Into the Facebook Ads Manager
Facebook provides a lot of powerful marketing tools. These tools deliver excellent ad management and data analytics capabilities, but unfortunately, the range of functions means there’s a lot to learn about Facebook Business Manager.
Learning to use Facebook Ads Manager can get in the way of developing good housekeeping habits. We’re going to help you avoid that.
All the tools plus scalability
The first thing to know is that the Facebook Ads Manager is part of Facebook Business Manager. You access Ads Manager from the Facebook Business Manager dashboard.
The second thing to know is that, as you learned in the chapter two, boosted Facebook posts aren’t always optimal for promoting your business on Facebook. To go beyond boosted posts you’ll need Facebook Business Manager and Ads Manager.
Ads Manager gives you all the analytics, performance tracking, audience creation, and ad campaign creation you need to get the best results. Business Manager gives you access to your Facebook pixel for proper conversion tracking, plus the power to grant access to your business page so you can add team members as your business grows.
It’s never too late to start
Switching to Business Manager might seem intimidating, but there’s no downside to making the change: you keep all the capabilities of a standard Facebook page.
All this can seem complicated, especially if you’re new to advertising on Facebook, but not to worry, we’ll show you the basics and help you start with best practices in mind. There’s a danger that if you jump into creating campaigns and ads without a good sense of direction while learning the interface, your campaigns will get jumbled quickly. A disorganized Ads Manager makes it difficult to make the most of the Facebook analytics tools and evaluate how each of your campaigns is performing. You might even miss vital features and tools altogether.
Additionally, being familiar with the Business and Ads Managers and keeping your campaigns organized will help you onboard team members faster and work more efficiently with contractors and consultants. They’ll be able to more quickly understand how your campaigns are running if there’s some method to the madness.
In this chapter, we’ll dive into the Facebook Business Manager from start to finish and explain essential housekeeping techniques. Even if you know a bit already, a refresher can often be a useful reminder of skills neglected.
Getting started with Business Manager
To get to Business Manager, just go to the Facebook for Business page: business.facebook.com
This is where you create your Business Manager account. Once you’ve got an account, you can log in here as well.
The first place you’ll go after you create your account is the dashboard, the command center where you manage your business pages, ad campaigns, analytics data, and team. To get started, let’s look at getting your account set up.
Setting up your Ads Manager
When you first log in to Ads Manager, you’ll be taken to the campaign management dashboard. If you created a fresh account, you’ll find a clean slate. If you’re logging into an account with active ads, you’ll probably see rows of information.
The dashboard gives you a quick overview of existing campaign performance and serves as a hub for creating and managing campaigns, ad sets, and ads. Use the ribbon of tabs along the middle of the screen to select one of those options. This will show you the data for the associated advertising level. The “Account Analytics” tab will show combined data for all your campaigns.
You can also add people to your Ads Manager account from the dashboard. Click on the Settings button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (it looks the same as the settings button in the Facebook Business Manager). On the Ad Accounts page of the Ads Manager settings you’ll see the people who have been added to the account in the lower right. Click the Add People button to add someone to the account.
There are three roles for people associated with your Ads Manager account.
Administrators can do everything, including adding people and funding sources, creating and editing ads, and viewing analytics.
Advertisers can only create and edit ads, view ads, and view analytics.
- Analysts can only view ads and analytics.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of creating campaigns, ad sets, and ads, it’s important to understand the Facebook advertising hierarchy.
The three tiers within Ads Manager
Facebook has divided their advertising into three levels. Ad campaigns are the top level. Ad sets and ads are subsets of ad campaigns.
Level 1: Facebook ad campaigns
Facebook ad campaigns are where you’ll create the major pieces of your Facebook funnel. In the campaign creation workflow, you’ll select an objective. This objective is what determines which stage of the funnel the campaign forms.
There are several campaign objectives. Campaign objectives are classified as awareness objectives, consideration objectives, or conversion objectives. When you create an ad campaign, select an objective that corresponds to the stage of your funnel you’re building.
