Looking for a beginners guide to Facebook Advertising? You’re in the perfect place. Here’s what we’ll cover: 

1.) What are Facebook Ads?
2.) Benefits of using Facebook Advertising for your small business
3.) How to use Facebook Ads and how to set up a Facebook Ads campaign
4.) What you need to get started
5.) Facebook ad policies and no-go's.  

Did you know that Facebook has an advertising audience of 2.14 billion?‍

1.) What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads For Small Business GIF By CampaignHero

Facebook Ads is one of the most popular social advertising solutions provided to businesses worldwide, with over 2 billion people using its business tools every day. The Facebook spectrum is broad and has grown since its launch in 2004, now under the Facebook umbrella is Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, which is good to know as a lot of the advertising features can be linked onto different platform placements. 

2.) Benefits of using Facebook Advertising for your small business

Facebook acts as a digital shopfront for your business, it enables your brand to connect at a more personal level with your customers. Not only can you take advantage of their advertising platform, but you are also able to access other tools to help build your brand presence online including analytics, adding your own eCommerce catalogue, messaging, appointment bookings, event hosting and more.

But what are the actual benefits of advertising on Facebook?

  • Reaching new customers within your target audience. 
  • Remarket to previous customers or lost leads. 
  • Create audiences from custom lists, as well as create interest and list based look-alikes.
  • Choosing objectives that matters most to your business goals e.g. increasing website traffic, increasing brand awareness, sales etc. 

3.) How to use Facebook Ads and how to set up a Facebook Advertising Campaign

What should your campaign structure look like? 

So before we get started on the step-by-step walkthrough, it’s important that you understand the structure of a campaign according to Facebooks’ best practice guides. 

Within one campaign you should have at least 2-3 ad sets with 5 ad copies (your visuals) in each.

Facebook Ads Campaign Structure Best Practice

Campaign level

Step 1: Click create, and choose your campaign objective 

The first step is one of the most important, making sure you are selecting the correct objective for your campaign.

Think about what your business goals are, what would you like to achieve? Ensure you are taking into consideration the marketing funnel: brand awareness, consideration, intent and purchase to ensure you set up your campaign accordingly.

Facebook Ads manager dashboard, choosing your objective

Still stuck on which objective is right for you? 

Have your brand recognised online-> brand awareness objective.

Promote your business locally -> reach objective.

Get additional engagement to an existing post on your Facebook profile -> boost a post.

More views on your video -> video views objective.

Increase Facebook page likes -> select engagement, and page likes objective.

Get messages from new customers -> messages objective.

Increase app installs or app engagement -> app installs objective.

Website visitors -> traffic objective.

Gather data from your audience -> lead generation objective.

Increase the number of actions taken on your website e.g. purchase, or a newsletter subscriber-> conversions objective.

Drive more online/eCommerce purchases -> catalogue sales/store traffic objective.

Step 2: A/B testing and campaign budget optimisation
Facebook Ads manager dashboard creating a new campaign

A\B testing

If you’re new to Facebook Advertising and aren’t sure which audience, placement or creative works best for you, we recommend you give a/b testing a go. The platform will test two different variables against each other whilst sharing the same budget.

  • A/B = is a randomised experiment by creating two different variations e.g. 2 CTA buttons and 1 audience tested. Once Facebook has found the winning ad set, you will be notified by email so you can begin optimising its components in a new campaign. 
  • The most reliable split tests usually are a 4-day duration, however, you can choose between 1-30 days. 
  • You can choose to test the creative, audience or placement. 
  • After the winning ad set is highlighted to you, a confidence level will be provided (this is the number that represents how likely you would get the same results again) - usually a number of 75%+ is very confident. This will enable you to create a new ad set or create a new campaign from your learnings.

If you have a low confidence score, you can test the split campaign again with a longer schedule or a higher budget, this will enable Facebook to gather more information about each variables performance.  

Campaign budget optimisation (CBO)

Campaign budget optimisation will distribute your budget across ad sets to get more results depending on your delivery optimisation choices and bid strategy, don’t worry you can still control your budget for each ad set.

