Facebook Ads Manager: Guide for Beginners

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

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One of the key components of online marketing and outreach is Facebook Advertising.

Facebook has nearly 2 billion active monthly users, making it the perfect platform to promote your brand as well as products or services to different target audiences.

Facebook Ads allow you to precisely target users based on their interests, demographic characteristics, and their preferred way of using the platform(on computers, mobile phones, etc.).

The diversity and sheer volume of people using Facebook mean that all businesses across all industries will find value in Facebook advertising.

Therefore, if you seek to increase your brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and increase conversions, Facebook Ads can be one of your most powerful assets.

Facebook Ads Manager is a tool that helps you optimize and manage your advertising account on Facebook.

Facebook Ads manager provides you with basic information about your ads and campaigns. It also offers a suite of features that enable you to check the performance of your ads and make quick optimizations to your ad creatives, bids, targeting, and budgets. Facebook regularly rolls out new features and functions for their advertising platform.

Managing your Facebook ads can be quite complex, time-consuming, and requires regular optimizations. For this reason, the smart choice is enlisting the services of an advertising agency to handle your Facebook Ads account. Are you looking to run Facebook ads but don't know how or where to start?

Do you need a primer on Facebook Ads Manager before you start running your ads? Below is a detailed and comprehensive guide to help you navigate Facebook Ads Manager menus. Herein you will also learn the basics of creating and managing your Facebook ad campaigns.


Table of contents

Getting Started: Business Manager Account

In order for you to advertise on Facebook, you need to have a Business Manager account. You can access your ads, pages as well as grant access to other parties to manage your account through Business Manager.

This is a very important tool that helps you keep your Facebook business assets organized, centralized, and safe. Essentially, it is the one-stop-shop where you manage all your Facebook advertising and marketing activities. Some of the main function if the Business Manager account includes:

  • It helps in keeping your personal profiles separate from your own business activities. This way you won't have to worry about posting something in the wrong place (or even getting obstructed by your newsfeed while you're trying to work).
  • It is a central hub where you can track your Facebook ads, complete with detailed insights, and the reports that indicate how your ads are performing.
  • It allows you to grant ad and page access to agencies, partners, or vendors, without handing over the ownership of your assets.

Setting up Business Manager

Now that you know the functions and benefits of Facebook Business Manager, you can set up your account. Note that in order to confirm your identity, you will need to use a personal Facebook profile. Also, if you have partners utilizing your Facebook ads assets, they won't have access to this personal information in your account. Below are the simple steps to creating your Facebook Business Manager account:

  1. Navigate to business.Facebook.com and then click on the large blue "Create Account" button at the top right corner of the screen.
  2. Input your name, business name, and business email address you will use for the management of your Business Manager account and then click "Next".
  3. Here you need to input your business details. These include the address, website, and phone number. You will also need to specify if you will be using the account to market your own business or to offer services to other businesses (agency). Click on "Submit" when you're through.
  4. Check your email. You should receive a message with a subject line stating," Confirm Your Business Email." Click "Confirm Now" within the message.

Adding Your Facebook Ad Account

Once you add your ad account to the Business Manager, you cannot remove the account. As such, it is vital that you only add the accounts that you own. In case you are still using Facebook ads, you may either link your own existing account from the Business Manager dashboard.

Simply click on "Add Ads Account, then "Add Ads Account" again on the "Add an ad account you own" section and then input your own ad account ID. You can find this ID, which we are going to talk about later, in the Ads Manager. In case you do not have a Facebook Ads account, below are the steps for setting one up:

  1. From your own Business Manager dashboard, click on the "Add Ad Account" then on "Create Account"
  2. Enter account details (ad account name, payment method, currency) and then click "Next".
  3. Specify that you are currently using the account for your own business and then click on "Create". 

Navigating Facebook Ads Manager

Once you have logged into your Facebook Ads account, you will need to know how to get to the ads manager screen. At the top right corner of your Facebook screen, there is a drop-down menu represented by an arrow. Click on the arrow and scroll down to "Create Ads" or "Manage Ads".

You can click on either option to get to the Facebook Ads Manager screen. Note that if you haven't created a Facebook ad before, instead of "Manage Ads" you may see "Advertise on Facebook".

Screen/Page Overview

To the left side of the ads manager page, you will see the sidebar which contains four sections. These sections include your ad account ID, Campaign, Ad Set, and Ad. The latter three sections are the ad creation stages or steps. They represent the workflow for creating your Facebook ads. You must complete each step before Facebook can publish your ad.

