Facebook, Strategy

How Facebook Ads Work & What Makes A Good Facebook Ad

A 9-minute read.

Facebook is such an exceptional and powerful advertising platform for businesses and brands of all sizes.  However, so many people find it to be intimidating, which is probably why you are reading this!  I don’t blame you and I dont blame anyone at all, the platform can be superoverwhelming.  There are SO MANY OPTIONS to choose from.  There are SO MANY EXPERTS proclaiming their strategy is the one to use(and they probably want to charge you ALOT of $ to teach you)

I was once in the same boat, however, after a few campaigns, I was able to get the hang of it.  Now, after managing hundreds of campaigns on Facebook, I am ready to teach you.

Facebook does have ALOT of options, but once you are familiar with the platform they won’t seem quite so overwhelming.

Why Facebook Ads?

There are a lot of good reasons to invest in Facebook Ads, I wrote a post earlier this year on great strategies and tactics to use, that also gives a little insight into why you need to be investing into Facebook Ads, check it out here.

What really makes Facebook Ads so amazing is the targeting and retargeting options that are available.  Want to target Neurosurgeons over 40 in Florida, no problem.  Selling coffee mugs and want to target coffee drinkers, this can also be done!

Facebook Ads Manager Targeting

Facebook Ads are also connected to Instagram Ads and you can run BOTH in a single campaign, connecting you to audiences on both platforms, which is a great advantage.

Facebook is still very affordable compared to alternative advertising, such as Google Adwords.  As we start to see more competition come onto Facebook, we will see the cost rise, which makes NOW a great time to get started while it’s still very affordable.  Facebook gives your ads a relevance score, the higher your relevance score the lower your cost will be  A high relevance score indicates Facebook believes your ad is a good fit for your target audience.

Facebook Ads Guide

Creating Facebook ads is not actually as difficult as it sounds.  If you haven’t done so already you will need to get set up with Facebook Business Manager(here’s a guide to set this up)with an Ad Account(and here’s a guide to set this up).  If you need help or have any questions, please reach out to us!


1. Create A Strategy First

Before you even get started with advertising, you need to have a strategy in place.  Without this, you will 100% be lost by al the options and you will end up creating a campaign that doesn’t target anyone useful.

For each campaign that you create you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • What products or services are you promoting or selling?
  • Who am I targeting?
  • Will my target be a cold(people at the party who don’t know you, your product or service, and frankly, don’t know enough about you to do business with you) audience or warm(has had some sort of interaction with you either online or offline) audience?
  • How will they use my product or service?
  • What is their pain point and will they have any objections?  If so, what objections?
  • What is the goal of the campaign?
  • Do I want leads, brand awareness, site traffic, sales, or something else?  Most people want leads and sales!

If you don’t have a clear strategy with a goal in mind of what you want to accomplish, you won’t be able to create strong, winning ads.

2. Choose Your Objective (Campaign Level)

The first thing you will need to do when creating your campaign is to choose an objective.  It is important to select the correct object as Facebook will optimize your ads based on your objective.  The correct objective and lower your cost and improve results.

s Campaign Objective

You can choose from the following objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Catalogue Sales
  • Store Visits

You want to select the objective that most aligns with your goals.  If you are running a video campaign that is designed to drive leads, choose the “lead generation” campaign instead of “video views” Sure, you want video views but not a the expense of more leads.

With that being said, you can test multiple objectives, for example, you could run both video views and lead generation.  I have run campaigns where video views outperformed lead generation.

**You can also set campaign budget optimization on this screen.  I recommend turning campaign budget optimization(aka CBO) on here and setting a daily or lifetime budget.  Typically most people will set a daily budget of at least $10.If you do not select CBO here you can set your budget in step 5.Campaign Budget Optimization Facebook

Campaign budget optimization (CBO) makes the most efficient use of your budget spending to get you the overall best results.  Facebooks AI will optimize your ad sets and ads to give you the best return on ad spend (ROA).  If you do select CBO it is important to let Facebook AI do the work and not adjust ads or ad sets once you go live.

3. Target Your Audience (Ad Set Level)

From your strategy, you should have a strong idea of who you want to target, now is the time to flesh that out.

