Creating a Facebook Advert

Ever wanted to create a Facebook ad but didn’t know where to start?

Or maybe you have tried it a few times and didn’t get the results you wanted. We’ll here’s our handy guide to hopefully make things a bit clearer for you so you can try again with more confidence.

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create an ad account and link it to your Facebook business page. This is relatively painless, but they will want to verify your ID and your payment details, as they will be providing you with a credit account.

You’ll also need to have the Facebook pixel installed on your website (if you use one). This will not only help with your audience creation, but it’ll also give you more options in terms of types of ad available, and it’ll give you better reporting, so you’ll know if your ads are working or not!

Once you have your accounts set up, we are going to think about creating an ad! But before you start clicking buttons, lets think about what you want to achieve with your ad. So grab a bit of paper and start making notes about what you want to achieve with your ad, what you are offering, and who you want to see it.

Think about whether you are hoping to introduce new customers to your business, increase sales, re-target existing customers, bring awareness to a new product, teach them something about your service, sign them up to a mailing list or download, gain followers, or something else.

Are you offering a discount code, free delivery, limited availability, a new seasonal product, money off, or just asking for a sale? You don’t have to offer a discount, but, if you would like your customers to go straight to the checkout then it is useful to offer some kind of incentive to do it there and then, rather than let people put it off until later.

If you haven’t already, it will be definitely be worth reading this article on content creation and this one which is about defining your golden customer. They’ll both give help you as we start to create your ad.

Once you’ve got a bit of an idea about what you want achieve then head over to your ad account and go ahead and click the “Create” button, it’s in the top left of your screen!

What kind of ad?

The next screen will ask you to choose a campaign objective. You have a few options depending on what you would like to achieve. If you’ve read the content creation article I mentioned earlier, you’ll have a good idea about which type of ad you are aiming for.

In short, if you would like to raise awareness and introduce brand new people to your business then choose either Brand Awareness or Reach from the first column. Brand awareness will bring you better quality leads, whereas Reach will go out to anyone and everyone in your target group regardless of how they normally react to ads. Typically this would be stage one of a campaign.

If you are interested in talking to people that have already heard of you so you can teach them something new, or simply remind them of who you are and what you do then Consideration is for you. Facebook will be looking to show your ad to the people that are most likely to click a link (traffic), follow, react, or comment (engagement), Install an App, Watch a video, sign up for something (lead generation) or write you a message.

Typically, you would use this for stage two in your campaign, and you would retarget some of the people that interacted with your awareness ad, or your existing followers. We explain more about the different stages of advertising, and why there are different stages in our article on sales funnels.

If you have gathered lots of new followers and taught them all the benefits of your product, you are ready to move onto stage three of your ad campaign. Conversion ads are the ones where you make the sale. These ads would normally be targeted towards people that have engaged with your second stage ad. Depending on what type of shop you have, Facebook will show your ad to people that are most likely to visit your online store (conversions), your Facebook shop, or your physical shop (store traffic).

So go ahead and pick the option that will get you the results you want. An option will appear at the bottom of the screen to name your campaign, so go ahead and call it something relevant, and we’ll move on to the next step!

I’m going to create an Engagement Advert. So, Facebook is asking me whether I’d prefer my ad to be shown (optimised) to people that are most likely to either engage with the ad, like the page or respond to an event. I’m going to leave it on Post Engagement. I’ve named the three levels of my campaign and I’m ready to hit continue.

1st Page (Campaign Level)

These are the overall settings for your ad campaign. At a basic level, there’s not much to worry about on the first page. But, do check to make sure you are not in a special ad category. There is a list and a check box to tick if you are, but most businesses can skip this.

As you scroll down the page you’ll see a section called A/B test. An A/B test is where you create your ad, then duplicate it and change one thing about it. You might change the text, or the picture so you can test which one works best. Facebook will run both variations and you can monitor them to see which one gets you the best results. Leave this alone for now though, as you get more confident with your ads, this might be something you want to try in the future.

At the bottom of this page you’ll see a section for setting your budget. You will definitely want to make some changes here. Although, I suggest keeping things simple and leaving the blue Budget Optimisation button to on for now. Facebook will get you the best results for your budget if you leave this alone. You can change Daily Budget to Lifetime Budget though. I would do this if you want to set an end date for your ad. If you want to leave it running and monitor it then leave it on Daily. Then next to that, change the budget to whatever you are willing to spend on your ad.

Page Two (Ad Set Level)

On the next page we’ll be going through a few more settings about your Ad Set, but mostly we’ll be deciding where your ad will be shown and to who. You can have more than one ad set in your campaign, you would do this is you want to create different audience sets or different scheduling options.

So, start by selecting your businesses Facebook page, and then scroll down a bit to set your ads start and end dates. You could also create a schedule so that your ad will only show at certain times of the day. Have a go if you want to, but I usually leave this. Facebook is pretty good at figuring out the best times to show ads, so I leave them to it.

