Facebook advertising is all the rage right now... And rightfully so!
As Gary Vaynerchuk so eloquently said "When you are David and you are playing against Goliath, you have to do David Tactics. And our little slingshot with a rock right now is Facebook ads."
You obviously understand the power of being able to reach 1.9+ billion Facebook users through the paid Facebook ads system...
The problem I see is all of the fake guru's out there selling "how to advertise on Facebook" courses that are terrible.
This post will cover one approach to running successful Facebook ads.
This is definitely not the only way to run successful ads, nor is this a definitive guide.
Also, before you start running Facebook traffic, you need a sales funnel up and running... If you don't have your sales funnel yet, click here for the free DIY sales funnel guide and get your funnel setup!
Part 1 - Interruption Marketing
Part 2 - Your Advertising Goals
Part 3 - Research
Part 4 - Tracking
Part 5 - Facebook Audiences
Part 6 - Choosing Your Campaign Type
Part 7 - Targeting & Budget
Part 8 - Your Advertisement
Part 9 - Key Performance Indicators
Part 10 - Scaling Your Campaigns
Part 11 - Testing
This post is the result of me documenting my processes that I've created and that is still evolving to this day.
Having spent over $100,000 in the Facebook ads platform since 2013, I'm not a big fish in this arena...
But, I'm also not a noob here and have been very profitable with my advertising investment on Facebook.
There are so many people trying to sell you courses and systems on how to run Facebook ads... I feel like there are too many sharks in the water.
I've bought into many Facebook advertising courses... I even know the creators of a few.
Most of them are rubbish which is why this guide is being created.
I'm tired of fake gurus selling you overpriced Facebook courses that simply don't deliver... Most are full of regurgitated opinions, not real-world experience.
With that said, the question remains...
Do you need a full on Facebook advertising course?
The honest answer... Yes.
The reason is that this post is a crash course and does not include any of the advanced 'customer retargeting' or messenger ads or video ad tactics that are CRUSHING IT right now!
This will get you started, but the Facebook Ad IQ Course will give you everything you need to become a true professional Facebook advertiser.
This is the course I'm currently studying and loving!
Ok, now that you know this is not meant to be a be-all end-all course, and have access to the course that is... let's move on.
There is one more thing you must be aware of before we get into the "how to advertise on Facebook" content...
Facebook is always changing the look and feel of their advertising interface.
What you see in the videos below will likely look different when you log into your Facebook ad account.
Let this be ok...
Because I don't have the time or desire to update each video after every change. It would be an endless uphill battle!
With that said, the core concepts... The main ideas and functionality are still the same, today.
Sometimes Facebook moves things, sometimes they rename things...
But the core process for running ads on Facebook is still the same.
So, be willing to adapt and persevere on your end!
Facebook advertising is a form of interruption advertising.
This means that users are browsing their newsfeed when your ad appears.
The end user is looking at pictures, videos, and updates from their friends and family...
They are not actively searching for you, your product or your services.
Interruption marketing works wonders for some products and services... But not as well for others.
If you are a 24/7 emergency plumber in Reno, Nevada... Interruption marketing may not be for you.
Your best customers may wake up to a flooded bathroom and they will go to Google to search for a plumber.
They will not go to Facebook and scroll their newsfeed hoping an ad for a plumber shows up.
Does that make sense?
If you invented a new golf accessory that helps golfers hit the ball straighter and longer... Interruption can work wonders.
Golfers are passionate, they spend money on their hobby and are easy to target! Opportunity abounds on Facebook!
Your first goal is to figure out if Facebook is even the best option for you and your business.
Just because everyone is touting Facebook as the best deal on traffic, it may not be the best fit for your business!
The second big idea here are the types of ads you can run on Facebook.
They have some advertising options that are terrible investments... This video covers the three types of Facebook ads and which one you want to focus on.
Before launching into the Facebook advertising platform, you need to have clear goals.
There are many opinions about the 'best' goals... If you ask 10 advertisers what is best you could get 10 different answers.
When you start running campaigns you will want to test the different campaign types to be sure.
Every niche is different, every product is different and what works for one may or may not work for another.
With that said, Facebook wants to give you the results you desire!
For me, when I'm spending money on advertising, I want to see a Return On Investment (ROI) fast!
This means I have two main goals with my Facebook advertising...
#1 - Leads
#2 - Customers
In Facebook's advertising system both of these are 'Conversions.'
So I run mainly conversion focused campaigns.
For businesses that want more leads and more customers, I recommend conversion goals.
Now, there is a clear and powerful argument for 'engagement' as a goal for some businesses.