Each stage of your funnel should have its own campaign so when your funnel is complete, you’ll have at least three separate ad campaigns running: a campaign that uses an awareness objective, a campaign with a consideration objective, and a final campaign that focuses on conversion objectives.
You may decide to run more than three campaigns at some point for testing or more specific audience targeting, but you’ll always need at least three for a complete funnel.
Level 2: Facebook ad sets
Ad sets are the second level of the Facebook advertising hierarchy. Ad sets are created within ad campaigns. An ad campaign can and should have multiple ad sets.
Where campaigns are for managing funnel objectives, ad sets are for creating and managing audiences. You’ll define audience targeting characteristics and ad display options in the ad set creation workflow. Your ad sets essentially determine who you want to see your ads. You’ll also define your ad budget at the ad set level.
The reason it’s best to have multiple ad sets is so you can create very specific audiences and test which is most profitable for your business. If you create campaigns with just a single ad set, you’ll only be able to target a single audience. That means you won’t be able to test audiences against each other to see which does best, making it impossible to segment your ad budget and spend more reaching out to your most receptive prospects.
Level 3: Facebook ads
Facebook ads are the worker bees of the Facebook advertising hierarchy. Ads are nested inside ad sets. The ad level is where you’ll determine how your advertising looks to Facebook users.
This is where you select the ad format, upload videos and images, write your headlines, and build your ad creative. You’ll also specify where prospects go when they click on an ad and how your Facebook funnel connects to your overall marketing funnel.
You’ll notice a trend here: multiples. It’s best if you use multiple ads for each ad set. You’ll need multiple ads to test different ad creative and headlines, and to find out how different messaging appeals to your various audiences.
Creating Facebook ad campaigns
Step 1: Getting started
The first step (pictured below) is to go to your Ads Manager dashboard and click on the Campaigns tab. Then click on the green +Create button to create a new campaign. This will bring up the campaign creation workflow.
If you see the Quick Creation popup, click the Switch to Guided Creation button in the upper right corner. Once you’ve got some campaign creation experience under your belt, you may want to use the quick creation workflow to speed up the campaign creation process.
Meanwhile, in the guided creation workflow, Facebook will prompt you to select a campaign objective. The campaign objectives will be split into the different parts of the funnel we talked about earlier: awareness, consideration, and conversion.
Campaign objectives for Facebook video advertising are important and expansive enough that they have their own chapter (see chapter six). There are some nuances and exceptions to various rules (as always), but for now, here’s a quick cheat sheet to get you through (keep in mind these are just for video advertising):
Use video views or post engagements as your objective for awareness campaigns.
Use traffic or leads as your objective for consideration campaigns.
Use conversions as your objective for conversion campaigns.
Step 2: Name your campaign
Once you’ve selected an objective, scroll down. At the bottom of the campaign creation workflow, you’ll set a name for your campaign.
There are two other options for creating campaigns.
- Create split test
This is Facebook’s built-in tool for creating multiple ad sets and ads for the purpose of determining which variables produce the best results. With this option you can create multiple ad sets and ads that have only one difference so you can isolate certain audiences or ad details to determine what works best.
- Budget optimization
When you have ad sets and audiences set up, you can use this option to have Facebook automatically analyze which audiences perform best. The Facebook algorithm needs some data to accomplish this, however, so it won’t work until you’ve been running ads for a while, so we’ll leave these options turned off for now.
Once you’ve got a clever name for your campaign, click the blue Create Campaign button at the bottom. The next step is creating an ad set. Facebook will kindly take you straight into the ad set creation workflow once you’re finished creating your campaign.
Note: if Facebook takes you into the ad account creation workflow, simply select a country, currency, and timezone to proceed to ad set creation.
Creating Facebook ad sets
There are five segments to ad set creation: traffic, offer, audience, placements, budget, and schedule. The ad set workflow is a single page. Simply scroll down to move from section to section. At the top, specify a name for your ad set. The first big section is traffic.
