How to Create a Facebook Ad in 15 Minutes or Less

Woman setting up a Facebook campaign while making breakfast

Facebook ads are one of the best ways to grow your business quickly and easily. Compared to similar platforms like Adwords or Twitter, Facebook’s system is easy to use and can often produce the best results.

If you have been itching to try the hottest new ad platform but aren’t sure where to start, we can help. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to promote your business on Facebook.

There are tons of campaign and ad types as well as bidding and targeting methods. We could literally be here all day (and into the rest of the week) trying to explain them all.

Our goal today is to help you start a basic Facebook ad campaign. The campaign will promote your business and start driving traffic to your page and/or website. Once you have data from one campaign, you can try more advanced techniques.

The biggest issue that most first-time Facebook advertisers run into is an unrealistic idea of how the platform works. There are tons of stories online of how somebody spent x number of dollars on Facebook with no results.

We aren’t going to lie to you and say that doesn’t happen. Because it does.

However, the reason it happens isn’t because Facebook is a bad platform or “not right for their market.” Instead it comes down to a lack of clarity in terms of advertising goals.

Many “unsuccessful” advertisers also fail to take the time to structure their campaigns correctly and test different ad copy, bidding methods and targeting options.

If you start advertising on Facebook with clear goals and an idea of how the platform works, you will see results. You may not have the amazing, over-night business growth that some entrepreneurs talk about, but you will move the dial.

Identifying Your Goals

As I noted before, clearly identifying your goal is essential to success on Facebook. Many advertisers have trouble with this first step, which in turn makes everything else even more difficult.

Think about what you are hoping to gain from your ad budget and what counts as success.

Are you just getting started and want to promote your Facebook page in your service area? Then your goal should be Page Likes and success is getting more likes without spending a ton of money on each like.

Do you want to increase sales on your website? Then your goal is Traffic or Conversions and success is getting more sales while still making money.

The most important thing to realize is that any effective Facebook strategy takes time and involves many elements. If your goal deals with making more money for your business then you need to think about a number of things. Your focus should be on the ads, your website and landing page format, your offer, and your social media plan.

Facebook ads themselves can only do so much. Look at them as a way to increase eyeballs on your brand and/or products. Once you see them as a channel to increase reach, you will be able to use them more effectively. You can have the best Facebook ads in the world. But if your product sucks or users find your website difficult to navigate, then you will not be successful.

Deciding Your Level of Dedication

It sounds crazy but determining how much time and effort you are willing to put in is essential to starting your first ad campaign. In short, there are two ways to start advertising on Facebook.

There is a quick, easy way. And there is a more complex way that gives you way more control.

Method 1 – Promote Button on Your Facebook Page

Method 2 – Ads Manager/Power Editor (Guide Coming Soon)

There are no right or wrong answers to the question of how dedicated you are. Some people have the time to really dive in giving them the advantage of more control and granularity in their targeting and campaign goals.

Most Facebook ad guides just pick one method or imply an odd mix of the two leaving beginners confused. Many current Facebook Ad Guides are also out of date from the current system.

Method 1 – Promote Button

Method 1 is great because it is easy and you can create an ad in about 5 minutes.

This is a great option for a business that has some popular content on their page that they want to promote. An example would be an article you wrote that has several likes or shares.

It is also a great option if you just want to increase traffic to your website. Especially if you aren’t super worried about tracking specific sales that came from Facebook. The key is make sure your website is setup to convert that traffic into leads or conversions.

Let’s get started!

I. Find the Promote Button on Your Facebook Page

To start, simply go to your Facebook page and look for the promote button on your page. The easiest place to find the button is under the left-hand menu on your page.

If you have a specific post you hope to promote, then navigate to that post on your page and click the “Boost Post” button.

Image of the left-hand column of Facebook page with promote button.

Both buttons will take you through a similar process to setup your ads.

The main difference is that the “Promote” button allows you to choose what your objective is. The “Boost Post” button already has your objective set (show the post to as many people as possible in your audience).

Another difference is that your ad creative is already set when you boost a post. It is the post itself so the ad will just pull in the image, copy and link from that post.

II. Choosing an Objective

If you choose the Promote button, you will get to select your objective. Your objective determines where you want interested users to go when they click on your ad.

