How to do facebook ads for beginners guide (case study included)

How to do Facebook ads for beginners


In this guide, I’ll cover how you get started with advertising and marketing on Facebook.

I’ll show how the business manager works, how to set-up campaign, the difference between ad copy, ad sets and much more. If you’re beginner or intermediate you’ll be just fine, however some of the more advanced features are covered in our other posts here.

In 2018 Facebook officially reached over 2 billion active monthly users. It is the most popular and used social media worldwide, which is why so many people use it, and why so many business spend 1000’s and even millions of USD a month on this platform. It’s a platform that adapts over time, both to their users (you and I and everybody else) as well as the advertisers.

Social media monthly users 2018

As shown in our chart above (statistics from statista and company reports) these are some of the most popular media platforms. However more users doesn’t = better platform or higher ROI for business. Keep in mind these platforms have different purposes and difference audiences. This content on the platform is also different, as well as the reason why people use the platform. Example, people are on Facebook to stay connected with friend and family as well as attending to events and groups, but people on youtube are on the platform to be educated or entertained.

Therefore, because Facebook have more monthly users doesn’t mean it’s better for every business or marketer or blogger, however in this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know, to create good, high converting ads, how to measure your performance and everything else you need to know.

Make sure to check out our other guides on the following platforms:

  • Instagram advertising for beginners
  • Snapchat advertising for beginners
  • Twitter advertising for beginners
  • Pinterest advertising for beginners

We also have guides related to search engines (Google SEO, Google Adwords as well as Youtube ads) and other services here on our blog.

Facebook know, that they are the “middleman” between the end users and the advertisers, and their goal is to keep both of them happy all the time, if they do so, they’ll make a lot of money. Well congratulations Facebook.

I’ll try to give you some actionable tips to help you get a good start with the Facebook advertising platform. But remember, Facebook changes all the time, just as Google, which is why you’ll need to be up-2-date with the latest algorithm updates to stay ahead of your competition. If you want to stay tuned, just check out our recent posts here.


Why use Facebook for social media marketing?

Facebook is an insanely great platform for advertising and marketing (by the time of writing this article at least) and is profitable for a lot of business around the globe.

On Facebook, you can create ads for a variety of different types of Facebook pages, such as business both local restaurants, e-commerce, lawyer etc., organisations, public figures, brands, community, blogs and much more.

I have listed some of the best reasons why you should use Facebook as one of your main marketing channels:

  • It’s cost effective (if optimized right)
  • Facebook can help you find your target audience based on data (e-mails, phone numbers, full name etc)
  • Allow very specific audience targeting (both interests, placements, behaviour etc)
  • It’s the biggest social media platform based on monthly users
  • It’s fairly simple to get started
  • The Facebook platform and structure is well made for advertising

The first step of getting started with Facebook ads, is after you have created your page. You can only advertise from a page and not a personal profile. You head over to “create a page” page and just fill out the informations needed. It’s fairly simple setup process and usually only takes a few minutes to setup. However keep in mind that you’ll need a few extra steps to setup up your Facebook pixel, messenger chat support and all those other features. I covered all of these in the other posts if you want to learn more.

Just for example purposes i choose to fill out the “business or brand” page, to get started. You just enter the page name and the select an appropriate category and Facebook will get you started instantly.

Create a facebook page - example

Once you have created your business page, or if you already had one, click “create ads” or “manage ads” to get started. I’ll cover the ad creation steps as well as targeting and placement options below. Hang on!

Why paid ads is the only way to go with Facebook

Organic reach on social media and especially Facebook is pretty much non-existing for business. Facebook doesn’t prioritise business pages compared to posts from groups and friends, and the organic reach has decreased every year since the launch and is about 1% today (depending on your audience and content you create). It is possible to grow a following with organic reach but it would take way too much time and effort in doing so, compared to doing ads or utilizing other platforms for this purpose.

Another reason why organic reach has declined is the simple reason of more content is created than ever before, and Facebook algorithm doesn’t show everything to everybody, then your Facebook wall would explode of the insane amount of content. In other words, the algorithm is trying to pick out the most relevant and up-2-date content that it think will suit you, in a combination of friends, family, group, business page and sponsored posts.