  • Ad Account ID - This section is at the top of the sidebar in the upper left corner. Here you will see your ad account ID number. If you have access to other Facebook ad accounts or business managers (which you do following the aforementioned set up steps), they will be listed in these sections in the drop-down menu.
  • Campaign - Below the ad account ID section is the campaign section. The Campaign Level indicates the start of your ad creation process. You will select your campaign objective, what you want your Facebook ads to achieve, in this section.
  • Ad Set - The Ad Set level encompasses to whom and on which specific platform you want to advertise on. It is also where you set your advertising timeline and budget.
  • Ad - This is the last section on the sidebar and involves your ad creative. When Facebook displays your ad, this is what your target audience will see including the images, links, text, and call to action (CTA).

Campaign Level

At the Campaign Level, you will determine the type of Facebook ad you want to create and what purpose you want the ad to serve. This is your ad campaign or marketing objective.

You have the option of choosing from three distinct categories of objectives: Awareness Objectives, Consideration Objectives, and Conversion Objectives. There are 11 campaign objectives that you can select from these three categories. However, you probably won't have to use all 11 objectives.

Awareness Objectives

The first category of campaign objectives serves to help create awareness for your brand or business. This is the ideal choice if you seek to engage with your target audience by boosting your Facebook posts or building an audience on Facebook like promoting your page. This category contains two campaign objectives. These are Brand Awareness and Reach:

  • Brand Awareness - The brand awareness objective is suitable if you seek to display ads to users who are more likely to recall you. This objective offers you the estimated ad recall(people) metric, which indicates the number of people Facebook estimates would recall your ad if asked within two days.
  • Reach - The reach objective is ideal if you want Facebook to show your ad to as many users as possible in your target audience.

Consideration Objectives

Consideration objectives serve to get more users thinking about your business/brand and seeking additional information about it. Let's say you have a business website/online store that tells your story and catalogs your unique offerings. You can use one of the consideration objectives, such as the Traffic objective, to build a campaign that encourages Facebook users to learn more about your business by visiting your site.

Consideration of campaign objectives helps generate leads for your business via verified Facebook contact information. These options also enable you to interact with Facebook Messenger. The consideration campaign objectives include:

  • Traffic - the business goal is to drive users from Facebook to URLs of your choice, such as a blog post, your site's landing page, your app, etc.
  • Engagement - help you reach users who are more likely to engage with your content. Engagement comes in the form of comments, likes, and shares. It may also include offers that users claim from your Page.
  • App Installs - direct users to the online store whereby they can access your business app.
  • Video Views - the goal is to share relevant videos representing your business with Facebook users who are most likely to watch them.
  • Lead Generation - this objective helps you generate leads for your business. With this option, you will create ads that collection crucial information from users who are interested in your products/services such as newsletter sign-ups
  • Messages - this objective serves to help you connect with Facebook users and communicate with existing or potential customers. It serves to encourage interest in your brand.

Conversion Objectives

You will utilize conversion objectives if you want to encourage Facebook users that are interested in your business to use or buy your products/services. For instance, if you have several brick and mortar stores, you can use the Store Visits objective to build an ad campaign to encourage users to visit their nearest store. The conversion campaign objectives include:

  • Conversions - encourage users to take specific actions on your business site such as downloading your app, adding items to a cart, make a purchase, or register on your site.
  • Catalogue Sales - this campaign objectives is suitable when you want to display products from your online store catalog in order to generate more sales
  • Store Visits/Traffic - your business goal is to market your brick and mortar stores to Facebook users that are nearby.

It is worth noting that as your business/brand grows, your Facebook Ad campaign goals are likely to change. At first, you may focus your campaigns on creating awareness and getting new customers. Later on, you will want to encourage your audience to sign up for events or make a purchase.

Once you select your ad campaign objective, you can now move on to creating your Facebook ad. The Ad Manager will present you with an additional section where you will name your ad campaign. It is good practice to give it a name that is associated with your primary objective.

This can be the name of your landing page or something like Business Website Clicks. At this point, there are two additional optional features at your disposal. These are the Create A/B Test and Campaign Budget Optimization:

  • Create A/B Test - this new optional feature allows you to create an A/B test in order to "split-test" your Facebook ad creatives, audience, placement, and delivery optimization. Turning on this function allows you to select the ad variables you want to test.

This is an advanced feature but is a powerful tool. Hiring an advertising agency to manage your PPC accounts can help you make the most out of this and other advanced Facebook ads features.

