13 Steps to Your First Facebook Advertising Campaign

Stephanie Winans
Stephanie Winans Social Media Specialist, Stephanie Winans Digital

Posted on June 17th 2014

13 Steps to Your First Facebook Advertising Campaign

facebook ad campaign

The truth is, whether the question about Facebook advertising is asked directly or it's the answer to another question, I often find myself explaining the basics of Facebook Ads.

If you’ve wondered about how to set up a Facebook Ads campaign, here are 13 steps to getting started:

1. Know why you're doing it. Because "your biggest competitor is doing it” is not an answer. Whether its increasing website traffic, driving ratings, adding VIP members, generating brand awareness in the market or improving social engagement, you should have a concrete goal in mind for what you’re trying to achieve.


2. Define your KPIs. A KPI (key performance indicator) is how you will define the success of your campaign. Sometimes KPIs are obvious (for example, if your goal is to increase Facebook likes then your KPI is the number of likes your page receives during the campaign), but sometimes they aren’t so cut and dry. It’s important that your whole team be on the same page in the early planning stages so your expectations are clear and you know what “successful campaign” really means.

3. Make sure Facebook is the best choice. Facebook is often the first social advertising platform used, but it’s not the only digital advertising option out there. Once you’ve defined your goals and KPIs, you can consider other platforms before settling on Facebook. For example, if your goal is to drive traffic to website content you could consider a content distribution advertising platform like Taboola or Outbrain. If your goal is to generate brand awareness in the market, you could consider a geo-targeted display ad campaign.  

4. Determine your budget. Advertising doesn’t come free. (Just ask your Sales department!)

5. Set goals. No, really. Goals ALWAYS make you work harder. Whether you say them aloud or keep them in your head, give yourself reasonable benchmarks to strive for. Personally, I prefer post-it notes on my desk so I have visual accountability reminders.

6. Do your homework. Spend some time scrolling through your own newsfeed and notice the ads you’re being served. Which ones seem effective?  

7. Develop your creative. You’ll need to develop different copy for the newsfeed and the right column because the character count is different, and you’ll need multiple versions for each. Think about your call to action. What do you want the user to do?  And don’t slack off when it comes to the images! An attention-grabbing visual for your ad can make or break it.  

8. Define your audience. Part of this is easy; you already have your target demographic defined. But depending on your goals you may be targeting people who already like your page or people who don’t. Additionally, you may want to target people who like your competitors’ Facebook pages or who have specific interests relevant to this campaign. If you’re targeting more than one demographic, set up two different Ad Sets in Facebook Ads with the same creative but with a different audience. You’ll be able to measure how well your campaign is converting with each.


9. Sleep on it. No matter how good of a job you do, you can always improve when you leave it and come back to it. If you’re on a deadline and you can’t sleep on it, walk away from it for thirty minutes and review it with a clear head. Or ask a friend of co-worker with social advertising experience to take a look with fresh eyes.

10.  Pull the trigger. Input your ad copy and visuals with the audience targeting you’ve defined. Start with multiple ads in each Ad Set. Just like everything else in marketing, A/B testing is key.

11. Walk away for half a day. While it can be really exciting to watch your campaign when it’s first launched, it can also be frustrating as it takes time to achieve results. Plus, you don’t want to make any rash changes to your campaign before you can really tell if it’s working.

12. Babysit. Even if your campaign is performing well, don’t forget that the Internet is the Wild, Wild West and things can change quickly. Check your campaign twice a day and make optimizations to your ads and audience targeting until you reach the goals you’ve set.

13. Remember my golden rule. “You can always do better.” Keep optimizing your campaign until you plateau. For example, if you’re trying to drive entries to a contest or sweepstakes, keep adding variations of copy and images to lower your cost per acquisition until the cost plateaus no matter what you try. While I use this mantra to push my myself into milking advertising campaigns for everything I can get, it’s a great rule to live by in all of your professional endeavors.

Photo Credit: First Facebook Ad Campaign/shutterstock

Stephanie Winans

Stephanie Winans

Social Media Specialist, Stephanie Winans Digital

Stephanie Winans specializes in social media strategy and content curation for small businesses, startups, radio, and artists. With a background in Marketing and Psychology and hands-on social media management experience, her focus is on helping brands use digital platforms to achieve business and marketing goals.

Follow her on Twitter @StephanieWinans or check out her blog at stephaniewinans.com.

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