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A Guide to Facebook Ad Manager: How to Nail Your Campaigns

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

If you’re a business owner and active on Facebook, you’ll probably be familiar with that enticing little blue ‘Boost Post’ button on Facebook. ‘For just £7 you can reach a wider, more targeted audience.’ It’s appealing, isn’t it? Although boosting posts can be beneficial, you could actually be wasting a serious amount of money.

So, what’s wrong with the boost button? Firstly, it’s not nearly as targeted as you think it is. Yes, the boost facility allows you to target a multitude of demographics and narrow down your audience based on age and location. This, a few years ago was novel and worked. However, the boost facility only scratches the surface of what you can achieve on Facebook nowadays.

By creating ads in Facebook’s powerful Ad Manager platform, you can create far more strategic campaigns and achieve a much higher ROI – we’re talking 0.01p per engagement.

A Guide to Facebook Ad Manager: How to Nail Your First Campaign

Why is the boost post bad?

1. The objective is always engagement

When you boost your post, Facebook creates a campaign with a sole purpose to generate likes, comments and shares. You might be thinking – ‘but that’s great! I want this!’ If you were to step away from the boost post option and delve into Ad Manager, you’d realise that there’s a whole host of other targeting options from ‘traffic’ and ‘lead generation’ to ‘brand awareness’ and ‘reach.’ Businesses who take advantage of this are actively reaping the rewards.

2. Targeting is limited

When boosting a post, you only have a limited number of targeting options:

  • Those who like your page
  • People who like your page and their friends
  • Users who you choose through targeting

Although this seems targeted, you’re actually missing out on being able to include behaviours, detailed targeting and outreach to people who have behaviours and interests similar to your products or services. Using the boost post also prevents you from using custom audiences (which we’ll get onto later).

If you’re looking for more information, take a look at our detailed guide to Facebook ad targeting.

3. You can’t control placements

We’ll cover this later, but when you boost a post, Facebook controls the ad placements. You have to select the option to show the ads on desktop and mobile newsfeeds and so can’t control how your budget is spent. Now what’s crucial is that Facebook’s algorithms will work to find the cheapest, most cost-effective way to fulfil and engagement. So, it’s likely to push ads to mobile users (as these leads are far cheaper than on desktop). Plus, if you choose to target people in a number of countries, the algorithm will naturally show your ad to users in countries with the cheapest conversion rates. Ever noticed more engagements coming in from Thailand, India or Vietnam? They have super low CPC (cost per conversion) rates compared to the US, for example, where rates are far higher. As Facebook wants to demonstrate a low CPC, it is more likely to push your ads to these countries – reducing the effectiveness of your campaign.

So, how do you create ads which achieve optimum results? Step away from the ‘boost’ button and head on over to Facebook Ads Manager. Here’s a guide to help you nail your ads, maximise your budgets and get the results you’re looking for.

Facebook Ads Manager

Go to to get started. You’ll be automatically logged in to your personal Facebook account which will be associated with all of your campaigns. First things first, don’t be intimidated! So many people are as the platform can seem a tad mind-boggling at first.

The most daunting thing about Ads Manager is the multitude of options available. However, once you get to grips with things this is actually a gateway to achieving real results for your business. When it comes to targeting and remarketing, the platform is exceptional. Plus, compared to other online ad options, it’s still very affordable.

Ready to get started?

A Guide to Facebook Ad Manager: How to Nail Your First Campaign

Step one: Start with a sales funnel

Like any marketing process, a funnel needs to be established to help segment your audience. This will enable you to target potential customers based on the specific stage of the funnel they are at. Here’s an example:

  1. A person has recently discovered your brand, product or service.
  2. A person is already aware of your product or service and is interested. This interest may lead to a purchase.
  3. A person is ready to purchase from you and is at the buying stage.
  4. A person has already bought from you (should be nurtured).

This funnel can be applied to any business and it’s important that you have this clearly set out before embarking on an ad campaign. Are you going to target previous customers? Do you want to spend on a brand awareness campaign to attract more people to move from stage one to two? Facebook enables you to target people at every stage of your funnel which helps to make ads far more effective than just blasting a message to everyone.

Step two: Create a strategy

As we mentioned, the platform offers a multitude of options so before embarking on creating a new ad or campaign it is vital that you are clear on what you want to achieve. Without this, you’ll create a haphazard ad with no real objective or way to measure results.

Take a look at our previous post about tips and tricks that you can adopt when it comes to Facebook Ads.

Ask yourself the following questions first:

  • What stage of the sales funnel are you targeting? This will help you to establish whether it will be a cold or warm audience.
  • Which product, service or business attribute do I want to promote?
  • What are their pain points and how will our product or service solve them?
  • What is the goal of this campaign?
  • Am I looking for leads, brand awareness, traffic to the website, sales or something different?

By creating a clear objective and game plan, you’ll help to strengthen your ads from the offset.