We still recommend to everybody that you should share your content on social media, Facebook as well for your business or blog or organisation, however this will probably not be the way your business will generate revenue. It’s good for engaging with your following (commenting, answering questions for customer service etc) as well as increasing your social signals for SEO (will help you with organic search rankings on Google).

However the most important aspect of your Facebook business page (for most part at least), is to generate revenue at some point. This can be potential leads, clients, sales, traffic, brand awareness and a lot more. I know a lot of people and business want to get engagement and page likes and traffic, which is great, however most them have an end goal of making revenue, one way or another.

Always keep in mind what your goal is with the platform you are using, so you don’t waste your time or money. If you want to make money with Facebook you have to spend money, that is the true. The good news is that we had a lot of success with this for our self, as well as our clients and many other individual business around the world, and we will share a lot of our knowledge and experience here on this blog with you.

Getting free exposure on Facebook

  • Inviting friends/ family to like your page
  • Sharing pages or posts on your wall or in relevant groups
  • Posting high quality content that people will like and share
  • Engaging on comments, posts etc

The ideas above are just some of our most popular ways to gain additional reach, traffic and engagement on your pages without spending in money up front. Test this out yourself to see which strategy fits you best.

Campaign types for Facebook advertising

With Facebook advertising and marketing, it’s extremely important to use the right campaign type. First of all, Facebooks algorithm have very different strategies with your ads depending on your goal.

For example, if you choose “traffic” because you want a lot of people to visit your site and buy stuff, it’s not the right campaign objective. Why?.. Because with traffic you’ll have a strategy where Facebook pick out the people who’s most likely to click on your ad. However just because they are the most likely to click on your ad, doesn’t mean they’re the most likely to purchase anything. It’s a whole different mindset, and not be mixed.

However some purchase related objectives can be done with traffic, with lead-generation for example. However if you use traffic, do keep in mind what kind of goal you have. The difference in the outcome and results depending on campaign type is night and day. It’s really important to know exactly why you choose the objective you did and your goal with your campaign.

I’ll breakdown each of the different campaign types, so you can figure out which to choose and why. I’ll spend the most time on the more important and common campaign objectives compared to less common and important.


Campaign objective overview:

Awareness objective:

  • Brand awareness
    • Reaching people who are most likely to your brand (also depends on the page type you choose, such as consulting, e-commerce etc)
  • Reach
    • Showing your ad the the maximum number of people

Consideration objective:

  • Traffic
    • Most likely to click on your link to your website, app etc.
    • When you want to generate most traffic with the least amount of money spend to a specific webpage (e-commerce, blog, SAAS, consultancy etc). It’s often used in combination with some retargeting for all of those people who bounce of your ad or website. Using this strategy will usually lead to higher total.
  • Engagement
    • Most likely engaging people (can be optimised for both comments, page likes and events)
  • App installs
    • Sending people directly to the app-store
  • Video views
    • Optimising for most viewed vide seconds (good for behind the scenes footage and similar content)
  • Lead generation
    • Lead generation within the Facebook feed without sending them to an external landing page
  • Messages
    • Get people to start a conversation with your page, based on your CTA

Conversion objective:

  • Conversions (Facebook pixel required)
    • Optimising for conversion events. This can be a purchase, add to cart, initiate checkout, landing page confirmation, e-mail sign up and much more. It’s also possible to setup custom conversions so you can track pretty much anything you like.
  • Catalog sales
    • Automatically created ads based on your pixel or product feed, to showcase different products to your audience, depending on your targeting criteria.
  • Store visits
    • Optimising for people to come visit your store (physical local store, not online)


I have created some simplicity below by dividing some of the objectives into different kind of company’s to help you with prioritising. Please do keep in mind that this is not a 100% 1 to 1 example. You will need to test it out for your own business. Every business is different, and you might be able to get profitable with a video view campaign for e-commerce, even though we don’t use this objective goal.

This is just a guideline and not the only way to do Facebook marketing. Please keep this in mind, however this is based on our own experience as well as all of our clients.

