This Facebook Ad Beginner’s Guide will take you step-by-step through the process of setting up and getting started with your first Facebook campaign, or making an existing campaign much more effective. If you’re just getting ready to dip your toes in the water, or you’ve been running Facebook ads for a while as part of a digital marketing campaign, but not seeing the ROI you’d like, dive into this detailed beginner’s guide for how to maximise your results using the most powerful ad platform in the history of marketing.
Way before creating any Facebook ads for your campaign, there are a couple of simple tasks to tick off of your list.
Firstly, add your Facebook pixel code to the header of every page of your website. Head over to Facebook and select the dropdown option called Pixels from within Ads Manager, and you should see this screen:
Click the Create a Pixel button, give it a meaningful name to your business (you only get one, so this is important!) and you should then see this screen:
Copy and paste this piece of code into the header tag on every page of your website. Now every time someone visits a page on your website, this code will automatically record that to your Facebook account. This enables you to see how many people are visiting your site, and even what pages they go to.
Next, implement some conversion tracking on the site. Think about the goals and priorities for your Facebook campaign: Are you aiming for plenty of likes? Collecting emails? Selling products? Generating enquiries? Maybe you are looking to do all of these things and more, but you need to tell Facebook what constitutes a conversion for your business.
Facebook will automatically record engagement on your page, so if the objective of your Facebook ad campaign is to generate likes, you won’t need to do anything here. If you’re looking for a customer to take a specific action on your website, such as buy a product or provide their contact details, then head to the Custom Conversions option.
When someone buys a product from a website, they will be sent to a “thank you” page, so counting the number of visits to this page will give you a pretty accurate idea of the number of sales made. Find out the URL of your “thank you” page to record this in Custom Conversions.
Let’s assume this URL is “www.amazingco.com/checkout/thankyou”. Go to Custom Conversions, click Create a Custom Conversion, and paste in your URL:
Whenever someone visits this page, Facebook will now record one additional conversion. If you have set this custom conversion as the goal for an ad campaign, Facebook will work out statistics such as CPA (Cost Per Acquisition, explained later in our guide) based on this number.
Facebook Ads Management: What Not to Do!
I recently reviewed a client’s Facebook ad account to help them get their campaign on track. The first thing I noticed was that although they had added the Facebook pixel to their website, they had not defined what a conversion was for the business. The cost per conversion statistic will normally be the first thing I look at when I’m trying to establish if a campaign is doing well. With no conversions defined this statistic was blank, meaning I had no way of telling what the results of the campaign had been so far. The main piece of advice I gave them was to implement conversion tracking so they can actually see what is working for them and what isn’t!
Statistics about the number of clicks and the cost per click were available, but this is one step removed from what we’re actually interested in. For example, I would much rather have 100 clicks to the site and 100 conversions, as opposed to 1000 clicks but only 50 conversions. With no data on the number of conversions, you may end up assuming a campaign is doing well just because it has lots of clicks.
A lot of businesses will completely skip over this section when setting up their Facebook campaigns, which is a terrible idea. The landing page is the webpage that a customer will land on after clicking your advert — and this should rarely, if ever, be your homepage.
Let’s say you’re a plumber and you’ve got an ad targeting people nearby telling them you’re the guy they need if they want their bathroom re-plumbed. People are clicking the ad to find out more, but very few are actually signing up for this service. This is when you realise you’re sending these people straight to the homepage of your site. The homepage doesn’t mention bathroom planning that much; it introduces your business, outlines your main three or four services, and provides your contact details.
Your landing page needs to draw people in. It needs to say: “Remember the thing you were interested in so you clicked the ad? We. Do. That.” Almost anything else on the landing page that isn’t directly related to why the customer clicked the link is probably distracting them. The main exception to this rule would be certifications from official bodies when this is relevant.
Exposure Ninja’s Internal Landing Pages Case Study
For one of Exposure Ninja’s webinars, ‘Startup Digital Marketing’, we found that one landing page converted exactly four times as many people as the landing page we were split-testing it against. Had we not tested the pages, we might have stuck with the loser and had the campaign bring in 25% as many conversions! For many Facebook ad campaigns, that would be the difference between profit and loss. Even if you think your landing page is converting well, I recommend conducting an experiment to find out if a slight difference could improve this further.
Ad Copy For Facebook Ad Campaigns
Decent advert copy is so important for a successful ad campaign. Here, we look at the images and text that make up a Facebook ad, starting with a guideline for your ad’s size:
- The headline of your ad should be 25 characters,
- The ad text should be 90 characters
- The image should be 1,200 x 628 pixels.
