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Facebook Advertising: Getting Started with Advertising on Facebook

Aiden Dalley

Sr. Manager, Product Marketing

Facebook is one of the most important advertising platforms on the internet for small and big businesses alike. Because Facebook has 2.96 billion active users each month, its effectiveness as an outreach tool simply can’t be beaten. 

If you’ve never considered using Facebook as an advertising platform, it’s time you start. Facebook’s powerful suite of ad creation and management tools allows marketers to potentially reach 1.983 billion users with ads. With its several unique options for ad types and targeting tools to help narrow down your potential audiences by geography and demographics, Facebook can aid your business’s marketing efforts you can easily track and report on.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the basics of Facebook ad creation, from setting a budget to figuring out which ad type works best for your goals.

Note: Because Meta (Facebook’s parent company) often serves ads on both Facebook and Instagram, we may use the names interchangeably.

Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook offers several different ad types, depending on your campaign goals, services or products you sell, and budget considerations. The major ad options available on the platform include the following:

  • Image ads

  • Video ads

  • Carousel ads

  • Instant Experience ads

  • Collections

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on Facebook? 

Facebook ad costs fluctuate often, usually when there’s a period of high competition. In addition, the pricing for Facebook ads greatly depends on your maximum bid, the size of your intended audience, and the type of ad you want to create.

You can use two different metrics to calculate your ad costs: cost per click (CPC) and cost per mille (CPM). The latter describes the cost per 1,000 impressions. Research suggests that, across industries, advertisers pay $0.44 per click and $14.40 CPM. For lead ads, the average cost per lead sits at $9.63 as of April 2023.

Set up a Facebook Ads Account

Before you try to set up a Facebook Ads account, you’ll need a few things. These include:

Agencies requesting ad accounts on behalf of their clients must provide these details. You’ll also need authorization from the advertiser to submit this request.

To request an ad account, log into your Business Manager account and click on Business Manager in the top-left corner. Next, you’ll do the following:

  1. Click on Business Settings in the Settings section.

  2. Click Ad account status in the left-hand menu tab.

  3. Click Add and fill out supporting fields in the Advertiser details section.

You’ll likely need to upload supporting documents via the Business auxiliary document section and leave descriptions with Additional comments. Combine multiple documents into a single image file. For multiple ad accounts, be sure to give a reason in the Additional Comments field.

  1. After clicking Continue, fill out the Ad account details section. Remember: All Pages, apps, and websites need to align in content, brand, and name. You can only promote the objects you submit here, so plan ahead.

  2. Click Continue and review the information. Ensure accuracy and complete details. If any changes are necessary, click Back and make them. Otherwise, click Request ad account.

Upon a successful request, Facebook will generate a unique ID to track its status. If the account is approved, you can only promote those objects you submitted in the request. Failing to stick to these rules can lead to your ad account being disabled.

Ad accounts can provide different levels of access to individual users through Business Manager. Ad account analysts have view-only access to ads. Ad account advertisers can edit and manage ads. Ad account admins are those who can manage all aspects of campaigns.

Choose an Advertising Objective

After Facebook approves your ad account, you may want to jump in and start building ads. Before you do that, you need a plan. Ask yourself what objectives the campaign should serve. Facebook offers several advertising objectives that you can use to create your Facebook ad campaigns. These include:

  • Sales: Sales-focused ads are good for conversions, catalog sales, and messages.

  • Leads: Lead-generation ads are tailored for Instant Forms, messages, calls, and sign-ups.

  • Awareness: You can use awareness campaigns to drive video views or increase brand awareness.

  • Engagement: If you want to get more video views, event responses, post engagement, or likes, this ad type is for you.

  • Traffic: Traffic ads send people to destinations like your website, app, or Facebook event. They’re great for link clicks or landing page views.


Facebook sales ads require Facebook Pixel integration to function. This small snippet of code helps measure customer actions and improve your ad results by optimizing spend.

Sales ads break down further to conversion campaigns, which focus on driving new customers to your site or app and optimizing conversions like adding items to a cart, registering for a service, and checkout. With a sales campaign, you choose your conversion location and performance goals and Meta shows your ad to the people most likely to convert.


Lead ads gather information from users on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger before moving them through the buying process. You can generate leads in three ways:

  • Connecting with them in Messenger or Instagram Direct.

  • Using Instant Forms to gather information.

  • Encouraging them to call your business on the phone.

Each type of lead generation ad has its own quirks and methods of measuring performance, from tracking conversations started to viewing call confirmation clicks. Depending on how your business is comfortable communicating, you can use all three lead ad types to funnel customers to your customer relationship manager (CRM) platform.


