Getting Started with Paid Ads on Facebook

Are you thinking about getting started with Facebook ads, but have absolutely no clue what you should do first, and why?

I’ve been there, and it’s not fun.

So, I’ve created this easy guide to help you navigate around the Facebook advertising scene. This will be a gentle introduction and by no means totally comprehensive, but it’ll be enough to boost your confidence in creating a paid ad campaign on Facebook. You can do this—I believe in you! Let’s get started.

Here’s a list of best practices to keep in mind when creating your Facebook ad.

Why Pay for Facebook Ads?

Maybe you’ve heard that Facebook ads are a great way to build exposure for your brand, but you’re not sure why it’s so great. Here’s why:

Over one billion people use Facebook on a daily basis. That’s one out of every seven people on earth.

Facebook collects a ton of information about its users, both on their website and while the users are browsing other sites on the web.

While I’m sure some of this data goes into creating a better experience for Facebook’s users, a big chunk of this data is also sold to the highest bidder (you?).

That’s the dark, Big Brother-y side of the coin. But, on the flip side, Facebook offers you an incredible opportunity to find your core audience. For example, you can laser-focus down to people who’ve recently moved into your town or those who’ve visited your website within the last 90 days, or even those who share similarities to your current email list.

Facebook ads are a smart solution for smaller brands who want to reach their target audience but can’t compete with the big boys. Even if they only have a small budget (and I’m talking $5/ a day small), Facebook ads can be used to effectively grow any business.

So, let’s discuss how to do just that.


The Different Types of Facebook Ads

There are a lot of different types of Facebook ads you can run. The ad you choose will depend on the objective of your ad campaign.

You can choose from a list of 13 objectives:

Image Courtesy of Facebook

To get started and with the most bang for your buck, I’d recommend directing people to your website through either Clicks to Website or Website Conversions. This way, you’re driving traffic back to your website—your own real estate—and can better influence the conversation.


Deciding Who to Target

The biggest obstacle you’ll face in advertising is finding the people who are most likely to purchase your product. The good news is Facebook makes that part easy.

Sure, you get a lot of exposure on Facebook, but the very best reason to advertise on Facebook is because you can target your ads. It’s quality over quantity.

If you advertise to 100 people but only 5 of those 100 are valid leads, you’ve wasted time on the 95 who could care less.

With the right strategy, you can isolate the most likely candidates and then market aggressively to them. It saves resources, time, and frustration for both you and the people who cannot benefit from your ads.

So, without further preamble, let’s talk about how to create these targeted audiences on Facebook.


Custom Audiences

Facebook’s Custom Audiences is killer. You can use this tool to advertise to your current customers, subscribers, or followers. It allows you to build on the momentum you’ve already established.

What is a Custom Audience?

A Custom Audience is a list of your current customers, site visitors, and/or Facebook fans. There are several ways you can create a Custom Audience. You can:

Upload a list of customer (or subscriber) email addresses directly to Facebook. Facebook will then compare your list to its database to find Facebook users with the same email address.

Allow Facebook to collect data directly from your site. By inserting a Facebook Pixel, Facebook will be able to see which of its users have visited your site. Facebook will then create a list of users who make up your individual Custom Audience.

Your current Facebook fans. The fans on your Facebook page automatically become part of your Custom Audience. Nothing for you to do here.


Here’s how to get started with Custom Audiences:

To get started with Custom Audiences from your list of email addresses, you will need to upload your list (in CSV or TXT format). To do that, go to Ads Manager, select “Audiences”, and then “Create Audience”. Here, you’ll need to select “Custom Audience” and then “Customer List”.


Lookalike Audiences

Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences tool provides an excellent opportunity to gain exposure. Plus, it’s so darn simple to implement that there is no reason not to use it.


What is a Lookalike Audience?

Lookalike Audiences are people who aren’t already connected to you but are similar to those who are. With this tool, you’ll define a target audience based on your current audience.

Here’s how Lookalike Audiences work:

Lookalike Audiences piggyback off of your Custom Audience list. After you create a Custom Audience on Facebook, you can immediately create a Lookalike Audience.