If brand exposure is a priority or if your product has a 'viral marketing' nature... Engagement based campaigns can get your ad to go viral, faster.
My problem with engagement goals is that it becomes more difficult to calculate your ROI. Not impossible... And we will cover this in-depth later.
One friend of mine has found that engagement wins over conversions for his T-shirt sales.
Advertisements for new movies are another example where engagement is the goal.
They want people to watch the trailer, like and share the post as they get excited about the movie!
We will talk about how to test which goal is best for your business, later.
The general rule of thumb is that Facebook has a campaign type that correlates to your goals.
So, establishing your advertising goals now will help you choose the right campaign.
At this point, you are going to need to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Most people either skip the research phase or do a terrible and rushed job with research.
It is in the research phase that you will either find gold or go home empty handed.
I like to use a gold panning analogy here.
If you want to set out and find gold, the first thing you want to do is research where others have found gold before...
Then go look there!
Crazy simple, right?
You would also be wise to research a bit about geology and understanding how gold forms.
So you can identify the areas on the river that have a high likelihood of bearing gold.
Ok, enough of the gold panning analogy...
The first area of research is in your niche and who your best possible customer is.
If you already have a product, a business or are offering a service, you have chosen your niche.
If you have not chosen your niche, click here and read this post that goes into detail about how to choose the right niche for you.
Niche selection is so important because if you get in the wrong niche, it will feel like WORK!
If you choose a niche you love and are passionate about, it feels more like FUN...
I chased money in the wrong niches for years. I thought that following the money was my passion but it resulted in frustration.
I jumped from opportunity to opportunity... Never making progress.
It wasn't until I committed to a niche I love that things started to click... And, I gained the patience and perseverance needed.
Once you know your niche, you have to come up with your Customer Avatar.
Your customer avatar is a symbol that represents your perfect customer.
For our golf example, your customer avatar may be 'Charles' who is a 57-year-old executive for a Fortune 5000 company. He earns $130,000 pear year and he plays golf at least once per week.
The goal is to bring your perfect customer to life so you have a clear picture of 'who' you are advertising to.
If you would like to view the videos that teach how to do this, you can play them in the playlist below.
The most powerful Facebook advertising research tool is their Audience Insights tool.
This video shows you how to find the 'interests' of your customer avatar.
In the above video, I show an 'affinity score' area that is no longer available.
An example of how Facebook is always changing things!
This video below explains what to do now that the affinity score is gone.
To get the most out of your Facebook advertising efforts you need to be able to track user behavior on your site.
Facebook has a tracking pixel that allows you to make this happen.
A tracking pixel is a small snippet of code that you add to every page on your website.
This snippet of code loads on every page view and sends Facebook data about that user session.
If the visitor is also a Facebook user, you are able to show this user specific ads when they return to Facebook.
If this user clicked through your ad, the tracking pixel lets Facebook know if they became a customer... Or a lead.
The Facebook tracking pixel is not optional. You must have this in place to become successful with Facebook advertising.
Below you will find 3 videos that go into detail about how to setup the Facebook tracking pixel on your site...
This first video is the most recent configuration I'm using for tracking my Facebook ad performance.
The next two videos are still relevant, but are not my preferred method to setup Facebook tracking because they use two pixels. The second is event tracking whereas above we use the custom conversions to track the events.
The below videos show how to setup the Facebook tracking pixels on Clickfunnels, also... So if you are on Clickfunnels and want to know where to put the code, the bottom videos show how.
This video explains more about what the pixel is and where to get it:
This video below goes into how to put the pixel on your site:
I recommend you get your pixel installed as soon as possible.
The data that your Facebook tracking pixel accumulates can be used for months in the future...
So it is best to get this in place immediately.
Facebook gives you many options when it comes to creating and targeting audiences.
From your website visitors to your email subscribers...
From people who engage with your fanpage posts to people who like your competitors...
You can even create audiences that 'look like' your best customers...
This ability to create, include and exclude audiences is part of what makes Facebook ads work so well.
The first place to focus is creating custom audiences based on your email list and customer list.
This video shows you how:
If you do have these lists, get them set up now so you can exclude your current customers and leads from your ads.
You don't want to pay to display ads to your customers when they have already purchased, right?
Of course not... So you can exclude this audience from your ad set when you create it later!
After you have uploaded your customer and leads list to create a custom audience... The next step is to create a lookalike audience for each.
This video shows you how to create a lookalike audience:
When you setup a lookalike audience, Facebook will go find the most similar other Facebook users for you.
As an example: if you have a list of 1000 customers who bought your golf accessory in the USA... Facebook can create a new audience of 2 million active users who are most like your customers.