Best campaign types for e-commerce business

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Conversions
  • Catalog sales

The objectives above is pretty much all you need if you run an e-commerce based company, because you can gain reach to new potential customers, get engagement on your ads or posts, get sales and conversions as well as automated retargeted catalog sales.


Best campaign types for SAAS business (can be very different)

  • Brand awareness
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • Conversions
  • Video views

SAAS company’s can be very different, and this depends on your exact product or service. However these are the most popular objectives we have used to grow SAAS company’s over the years.


Best campaign types for consulting business

  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Lead generation

Consultancy business works very well with campaigns such as lead generation as well as messages because you get directly in contact with your potential clients. Personal trust and direct contact is crucial with consultancy businesses.


Best campaign types for bloggers/ affiliates

  • Brand awareness
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • Conversions
  • Lead generation

Bloggers /affiliates with websites and e-mail marketing campaign often use the objectives mentioned above. It really depends on your offer but keep in mind that a lot of affiliates doesn’t make money on the front-end sale either way. You will have to get your audience in your funnel and make your ROI on your back-end sales.


1. Step – Creating your first ad

Head over to the Facebook ads manager account to get started with advertising. Within the Business manager account, make sure you have selected the right page and advertising account. Also make sure you have added a credit card to be able to post your ads (can be found in the “billing” settings) 

Click on “ads manager”.

Next, click on “create” within the campaigns tab.

After you have click on “create” you will see this screen below. Now you have to define your goal with your campaign.

Ad creation checklist:

1. Campaign

Your campaign is the goal of your advertising and houses all of you ad sets.

 2. Ad set

Your ad set is the the optimisation level of your Facebook marketing. This is where you can define your target audience and houses all of your ads or ad copy’s.

 3. Ad copy

Your ad copy is the exact ad you will run on Facebook. This is where you choose your headline, text, image, colour, call to action (CTA) such as “learn more”, “shop now” etc.


Make sure all of these 3 levels match the marketing goals of your business. Remember you can have as many campaigns as you like within 1 ad account, and you can have as many ad sets as you like within 1 campaign, and have as many ad copy’s within 1 ad set as you like.

This means you can test out a lot of different variations in the ad it self (the ad copy) within the same target audience (ad set), to see which one have the highest ROI or the best engagement, as well as testing the different targeting options in the ad set to see which fits best for you campaign.


2. Step – Facebook audience targeting for ads (ad set)

After you have selected the right Facebook page, ad account, choose your campaign objective, you’re ready to actually creating the ad itself.

The targeting is the most important part of your advertising on Facebook. 

The targeting is the most important part of your advertising on Facebook. 

Yes I wrote it twice, just so you know how important this really is. This doesn’t mean that objective type and ad copy is NOT important. These are also an extremely important aspect of your ads performance, but not the MOST important one.

Alright, now we get that out the way, let’s get started with the creation.

This is the dashboard where you can create your targeted audience. You have the option to choose to create a whole new audience, or use a saved one, or create multiple audiences at once. For this example, I’ll stick with the simple option just to create 1 targeted audience from scratch.

You have the following targeting options to choose from:

  • Location (country, city etc)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Education
  • Financial
  • Work
  • Relationship status
  • Interests (1000’s to choose from, anything from hiking to shopping and gaming)
  • Behaviour (really important one. Examples such as job role, purchase behaviour, device user, digital activities, automotive etc)
  • Connections

You will also have a custom targeting option called Custom audiences. Custom audiences is a more advanced targeting option, and is used to create custom targeting based on different actions. This is mostly used if you have a lot of data from earlier clients or leads you can import into Facebook, or if you setup specific actions from your Facebook pixel. For example, you can create a custom audience based on all the people who have entered your webinar, bought from you on your website or anything else you want to track with your Facebook pixel.

When doing your targeting on your ad set, it really all about A/B split testing. This can sound complicated and dangerous to you if you aren’t familiar with these terms and haven’t tried this before.

However, it’s all about testing out your targeting based on facts you know about your audience. Not about something you think, but something you know. Fx if you want to target gamers, an interest in Twitch TV might be a really good option, because it’s really gamer focused, and a lot of gamers watch Twitch streaming.