Ad Set Level

Step 3: Objective settings, dynamic creative and offers 
Facebook Ads manager dashboard looking at optimisation, dynamic creative and offer

Objective settings

In some objective selections there are further set-up variables that can be applied, for example in the campaign above we have selected the ‘traffic’ objective, which enables us to choose where we want to direct the traffic to, this can be a website, a business WhatsApp number, Facebook Messenger or an app. 

Dynamic creative option

Similar to Google’s Responsive Search Ads, you can provide Facebook with creative elements such as images, headlines and descriptions in which Facebook will automatically generate combinations optimised for your audience. 

Offers option

If your business has an online or offline offer that you want to advertise you can use this option to promote it to your target audience. 

We sourced this from snippet from Facebook:

When people see your offer in their News Feed on Facebook, they can save it, like it or comment on it. When someone saves your offer, it'll appear in their Offers bookmark to use later. A person who saves your offer will be reminded about it on Facebook up to three times, depending on their personal notification preferences.

  • Online offer ads: People who save your offer will get Facebook notifications reminding them to use it when they switch devices (e.g. from a phone to a computer) and again before the offer expires.
  • In-store offer ads: People can bring the offer on a phone to your physical shop and will be reminded on Facebook about your offer before it expires. They'll also get an email with the offer details if they'd like to print it out. If their phone has location sharing turned on, they'll get a reminder to use your offer when they're nearby.

Step 4: Bidding, Budget and Audiences
Facebook Ads manager dashboard, bidding, budget and audience

Budget and schedule

Option 1: Daily budget 

Daily budget is the maximum you want to spend on your ad set each day, however, there is a chance that Facebook spend an extra 25% of your budget to allow flexibility and efficiency for your ad. 

Option 2: Lifetime budget

With a lifetime budget, Facebook will try to spend your budget evenly within the schedule you set, whether it be two days or a month.

To be able to schedule your ads at certain times of the day rather than all the time, the lifetime budget would need to be enabled.

You can also set a schedule to run your campaign but you can also let it run indefinitely. 

Bidding Strategy

The bid strategy is very much dependent on what objective you have selected, but the usual options are:


Option 1: Lowest Cost - get more results for your budget. 

Option 2: Cost Cap - control your costs whilst getting the highest volume of results for your budget.

Option 3: Target Cost - get a consistent cost per result.

Option 4: Bid Cap - control your bid in the Facebook auction.

Option 5: Minimum ROAS (return on advertising spend) - control your ROAS whilst getting the highest purchase value for your budget. 

If you’re working with a small budget we recommend using a bid or cost cap, but if you have a little more flexibility and want to get as many results as you can with your budget, use lowest cost bidding. 


Option 1: Interest Audiences 

Interest based audiences are the most commonly used within Facebook advertising, and work best for small businesses finding their feet. With interest based targeting you can tailor your audience by demographics, job titles, behaviours and interests, as well as exclude and narrow it down further e.g. excluding people who already like your Facebook page, or have already visited your website in the last 30 days etc.

Option 2: Custom Audiences 

Custom audiences are where it gets a little more granular, and when done properly, can be the most effective audiences used in a Facebook Ad due to concentrating on retargeting. You can use sources such as customer lists, website or app traffic, or engagement on Facebook, to create Custom Audiences of people who already know your business.

Off the back of your custom audiences, you can also create a lookalike audience that will find people who are similar to your current audience (bear in mind this can take 6-12 hours to fully process and populate).

Once you have set up your targeting you will be able to see the dial on the right-hand column, this will give you a better insight into how many people you are estimated to reach as well as your estimated daily results. Notice that you want to aim to have your dial sitting in the green section as ‘defined’ if your audience is too ‘narrow’ or ‘broad’ you may have to refine your targeting or add extra options in order to get it to green. Estimates of reach are based on past campaigns run by other business pages as well as other market information so is a very accurate tool to base your forecast off, to best optimise your estimates either increase your audience or budget.