Step three: Create your ad

Instead of creating a post and then clicking boost like you may do already, head to your homepage on Facebook. Navigate down the left-hand menu at the side of your news feed and hit ‘Ad’ under where it says ‘Create’ at the bottom of the menu.

You’ll then be directed to Facebook Ad Manager and be presented with the first part of the ad creation process. This is called the ‘Campaign’ section and is where you decide on the objective you would like to set.

Step three: What’s your objective?

When asking yourself this, it’s important to focus on what you want to achieve from the ad. Here are a few examples with the associated objective:

  • Increase sales of the brand new line of Nike trainers: Conversions
  • Raise awareness of your new nail salon: Brand awareness
  • Attract more sign-ups to your gym: Lead generation
A Guide to Facebook Ad Manager: How to Nail Your First Campaign

Here is the complete list of options you can choose from:

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

By selecting the right objective, you’ll increase your chances of delivering a good ROI and keep the cost per click (CPC) as low as possible. This will also help ensure that your content is seen by your target audience.

Step four: Hone in on your audience

Step one and two should have helped you to get a clear understanding of the specific audience you would like to target. This is a crucial step in achieving success with your ads and something Facebook enables you to do extremely well.

There are three ways of targeting potential customers:

Custom audiences: this is a relatively new feature which enables you to upload existing customer data such as an email list. This is also great for targeting people who have taken certain actions on your website.

Lookalike audiences: this draws data from your custom audience list and identifies users with similar attributes to target.

Location: when you want to attract people in a certain area or location, this is ideal. You can now also use the radius feature to obtain more walk-ins.

Interests: hobbies, favourite TV chefs, fans of Star Wars, people who like camping…you get the drill…

Behaviours: this is a clever one. You can now target people according to their online habits such as shopping activities and purchasing behaviours.

Demographics: Age, gender, workplace, employment status…

To find out more about how to reach your ideal audience and the targeting methods available, visit Facebook’s handy guide here.

Step five: Decide how and where you would like your ad to be seen

How do you decide on your ad placement? There are so many options and it can be a little daunting. This factor dictates when and how potential customers will see your ad and can have a significant impact on campaign results.

There are currently 12 different placement options which span across Facebook, Instagram, the audience network and Messenger. You can also select whether you’d like your ads to appear on mobile, desktop or both.

Now, there is an option to allow Facebook to automatically place your ad based on the platform’s algorithms. This has its benefits but there are also a few drawbacks that you should be aware of. For a more detailed overview of ad placements, check out this great guide.

Step Six: Decide on your budget

This stage enables you to choose from a range of options regarding how you would like your budget to be spent. A helpful tip before deciding on your budget and ad delivery is to take a look back at your page insights. Here, you’ll be able to see when your posts get most engagement to better inform your placement decision.

You can tailor your spend and select a range of options to enhance the effectiveness of the ad:

  • Lifetime or daily budget
  • Schedule ad start and finish date/times
  • Dayparting (allows you to select a time of day you’d like your ads to be shown)
  • Schedule the ad
  • Decide on a bid strategy
  • Select a delivery type

This step will help you to fine tune the ads and ensure your budget is maximised.

Step seven: Create your ad

Before you input your ad into this platform, it’s always best to draft it beforehand. Triple check for any grammatical errors and make sure your ad copy reads well. Is it catchy? Does it solve the key problem your target market has? Have you used emojis appropriately? Any hashtags or links need to be included? Your ad content is critical so don’t rush this step.

Then, be sure to look over the image(s) or video you are planning to include. Does it grab your attention? Will it stop your audience and compel them to click? Be sure to make any enhancements or editing beforehand so you have everything ready to upload.

Once you’re happy with your ad content, it’s time to chose your ad format. Here are your options:

  • Video ads
  • Single image ads
  • Canvas ads
  • Collections
  • Carousel ads.

Here’s an overview of each format and the individual benefits they offer.

Step eight: your call to action (CTA)

What do you want your audience to do when they see the ad? This has to be crystal clear – otherwise, they’ll scroll right past it and you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Be sure to add the right CTA button and include any relevant URLs and additional copy. You want the CTA process to be as simple and obvious as possible.

Step nine: monitor and adapt

Ok, so you’ve created and published your ad, you can just sit back and watch those results roll in now, right? WRONG! If you want to ensure your ad reaches its full potential, you’ll need to monitor and adapt it as time goes on. For example, you’re running a lead generation ad and the results are showing that it’s costing £4.80 per lead. You’ll want to get that cost per lead amount as low as possible so head to your active ads in the ad manager and look at your insights. Here’s a guide on how to monitor and change your ads for optimum results.

To sum up

Facebook ads can be extremely powerful when planned and implemented well. Although the Ad Manager can be daunting at first, it’s well worth investing some time into. This guide should give you a basic understanding on how to successfully implement your first campaign. Just remember that Facebook is constantly adapting and enhancing the ad function so it’s important to stay up-to-date with any changes.

Of course, that may be a lot more effort than you’d like to invest yourself, in which case our social media advertising service would be perfect for you!

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