Step 1: Traffic selection
The traffic setting determines where your ads will send traffic to. Typically, you’ll use the Website setting. Only use App if your product is an app. The Messenger setting means people will be taken to an open conversation dialogue when they click an ad. The Offer option is only good if you’re using an offer to promote your product and you want that offer to be accessible within Facebook.
Step 2: Use a custom audience
The next big sections are Audience and Placements. These segments are where you’ll spend most of your ad set creation time. We’re assuming you have no custom audience to upload here, but if you do, go to the Ad Set Creation screen (separate from Interest Targeting). Choose your pre-made audiences from the Custom Audience field.
Let’s look at creating ad sets from the ground up. There are some standard options in the audience creation workflow: location, age, gender, and language. These are the easy ones. Where things get spicy is in the Detailed Targeting menu.
The best way to use this tool is to target certain characteristics that your customers have. You can search interests, demographics, professions, hobbies, and more.
Type something relevant to your ideal customer into the search box and Facebook will offer suggestions related to your search term. Facebook identifies people who match based on behavioral data. If you specify the NFL as an interest, Facebook will target people who have engaged with or clicked on NFL-related content. This method isn’t precise, so the more characteristics you can specify, the more it will narrow your audience down to the most relevant candidates.
Below the audience targeting dialogue, there’s an option to expand interests when it will increase link clicks. As a general rule, this will increase your costs. But it may not actually increase your ROI because Facebook shows your ads to people who are just likely to click. More clicks doesn’t necessarily mean more conversions because these clicks may be lower quality clicks.
If you decide to use this option, you’ll need to select a connection type, which tells Facebook the sort of association with your defined audience you want to use for expanding your interests.
Step 3: Select a placement
Next, scroll down and choose your ad placement. The first option is Automatic Placement. This lets Facebook manage your ad placements. We recommend against using this option.
The trouble with automatic placement is that certain ad types and video aspect ratios perform poorly in some ad placements. So unless you have content that’s optimized for every type of placement, Facebook will probably show your ads in suboptimal spaces.
It’s pretty much impossible to create a single piece of content that’s great for every type of placement, so your chances of success with automatic placement are rather low, unless you have a lot of ad creative. The better option is Edit Placements. This way you can choose where you want Facebook to show your ads.
Some placements are gimmes, while others are based on what type of ads you plan to run. Here’s a quick overview:
The Facebook feed is safe to leave on for your ads. Most ad types look good here and people respond well to ads on their feed.
- Instant articles
Only use instant articles if you have a blog post or some online content to promote.
- In-Stream videos
As you might have guessed, in-stream videos only work if you have video content for increasing awareness, without a call to action. These are often used by companies that have the studio resources for creating high-quality video content.
- Right column
We recommend avoiding this placement because it tends to be outside the user’s central focus and gets less attention. Right column ad placement gets fewer clicks than other placements.
- Suggested videos
Again, this is exclusively for use with video content. It can be tricky to use, since people tend to avoid advertising videos when they browse the suggested video feed. You can usually safely leave this placement turned off.
Marketplace placement is great for any type of ad. People go to the marketplace to shop, so ads tend to perform well here.
Only use the stories placement if you have video content. Vertical video with a 9:16 aspect ratio works best here.
The Instagram feed and stories placements are similar to the Facebook feed and stories placements and follow similar rules. However, if you’re going to show ads on Instagram, you need content that’s built for Instagram, since the platform looks a bit different.
For the Instagram feed, always use a 1:1 aspect ratio. Vertical videos work best in the Instagram stories placement.
- Audience network
We recommend avoiding the audience network placement. The audience network is Facebook’s affiliate sites. The danger with the Facebook audience network is that Facebook has affiliate websites you may not want to advertise on.
Unless you’ve gone through the Facebook audience network and established a very thorough block list, placing ads on the Facebook audience network can actually hurt your performance.
The Facebook Messenger placement gets high marks from us. More people use Facebook Messenger than the actual Facebook app now. The Messenger placement delivers strong performance and requires no special ad formatting.
