one performs better and then ditch the underperforming one to further narrow down your target audience and ensure you’re getting in front of eager eyeballs.

But don’t worry about that for now! Just relish in the moment because you now “get” Facebook Ads.

If that all sounds too complicated and confusing, give us a call… we’re the Facebook Advertising experts. We offer social media seminars, training and campaign management, designed to give you exactly what you need, to get your business seen on social media.