Audience Creation

This is one of the most crucial parts of ad set creation, you can spend all day making a compelling ad but if you show it to the wrong people then it’ll have been a waste of time. There are essentially two ways to create an audience, I’m going to talk you through both, then you can decide which way is better for your business..

Manual Audience Creation

If you decide to go for a manual audience, you’ll be picking all your audiences demographics and psychographics yourself. This might sound scary but it’s easier than you think if you know your golden customer.

Scroll past the box that says “Custom Audiences” (we’ll look at that next.) Instead, start by selecting some basic details about your customer such as their location, their age, whether they are male/female. Skip detailed targeting for a moment, and you’ll see that you can change the language and choose a connection type, such as “people who are similar to those that like your page.” This is a really quick way to create an audience that is similar to your your existing page followers, and will work well if you are hoping to get more engagement and find similar customers.

You could also choose Page Followers, if you were hoping to re-engage your existing page fans and increase the engagement on your page.

You might want to go a step further though, and start looking for a completely new audience, in which case you will do back up to the detailed targeting block. If you highlight that, you will see a blue edit sign on the right hand side, click on that and you’ll see a screen like the one above.

If you click browse you will see three options. Demographics (level of education or life events/birthdays), Interests (hobbies and family), and Behaviours (type of device they use or purchasing behaviour). Have a click through them all and see what options you have. There are loads of choices, so take your time and click through them all, selecting a few that stand out the most. Once you have selected a few, the suggestions tab will become available and you can pick from that list, if you want to. The better you know your golden customer, the better your ad audience will be, so be specific.

When you are happy with your audience, give it a relevant name and save it to use again in the future.

Custom Audiences

The second way to create an audience is to use the custom audiences option. This is especially useful if you are targeting people that have interacted with your business, or ones like it, online.

Remember those cookies you are constantly agreeing to? They are busy making notes about what people are doing online. This is great for advertisers as it allows you to show your Facebook ad to someone that has visited your website, or searched anywhere on the internet for businesses like yours. As long as they also have a presence on Facebook you’ll be able to show them your ad, and the best part is that you know they are already interested in you.

For example, I might Google “brownie delivery,” a bunch of products will come up in the search, I’ll check out a few websites, and the next thing I know Facebook is showing me brownie delivery companies in my newsfeed! It’s brilliant, I can check out their pages, and when I’m ready to buy, I’ll know exactly who to go to. It’s basically like standing in the street, shouting for a service, and waiting for them all to come to you. As an advertiser, you’ll definitely want to be in the crowd of people that respond.

To create a custom audience, first click Create New, then choose from Custom or Lookalike.

Custom audiences are great for targeting people that have already interacted with your business such as on Instagram, your Facebook Shop or Page, Website, App etc. Pick the one that suits your ad the best from the list and click next. Depending on which option you pick you’ll have some choices on the next page, such as the event and how long you want to keep people on the list. If you have selected Website visitors, for example, you might only want to retain them for 30 days from the last date they visited you. After that, you might assume they have either bought or gone elsewhere. Once you have finished with the settings here, give the audience a name and save it. You can create lots of different types of Custom audiences that you can use together, or just one specific one.

A Lookalike audience is an audience that looks like a group of people that have already interacted with your business. For example, you might choose a “value based audience”, which might be based on a specific event such as people visiting your website, or a certain page, or maybe even as specific as people that have visited your checkout. The people on this list will share similar traits and interests as people that already interact with you, so statistically, they are likely to be interested in your stuff too.

You can also create a lookalike audience based on something else, such as people that have interacted with your Facebook page, people that are like your Facebook pages audience, or a similar audience to one you have used before.

The next step is to choose the level of similarity to the audience you are copying, you can choose from 1%-10%, 10% is the broadest similarity, and 1% is the closest, I go for somewhere in the middle. Click create when you are happy,

Once you have created a few custom or lookalike audiences you’ll see them listed when you put your curser in the “Search Existing Audiences” box. You can pick as many as you like from the audiences you have created, and you can give the combinations a group name so you can easily find that combination again in the future.

Once you have an audience created you can move onto placements…


This is the block where you’ll decide where your ad will be shown. If you select Manual Placements you have lots of choices here. You can start by choosing whether you’d like your advert shown to people who are using desktops or mobile devices. Then if you scroll down, you can choose from all the different places on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network that your ad could be shown. Scroll through them all so you can see what options are available to you, and select the ones that will suit your ad best. You’ll be able to preview your creative (once you have created it) on the next page so you can see how it looks on the different placements.

But, for now, pick the ones you think will work best for your product and we’ll move onto the best (and last bit) the creative…

Creative (Ad Level)

This is the last part of building your ad and is where you get to be creative. You can create several ads in each Ad Set if you like, but lets start with just one!