You can build Lookalike Audiences based on the following:

Traffic to your website - By installing a Facebook pixel on your website, you can then collect key information about your site visitors.

Your current customers - Reach out to people who are similar to the ones who’ve already purchased from you.

Email list - Advertise to a group of people who share similar traits to those already on your email list.

Your current Facebook followers - Create an audience using your current Facebook fans as a template.

Here’s how to get started with Lookalike Audiences:

Before you get started with Lookalike Audiences, you’ll need to have at least 100 people within your source group. This means you should have at least 100 people who’ve visited your website since adding the Facebook Pixel, or at least 100 Facebook fans, or 100 subscribers on your email list—you get the picture.

The larger the group, the more accurate your Lookalike Audience will be. So, I’d recommend selecting the group with the most people to be your sample for Lookalike Audiences.

  1. Go to the Facebook Ads Manager.

  2. Select “Tools” then “Audiences”.

  3. Choose “Lookalike Audiences” from the “Create Audience” drop down menu.

  4. Choose one of the existing customer groups as your Lookalike Audience sample.

  5. Decide on the audience’s size and location. While it may be tempting to go large, remember that the smaller your focus, the more similarities your Lookalike Audience will share with the sample group—that’s what you want.


Other Audiences

If the above options of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences seem too intense or restricting for you at this stage, you do have another, more flexible option. You can define your ideal audience based on criteria that you choose, such as:

Behaviors - Target an audience based on what they do. You can target people based on purchases that they’ve made, activities they participate in, or websites they’ve visited within the recent weeks.

Demographics - Target an audience based on who they are, where they live, or what they do for work. You can also target a specific gender or age group.

Interests - Target an audience based on what they like and do in their spare time. This includes hobbies and pastimes, and Pages that they currently like on Facebook.

In addition, you can apply these same parameters to your Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, too. If you do, you’ll come away with an even more targeted audience.


What You Need to Know About Facebook Pixel

So, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing audiences because locking down the right audience is very important. But, once you’re set on your target audience, let’s talk about one of my favorite ways to utilize Facebook ads. Drum roll, please…

Website Custom Audiences!

Yes, I’m that excited about it, because the Website Custom Audiences tool is awesome. We’ve touched on it a little bit above, but let’s go over what it is and how you can use it within your ad campaign:


What is a Website Custom Audience?

A Website Custom Audience is a group of people who’ve visited your website.

You don’t actually have to capture these people on your site, but you do need to insert a Facebook pixel (which is a small amount of code pasted into the HTML header of your website). It’ll take less than a couple of minutes to copy and paste the Facebook pixel in your site, and from then on, Facebook will do the job of collecting data from everyone who visits your site.

Creating a Website Custom Audience allows you to remarket to people who’ve visited your site and gently nudge them back. You can target people based on when they visited your site last or what pages on your site they visited, to name two options.

Here’s how to get started with Facebook Pixel:

In Ads Manager, navigate to the pixel section and click “Create a Pixel”. From there, you’ll add a name for your pixel, and click “Create Pixel”. You’ll then be given instructions on how to install the pixel yourself or the option to email the pixel code to your website administrator. It’s pretty simple, but it’s an amazing tool.


Additional Resources

I hope my post serves as a starting point for your epic adventure on Facebook ads. So, don’t just stop here. Below, I’m sharing my favorite mentors and their resources for Facebook advertising. Check them out before you take the next step in Facebook ads:

Zach Spuckler at Heart, Soul & Hustle has an incredible course for understanding Facebook ads.

Kamila Gornia is my marketing mentor and is an excellent resource for FB Ads management.

Check out Claire Pelletreau for EVERYTHING related to Facebook Ads.

Adrienne Richardson is also a great resource for understanding Facebook ads. Plus, she actually did my ads once for a webinar and got me great results.

Don’t miss this list of best practices for Facebook ads!


Oh! And I'll send you a FREE Tech Toolkit as a thank you :)