Facebook Ads

How to Create Facebook Ads

First, if you don’t already have a page, create one here. (Sidenote: in addition to paying to run ads on Facebook, there are a lot of ways you can use your Facebook page for free to:  increase your brand awareness and market your business.)

Then, log on to your page.

Choose which tool to use

There are two different tools for setting up ads in Facebook. There’s the easier-to-use version that comes up when you choose “Boost a Post” or if you click on “Promote” on your left hand sidebar. It looks like the picture below. I’ll call that the “Promote” tool.


That tool is fine. But it doesn’t give you as many options for ad types (e.g. it doesn’t have carousel), and it doesn’t let you target nearly as much. It requires that your ad have a possible audience of 36,000 people or more. The Ads Manager tool, which is a little trickier to use, is worth it, because you can target to EXACTLY who you want to reach. For example, if I was advertising our coop preschool in Carnation, 36,000 people would be almost all the people in Carnation, WA, whether they have kids or not. But if I use Ads Manager, I can target to “people who live in Carnation, Duvall, Fall City and Preston who have a toddler or a preschooler”. A possible audience of about 3600 probably, all of who are potential clients for Carnation Coop.

So, try these directions to get you to the ads manager…

Log on to your Facebook page.

On the top right corner, you’ll see a downward pointing triangle. Click there and choose “Advertising on Facebook”. That takes you to facebook.com/business. (Note: you could also go directly to facebook.com/business.)

It may first ask you what your “marketing objective” is. If it doesn’t ask now, it will later… If so, choose traffic for getting more people to click on links to your website.

It will ask you to set up an ad account. From there it takes you into ad manager.

Creating An Ad

In Ads Manager, you may see a button called “create ad” on that overview page, if you’ve ever done an ad on your page. But if not, as in the example below,


then click on the words “all ads” in the left sidebar. On that screen, you’ll see a page that says + Create Ad.  OR, you’ll be in the Ad Manager, and will get a screen that looks like this. On this page, I choose “traffic”


It will ask you what kinds of results you want to get: choose ‘clicks to website’. Paste in the website address. (Make sure you choose the specific page you’ll want them to land on.)

From “Promote Page” that may take you to something that looks like this. On that page, I choose “get more website visitors.”


Depending on which way you clicked into the ad creation, the following elements may appear in a different order, but just go through these steps in whichever order to define your audience, design creative content for your ad, and set your budget and schedule.

Design Your Creative Content

At first, it will auto-populate some suggestions for content based on what it finds on the web page you’ve linked to. You’ll want to edit this to make it the best possible ad!


Format and Images

First, choose your format. You can do single image. Then choose your images. If you click on “browse library” it will offer you all the images you’ve previously posted to your page. Or you can choose to upload new images. (Here are the specifications for image format, size and resolution.)

You could do single image… But, it doesn’t cost any more to do a carousel or a slideshow with 3 – 10 images, and they capture more attention. (They may even get 10 times more clicks than single images.) I chose carousel format for the sample ad. Then I can upload or select an image #1. Then I click on the + sign to upload image #2, etc. Note, sometimes, like in the example below, it has cropped your image in a way that doesn’t display its best attributes, so you can always click on “edit image” to make adjustments to how it will display. (You can add filters, text, or stickers, or crop the image.)

choose image


Write your text. You’ve only got a really limited number of characters (see below) so you have to be really precise and use every one of those characters for maximum effect! Write  a clear, engaging overview of your program, with perhaps an invitation (join us, check us out, be a part, etc.).  FYI, Facebook post boosts also allow you to put in a lot more words, but research shows that about 125 characters is the sweet spot for engagement – more words means someone is less likely to click.)

Once you’ve done this, make sure you look at the previews for desktop feed and mobile devices (and if you plan to use them, right column display and Instagram) to make sure you’re happy with all versions of the ad. (90% of viewers will see the ad on mobile!) You may have to tinker around a lot to be happy with them all.


Carousel Ads: 125 characters of text (appears at top of ad), 40 characters for the headline for each photo in the carousel, and 25 characters to describe more.

Single Image: Text 125 characters, headline 25, link description 30. And, if you click the “show advanced options” you’ll see “news feed link description”, You definitely want to use this, as it gives you an opportunity to provide lots more info for those viewing it on a desktop. It’s 200 characters. I use it for a longer summary of the program.

In all formats, you may be able to type more characters than the limits – but they will display on some devices, but not others. On some devices, they are truncated and the viewer has to click the word “more” to see it all. Keep a close eye on the preview (both desktop and mobile version) to make sure it looks like you want it to.

Call to Action

You can choose a variety of labels for the box people click on to be taken to your website: “Learn More”, “Apply Now” and more.