Step 4: Set your budget
Once you’ve edited your ad placements, all that’s left is to establish a budget. The budget and schedule options are pretty straightforward.
If you plan on running the campaign indefinitely or have no planned end date, use the Daily Budget option. This simply limits how much Facebook will spend per day showing ads.
The Lifetime Budget option is best if you have a definite timeline for an ad campaign. With this option, Facebook will automatically pace your budget so it gets depleted on or very near to your scheduled end date.
That’s the last step in ad set creation, so click the Continue button to be moved through to the ad creation workflow for some ad creation fun.
Creating Facebook ads
Ad creation is broken into four parts: identity, format, media, and links. Start by specifying an ad name (step 0).
Step 1: Select an ad format
The easiest ads to create are single video and single image ads. However, carousel ads and collection ads can also be used for Facebook video marketing.
Collection ads and carousel ads demand much more planning and production. Carousel ads require a very coherent set of videos that clearly tell a story from slide to slide.
Collection ads are great for creating mini landing pages that display entirely within the Facebook app. It’s best to stick with single video and single image ads until you’ve got a good handle on creating Facebook video ads. We’re focusing on video advertising for this guide, so we’ll start with a single video ad.
Step 2: Upload a video
When you select the single video format, the ad creation workflow will automatically prompt you to upload a video.
Use 1:1 videos for showing ads in most places. If you’re showing ads with the Facebook Stories placement, 9:16 is optimal.
Step 3: Headline, copy, CTA, and URL
Now write a headline and some copy for your ad. If you’re testing multiple ads, this is where you can experiment with different ad messaging paired with the same video. Facebook has a few call-to-action options, so all you need to do is pick one.
Then specify the URL for where you want people to go when they click the ad. For certain ad campaign objectives, like video views, you won’t need a target URL.
Step 4: Select conversion tracking parameters
The last step is selecting your conversion tracking parameters. This just tells Facebook what you consider a successful conversion for the ad.
Once you’ve selected your conversion tracking, you’ll be able to click the button at the bottom of the workflow to create your ad. Note that conversion tracking is only possible once you’ve installed the Facebook pixel, which we’ll cover in chapter four.
That’s the down-and-dirty of creating ad campaigns, ad sets, and ads. It’s a fairly simple process, but can be time-consuming. There are tools to help you create ads and ad creative faster and run tests with different creative and headlines. These tools are great for achieving efficient ad production and designing split tests.
However, Facebook still has the best optimization technology for maximizing your budget, so it’s important to keep using Facebook Ads Manager, even if you’re using external optimization tools.
This is where campaign naming and good housekeeping in your ads manager become really important. When you’re running a lot of campaigns with multiple ad sets, each with their own bunch of ads, things can get confusing. This can cause a lot of problems with analytics and audience targeting. A messy ads manager could cost you money. So let’s have a look at how to name your campaigns and organize your ads manager.
Naming conventions and good housekeeping
Chances are that someone else will have to use your account, so you should maintain good naming conventions and organization so anybody can understand what’s going on without much explanation from you. Fortunately, you don’t need to invent any sort of naming policy or organizational structure. You can keep things neat by following a few simple rules.
Consistent naming matters
A good naming convention is actually pretty simple. You just want to communicate the vital aspects of the campaign, ad set, or ad in the name. That way people can get the vital details without digging around too much. To this end, it’s important to avoid proprietary terms in your naming. Stick to common language.
Naming your campaigns
For campaigns, you should include the type of audience the campaign is targeting and what the campaign objective is. The vital aspects of your audience will vary based on your business. If you sell internationally, you may want to include the country the campaign is targeting. Or if you have multiple industries you sell to, specifying the industry in your campaign name is a good idea.
Naming your ad sets
Since ad sets are mostly focused on managing your audiences, the specifics of the audience that each ad set is targeting is the most important thing to include in the name. Focus on the audience characteristics that are most different from the other ad sets. If all or most of your ad sets target a certain age group, it’s not particularly valuable for identifying ad sets.
