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Facebook Ads 101: A Checklist to Nail Your First Campaign

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

You finally have your Google Ads set up and running. Now it’s time to conquer the next digital advertising beast: Facebook ads. Here’s everything you need to promote your brand to the platform’s whopping 2.8 billion users.

The Ultimate Facebook Ads Checklist

Before creating your first Facebook ad, you must understand the basics of what kinds of ads and tools are available. The following guide will walk you through what it takes to create that first ad and provide tips that’ll teach you how to advertise your business on Facebook.

What is a Facebook Ad?

Facebook ads are promotional posts for users who engage with the service through its website or suite of apps. Facebook ads can take many forms, from static posts to dynamic videos, carousels, or slideshows. A Facebook ad usually has an appropriate message, accompanying visuals, and a solid call to action (CTA) to encourage users to click through to perform the desired action.

Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook offers advertisers several different types of ads to help reach their customers. Each ad has pros and cons, and different ad types serve unique functions. The following ads are the most common you’ll encounter as a user. This list isn’t exhaustive, and Facebook continues to add different ad types.

Sponsored or image ads are the basic sponsored content you and your customers see while scrolling the feed. Businesses can promote their products or services with a single image. They’re an excellent fit for campaigns with strong visual content like illustrations, photos, or designs.

Image ads are usually simple to create, including boosting an existing image post that’s live on your Facebook page. If they have a downside, you only get one image to share your message. They don’t work well for displaying multiple products.

When you want to display multiple products or images, look to carousel ads. This type of ad allows you to showcase up to ten images or videos for users to click through. Each one features a headline, description, and link.

Carousels work well for brands that want to display multiple products in a series. Because each image has its own landing page, you can promote several products simultaneously.

Video ads

Video ads work much like image ads in that you can convey a clear message to users, but they have the added benefit of helping to capture your audience’s attention quickly. Show off products and services, or even tell your brand’s story.

Videos can appear in multiple placements and support several different aspect ratios depending on where they show up. Shorter videos often work best because customers engage more with them on mobile.

Collection ads

Collection ads are a dynamic format that creates an Instant Experience for users. These ads usually include a cover image or video and feature multiple products underneath. Collection ads can have multiple placements, including in the Facebook Feed, Instagram Feed, and Stories. Products shown may change depending on the placement.

Messenger ads

Messenger ads are those that show up in the Messenger tab. Ideally, Messenger ads will feel personal because they’re nestled among conversations. Small businesses can benefit from them when they use this type of ad to promote local products or services.

You can learn more about the different Facebook ad formats and how to use them here.

Setting Up a Facebook Ads Campaign

Creating a Facebook ads campaign is pretty simple, thanks to the platform’s intuitive tools, especially if you have straight forward goals. For businesses that want to maximize their ad spend, it can be more complicated. Before you finalize your ads and start the campaign, consider the following steps to create a more effective experience.

Step 1: Choose your objective

Choose a marketing objective for your campaign. This is often one of the following:

  • Brand awareness

  • Reach

  • Traffic

  • Engagement

  • App installs

  • Video views

  • Lead generation

  • Conversions

  • Catalog sales

  • Store traffic

  • Messages

Once you know what you want to get out of it, name your campaign.

Step 2. Set up budget & schedule

Next, determine your budget (daily versus lifetime) and schedule (start and end dates for the campaign). The cost of Facebook ads will vary based on many factors, including whom you want to target and the duration of your campaign. Specific keywords may also be more expensive than others.

Step 3. Target your audience

Determine your target audience using location, age, gender, and language. In addition, using Detailed Targeting and Connections fields lets you include or exclude certain people from seeing your ads, preventing them from popping up for people like employees or those who don’t live in the areas your business operates.

Step 4: Choose your placements

You’ll next need to decide which ad placements you want. Ad placements are the types of ads you wish to show and where you want them to appear. You can use Automatic Placements to let Facebook choose the best Facebook ad placements, or you can use a hands-on approach.

As you choose placements, set brand safety controls and split the campaign into different ad groups. This will allow you to do the following with your ads:

  • Craft unique headlines and copy for each ad group. Make sure they fall under your selected ad placement’s word limits. 

  • Review for spelling and grammar errors.

  • Double-check that you’re using the correct specs. 

  • Using Facebook’s Video Creation Kit, you can turn images into animated videos or slideshows. 

Step 5: Select your call to action (CTA)

Your CTA should be relevant to what you want the user to do by clicking your ad. Facebook provides several different options for calls to action. Choose the one that best fits your campaign objectives.

Step 6: Confirm tracking

Before you launch your campaign, ensure you can properly track things like conversions using the Facebook pixel. You’ll need to add it to your landing page.

Upon ensuring tracking is working correctly, launch and monitor your campaign. Remember: campaign optimization is an ongoing process. Watch your results carefully and make changes based on the results you see.

Facebook Ads Powered by AdRoll

With AdRoll's Facebook ads tool, your Facebook ads will go a significantly longer way in reaching audiences with the highest chance of conversion, which will boost your return on investment (ROI) to never-before-seen levels. Here’s how it works. 

Ready to take your social ads to the next level? Check out AdRoll’s Social Ads Guide.

Facebook Ads FAQs

How do I create a Facebook ad campaign?

Most people create their Facebook ad campaigns using Meta’s Ad Manager platform. This step-by-step process guides you through the act of creating an ad. Before you create the ad, determine your ad objectives and which ones make the most sense for your goals. Each objective has different advantages.

You can also use a third-party platform like AdRoll to create your ads and manage your budgets.

What types of Facebook ads are available?

Facebook offers several different types of ads, including:

  • Photo ads

  • Video ads

  • Stories ads

  • Messenger ads

  • Instant Experience ads

  • Collection ads

  • Carousel ads

  • Slideshow ads

How much does it cost to advertise through Facebook?

Facebook uses an auction system to determine how much an advertiser ultimately pays for their ad. How much you pay to advertise on Facebook depends on your type of campaign goals, ad target audience, keywords, and maximum bid. For more information on how Facebook ad pricing works, check out our guide to social media advertising costs.

What is a Facebook pixel and how do I use it in my ads?

The Facebook pixel is a code snippet you add to your website that allows you to measure, optimize, and build audiences for ad campaigns. The pixel gathers data that allows you to track conversions, see actions taken on your site after clicking on your ad, and remarket to people who’ve already visited your site.

You must add the pixel to every page of your site before it can be activated in Ads Manager. 

Are there any restrictions or guidelines I need to follow when advertising on Facebook?

Facebook has clear and concrete policies regarding the types of ads you can create. These policies relate not just to the products or services you can sell on Facebook platforms, but also the content of the ads themselves.

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