Facebook can create a new audience of 2 million active users who are most like your customers.
Targeting these look-alike audiences in Facebook is a great way to find new customers!
Finally, you can create retargeting audiences in Facebook for visitors on your website.
This can be as simple as creating an audience for every visitor to your website.
Or, you can get more complex and target visitors who reach certain pages but don't reach other pages on your site.
This video explains how to create these kinds of audiences based on your tracking pixel data.
These are the most common ones to help you get the full power of the Facebook advertising system, fast!
One custom audience I have not made a video of yet, but am using more now is an engagement audience.
I have created a custom audience of people who have engaged with my posts on my Fanpage... And then I exclude this audience from my ad.
This is so users who comment or like on my ad, don't keep seeing that ad!
I'll put a video up about this custom audience type when I have time to create and publish it.
The campaign type you choose for your ad should match the goal you established in part 2.
If your main goal is conversions, whether it be leads or customers... Choose a conversion based goal.
If your goal is to get users to click through and read a press release or other piece of content, use a traffic campaign.
If you want to help a video go viral, then use an engagement based campaign.
Here is a video where I cover the options in greater detail for you:
I usually focus the conversion goal on leads... And I do this through the custom conversions functionality.
There is some controversy in this area... Some teachers are saying you need to start with engagements and move to conversions.
The theory here is you need to season the pixel or mature the pixel first. Then, you run a conversion campaign.
This is not true.
When you create a new ad campaign, Facebook's machine learning system resets.
So all the data you generate in an engagement campaign is 'lost' when you set up your new campaign and ad set.
Now, to go beyond me simply telling you how it is... I want to link you to a resource where the engineers who created this system explain it...
Watch that video and at around 20 minutes in they get deep into what I'm explaining here.
About 25 minutes in, Facebook's engineer states past data doesn't influence future results.
I recommend you watch that full video because it has great information in it...
But this debunks the theory that some of the 'fake gurus' are spreading...
This proves that running an engagement campaign will not help your future campaigns.
If you want Facebook's machine learning to optimize your ad campaigns for you... Run a conversion based campaign from the start!
...Even if you have zero pixel or conversion data.
This video shows you how to setup a campaign in Facebook's Power Editor...
Now, you may have noticed that the ad manager and the power editor look different today than it does in the videos.
As I mentioned earlier, Facebook is always changing things...
Check out this video to help you understand more about how to deal with these changes:
The ad set level in Facebook is like the engine room on a cruise ship.
This is the area that powers your entire Facebook advertising campaign.
One note as you begin working in the ad set...
After you publish your ad and it is live, you do not want to change the ad set in any way.
Any changes to the ad set will cause the ad set and all ads under it to re-enter the Facebook auction.
This means two things. First, you will reset all the machine learning, losing all conversion optimization.
Second, your ad set will be re-evaluated against other advertisers targeting this audience.
This means you can get a much higher cost per click, per display and cost per conversion.
So, consider this your warning... Don't 'fiddle' with your ad set once you launch your campaign!
Ok, let's get into the fun stuff!
Remember your list of 30 interests you researched earlier?
This is where those go... And there are two schools of thought about how to set this up.
Option #1 is to put all 30 in one ad set and let Facebook's machine learning choose the best prospects for you.
This video shows you how to setup your ad sets in this way:
With option #2, you set each ad set at $5 per day for testing.
This video explains this option in greater detail:
This video shows how:
If you have the time to split out each interest and a desire to know which interests perform better, option #2 is for you.
If you want to get your ads up and running fast and don't have much time, option #1 is for you.
The Facebook course I study and follow recommends that every interest gets an ad set.
Now, there is an advanced targeting technique that can help some businesses when more than one interest is required.
You are able to use an 'and' identifier that will create an audience based on the overlap of 2 or more interests.
For example, if you were selling a high end shaving cream you may want to target people who like 'Dollar Shave Club' and 'Axe Body Spray'
This tool allows you to only display your ads to people who like both.
The copy on your advertisement may be the most important component of a successful Facebook campaign.
The targeting, or 'who' you show your ad to is in competition for that "most important" spot.
Honestly, you must have both components dialed in right to have a successful ad campaign.
The right advertisement won't work on the wrong audience.
For example, if your golf accessory ad shows only to people who like tennis and not golf... It will be a flop.
But, if you get the targeting right and have a terrible ad that does not compel your audience to take action.... It will be a flop.
You also must be sure your ads are within Facebooks adverising policies... This is not optional.
If you create ads for prohibited topics or using prohibited languaging, your acccount can get shut down with no warning.
Take the time to read Facebook's advertising policies here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/
Teaching you the "in's and outs" of copy-writing is beyond the scope of this post.
