At some point in the life cycle of managing marketing, there comes an inflection point:
Should we, or should we not, run ads on Facebook and Instagram to get more traffic to our site?
While the answer to this question is ultimately between you and your marketing team, we believe that the answer should be a resounding YES. That’s because Facebook ads are still highly effective for generating traffic and sales for all kinds of businesses. And we don’t just say that because we’re Facebook advertisers – we see it every day in our own business and in the accounts we manage across industries ranging from personal injury attorneys to beauty brands to non-profits.
For this guide, we tapped one of our expert Facebook Media Buyers, Courtney Livesay, to get the 411 on what to consider before and as you run ads. We’ll outline the nine steps to getting started with ads, our tips for Facebook ad campaign success, and frequently asked questions about running Facebook ad campaigns successfully.
Who This Guide is For
This guide is for marketing managers, CMOs, and business leaders who are in charge of deciding if and how to begin running Meta ads for their business. It’s for marketing leaders running ecommerce shops, for service-based businesses needing more leads, and even for digital marketers who are trying to fill webinars and membership programs.
If you still haven’t made Meta ads work for your business, then this guide will help.
Before You Start Meta Ads: Necessary Requirements
Here’s what Courtney says you must have before you start running ads on Facebook or Instagram:
Bare Bones Checklist (needed beforehand):
- Setup Facebook business page / Instagram profile
- Setup Facebook Business Manager (Meta Business Suite)
- Website w/ Meta Pixel accurately implemented (documentation)
- A single goal/metric that aligns with your business objectives. (e.g. Leads at <$5/each, 2x ROAS, etc.)
- A compelling offer (crucial for Facebook ads)
- Review competitors’ ads/offers to make sure what you’re selling is competitive.
- Landing page w/ appropriate check-out/lead capture progression and additional/conversion pixels implemented correctly
- Understanding of Facebook Ads Manager interface
A Step-by-Step Guide to Running Successful Facebook Ad Campaigns
MUST READ: Every business should do steps 1 thru 3… even if they don’t plan to run Meta Ads. The reason is that some day you may want to test Facebook and Instagram ads and having a “seasoned” pixel will help the ad algorithms deliver your ads to the right audience from the get go.
Step 1: Set Up Your Facebook Business Page & Instagram Profile
The first step is to set up your brand’s Facebook Business Page and Instagram profile. On Instagram, Courtney says, “Sometimes, there’s no Instagram account. It’s a very viable part of Meta you should be using, even if just for the purposes of testing ads.” Even further, she says, “I’ve seen some accounts where Instagram is absolutely crushing it! It’s worth it.”
Your profile and pages should have all the relevant information, including:
- Business Name
- Cover Photo (for Facebook)
- Business Type
- Contact Information
Make sure that your page and profile URLs are appropriate and easy to remember, because you’ll be sharing them in your marketing.
Step 2: Set up Your Meta Business Suite (AKA “Business Manager”)
The next step is to set up your Meta Business Suite, formerly known as the “Business Manager.” This management tool from Meta allows you to post across Facebook and Instagram, see your results, manage ads on multiple related pages, manage your messaging inbox, and more.
Get Started Here ➡️ : https://business.facebook.com/
This process changes all the time, so be sure to check Meta’s help documentation for the latest steps.
Step 3: Install the Meta Pixel on Your Site
The next step to running successful Facebook ad campaigns is to install the Meta pixel on your site.
“It’s a key ingredient that can be a little bit intimidating for newbies, but it’s really not that intense once you get into it,” Courtney says of pixels. She adds, “there’s really helpful documentation through Meta for implementing pixels correctly.”
Step 4: Set a Single Goal or Metric for Success
Once you have a stellar offer, you’ll want to identify the key performance indicator that aligns with your business objectives—that way the platform will optimize towards your north star. Courtney cautions, “I think it’s tempting when you first start running ads to say, ‘oh, I want tons of traffic and tons of engagement!’” But you should pick one north star and run with it.
On Meta, you can select the following ad objectives. The type of ad objective you choose should align with what you’re trying to achieve for your business or that step in your customer journey:
- 1. Awareness
- 2. Traffic
- 3. Engagement
- 4. Leads
- 5. App promotion
- 6. Sales
Step 6: Understand Placements
The next step to figure out is placements. Placements are where your ad will be shown online and across Meta’s apps. The objective you choose determines where your ad is displayed, and not all placements are available for every ad.
The various ad placements allow your ads to be seen on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Meta Audience Network, with even more advanced options for each platform. You can also choose Advantage + placements (previously called auto-placements), where Meta is going to adjust the impressions across all of the placements depending on how each is performing—so you get the most out of your budget.
Step 7: Let Facebook Learn Before Optimizing
When you’re spending precious budget on a new ads platform, it can be tempting to try to fiddle with the audiences, settings, or creatives in the hopes of making it work faster or better, especially if you aren’t seeing leads or purchases right away. But here’s the thing: Facebook isn’t the yellow pages. It runs on advanced algorithms which take time to get out of the learning and optimization phase.