If you want to focus on reaching new audiences and staying top of mind for customers across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, an awareness campaign might be the right fit. With an awareness ad, you can show your brand to as many members of your audience as possible. You can even reach people using your business’s physical location. Brand awareness campaigns are also a great fit for video content, which can help tell your brand’s story to customers who are likely to be interested.


With an engagement ad, you can start conversations with customers by giving your audiences the ability to message you on Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp. You can also use this ad type to encourage people to watch your video.


Facebook’s traffic ad objective helps you reach new visitors and excite your existing audience. A traffic campaign is focused more on interest, than sales. You choose where you want people to go when they click your ad, whether that’s your website or an app. Meta shows the ad to likely visitors. Ideally, those visitors click the ad, learn about your brand, and take action.

Define Your Target Audience

Before you serve ads to an audience, you have to know who that audience is. Defining a target audience is essential to building any ad campaign. Defining the wrong audience could lead to poor ad performance. Setting up the right audience for your brand can help lower costs and improve performance.

Facebook gives advertisers various ways to refine their audiences. These targeting options include:

  • Demographics: When you want to target users who fit into certain groups, target demographics.

  • Interests: If your potential customers share hobbies like rock climbing or shopping, target their interests.

  • Behaviors: When you target behaviors with a Facebook ad, you’re aiming to influence people who’ve recently visited your website or used your app.

  • Location: The simplest form of targeting, location targeting locks in on users who live or work in a specific area. This kind of targeting is also known as geofencing.

New customers with specific interests or from a specific location

The default choice for ad sets in Ads Manager, this option lets you target new customers by refining your audience with the basic categories listed above.

People who have already shown an interest in your business

You can create a Custom Audience to connect and retarget people who’ve already visited your website or used your app, but this also extends to people who are already on your customer list or who have engaged with your profiles and content.

People who share interests with your current customers

Your custom audience isn’t just for catering to existing customers. You can actually use it to target new audiences who share interests with your existing customers. These audiences, called Lookalike Audiences, are a powerful tool to expand your reach and connect with customers who may love your product but might not know about you just yet.

Create Your Ad

You know your objectives and have built your audiences. Now it’s time to create your first ad campaign. To build out your Facebook ad, take the following steps:

  1. Choose your ad placements: This is where your ads will appear. Your placements depend on your campaign objectives, ad types, and settings.

  2. Select the right Facebook ad format for your creative strategy.

  3. Create your ad creative. Use unique visuals and messaging (including copy) to capture your audience’s attention. 

If you want a step-by-step process for launching ads on each platform, download our 2023 Everything You Need to Know About Social Ads guide.

Set Your Ad Budget

Facebook gives you powerful budgeting tools to choose the right one for your campaign. All Facebook ads function on an auction platform: Users place a maximum bid for their ad to appear in front of audiences. The best advertisers know how to optimize their bids to win. While higher bids increase the chances that your ad will be seen, it could also exceed your budget. Facebook offers two major approaches to ad budgeting: daily budgets and lifetime budgets. Beyond that, advertisers also have the ability to set how that budget is allocated, either based on spend, goals, or through manual adjustments.

Daily budget

A daily budget simply means that Facebook will strive to spend a maximum dollar amount per day.

Lifetime budget

A Facebook ad’s lifetime budget is the maximum amount of money you want to spend over the life of the campaign.

Bidding process

Advertisers have some flexibility within the bid process, depending on their goals. Budget-conscious marketers may want to use a spend-based approach, while those with a focus on reaching goals may prioritize spending more to meet them.

Spend-based bidding

Spend-based bidding is focused on spending an ad’s full budget for the most possible value. If you want to reach as many prospects as possible, focus on the highest volume. To maximize high-value sales, consider using the highest value option. For the most savvy marketers who like hands-on control, manual bidding can be a great fit.

Goal-based bidding

Goal-based bids focus on values you want to achieve. You could look at limiting your cost per result, which focuses on profitability. The other option is to focus on return on ad spend (ROAS), which aims to keep ad spend average to ROAS control but isn’t guaranteed. To better understand how it works, use our ROAS calculator.

Manual bidding

Manual bids allow you to set a maximum bid across auctions. It’s a good fit for advertisers who understand how to predict conversion rates and manually optimize campaigns accordingly. This is the most hands-on option.

Launch and Monitor Your Ad Campaign

With the budget, audiences, and ad creative in place, it’s time to launch and monitor your Facebook ad campaign. Before your campaign launches, you still have a few more choices.