Defining Your Audience

There’s lots of variables you can adjust here. Each changes the potential total audience for the ad – the total number of Facebook users who fit the description you’ve chosen. This is the best thing about online marketing vs. a print ad. If you put an ad in a newspaper or on the side of a bus, it’s going to be seen by a huge range of people, many of who would have no need for your services. (For example, if you’re a gynecologist, 50% of your audience doesn’t even have the relevant body parts.) Targeting allows you to show your ad only to people who are more likely to want that service, based on what Facebook algorithms have figured out about that person (e.g. an OB/Gyn could show the ad only to people who have identified as female on Facebook, are between 16 and 46 and have showed an interest in parenting related topics.)

So, for audience, click on “people you choose through targeting”, then choose edit.

For almost all the details on targeting, just read that section in my Facebook boosts. There used to be different options for targeting posts vs. ads, but they appear to be the same at this time.

One key difference: Facebook ads allow you to target people on “behaviors”, which post boosts do not. For example, you can target to people who purchase specific types of items online. In this example, I typed in kids products, and it offers a variety of suggestions. If I chose baby toys, then my ad will be targeted at households that buy baby toys. Is this necessarily a parent of a baby? No, but it may be an involved grandma who might tell her family member about this great parenting class she saw an ad for…


Placement / Other platforms

The “Promote your website” window will also ask whether you want to run the ad on Instagram or on Messenger.

In the ad manager, you’ll be given more options for placement. It will look like this.


Personally, I un-check everything except “Feeds” under Facebook.  And I admit that’s my bias… I’m a heavy Facebook user, but I only notice the things in my feed. I totally filter out all those right column ads, and don’t interact with the marketplace or Instant Articles. Learning how to use Messenger ads effectively is a whole other skill beyond regular Facebook ads. Here’s an overview of Messenger Ads.

Facebook says that ads that do well on Facebook feeds also do well on Instagram with very few adjustments. But, I personally don’t use Instagram so don’t feel that I know the platform well enough to offer advice. I did run one ad there, and got lots of “likes” on Instagram, but nobody clicked through to my blog post which was really the goal of that ad. Here is an overview of Instagram Ads

How Much Do You Want to Spend

Then choose budget. I never choose “keep the promotion active.” I don’t want to forget to ever turn it off. I choose when the promotion will end, and schedule a daily budget and choose a number of days. That will tell me the maximum I will spend. You may sometimes not spend that full budget if you have a limited targeted audience.


If you’re working in Ads Manager, you’ll see a few more options, like lifetime budget.


Bidding and Pricing

I “optimize for link clicks” and “get the most link clicks for your budget” and “run ads all the time” and delivery type standard.

What results will you get?

It’s really hard to predict that. It depends on what market you’re trying to reach, what your product is and so on. I also know that the results I got were a little different in August 2017 than August 2016 which were different from August 2015. But, here’s a sampling of what I’ve seen for results.

I’ve been running ads for our program: classes for parents and babies, parents and toddlers, and cooperative preschools. In 2017, I ran 18 ads, such as toddler classes in Bellevue, and coop preschool in Issaquah. For each audience, I targeted as closely as I could and had potential audience size ranging from 3000 – 8000 per ad. For every $10 I spent, I would reach anywhere from 300 – 800 impressions, have anywhere between 4 and 15 people click through (click through rates ranged from .6% – 3%.) Cost per click ranged from 70 cents to $2.65. So, as an approximation, for $10 in ad spending, I reach 550 people who might be looking for a program like mine, and 8 will click to our website to learn more.

I advertised one of my blogs, More Good Days (www.GoodDaysWithKids.com) to a national audience. Married women, age 24 – 44, who were interested in parenting, motherhood, fatherhood or pregnancy. That’s a potential audience of 30+ million. I knew I was only going to reach a minuscule fraction of those. But that was OK… I wanted to reach people all over, under the hope that maybe if someone in Minnesota liked it, she’d tell her friends, and so would someone in New Mexico and so on. I spent $10. Ad displayed to 2407 people, 39 clicked through, for a cost of 63 cents per click.

I did an ad for my blog where instead of setting the goal of what kind of results I wanted to “clicks to website” I chose “Promote your page.” (For some programs, this is a better option than clicks… a click just gets them to look at your website once and take action or not on that day. But if they like your Facebook page, then every time you post something, it could appear on their Facebook feed, so you get repeated exposures.) I targeted the ad nationwide to parents of preschoolers and elementary age kids, 24 – 48 years old who are ALSO interested in either science, STEM fields, engineering, or Lego. An audience of 5.7 million. For $35, it reached 3387 people, 315 liked the page, for 11 cents per page like.

Update from 8/28/18: I have been disappointed in my ad results for this month’s campaigns. Every August, I run $10 ads for 10 different coops. In the past, in 2 – 3 days, I would get on average 650 impressions, and 6 click throughs. This year, every few days I haven’t reached my budget so I extend for a few more days. I have some I’ve been running for 10 days to get the results I used to get in 2. I don’t know why they’re so slow to display when I’m running basically the same ads to the same targets that I’ve done for the past 5 Augusts.

Facebook Boosts

To learn how to boost a post, click here: https://janelledurham.com/online-marketing/facebook-boosts/

You can find the Facebook ad guide with all the most current information and processes at https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads


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