Step 8: Don’t Forget After-the-Click
When you’re launching your campaign, don’t forget about after-the-click optimization—what does the user experience after the click on you ad. Having a compelling offer, landing page, and post-conversion emails can turn a happy purchaser into a brand loyalist.
Ads alone aren’t enough.
“Having a great product and offer can make/break advertising campaigns,” says one of Tier 11’s Growth Strategists Landon Poburan. “Even the best ads may not be able to get someone to buy a poor product or poorly positioned product.”
Step 9: Learn the Ads Manager Interface
Finally, you’re going to get more out of your advertising when someone on your team knows the ins and outs of advertising on Meta. Getting to know the options available to you will help you make better decisions about your ad campaigns.
Advanced Tips & Tricks
Data and Tracking Best Practices
Having solid data and tracking is vital to a successful ad launch on Facebook or Instagram. In order to rock it, here’s some tips from our ad team:
Explore Third Party Tools
The data within the Business Suite and Business Manager doesn’t have to be your only source of truth. There are plenty of other ways to ensure that you get the full picture on your data, including old fashioned spreadsheets and third party tools such as Google Analytics, Northbeam, or Wicked Reports.
Consider CAPI Implementation
The Meta Conversion API is an advanced implementation option Facebook calls, “highly complex,” as it requires developer help to get rolling with it. Despite its complexity, it’s almost always worth it to get even better data from your funnel. Implementing CAPI gives Meta visibility that it lost with the iOS 14 update.
Master Consistent Naming Conventions
This is important for efficiently sorting and analyzing your ad data. Make them descriptive, but concise. Include abbreviations for things like the date, offer, product, objective, audience, funnel level, etc.
Accurate Pixel Implementation
It’s good practice to double-check and test your pixel from time to time, and always in the case of new landing pages/funnels. The Meta Pixel Helper Chrome extension is very useful for verifying your tracking.
Setup Offline Conversions
If your business objective isn’t trackable by Meta, ie. it happens in person or on the phone, you should strongly consider setting up Offline Conversions. While the process is complicated and typically requires a developer with expertise in Offline Conversions, it is essential to optimizing Facebook Ads to the objective that matters most to your business. Whether that be an in-store purchase, a signed case, or a home care consultation.
Facebook Ad Campaign Setup Tips
Don’t duplicate your ads until you understand the benefits of Post IDs. Post IDs allow for more consolidated comment management, aggregation of social proof, and maintaining the learning Meta has already done on the ad.
Benchmark Your Secondary Metrics
Have accurate benchmarks for secondary metrics, as well as primary KPIs. This is important for efficient optimization of your ad campaigns. It also helps you know what red flags to look for within Ads Manager.
Understand that there are only so many users in-market at any given time, and invest in warming up your audience with ads that are more informational than sales-focused (example).
Regularly check up on competitors’ ads to ensure that your offers are still competitive and you aren’t falling behind on creating engaging copy and creative. The Facebook Ads Library is a great tool for this.
Copy and Creative
Repurpose Your Successful Organic Content
Always consider repurposing successful organic content, or content that has been successful on other platforms to use as your Facebook ads. We’ve seen popular blog posts generate surprisingly positive revenue in multiple cases, and some of our highest-performing ads for Credit Repair Cloud were originally organic Instagram posts.
Have a plan when testing new concepts. Know what insights you’re actually looking for, whether you’re comparing different creatives or finding out which audiences work best…and only test one element at a time. Otherwise, you’ll still be in the dark to why an add worked better.
Take Advantage of Timely Events
Staying relevant can boost your conversions! We suggest finding ways to create copy and creative that is themed around current events or holidays. We find topical ads can be really effective if done meaningfully.
Double Check Your Meta Description
One thing we can’t recommend enough is regularly double checking your landing page’s meta data and ensuring it’s up-to-date. Website meta data can automatically populate in ad copy fields, like headline and description, if they are left blank (whether on purpose or by accident).
Check Your Ad Scent
Sometimes, brands who have “hit a wall” optimizing their ads really have an ad scent problem. Ad scent is the relevancy and congruence between your ads and the target landing page. Get this wrong, and your potential customers will bounce due to confusion or fear of being scammed.
Mobile Friendly is Conversion Friendly
In our Conversion Architecture department, we’ve found time and time again that landing pages with poor mobile responsiveness does poorly across ad platforms. Where possible, design for mobile first.
Use “Voice of the Customer” Language and Feedback
The easiest way to nail your messaging is to use “voice of the customer” language. This might mean pulling copy or creative ideas from buyer surveys, ad comments, or even analyzing shop reviews. Use what you learn to improve your offers, come up with ad ideas, and write more relevant copy.
