Facebook Ads Made Easy: The Complete Guide to Running Your First Campaign

Facebook ads are incredibly powerful because they allow you to laser target your ideal customers based on specific interests, behaviors and demographics. That means you can get your products in front of the exact people who are most likely to buy them.

But it’s super easy to blow a ton of cash on Facebook ads for zero payoff. There are literally two BILLION active users on Facebook, so it’s imperative that you know how to narrow those users down into people who’ll actually be interested in your products and serve them ads that will actually convert. Follow these 8 steps to create a successful campaign that gets results.

cash money

1. Create Your Facebook Business Page

Before you do anything else, you’ll need a Facebook business page. Go to facebook.com/business and click Create a Page. Facebook will have you select what type of business you own and fill in all the important details. Then you’ll upload your profile and cover photos and ideally add some details about your business, update your username to create a vanity URL and upload a post or two.

2. Set Up Your Facebook Business Manager Account

Once your business page is created, you’ll need to set up your Business Manager account. Go to business.facebook.com and click Create Account. Facebook will ask for your name, your business name, your Facebook business page and your email. Fill that out, then go to Business Settings > Accounts and Ad Accounts. Click Create a New Ad Account and go through the prompts.

3. Set Up the Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel is what connects your Facebook ads and your website. It shows you the actions taken by people who visit your website via your Facebook ads, so you can see if your ads are actually driving results.

Shopify makes it easy to set up the Facebook pixel. Simply create the tracking code in your Business Manager account, then copy it. Now open your Shopify dashboard and go to Online Store > Preferences and look for the Facebook pixel ID field. Paste the code there and you should see it start working within a few hours.

ad performance

4. Create Your Audiences

Targeting the right people within those billions of Facebook users is vital if you want to be successful. And Facebook gives you all kinds of ways to do just that.

Start out by going to the Audiences section in your Business Manager. You’ll see multiple ways to create groups and target them with your ads. The two main categories you’ll be dividing people into are retargeting and prospecting.

Retargeting Audiences

If you’ve ever visited a website and then started seeing ads for them all over your Facebook feed, that’s retargeting. It’s a super effective way of converting a “warm” lead. Someone who has already been to your site is more likely to buy from you than someone who has no idea who you are.

To create a retargeting audience, you’ll use the Custom Audiences feature. It will allow you to pull people into your audience from three main sources: customer file, website traffic and engagement.

+ Customer file – If you have a list of email addresses, phone numbers or other contact info from your customers, you can upload it and let Facebook match your info with its users. Then you can target them with your ads.

+ Website traffic – If you’re getting visitors to your website, you can target them based on the actions they’ve taken. Try targeting people who have visited your site or added something to their cart within the past 30 days.

+ Engagement – If you’ve got an active Facebook or Instagram business page, you can target people who have liked, commented on or shared your posts.

Prospecting Audiences

Prospecting is finding new customers rather than retargeting past customers or visitors. Facebook makes it easy to narrow down your prospecting audience with these tools:

Interests, behaviors and demographics

If you’re starting from scratch with no list of customer info or website visitors, Facebook will help you create an audience based on interests, behaviors and demographics. Interests are related to pages and content users have interacted with. Behaviors are actions users have taken, such as getting married or moving to a new city. Demographics are based on profile info and include things like age, gender and education.

Go to Plan > Audience Insights to narrow down your options. Here you can enter demographic info and see details on potential audiences, like places they live and Facebook pages they might like. This info will help you identify new interests and locations for ad testing.

Audiences created using interests, behavior and demographics are typically quite large. To narrow things down, try testing them individually to see which works best. Then you can experiment with additional layers to broaden things.

Lookalike Audiences

If you already have a Custom Audience, you can use this tool to create a new audience filled with similar Facebook users. The likeness ranges from 1-10%, with 1% containing people who are most similar to your Custom Audience. Start there, then as your sales increase and your ad budget goes up, expand to a 3%, 5% or even 10% Lookalike Audience.

Facebook lookalike audiences

5. Set Up Your Campaign

Facebook uses a certain structure for organizing your ads that looks like this: Campaign > Ad set > Ad. So the campaign is the house for all your ads. Then the ad set is like the rooms within the house, and the ads are the furniture in each room. There can be multiple ad sets in a campaign and multiple ads within each ad set, each with different audiences and budgets.

Tip: Use a consistent naming convention for your campaigns so you can quickly identify the objective of the campaign, who it’s targeting and how it fits into your advertising strategy.