Naming your ads
Ad names get quirky fast. There are a lot of things you can change and it’s tempting to name an ad after its video or headline. But that video or headline name probably makes no sense to someone who’s never seen those ads before.
Try to give ads descriptive names that state the ad’s purpose. If you have two ads created for an A/B test, specify they’re for an A/B test and what variable you’re testing.
Also include the date that you started running the ad in the name. The longer you run an ad, the more likely it is people will see it multiple times. This causes ad creative fatigue, where your ad is being shown to people who have already seen it and expressed disinterest. Putting the date in the name gives you an idea of how stale the creative is.
Facebook also gives each ad a relevance score. This is Facebook’s evaluation of whether or not your audience will be interested in your ad. Relevancy is rated on a scale of 1-10. A high relevance score indicates that the ad creative is fresh and people will show interest in it. A low relevance score means it’s time to rotate out the ad creative.
Naming your ads well should make it easier for someone to see the purpose of each ad and manage it accordingly without having to read the data. If you follow a good naming convention for your campaigns, ad sets, and ads, it will organically create good organization.
If you’ve already got a bit of a mess on your hands,, don’t panic, you can always change the names in your ads manager and edit the details of any campaign, ad set, or ad after you’ve created it.
Next we’ll take a quick look at how each level of the Facebook advertising hierarchy should be organized in your ads manager.
Organizing your ad campaigns
While it’s possible to build your Facebook funnel using just three campaigns, it isn’t an ideal campaign setup. The main reason for creating additional campaigns is for analytics and performance measurement.
Facebook prompts you to create good organization when you create your campaigns. The first thing you specify when creating a campaign is the objective. You should create a separate campaign for each campaign objective, even if both objectives are in the same stage of the funnel.
So even though video views and engagement are both consideration objectives, you want separate campaigns for those. Following our naming convention, state the objective of each campaign in the name.
Creating separate campaigns for different geographical audiences is also a good practice. Even though you specify the country in the audience selection when you create your ad sets, it’s best to create a separate campaign for each country or region you’re marketing to.
Lastly, you should separate your interest based campaigns from your remarketing campaigns. A campaign that’s targeting people who have never engaged with your brand before should be separate from a campaign that targets people who have already seen or clicked on an ad.
The reason you want to separate your campaigns like this is for more granular analytics tracking and better data visibility. All of the key variables — campaign objective, geographic location, and previous brand exposure — have very different performance factors. It’s important to create a separate data set for each one in order to better optimize your campaign performance.
Organizing your ad sets
The primary difference between ad sets is their audience. You should create audiences and organize your ad sets so you can put like-minded audiences together. This will help you analyze your best-performing audiences and create better lookalike audiences later on.
Organizing your ads
Your ads should be organized by format. Even though you can add multiple ad formats to a single ad set or campaign, it’s best to create a separate ad set for each of your formats. That way it’s easier to analyze how your audiences respond to certain ad formats in addition to analyzing how each ad performs individually.
And with that, we finish our tour of the Facebook Ads Manager. Hopefully we’ve helped you pick up some good housekeeping habits so you’ll be able to make the most of Facebook’s most advanced tools.
In coming chapters we’ll go much deeper into ad specs, performance metrics, and best practices for Facebook video advertising.
But for now you’ve got a good foundation for nosing around. You can even try your hand at creating a few campaigns and setting up your funnel to get a good feel for it. Before you send your campaigns and ads live, though, we need to introduce you to an important piece of the puzzle: the Facebook pixel.
In [chapter four] we’ll look at installing the Facebook pixel and using it to track conversions and customer engagement once they’ve clicked through on your ads.
Campaigns, ads, and sets. These are the three levels of your Ads Manager. Consider all three levels when you plan a video ad.
Stay alert. Using the Ads Manager is simple, but there are lots of gotchas, like steering clear of the placement Audience Network.
Keep it tidy. It might seem trivial, but a well-organized Ads Manager will save everyone time in the future. Be fastidious from the start.