Hopefully, you already know what product or service you are focusing on and what your offer is, in which case this part should be easy-ish.

If you have optimised for engagement you’ll be able to create your content on this page for your ad. Spend some time thinking about what you want to tell people and the reason for the ad.

I have switched to a traffic ad, optimised for page views (this setting is under Placements if you choose traffic ads) for this last bit, because you have a few more options available that I want to show you.

We’ll start by going through all the easy bits. At the top you should check that your Facebook page is selected and if you are advertising on Instagram too, the correct page should also be selected. Then you are going to select the format of your ad. You’ll see that you have three options: Single Image or Video, Carousel or Collection. You also have the option for a Full-screen experience, I would avoid that until you get more confident, but choose your Format and then scroll down past Ad Creative until you are asked to choose a Destination.

When you get to Destination you have three options: Website, Facebook Event and Phone Call. In this example, I picked Website so people can go to my store. You’ll get to add your website address and change how it is displayed in the ad. You’ll also be able to choose a call to action button. In this ad I went for Learn More, but if I wanted people to buy straight away I might go for Book Now, or Order Now. There are a bunch of choices so pick the one that suits your objective the best.

Finally, scroll back up and we’ll start working on your creative.

Start by uploading your media, whatever that is will depend on the format of your ad. I went for a static image so I chose the image I wanted. Facebook is loving square images at the moment so aim for that, if you can, also make sure your images and videos are of a high quality. You want all your new customers to have the best possible impression of your business and the quality of your products. Low quality images could create a bad first impression.

For this type of ad, you need to create a headline and your primary text. You can also include a description but that’s not essential. Your headline and text are very important though. You should refer back to the notes you made at the start where you wrote down your offer and what you wanted people to do after seeing your ad.

With that in mind note the two most important messages you want to get across and try to write them with the least amount of words as possible. One will be your headline, and the other will appear at the start of your primary text. Anything else you want to add can also go in the primary text section, but under your first line. The idea is that the most important information is visible without clicking “See More” this should include any special offer you have, the key benefits, or whatever you would like people to know.

If you hover your mouse over the where it says “feeds” you’ll get the option to edit that group of ads. This will allow you to make changes that will be shown only to that group of people. You might do this because the amount of space or shape of photo differs for that group.

In this case it would be the people that are seeing the ad in their newsfeed that would see any changes I made. You can also change the way it appears in stories etc and there’s a right column group too. Depending on your placements options you might see different groups here. But go through each set to see if you like the way it looks in each one.

Take some time on this part, and maybe even get someone else to look at it with fresh eyes. This way you can be sure you have created a really clear and concise message for your potential new customers.

Once you’re happy, there’s only one thing left to do… Click Publish!

What happens next?

Yaay, your advert campaign has been made and published. Facebook review every ad so it’ll not go live straight away. But don’t worry, it’ll usually only take a couple of hours before it does go live.

Don’t touch it for at least three days!

Once it’s live, your advert will go into the Learning Phase. This means that Facebook will be trying to figure out the most economical people to show it to. It will usually last around three days, plus as long as it takes to get 50 of your chosen interactions. For example, if you went for an engagement ad and optimised for page likes, it’ll take 50 page new likes before your ad comes out of the learning phase. If you optimised for sales, you’ll need 50 sales. If it takes longer than three days to get 50 interactions it may show a warning, and may never come out of learning phase. This isn’t a huge problem, but your ad will get cheaper if you can get out of that phase so sometimes it’s a good idea to start with a bigger budget which can be reduced after a couple of days to something more sustainable.

After three days, you’ll also be starting to get some indication as to whether your ad is performing well or not. Don’t forget the reason for your ad. If you are hoping for page likes then don’t write your ad off when you don’t get new sales. Likewise, if your sales go up but you wanted new page likers then you have to decide if the ad is working for you, or if you should change something about it.

If you go to the Campaign tab on your ads manager you’ll see some pretty useful data that has been selected for you based on the type of ad you made. This data will give you a fair idea, but it won’t be the complete picture. A while back Apple made it possible for their users to turn off ad tracking on their phones. This means that whilst lots of iPhone users might click on your ad, the data won’t be shown in your analytics. So, it’s always a good idea to monitor other things such as sales increases, or email sign ups, or something else that might happen as a result of your ad. Your Facebook page might even feel busier, and if it is then something is definitely working, even if the numbers don’t show it!

One last thing!

These steps are correct at the time of writing. Facebook has a habit of changing things, so it’s possible that this info might become dated quite quickly. Hopefully, stuff won’t change too much, but we’ll try to keep an eye on changes as they happen.

In any case, if you are struggling, we can work out what is right for you, and how to do it, in your next 1-1.

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Book a discovery call with us now and find out how we can help business owners like you you get the best out of your social media and ad campaigns.