To set up your campaign, go to Business Manager > Ad Manager and click Create. Then you’ll need to select your objective from the following categories:

+ Engagement – Select this option if you want to create social proof by getting more likes, comments and shares on a post.

+ Brand Awareness – If you want to focus on building your brand rather than selling products, choose this option.

+ Traffic – If you’re having trouble driving traffic to your site, this option can help you get more visitors.

+ Conversions – Choose this if you want to increase sales on your site.

You may not be able to select Conversions if Facebook hasn’t “seen” any conversions on your site yet. If that’s the case, set your objective to Traffic to start, then you can change it to Conversions once Facebook has more data on your site.

Another objective you might use as an ecommerce store owner is Product Catalog Sales. If you’ve ever visited an online store, then seen an ad for the exact product you looked at, you’ve seen a dynamic product ad with the objective of Product Catalog Sales. It involves pairing Facebook pixel data with your product catalog to either retarget your site’s visitors or show relevant products to prospects based on their profile data.

Shopify makes it easy to add your product catalog to Facebook. Simply ad the Facebook sales channel to your Shopify store and your products will be synced with your ad account.

Whichever objective you choose, Facebook will charge you based on impressions, or the number of people who see your ad. Choosing the wrong objective (like Brand Awareness when you actually want people to buy) means paying for impressions that won’t necessarily help you achieve your goal. So make sure you select the right objective for your goals.

6. Create Your Ad Sets

Once your campaign objective is set, you’ll start setting up your ad set. Facebook may ask you to narrow down your objective within the ad set, such as what type of conversion you’re looking for. Then you’ll set up the following:

+ Budget – You can set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. If you’re just starting out, it can be hard to decide how much to spend. Consider your overall marketing budget, how much your products cost, your average customer acquisition cost and your objective (conversions typically cost more than engagement or brand awareness).

+ Audience – Select a prospecting or retargeting group you created in your Audiences. You can add additional behaviors, interests and demographics to the existing audience to test variations. Or you can simply select the audience as is.

+ Placements – This is where you choose where your ads will appear. Since Facebook owns Messenger and Instagram, you can target multiple platforms at once. It’s recommended that you select automated placements to allow Facebook’s algorithm to identify the best placements available.

ad placement

7. Create Your Ads

Now the fun part – creating the actual ad. You don’t need to have lots of fancy equipment (learn how to create awesome product photos for less than $20) or tons of time. Just follow these guidelines:

+ Consider your value proposition – How is your product better? Why should people click on your ad?

+ Make it visual – Both Facebook’s algorithm and actual humans are more likely to share visual content than written content.

+ Use video – Facebook users love video, and video ads often convert at a higher rate than image-based ads. Use a square aspect ratio so your video looks good both on mobile and desktop.

+ Use calls to action – Facebook offers various CTA buttons for your ad. Choose the right one based on what you want ad viewers to do.

+ Keep text short – People typically spend less than three seconds looking at each item in their news feed (even less on mobile). Keep your message clear and concise.

Facebook offers multiple ad types. Two that work well for ecommerce sellers are Carousel ads And Collection ads.

Carousel ads show multiple images that people can scroll through. This works well if you want to show several related products.

Collection ads show one main video or image, then a collection of linked product images below. Using these ads is a great way to move viewers from the discovery phase to the purchase phase quickly.

8. Optimizing Your Campaigns

Facebook ads aren’t “set it and forget it”. For best results, you’ll need to monitor performance and optimize your ads.

But before you do that, you need to give Facebook’s algorithm a chance to learn who is most interested in your ads. It’s a good idea to wait until your ad gets 1,000 impressions before making any changes.

Once Facebook’s algorithm has figured things out, you can start tweaking things. Ideally, you’ll set up a marketing funnel that drives people from discovery to purchase. That means creating different ads based on what stage of the funnel your target audience is in.

For example, you can target a Lookalike Audience for prospecting and building brand awareness. Then retarget the folks who visit your site with a different campaign. As your business grows, your funnel and campaigns will become more complex, targeting various groups based on their intent to purchase.

marketing funnel


Facebook ads can be extremely effective because of how targeted and layered you can make them. You just need to understand the basics, then optimize based on performance. For tons more resources, check out Facebook’s Blueprint courses. They cover everything from the basics of managing your campaigns to the intricacies of growing your business with Facebook. Plus, they’re totally free.

About the Author

Gennifer is the Marketing Manager at ByteStand, where she lives and breathes customer service education while sipping coffee in her pajamas.

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