Example of split-testing ad sets:

1 Audience:

Location: US + UK

Age: 18-24

Gender: Men

Interests: Twitch TV


2 Audience:

Location: US + UK

Age: 24-35

Gender: Men

Interests: Twitch TV


Make sure to only change 1 variable at a time to really make sure if this would have a significant impact or not. You can test age groups, gender and interests, which are some of the most obvious split tests as well as placements. Try to focus on only 1 country / city at a time, depending on your niche and budget. The bigger the budget, the faster you can test, the more data you get. The bigger the budget the faster you can scale to more interests / countries etc.

Just remember, bigger budget = better ROI. It depends on your optimisation skills, ad set targeting expertise, ad copy creative creation expertise and not the budget. The budget is just used to increase or decrease the volume / amount of the effect. Most of our audience sizes are between 200k – 1.500k depending on the product. It’s so unique, that you have to test this yourself, there is not magic number or interest that will make you money or leads. You have to test this out.

Tips for Facebook ads optimisation:

  • Don’t hunt high relevancy score (7-10) because this doesn’t equal better ROI. Relevancy is a good metric, but can’t stand alone
  • Don’t focus on CPC when doing conversion objective. It doesn’t matter if the CPC is double your traffic campaign, if your conversion rate is 5X your traffic campaign.
  • Spend more money before taking decisions. A lot of people kill their ads, before even getting any data. You can’t judge any ad on a total budget of 10 USD. This is just too little. Try to gather more data, and make the right decision.
  • Split-test, split-test, split-test. I told you already, and I’m a big fan of data. Numbers don’t lie..
  • Be specific with your targeting. The goal is not to reach every human being in the world. Be clear about who your ideal customer is, and filter out everyone else.


Placements for Facebook ads

After creating your campaign, setting up your objective, creating a nice, good looking ad set with your awesome targeting, you are ready to choose placements. This is also an important part of your campaign performances, because this is where you choose where you ad should be seen.

When choosing placements, we never go with automatic placements. This is recommend by Facebook and definitely work, however for maximum ROI, this is not the way to go, especially if you know what you’re doing or want to optimize your ads.

You will have a lot of different placements to choose from, and the ads manager will showcase each of them when you hover over them. Generally you just need to decide if you want to advertise on Facebook, Instagram, Audience networks or Messenger.

If you want to run on all placements, we recommend that you run different ad sets for each placements to get better reporting and data for optimisation.

There is no such thing as good/bad placements, it’s depends on a lot of different factors, but we use to choose only Facebook or Instagram to start. If this works, we can decide if we want to try audience networks and messenger. However we can’t guarantee this is the right strategy for you. Try and split-test this, once again. I think you might be surprised by the results. Something you never thought would work, might work pretty well.

Desktop Vs. Mobile placement?

Just as above, there is no right and wrong, unless you do app installs, then you want to target mobile only (obviously doh..). Desktop exposure is usually cheaper when comparing CPM (cost per mile aka per 1000 views) but this doesn’t equal cheaper conversions or cheaper purchases.

Once again this depends on your audience. Younger people might be easier to convert on their phones, and older people might be easier to convert on desktop. Or maybe not, it depends, and we can’t give you 1 definitive answer to this. You can choose both, but try to understand your audience as much as possible, to know what devices they use or want specific interests they have, what age group, to make the ad fit just right. The better the ad fit, the cheaper CPM, and the more exposure you get for less money.

Budget & Schedule

When running ads on Facebook you can choose to either do daily budget or lifetime budgets.

  • Daily budget

Daily budget is when you want to run your ad continuously throughout the day, every day. You can turn the ad on/off when ever you want. Then you set a daily budget, of minimum 5 USD (my ad accounts are in danish which is why we pay in danish kr. sorry about that).

When selecting daily budget, you’re able to adjust the budget whenever you run, and make it run as long time as you want. This is a big pro over lifetime budget, if the ad actually works well. Some of our ad sets have been running for over 6 months in a row (the really good ones).