Facebook Ads Targeting

The options for targeting are:

  • Demographic targeting
  • Location targeting
  • Interest/behaviour targeting
  • Custom audiences, which targeting specific users based on emails, or users who have taken action on your website(pixel), your Facebook, or Instagram profile
  • Lookalike audiences, which replicates/finds new audiences based on your custom audiences.  For example, Facebook can find new audiences similar to users who have filled out a form on your website or liked your Facebook page.
  • Connection targeting, users who are connected with your brand.  For example, people who like your page, people who are friends with people who like your page or people who have responded to an event on your page.

You can also set negative targets, which can be particularly useful if you are testing multiple targets.  For example if you are testing different interest targets, you may want to exclude the interest to not overlap and have competing ad sets.  An example of this could be a pet grooming business that could run 2 different ad sets testing people who have an interest in dogs vs cats.  Ad set 1 would include people who have an interest in dogs and exclude people who have an interest in cats.  Ad set 2 would include people who have an interest in cars and exclude people who have an interest in dogs.

You may also opt to exclude anyone who has already converted or completed another action from your custom audiences.  For example, you probably want to exclude anyone who has already filled out a lead form if you are running a lead generation campaign.

4. Choose Your Ad Placement (Ad Set Level)

Next you will choose what placement, apps and devices you want your ad to be shown on.  You can choose mobile-only, desktop-only or both.    You have multiple options on Facebook, Instagram and the audience network.  You can start with all options or automatic placements if you are unsure of what will work best for you.  If you are selling a specific product you may want to set specific devices.  For example if you are selling iPhone cases you would want to target iPhone devices only.

Facebook Ads Placement

The only placement that you can only run by itself is an Instagram Story Ad.  Other than that you can use a combination or all other options.

5. Set Your Budget and schedule (Ad Set Level)

If you didn’t select CBO in step 2, here is where you will set your budgets.  If you did select CBO, you can edit the ad schedule by selecting a start and end date(this could be useful if you were promoting anything date sensitive like a product sale or contest).

Facebook Budget and Schedule Settings

I highly recommend using CBO, Facebook is making it Mandatory in the coming months so you won’t have an option soon!

6. Choose Your Ad Format (Ad Level)

Now we are ready to move onto the Ad Level.  The first step is selecting your ad format.  There are multiple options you can choose from:

  • Single image or video  ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Collections

Facebook Ad FormatDepending on your campaign objective some ad formats may not be available.  Each ad type has its own benefits, however, video and carousel ads typically have higher engagement rates.  I recommend testing multiple ad formats to see what works best for your business.

6. Create Your Ad (Ad Level)

Now that you have selected your ad format its time to create your ad/creative.  There are a lot of small details that can easily be missed.  Be sure to go through all sections and take advantage of every single one of them.

Facebook Creative Setup

This is another section that you can utilize for testing different variations.  You would be surprised to see that something small like a different CTA can increase results significantly.

Final Thoughts

Facebook Ads has a lot of options to choose from, but once you’re familiar with the system, that will work to your advantage instead of your detriment. As long as you have a plan before going in, the campaign creation process will be a lot easier, and you’ll create much stronger ads as a result.  It is key to continue testing as much as you possibly can(the 3 items below, are the most important to continuously test).  Test different audiences, campaign objectives, creative/ad variations etc.  Utilizing custom audiences is another big key to success, however, until I wouldn’t recommend using custom audiences until you have around 300 actions to base the custom audience off.

What Makes A Good Facebook Ad?

Now you are probably thinking this seems pretty straight forward, I can master Facebook Ads.  The three most important factors in any campaign are:

  1. Ad copy that sells
  2. Imagery that stops the scroll
  3. Relevant targeting to the product or service you are selling

This is where I see so many people fail and fall short.  So many people don’t create ad copy that sells, imagery that stops the scroll and doesn’t set relevant targeting to the product or service they are selling.  We have created custom packages that are cost-efficient for businesses of any size to take their business up a level.  Check them out here.

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Jason Puckering
[email protected]

Tracy Swinscoe
[email protected]

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