The above image should be quite useful as a facebook ad beginner’s guide as it will prompt you to think about each element in turn. These are guidelines, but it’s useful to stick to these whenever possible. Longer ad text, for example, will be cut off if your ad is displayed on mobile.
One rule a lot of people come up against on their first campaign is the 20% text rule: no more than 20% of the image you use may have text in it, otherwise your ad is suppressed by Facebook. It used to be that ads which disobeyed this rule would not be allowed on the site. Now, Facebook will allow the ads to run; it just won’t show them, meaning either you don’t get the impressions you were hoping for, or they’re a lot more expensive than you would like.
Lastly, check out Facebook’s policies on what is and what isn’t allowed in an advert.
Tips For Great Facebook Ad Copy
Your ad copy should be aiming to make your ad informative. People seeing your ads on Facebook are probably in a passive state, so if we can inform them about something interesting, they are more likely to pay attention. This might be a product they are not aware of, a promotional offer, or a benefit of the product. I wouldn’t recommend copying a business like Starbucks or Nike when designing your ads — they’re mostly concerned with brand awareness, and less interested in getting clicks to their sites or even making sales through advertising. Focus on something more specific at this stage, and you should get better results.
Next, think carefully about the imagery you use. Use something simple with only a few elements in the image. Go for something eye-catching with vibrant colours, as this is more likely to draw people in — and keep text to a minimum. Lots of text on the image will result in a bad relevance score according to Facebook’s metrics. It also makes the post stand out more in a Facebook feed as advertising, increasing the likelihood of someone skipping over your ad without engaging with it at all.
Know Your Ad Campaign’s Target Audience
The more refined your audience is, the less budget you’re wasting by showing your ads to people who aren’t going to buy your product. When asked what their target audience is, a lot of small business owners will answer: “the audience is anyone who needs X”. This is not the right way to think about target audience at all. With Facebook advertising, you may be trying to reach people who aren’t even aware that they need your product. If they were aware, they would probably be searching for it online, meaning you’d be looking at AdWords to generate traffic, and be reading our fantastic guide on how to set up an AdWords Campaign.
Consider how age, gender and location will affect interest in your product. You may feel your product is useful regardless of these characteristics, but knowing which people will be most likely to respond means that if your budget is small, you can use it to target the people who will get the best results.
Secondly, consider your audience’s interests. Facebook will give you some useful ideas of where to start if you hit ‘Browse’.
Here, you can see that I’m interested in targeting people for a fitness-related product. Adding the ‘Gyms’ interest could enable me to target 251 million people.
However, the Browse tool only works for general interests and demographics, and much more precise targeting is available using the search bar:
In the image below I have searched for Arnold Schwarzenegger, as I know that this is someone my customers are likely to be interested in. This wouldn’t show up using the Browse option, so this is where research into your target audience becomes important.
The bottom of this image shows the ‘Suggested’ feature of Facebook’s detailed targeting. Once you have filled in a few options, Facebook suggests similar interests that those people might have. Use your own research as much as possible, and only look at the suggested feature after you have built your audience as accurately as you can. Add anything that’s relevant here. Using these three stages means you should build an audience of people likely to purchase your products.
How We Turned a Facebook Ad Campaign From A CPA Of £120 To Just £22!
Exposure Ninja recently worked with a company advertising on Facebook for new clients for their partner solicitor firm. They were asking people over the age of 45 if they are suffering from any asbestos-related illnesses, and if they would like to find out if they are eligible for any compensation. This was the extent of their audience targeting, and they had been running the campaign for roughly six months, spending £120 per conversion that they received.
After taking over the campaign, I noticed they were targeting mobile users because the cost per ad impression is cheaper, and that there was a huge difference in the CPA between males and females.
The average ad spend to get one conversion from a female audience was around £200, while a male conversion averaged to less than £70. It was a no-brainer to stop showing these ads to women, drastically reducing the ad spend per conversion.
The second change was to run the exact same ads but targeted at desktop users. The campaign was only running to people on mobile when I took over, so there was no data to suggest this was a good idea. No conversion rate or CPA to compare. Also, keep in mind that the campaign was targeted at mobiles because it was cheaper to show ads there. That’s why I started with a small portion of the overall campaign budget here — to see what results I would get before I decided to scale this up.
But I had a hunch. I had a feeling that the conversion rate for the landing page would be higher on desktop than mobile users, because there is a questionnaire to fill out. Even so, I was overjoyed when I saw just how low the CPA now was!