  • Lifetime budget

Lifetime budget is when you want to run your ad(s) for a specific time period. You will not be able to expand this time period and will lock the ad set into a specific time period with a specific budget.

When selecting lifetime budget, you will choose a budget of minimum 5 USD a day for X amount of days you want the ad to run. One of the pro’s of doing so, is that you are now able to (if you prefer) select a schedule to run your ads. If you select “run ads on a schedule” instead of “all the time” you can set specific hours of a day on specific days you want to run your ads. This is genius if you have a specific end date for your marketing and advertising, for example with Black Friday or similar.


Connections are mostly used for advanced targeting and can be extremely useful for both websites, bloggers, affiliate marketers, e-commerce, as well as apps and other type of events. With connections, you can choose to target people who have liked your page, or exclude people who likes your page already.

You can also choose an “advanced combination” and target people who has connected to my awesome app “Daniel’s first app” and exclude people who have liked one of my other pages, app, or event. This feature works just the same as “excluding” in the detailed targeting section and can improve your and specify your ads a lot. If you’re just getting started or don’t have a lot of traffic / customers yet, just leave this blank.

As you can see above, you have a lot of options for connections as well. We don’t do app installs that often so the most common one we use are the following:

  • People who like your page
  • Friends of people who like your page
  • Exclude people who like you page
  • None of the above

This targeting options showed above can also be really really useful when doing re-marketing, when you want to show specific ads depending on some specific actions from you visitors (view content, add to cart, initiate checkout, video views etc).

If you’re trying to target a cold new fresh audience, excluding people who already likes your page might be a good idea. Try and this out and see what works for your business.

3. Step – The perfect Facebook ad (ad copy)

The last step of you ad is of course the creative (the ad copy), and as mentioned earlier this is the “ad” that people will see in their newsfeed. Make sure that the ad creative match your audience.

The ad copy is different depending on your campaign objective. Example, with lead-generation you will have a lead formular within the newsfeed with, and with e-commerce you and create a dynamic catalog. The ad copy therefore adapts to the individual campaign type.

Also if you want to create mock-ups for potential clients or just want to get more inspiration for your ad creative, you can also visit Facebook’s creative hub.

For “traffic campaigns” you will have the following options:

  • Caroussel
  • Single image
  • Single video
  • Slideshow
  • Collection

We use to create a lot of different ad creatives for different formats as well. Example, you can create a single video ad for your cold audience (people who haven’t seen your business or website yet) and then follow up with a carousel, slideshow or collection ad. Variation can be a good way to “trick” your audience to thinking that you have totally new content and keep them interested, just by changing up the ad formats.

I have attached a few examples from the creative hub below from Facebook to showcase some different ad examples

Facebook newsfeed, canvas format:


Facebook newsfeed, carousel format:

Here they both added the carousel ad format for different pictures, as well as “show now” CTA to go directly to a specific landing page.

Facebook newsfeed, collection format:

This is created with a video, can also be a slideshow, and features their webshop/ online store items within the ad, just like a regular collection. The listings can be automatically created with your Facebook pixel integrated into your site (shopify, woo-commerce etc)

Bonus – Case study from own client

Below is a screenshot from our clients Facebook ads manager (UK client, therefore pounds instead of dollars). This is just to show you that it’s possible to create very profitable ads with Facebook, even today when we have a lot of competition. We aren’t able to tell the name of our client (obviously because we share some confidential details) nor the exact products, however this is for e-commerce with their online retail shop (business 2 customer).

UK client - pryma agency

In short, what is most important is that the total spend is about 1.050 pounds and the total ROAS (return on ad spend) is about 1600% which is really, really profitable for this business, because they also have pretty high margins. For every 1 pound we spend on ads, they made about 16 pounds back. Just imagine if you spend 10.000 USD a month and could make 160.000 USD in revenue.

This is amazing for many business, because a lot of people only are able to get around 250-400% and some even less. A lot of people and business doesn’t even break-even with Facebook, because they don’t know how to create the ads, how to do the right targeting, how to do custom audience, how to do LLA audience, how to create a good ad copy etc. This is crucial to get success with Facebook advertising.