You can choose between immediate delivery, or you can schedule your campaign to run during a set period. You can even set parameters to run ads during specific days of the week or business hours.

You’ll also need to determine whether you want to bid for your objective, clicks, or impressions. This changes how your ad is displayed. When you do this, you pay for your ad to be shown to your target audience, but Facebook takes over the maximum bid. If you don’t want them to set this, you’ll need to do manual bidding. Facebook usually provides suggestions based on other advertisers’ behavior.

Once your ad is live, you’ll need to monitor it for performance. Facebook Ads Manager provides detailed metrics to track each campaign’s real-time performance. Some things you’ll want to watch out for include:

  • CTR

  • Budget

  • Conversion rates

  • CPC

You’ll also want to use Google Analytics to track conversions and other metrics on your site that relate to ads. 

Advanced Facebook Advertising Strategies

Once you get the hang of creating Facebook ads, you can start playing with advanced strategies to maximize your use of the platform. Mastering these tactics—or partnering with agencies who have—will go a long way toward ensuring continued Facebook advertising success.

Find the Most Effective Ad with A/B Testing

A/B testing is one of the best ways to discover the best advertising tactics for your business. With A/B testing, you create two versions of one ad where one variable is changed. You could change the ad copy, the image, or the headline. What’s essential is that you only change one thing at a time. At the end of the testing period, one ad will (hopefully) have a noticeable edge over the other. 

Run a Retargeting Campaign

Retargeting campaigns allow you to target users who’ve already performed actions on your website, visited your business, or left items in a cart. Retargeting campaigns allow you to reach out to those customers and compel them to perform a desired action. 

Incorporate Geo Targeting Ads

Geotargeting allows you to reach customers who are specifically within an area you want to serve with a product or service. Geotargeting ads are a powerful way to put your product or service in front of potential customers in a specific part of the country, such as new markets where stores are about to open.

Optimize Facebook Ads for Awareness Stages

Finally, consider optimizing your ads for different customer awareness stages. Much like a traditional sales funnel, tailoring your ad content in this way allows you to reach a wider audience. The different awareness stages are:

  • Unaware: The audience is completely unaware of your product or the needs it serves.

  • Problem-aware: Potential customers are aware that the need or problem exists but not necessarily tuned into the solution.

  • Solution-aware: The potential customer is aware of the problem and the solution that exists but not of your specific product.

  • Product-aware: The audience has heard of your product in passing but may not be in the market for it at this time.

  • Most aware: The audience for this ad is actively experiencing a need for your product and has probably investigated purchasing at some point.

Learn How AdRoll Can Help Manage Your Facebook Ads

Creating Facebook ads and managing budgets isn’t difficult for a single campaign, but if you’re a growing business with an increasing need to reach customers, it can feel overwhelming. AdRoll equips you with the tools and services you need to better manage your Facebook ads


What types of advertising are available on Facebook?

There are a variety of different types of advertising available on Facebook. You can opt for boosted posts to magnify the reach of an already existing post, or create new ad campaigns around Carousel Ads, Single Image Ads, Videos, Collection Ads, and Canvas Ads. You can also use dark posts to test various creatives without cluttering up your timeline. All these ads have various formats as well as targeting options that you can customize according to your desired audiences and goals.

What targeted options are available for Facebook ads?

With Facebook ads, you can target specific audiences based on criteria such as age, gender, location, interests, behaviors, and connections. You can also narrow down your audience with various ad formats and choose from automatic placement or manual placements for different devices like mobile phones and tablets.

Additionally, you can layer on other targeting parameters such as language and custom audiences. All of these options give you greater control over who is seeing your ad and help ensure that your message reaches the right people.

How can I track the performance of my Facebook ads?

You can track the performance of your Facebook ads using various facebook analytics tools. The Ads Manager allows you to analyze your ad campaigns, view detailed reports and optimize campaigns for better results.

Additionally, you can integrate third-party tracking applications like Google Analytics to get an even deeper understanding of your ad performance. This way, you’ll be able to monitor how successful your campaigns are and make necessary changes accordingly.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when advertising on Facebook?

When advertising on Facebook, it is important to avoid making mistakes that can negatively impact your ad performance. Some common mistakes include using irrelevant images, using too much text, not testing different formats, targeting the wrong audience and not optimizing for conversions.

It is also important to ensure you are staying within Facebook’s ad guidelines so that your ads do not get rejected or removed from the platform. Finally, make sure to track your campaigns regularly and optimize them for better results.

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