How to Start Advertising on Facebook (and Actually Make Money)
We’ve all seen case studies about businesses rolling in cash from a single Facebook advertising campaign. You know, ones like:
- Design Pickle generating $5,800 of monthly recurring revenue using Facebook ad retargeting
- Navid Moazzez making $36,449 in revenue from $4,159 ad spend
- Paul Romando producing $163,969 in revenue from $5,989 of ad spend in just 34 days
But successful Facebook advertising campaigns aren’t flukes.
The platform’s advertising channel is a fantastic way to promote your brand, increase page likes, or sell products. It's been voted the top advertising channel for both B2B and B2C marketers, and 93% of marketers use Facebook ads regularly.
It remains one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise online, and you can get started in a matter of minutes.
But how do you create a campaign that actually generates a return on your investment?
There are a few common factors to every successful campaign, and I'll show you what they are. In this guide, I'll share the 7 steps you need to follow to start advertising on Facebook - and actually make money.
1. Create your ad account.
Before diving into building a Facebook ad, the first step is to create a Business Manager account. This is Facebook’s suite for managing business-related Facebook assets (including Pages and Ad Accounts). To create yours, go to business.facebook.com.
Once you’ve created a Business Manager account, you'll need to open an Ad Account for your Page. If you have created a Facebook page for your business yet, do so at facebook.com/pages/create.
You can do this by opening Business Manager and locating the People and Assets tab from your navigation bar. Then, hit the “Ad Accounts” option and click the “+ Add” button.
Facebook will guide you through setting up an account to advertise with.
Thankfully you only need to do this once. And if you already have, then of course you can skip this step.
2. Install the Facebook pixel.
The Facebook Pixel is a small bit of code designed to track activity across your website, and connect that activity to Facebook profiles.
For example, if I visit the Text Request and view a specific page, Facebook will record that data through the Pixel. Then, if I want to target people who’ve visited my site, Facebook will match my action with my personal profile, and include me in that audience.
You can add the Facebook Pixel to your website using this guide, but you might need to enlist the help of a developer. There are several Event types you could set the Pixel to track - pageviews, purchases, etc. This video will help you set it up.
You can set up a fantastic campaign without the Pixel on your business’ website, but you won't be able to target according to specific actions people take on your site (which is important for actually making money with Facebook advertising).
Remember, data-backed campaigns are always going to be more effective than ones that aren’t!
3. Define your objective.
It’s time for the most exciting part - creating your Facebook advertising campaigns! (That’s what you’re here for, right?)
Inside your Business Manager account, head to your Ads Manager. Click the “Create” button to begin building a campaign.
You'll be asked to define an objective for your campaign. This helps Facebook’s algorithms to optimize your campaign by reaching the right people at the lowest cost.
The objective of your campaign should be related to your business’ goals. What are you trying to accomplish with these ads?
Some of the most common objectives are:
- Brand Awareness – to improve your visibility on social media.
- Traffic (or link clicks) – to drive more traffic to your website.
- Engagement – to build an engaged community of loyal fans on Facebook.
- Conversions (or purchases) – if you’re looking to get a direct ROI from Facebook ads.
So, let’s say I set my campaign’s objective to drive brand awareness. Facebook will display my ads to relevant people in my niche - even if they’re unlikely to click my ad or purchase from my site.
That’s the main aim of brand awareness, right?
4. Name your campaign.
Next up is to name your campaign, which can be set once you’ve selected an objective.
This is self-explanatory, but make sure your campaign is easy to find in your ad account. I usually use this structure:
[Objective] - [Month / Year]
Or, if I'm managing multiple Facebook ads from one Ad Account:
[Client] - [Objective] - [Month / Year]
That way, I can easily sort my campaigns by their objective, and get a brief overview of when the campaign was created, without diving into the results column.
5. Create your ad set.
Ad Sets are groups of ads in your Facebook Ad Account, and it’s where you’ll set your audience, ad placements, and - more importantly - budgets.
You can have one ad in a set or many. In fact, Facebook recommends that you include multiple ads per Ad Set (so don’t worry about creating a separate Ad Set for every ad you want to create).
You only need a new Ad Set if you're changing either the audience, ad placement, schedule, or budget. (This makes sure you don’t experience ad fatigue, and bombard your target audience with ads so often they opt out of all ads from you).
In this section, you’ll need to:
Define your audience.
This is where you define which people you want to show your ad to. Your screen should look a little something like this:
To best define your audience, think about what objective your trying to solve, and what details apply to your target buyer personas. Think about:
- Location – Where does your ideal customer live? This can be as broad as a country, or as niche as a neighborhood in town.
- Age – How old is your ideal customer?
- Gender – Are they male or female? Or either?
- Detailed Targeting – What is your ideal customer interested in? For Text Request, this could be “small business owners” or "digital marketing," buying behaviors or whatever industry we're targeting.
- Connections – Select whether you’d like to target people that are already connected to your business. For example, if I was running a brand awareness campaign, I could exclude people who've like my business’ Facebook page. They’re already aware of me, so it could be a waste of money to target them in my Facebook ad.
Select a placement.
Once you’ve defined your audience targeting, it’s time to move onto ad placement.
If you’re not particular about where your ads are shown, I’d recommend running with Automatic Placements. Facebook will automatically show the ads where they’re most relevant (depending on your objective), which may include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or their Audience Network.