Step 5: Ad placements and optimisation
Facebook ads manager dashboard, ad placements and optimisation delivery


Onto the placement section is where you can decide where you want your ads to appear, Facebook recommends selecting ‘automatic placements’ so its system can find the best places for your ad, but you can also choose where you want them to appear manually 

Facebook Placements

Instagram Placements

Audience Network Placements

Messenger Placements


Choose the event you want to optimise for in your ad set. Your selection affects who sees your ads to get you the desired outcome. For example, if you choose to optimise for link clicks, we'll show your ad to the people who are most likely to click your link.

Ad Level

Step 6: Your creative

Coming out of the ad-set level and onto the ‘ad level’ Facebook will ask you to select your business page and Instagram (do bear in mind you can appear on an Instagram placement without having an IG business account).

Facebook ads manager dashboard creative

There are three elements to the creative side of your ad, the visual, text and CTA (call-to-action). 

Firstly select the format of your ad, some of the options below are not available for certain objectives, however, do experiment with different types to see which resonates best with your audience:

  1. Image. 
  2. Video.
  3. Slideshow- this is the best solution if you don't have the resources to create a video, Facebook provides different templates to use to customize a slideshow of your images. 
  4. Collection - this is the perfect selection for eCommerce to showcase all your different products including both images and videos. 
  5. Carousel - where you are able to interact and swipe to see different images or videos.
  6. Instant Experience (mobile only) - being the most interactive ad format available, this is where you can add a pop-up to the user, enabling them to see images, videos, assets and text with more information. 

Top tips for a great creative 

  1. Use both images and videos.
  2. Use little to no text on your image/video.
  3. Think mobile-first - 91% use their mobile phone for social media, so make sure that you are optimising your creative for a smaller screen. 
  4. Capture viewers quickly either with brighter colours, contrasting colours or eye-catching content.
  5. Feature your message early, think about your goals and what you want to achieve. 


The last step is to make sure you have tracking turned on, this process is quite detailed if you haven't set-up your pixel and events yet, but more information can be found at either Offline Tracking or Facebook Pixel help pages.


Step 6: Monitoring and editing your campaign

You can always edit or delete your campaigns at any point (do note that once you delete a campaign you can't restore it). To monitor your campaign you can customise columns and export your data into reports. Once you have published your campaign, we recommend you don't make any changes or edits to it for at least 10-14 days to allow it to exit the learning phase.

4.) What you need to get started

Step 1: Create a Facebook business profile and ads account if you haven’t already.

Step 2: Set-up a business manager account.

Step 3:  Link your Facebook profile and ads account to the business manager.

Step 4: Implement a Facebook pixel to your website and set up some conversion events (don’t worry they’ll show you how).

Step 5: Head over to your settings and enter your billing information.

Step 6: Go to Ads Manager and click ‘create’ to get started creating a Facebook campaign.

5.) Facebook Ad policies and no-go's

Ads can be disapproved if it doesn’t meet the Facebook advertising policies (you will be notified if they haven’t been approved), you will have to go back into the campaign/ad to edit then re-submit for review.

Your ad will be disapproved if: 

  • Your headline or body text includes personal characteristics such as names, race, ethnicity, sexual or financial status. 
  • Your headline includes vulgar language or deceptive claims such as ‘lose weight with our programme in one week!’ 
  • Your ad doesn’t match your product or service. 
  • The brand assets don’t belong to you, for example, using other company logos, trademarks, names or domains.
  • Use shock and scare images.
  • Use sexually suggestive imagery or language. 
  • Before and after images that are unrealistic, such as weight loss.
  • Misleading buttons on your visuals/creatives such as putting a play button on an image so viewers click to ‘play’ when in fact it takes the user to a website. 

We understand that Facebook advertising has a lot more layers that can be explored, and if you want to understand more about each component, then you can head over to our handy articles generated by our client success team. You can also sign-up to the CampaignHero app to reach out with any questions you have (or if you need assistance setting up your very first Facebook campaign as a small business). 


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