But, I do have a few tools and references to help you learn to write compelling ads that work on Facebook, fast!
First, let's study the ads that have worked wonders for some of the world's marketing greats.
This helps with your relevance score which is Facebook's rating of how 'good' your ad is. It also helps get users excited about your offer before they leave Facebook.
You may be thinking... "But Miles, my niche is different than what you showed."
Very true. I get it. My business is different too...
Here is a video that covers how to spy on your competitors' advertisements to find even more ads to model.
Now, inside the power editor, the ad creation process is step 3... Step 1 is the campaign and step 2 is the ad set level, which we covered.
This video below walks you through all 3 steps to create a campaign, ad set, and ad.
If you already followed along in the above videos and have a campaign and ad set running... Jump to 13 minutes in and you will go straight to where the ad creation takes place.
This video shows you how to setup a split test at the ad level:
Once you launch your ads, you need to understand how to analyze the results of the ad.
For example, how do you know if an ad set is performing well or not?
How do you know when to turn off an ad set or when to scale an ad set?
How do you know what your break-even point is on your ads, or when you reach profitability?
These are the most important questions and the answer lies in knowing your numbers.
These numbers are your Key Performance Indicators, or 'KPIs'
Now, the math you need to figure out your KPIs is incredibly simple...
I'm talking 2nd-grade math, here!
This video explains the two numbers you must know and watch, every day:
You should have a funnel that has back-end offerings, too.
These back-end offers are not calculated in ROI of your ad spend, which means they are pure profit for you.
You will want to calculate this value also, which is the lifetime value of your customer.
At this phase, you are running ads on Facebook and you are profitable, or break-even.
Your KPIs show which ad sets are driving new customers and are generating profit.
You now want to scale these campaigns to spend more and bring more customers.
The challenge is that Facebook can give you different results when you increase your budget too fast.
There are two main methods for scaling your ads.
Duplicating out your ad sets...
Or, increasing your budget.
This video covers both approaches and gives you the parameters for how to execute each.
If you are running $5 ad sets, you can increase by $5 per day to scale.
Continue to watch your KPIs close and scale back any increases that push you outside of your KPIs.
For most businesses, running retargeting ads on Facebook is the best way to get a fast boost in the number of leads and customers from the least amount of ad spend...
This is the 'low hanging fruit' of Facebook advertising, for sure.
This video shows you exactly how to run retargeting ads on Facebook
If you make several changes in one day, you can over-optimize your ad set and cause your KPIs to go out of whack.
Habituate the time of day you will check your ads and make any changes to your budget...
Then show up every day at that time and make any necessary changes and get out of the ads manager until the next day.
It is so addictive to keep hitting refresh on your ads manager to check the results, but this is not productive.
You need to allow Facebook's machine learning time to find the right audience for your ads!
I have covered split testing in several areas already... But testing deserves its own section.
First of all, you should always be testing at least one item in your ad campaign and one item on your funnel.
For example, you may be testing different interests at the ad set level in Facebook.
In this situation, you may also want to be testing the headline on your landing page, too.
Optimizing your funnel for conversions is an important step towards success... And one that was not covered here.
With that said, you want to limit your testing to only one item at a time on Facebook and on your funnel.
This is so you have only one variable in each system allowing you to see what changes create results.
For testing, you can also test different traffic types against eachother.
For example, when I run Facebook PPC ads to my website traffic that comes from Google, I get leads for 40% cheaper.
If you are having trouble getting leads or customers within KPIs, test a two-step ad campaign:
Your ads should be receiving at least a 3% click-through rate and should have a relevance score of at least 7.
If you aren't hitting those numbers, your ad copy needs work!
If your landing page is an opt in page, you should be experiencing at least a 25% conversion rate.
If you aren't converting 1 in 4 visitors to a lead, your landing page needs work.
Your sales page should be converting at least 2% of visitors into customers...
If you aren't hitting that number, you need to fix your sales copy or video sales letter.
The goal in testing is to identify the 'leakage' in your funnel and campaign and then run tests to fix that issue.
Then move on to the next most problematic area... And do the same.
This is how you continue to optimize your website, your funnel and your ads to generate better ROI over time...
Wow! You made it to the end of this post... I'm impressed!
As a BONUS for you since you made it this far...
And if you loved the content and want more from me about Facebook advertising...
Here is a presentation I gave at a conference about how to fast track your success with Facebook Pay Per Click marketing.
Facebook advertising has changed my business for the better and I hope that this post helps you.
The goal was to give you a comprehensive resource for free that can get you going with your Facebook ads.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave me a comment below.
Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.