You have four options for this:

  1. Messenger
  2. Your Facebook Page
  3. Your Page Button (Shop Now, Call Now, Learn More etc)
  4. Your Website (any URL you specify)

Note that the links for 3 and 4 could be the same.

Campaign objective options for Facebook ads.

Decide which channel makes the most sense for you and your business.

If you don’t have a great website and your business offers a Free Consultation, then have users send a message to your page.

If you have great content on your page and want users to come learn more about your business, then option 2 may make sense.

If you are really working to drive leads or sales, then option 3 or 4 makes the most sense.

Option 4 is really best if you have a specific landing page that relates to this ad. For example, if the Shop Now button on your page goes to your homepage, you may want an ad for Fall dresses to go to the Fall dress category page.

III. Edit your Ad Image

Once you choose an objective, you will be guided through the next steps of the process.

Facebook automatically pulls in your website and profile picture for your ad to start with. To edit this just click the “Edit” button next to “Text and Images.”

If you are promoting your page, messenger or your button you won’t need to worry about adding in an URL. However, if you are promoting your website you will need to choose what URL you want to send traffic to.

From there, you can change the “Text” which appears above your image.

Want custom ad copy written for you by experts?

The key with ad copy is to make it concise and to offer a clear product or value to the user. You need something that makes people want to click on your ad.

Edit options for Facebook ad copy

Then upload an image or a video. You can also select an image from your photos on the page.

Once you choose your image or video you can add a “Headline” which appears below your creative.

Finally, you choose a “Call To Action.” Facebook has a ton of different options for this. Pick the one that matches your business offerings and your ad.

We generally find that stronger messages like “Shop Now” perform better than something like “Learn More.” However, you should pick the option that best matches the offer and copy within your ad.

IV. Determine Your Audience

Facebook select initial targeting for your ad based on your page and page category.

We recommend editing your audience to target the people and geographical area that makes sense for your business. Facebook allows you to save Audiences and then select them for different ad campaigns. If you haven’t created any ads yet, then you will not have any audiences saved.

To get started, either click the “Edit” button next to “People you choose through targeting.”

Or click the “Create New Audience” link below. By clicking the New Audience button, you will be able to name your audience to reuse it in the future.

Editing options for Facebook audience targeting.

Once you are editing your audience, there are a number of options to choose from. You can select things like Age, Gender, Location, and Detailed Targeting.

Detailed Targeting is really where you can start going down a rabbit hole. There are a ton of options and ways to target people.

The important thing is to create well-defined audiences with specific targeting. Then in the future, you can try other targeting ideas and compare them to your initial results.

We recommend thinking about your target customer and creating a profile for them.

For example, if you sell kids’ lunch boxes, think about who would buy them. Our target profile would be women from 30-45 who are parents of children between the ages of 5 and 12 with specific household incomes.

On Facebook, you can target specific things like Parents or Moms of kids of certain ages as well as income. Depending on your product you may also identify specific companies or brands your customers like. For example, if you sell a natural food, you may want to target people who like Whole Foods.

Consider who buys your product and all of the aspects of their life and interests. Targeting people who like pages that sell products related to your product is a great way to get started.

If your business is located in a small geographical market, then it can be a bit easier. You can just target people in a small area around your business with a specific age range.

There are two important rules to follow:

  1. Be honest with yourself about who you sell to and what your target customer looks like.

Don’t market to high schoolers if 90% of your revenue comes from people aged 30-40. You will waste money. Look at what type of customers you make the most money from and start there. You can always create new audiences in the future for markets or groups that you want to break into.

  1. Test multiple audiences.

You aren’t going to find your perfect audience on the first try. Nobody gets it perfect the first time or even the second. Try out some audiences and look at what works and doesn’t. When in doubt test and test again. Facebook’s targeting options change all the time so it is important to always try new things.

V. Check Your Audience Size

Once you have spent the time determining your perfect audience, check and see how big it actually is.

There is nothing worse than spending hours creating the perfect buyer profile only to find out that there are approximately 10 people like that. Facebook will tell you how large your potential audience is and whether is too specific or too broad.

Potential audience size for Facebook promotion.

Both ends of the spectrum can be dangerous for your advertising dollars.

The first means that there aren’t a ton of people on Facebook that match your criteria. In this case, Facebook may have trouble optimizing your ad spend because they just don’t have enough volume to do so.