However, you do have complete control over where your ads are shown, and can override Facebook’s suggestions by choosing “Edit Placements” underneath the Placements section.
Set a budget.
Next are budget settings, where you can opt for:
- Daily Budgets - To spend a set amount, per day.
- Lifetime Budgets - To set a total limit for your Ad Set, and have Facebook spend that accordingly over the duration.
Marketing campaigns revolve around cash, and you want to make sure your Facebook campaigns aren’t a huge money suck. Otherwise, there’d be no point in running them. But Facebook’s advertising popularity isn’t just hype. There’s a reason why this platform is preferred by marketers.
You can get started with Facebook advertising for as little as $1 a day, depending on the objective you’ve chosen. How do you know whether this minimal budget will drive results?
Well, it’s been found that the average CPC for a Facebook advertising campaign is $1.72, though it varies by industry.
You can base your estimates off these averages, but the only proven way to know what budget your Facebook campaign should use is to use trial and error.
Start off with a small budget and see which variables (including ad placement, text, and topic) work well with your industry. If you find your CPC is skyrocketing, try changing it up and experimenting with a different variable. You’ll soon see what’s working for your brand.
Create a schedule.
The final step in your Ad Set creation is to set your schedule. If you’re using:
- Lifetime Budget - You’ll need to add a start and end date
- Daily Budgets - You'll need to add an end date, or select “Run my ad set continuously”
6. Create your ads.
If you’ve followed this process to a T, there’s a high chance your creative juices are itching. In this step, you’ll be able to go full force with any ad visuals you already had in mind.
It’s the section where you can change everything that relates to how your Facebook ad looks, including your ad copy, format, and images used in your campaigns.
Select a format.
Facebook allows advertisers to have full control over the design of their ads. That’s why they offer several types of ad formats to choose from.
As a general rule, single image ads are fantastic for promoting a single product. Here’s an example of how Canva used this format to drive traffic to their website.
However, if you’re looking to advertise a collection of products (or use a variety of images), you could opt for carousel ads. Here’s how Google's using this format to advertise their product on Facebook.
When choosing images for your Facebook ads, make them strong enough to stand-out in a crowded News Feed.
Facebook users create tons of content every day, but you can use strong visuals to demand a scroller’s attention.
Just take a look at this ad by Hootsuite. If you see a huge block of green in a mainly-blue Feed, you’re much more likely to stop and take notice, right?
You’ll need to be wary about the amount of text used in your Facebook ad images. The advertising algorithm can’t thoroughly understand text in images, which is why you may lose out on results if you use text-heavy visuals.
Avoid this by uploading your image to Facebook’s text overlay tool. This will show what percentage of your image is text-based. (They recommend sticking to 20% or less!)
Add your URL.
If you’ve set your Campaign objective to be link clicks (or anything relating to your website), here’s where you’ll add the URL you want people to visit.
(If you’ve set an objective that doesn’t drive people off the Facebook platform, you won’t find this box. Don’t panic!)
Optimize ad text.
The text used in your Facebook ad is perhaps the most crucial factor. It can make or break the success of your campaign. After all, text is how we communicate with people. If we add a bunch of gibberish to our ad, it’s unlikely to meet our objectives!
Take a look at this Facebook ad example by OptinMonster:
Notice how they’ve started their ad text with a powerful statement? The words “stop losing customers” is enough to make me want to click.
They’ve also given a brief explanation of what their service can offer (kind of like a good elevator pitch), and ended strongly with power words that describe their business.
When you’re writing the ad text for your Facebook campaigns, be direct. Remember that people have a very short attention span (especially on social media!). Aim to provide 1-3 sentences of value.
Not only will this catch their attention, but the ad won’t seem so off-putting in their News Feed.
Add a Call-to-Action.
Finally, you’ll need to add a call-to-action. This directly persuades people to complete the aim of your ad, and can be changed under the Call to Action button:
The most popular calls-to-action for Facebook campaigns are Shop Now (74%), Learn More (10%) and Book Now (8%).
However, you should pick the one that most-suits your objective. It wouldn’t be a good idea to click “Book Now” if you’re asking people to visit your website or buy a physical product, right?
If you don't like any of the call-to-action options for a particular ad, just choose "No Button."
7. Publish your ads.
So, you’ve just finished creating your first Facebook campaign. Congratulations!
Now, we’ll play a waiting game while Facebook approves your ads. (This could take a few minutes or hours, but you’ll receive a notification as soon as they go live.)
Then, all that’s left to do is monitor your results. Head to your Ads Manager and toggle the Performance and Breakdown columns to see in-depth data on your campaign’s performance.
You should begin to see results almost instantly, but it could take a week or longer to see meaningful data.
As a rough guide, check-in on your campaigns every day to analyze what’s working - and what isn’t. Have you found that:
- Your ads are performing best in the News Feed?
- Your ad is getting a high engagement rate?
- Your campaign is performing best at 8am?
Whatever patterns you spot, note them. This data can be used to improve your next Facebook campaign, when you can adjust each setting to see even better results. Then repeat these steps as needed for any ads you want to test.
Final Thoughts on Getting Started with Facebook Advertising
As you can see, advertising on Facebook isn’t complicated. The trick is targeting the right audience, and providing the right incentive for them to take a next step (whether that's a comment, website visit, purchase, or something else).
Once you’ve begun to jot down key patterns from your campaigns, use that data to build better campaigns in the future.
You’ll soon find that Facebook advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your small business – no matter the objective!