A conversion under the new audience targeting (45+, males only, desktop users) was now coming in at just £22.73 in ad spend.
Who loves looking at some graphs and data? No? Just me, then. Still, make sure you at least check some key areas — most importantly the CPA (Cost Per Acquisition).This is how much you’re spending in ad spend, per ‘result’ you’re getting.
A result for you could be an email address, a product purchase, or an enquiry. The CPA needs to be less than the profit you’re making on that sale*. Say you’re advertising a pair of shoes that you buy for £20 and sell for £30. Are you spending more than £10 in Facebook advertising to get one sale? If so, congratulations: your business is about to go bust*.
Next, look at the CTR (Click Through Rate). CTR measures how many people clicked on your ad as a percentage of the total number of people who saw your ad. If you have a CTR of 5%, that means if you show your ad to 100 people, you can expect to get five of them to click on it. If you’re advertising life insurance or spreadsheet software, don’t be surprised if your CTR is lower than the guy advertising free kittens.
But if your CTR is low in comparison to other businesses in your industry, this is a good indication that your ad text or your imagery aren’t engaging enough. Go back and read the section on ad copy again!
Finally, Conversion Rate measures how many people took your desired action as a percentage of the people who clicked on your ad. If you have a Conversion Rate of 5%, that means that if 100 people click on your ad, five of them take the action you want them to. The acceptable conversion rates will vary from industry to industry, but the main takeaway here is that if your conversion rate is low, you need to improve your landing page. Go back and read the Landing Page section!
Optimisation can take two slightly different forms: getting better results with the same advertising spend, or getting the same results with a smaller advertising spend.
A lot of SEO companies will tell you that you should always increase your budget, so long as the Return On Investment (ROI) is positive, so Facebook ad management services may recommend a similar strategy. However, if you’re a tradesman looking to generate work through Facebook, it’s no use increasing the number of enquiries that you get if you’re already fully booked.
On the other hand, if you could still be fully booked and be spending less on advertising, then that is extra money you get to keep. Of course, you could take on an apprentice, increase your budget on Facebook to get more work, and generate even more money.
So, let’s say that you’ve managed to bring in some traffic using our advice. The next thing to do is advertise to the people who have already visited your website but didn’t take your desired action.
There are plenty of reasons why someone didn’t take the action you wanted them to, aside from a lack of interest in your product or service. Maybe they didn’t have their card details with them, needed to wait until payday, or were distracted because their house was on fire. The point is: people that have visited your site clearly have an interest in your business, so let’s remind them of that. Generally speaking, you’ll see a higher conversion rate for people who have already visited your website.
The way that we go about targeting these people with Facebook advertising is by setting up some custom audiences.
We want to use the option ‘People who visit specific web pages’, and then type in the page for what you’re selling — for example ‘amazingbusiness.com/awesomeproduct10’. We also want to create a custom audience of people who have visited the webpage confirming a purchase, like ‘amazingbusiness.com/awesomeproduct10/thank_you_for_buying’. Now we can target people who have visited the first page, but not the second. We can target an ad to these people saying: “you looked at this product but you didn’t buy it. Maybe you should come back.”
There is an option just below the one we selected: “People visiting specific web pages but not others”. You may think that this option does the same job as the situation above, but I recommend creating separate audiences rather than using the option to combine these two, because once you have created an audience there is no way of separating it out again if you need to.
For example, you could use the audience of people who have visited the page ‘/awesomeproduct10’ to tell them about awesome product 11. It’s not really relevant if they purchased awesome product 10 or not, as they may still be interested in the new product. In fact, you’ll probably know which products your customers are likely to purchase, based on their previous activity and viewing history. If you selected the second option when creating your custom audience, you wouldn’t be able to use the audience as effectively; you would miss out on targeting someone for a second product just because they have already bought a different product from you.
OK, you’ve convinced me, I want to run a campaign. What do I do now?
Thank you for reading this Facebook ad beginner’s guide! Curious to see how well an Exposure Ninja Facebook ad campaign could work for your business? We’re offering five businesses a chance to claim a month of Exposure Ninja managed Facebook advertising for just £200+VAT.
During this trial month, we’ll set up and manage your campaign to show you what sort of ROI is possible for your business using Facebook ads. You’ll receive performance reports after weeks one, two and four and will be given the chance to continue your campaign after the trial month if you choose.
It’s the simplest way to test out Facebook ads for yourself and to see how profitable they can be.
*So there are a few situations where you might be happy spending more in ad spend than you’re making in profit on that sale — if the product is a lead generation offer, for example. But this is a beginner’s guide, OK?