That said there are times when you live in a small town and really only want to reach a few hundred people. If you know that your audience is as broad as you can make it, then go with it and see how it works.

Too broad of an audience can also be a problem.

The issue here is that there are so many people in your audience that Facebook isn’t sure who to show your ads to first. This is a situation where advertising dollars can easily be wasted.

If you have unlimited budget and want to increase brand awareness then go ahead and target everyone in the U.S. over the age of 18. But I doubt you have that kind of coin. The only people who might run that kind of campaign successfully are companies like Nike and Starbucks.

And I’m willing to bet their digital teams are not reading this article.

Having a broad audience means that you will probably waste money. You also may not target people who are actually interested in your product. That said the key to any campaign is testing. Sometimes a broad audience can still bring good results so feel free to try it out.

VI. Choose Whether to Run Your Ads on Instagram

In the more involved Method 2 option of creating a Facebook ad, you get a number of placement choices for your ads. These include things like Mobile Newsfeed, Right Hand Column, Audience Network etc.

In this method, you really only get one choice. Do you want to show your ads on Instagram or not?

Including Instagram as a placement does not cost any more money and all you have to do is check a box. It also often increases your audience size.

Checkbox to include Instagram as a ad placement.

We always recommend running ads on Instagram.

Ever since Instagram became a placement option within Facebook advertising, it has produced some great results. You may not see as much volume in terms of clicks, leads, impressions etc but sometimes results are cheaper.

If you select Instagram as a placement option, Facebook will optimize your ad spend between the two platforms.

VII. Set Your Budget and Duration

Next you’ll need to set a budget and campaign duration for your ads.

Set budget and campaign duration options on Facebook promotion.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Promote Button method is that you have limitations in how long your campaign can run. We manage Facebook campaigns for clients across a ton of industries and almost always run ongoing campaigns.

Facebook gets better and better at optimizing your ad spend over time as it analyzes how users react to your ads. If you run a campaign for a month, Facebook never has enough volume to truly optimize your ad spend.

For a Promote button campaign, your campaign can run for a maximum of 28 days. You can decide how long you want it to run within that period but it can’t be more than 28 days.

You can also set your daily budget in this section.

We use daily budgets almost exclusively for our clients. Within Method 2 of setting up your campaign, you do have the option to set a lifetime budget instead of a daily budget. Not having that option here isn’t a big deal because we prefer daily budgets anyway.

Facebook recently (within the last year) changed how they control daily budgets. Essentially they may overspend one day but over time will average out to the daily budget you set.

You don’t need to worry about going over budget with this new feature. All Facebook is doing is using budget on days when it sees extra opportunities to meet your goals and objectives. Then if they overspend one day, they will cut back the next or the day after.

Choose a budget that you feel comfortable with.

Facebook will give you an estimate of your results given your daily budget, your goals and your audience. If the budget you set isn’t giving you a ton of clicks or likes, then it might be worth increasing the budget to get more volume.

VIII. Entering Payment Information

The last step is to enter your payment information.

If you haven’t run ads before, then you will have to add a new payment method to your page. If you have run ads in the past, then it will give you the option to use the payment method that you already entered.

Facebook will also give you the option to get tips and updates about your ads in Messenger. This is a new feature to help making the advertising process as easy as possible for new advertisers. Unless you really hate Messenger, we recommend checking the box to receive updates.

Checkbox option to get updates on ads in Messenger.

IX. Start Running Your Ads

When you have finished all of the steps above, simply click the “Promote” button in the lower right-hand corner of the popup.

Promote button to start running your Facebook ad campaign.

Your ads will not start running immediately as Facebook must first approve your ad creative. However, you can generally expect your ad creative to be reviewed within an hour or less.

X. Review Your Campaign’s Performance

Once you are running an ad campaign, monitor it regularly to see how it is performing. From you page, you can access performance metrics for your ad campaigns one of two ways.

The first option is to click the “Manage Promotions” link under the “Promote” button in the left-hand column.

The second option is to select “Insights” from the top menu above your page.

Top menu on Facebook page with circle around Insights option.

Within the “Insights” tab, there are a ton of great analytics. You can see how your page performs in terms of things like post engagement and followers.

If you select the “Promotions” link from the left-hand column, you can see all current and past promotions. Those promotions will include metrics on how they performed.

This a great way to see your return on ad spend and identify ways to improve your campaigns in the future!

Happy advertising!