In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, mastering Facebook ad campaigns can be your secret weapon. From initial setup to advanced tracking and creative strategies, every step you take on this platform can bring you closer to your business objectives. But remember, success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about continuously learning, testing, and optimizing. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not just about running ads, it’s about understanding your customer, your offer, and the journey you’re creating for them. So, leverage this guide, roll up your sleeves, and make Meta ads work for your business. You’ve got this!
Frequently Asked Questions about Getting Started with Facebook (Meta) Ads
How much do Facebook ads cost?
More than they used to! Facebook ad costs can vary due to factors such as industry, campaign objectives, and bidding models. The goal should be to break even, or cost less, than the revenue generated per acquired customer. You should set your budget based on your brand’s “marketing math” as well as on your campaign objectives.
Are ads free on Facebook?
No, ads are not free, but they aren’t as cost-prohibitive as many brands think. In fact, Facebook ads are still one of the “cheapest” ways to acquire new customers.
Why should businesses consider running Facebook (Meta) Ads?
Facebook (Meta) Ads present an opportunity for businesses to reach a large and engaged audience. The platform’s sophisticated targeting capabilities can help marketing leaders and businesses reach the right people with the right messages. Moreover, the data collected from these ads can provide valuable insights for refining marketing strategies.
Which industries should be on Instagram?
Almost any brand can benefit from advertising on Instagram, but you should test before coming to conclusions. We’ve seen brands crush it on Instagram who were sure that their “customers weren’t on Instagram.” You never know until you test.
What are the prerequisites to start running Facebook (Meta) Ads?
Before running Facebook (Meta) Ads, businesses need to have a Facebook business page or Instagram profile, a Meta Business Suite (formerly known as Facebook Business Manager), and a website with the Meta Pixel accurately implemented. Additionally, businesses should have a clear goal or metric that aligns with their business objectives and a compelling offer.
What is Meta Pixel and how to install it on your site for running Facebook Ads?
The Meta Pixel is a piece of code that can be installed on your website to collect data that helps track conversions from Facebook ads. This data can help optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads, and retarget people who have taken some kind of action on your website.
What is the importance of setting a single goal or metric for a successful Facebook Ad campaign?
Setting a single goal or metric for your Facebook ad campaign helps the platform optimize your ads towards achieving your business objectives. Rather than trying to achieve multiple outcomes at once, focusing on one ‘north star’ metric can lead to more effective campaigns.
What types of ads can be run on Facebook?
Facebook offers a variety of ad formats including image ads, video ads, carousel ads, instant experience (a full-screen landing page within Facebook), and collections (a catalog of your products).
How does ad placement work in Facebook Ad campaigns?
Ad placements determine where your ads will be shown online and across Meta’s apps. The ad objective you choose determines where your ad is displayed, and not all placements are available for every ad. Meta also offers the Advantage+ placements, where it adjusts the impressions across all of the placements depending on performance, optimizing your budget.
What does the learning phase mean in Facebook Ad campaigns and why is it important to let Facebook learn before optimizing?
The learning phase in Facebook ad campaigns refers to the period during which Facebook’s algorithms gather data to optimize ad performance. It’s important to let Facebook exit this learning phase before making any adjustments to your ads, as premature changes can reset the learning process and potentially reduce the effectiveness of your ads.
Why is after-the-click optimization important in Facebook Ad campaigns?
After-the-click optimization refers to the user experience once someone clicks on your ad. It’s crucial because a positive post-click experience can turn a potential customer into a loyal one. This includes having a compelling offer, landing page, and post-conversion emails.
What are some advanced tips and tricks for mastering data and tracking in Facebook Ad campaigns?
Mastering data and tracking involves exploring third-party tools, considering CAPI implementation, having consistent naming conventions, and ensuring accurate Pixel implementation. Setting up offline conversions can also be beneficial for businesses that have objectives that can’t be tracked by Meta.
What are some dos and don’ts in Facebook Ad campaign setup?
Some dos include setting up accurate benchmarks for your metrics, being realistic about your audience size, and regularly checking your competitors’ ads. Don’t duplicate your ads until you understand the benefits of Post IDs, which allow for more consolidated comment management and maintaining the learning Meta has already done on the ad.
How to create effective copy and creative for Facebook Ads?
Effective copy and creative can be created by repurposing successful organic content, testing deliberately, and taking advantage of timely events. Utilizing “voice of the customer” language and feedback can also help in creating more relevant ad copy.
What are some after-the-click considerations in Facebook Ad campaigns?
After-the-click considerations include double-checking your Meta description, ensuring ad scent, creating mobile-friendly designs, and using customer feedback to improve your offers and ad copy. It’s crucial to align the ad and landing page to avoid confusion or fear of being scammed, resulting in a bounce. Being mobile-friendly also boosts conversions as poor mobile responsiveness can negatively impact ad performance.
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