  • Campaign Budget Optimization - This is also an optional section where you are able to place a budget limit for your campaign. You will manage your ad expenditure in the next section of Facebook Ad Manager. You turn on budget optimization when you have a definite overall advertising budget limit and you are not ready to spend any more than this limit. Note that the minimum limit amount you can set is $100.

Click on "Continue" once you have given a name to your campaign. You have now created your first Facebook ad campaign. Facebook will automatically take you to the following Ad Set Level section.

Ad Set Level

The Ad Set Level of the Facebook Ad Manager has three main sections. These sections are where you define your target audience, budget for your ads, and positioning. You create your ad sets within your campaigns. Your campaigns can consist of a number of ad sets.

Note that all the ads you create in a specific Ad set will target the same audience. They will also have a similar budget, method of payment, and positioning/placement on Facebook. The Ad Set level can be quite complicated with its numerous features and functions.

Targeting Your Audience

Scroll down to the "Audience" section to select the audiences that will view your ad. In this section, you will be able to organize your ad sets by audience segment. You won't have to utilize all the available targeting options.

Also, it is good practice to narrow down your audience since the cost of your ad will be high. On the other hand, having an audience that is too wide is also not advisable. Facebook will display your ad to many users who aren't within your target audience but they'll click anyway and spend your ad budget.

Your best bet is to determine an optimal combination by defining your target audience directly among all the possible options. Below are the options Facebook offers while targeting your audience:

  • Custom Audiences - This is a specific target group that you create using Ads Manager. Typically, the data collected here is from Facebook users who are visitors to your business website or participate in contests on your Page. Custom audiences are useful when you seek to connect several online channels for marketing and retargeting.

To create this group, click on the "Audience" option in the Ad Manager menu. Facebook will offer you several sections to select from including Custom Audience, Lookalike Audience (a group of users similar to a previously created audience), and Saved Target Group.

  • Location - You can define the country while also target more precisely by selecting regions, counties, and cities.
  • Age - you can define the age group of your target audience.
  • Gender - define the sex of your target audience.
  • Language - allows you to target your audience based on the languages they speak
  • Demographic - you can define your target audience on the basis of their education level, employment, ethnicity, relationship status, parenthood, generation, and other parameters that define their daily life. Are they newlyweds, are they living within their hometown, how they made any recent career changes?
  • Interest - includes the different categories of personal interest registered by Facebook.
  • Behaviors - includes various options of targeting based on user activities and online behaviors such as future travel or event attendance plans
  • Connections - The connections option allows you to define whether you want to showcase your ads with fans on your Page. You can select only fans of your page, users that aren't fans of your page, or everyone. In the advanced targeting settings, you select Facebook users who are fans of certain pages or whose friends of Facebook are fans of a certain page.

For each of your ad campaigns, your target audience will be specific to them. In any case, always remember to define your audience correctly so that Facebook will show your ads to the users who want to see them.

Let's say you operate a wedding shop and you seek to position yourself in the market. How can you use Ads Manager to target your audience based on interest, behaviors, and demographics? This is quite simple. With Facebook targeting options, you can target engaged users, including users who have gotten, engaged recently.

You can also target married users, or users in a relationship, which are both relevant in this example. In addition, you can include certain interests such as wedding photography, wedding dresses, or wedding venues. Facebook users who have expressed interest in these areas previously are more likely to have an interest in your products/services as a wedding shop owner/promoter.

The good thing about Facebook Ads is that Facebook can help you if you aren't sure of your audience targeting options. Simply click on the "Browse" button and Facebook will assist you in sections including demographics, behaviors, interests, and even additional categories. All you'll have to do is check the categories which are relevant to your ads.

Choosing Your Ad Placement/Positioning

Once you have determined your target audience, the next stage is choosing where you want Facebook to place your ad. You have the option of selecting either Automatic Placement or Custom Placement. Your overall advertising goals will determine where your Facebook ads will be placed.

For instance, your main goal could be to grow your audience through page likes or engagement such as watching your video, reading a post, or website clicks. In this case, your best placement bet would be Mobile News Feed, so long as your content can be consumed on the mobile platform. This option is also usually the cheapest.

You can navigate to the Device Types dropdown menu and select "Mobile Only" to solely target mobile users. In another case, let's say your goal is to get your visitors to take out their credit cards or fill out a form. Here, using the Desktop News Feed placement is the best option.

You can also choose your preferred platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Further placement options with these platforms include news feeds, the right column (recommended for users you know/have interacted with), Stories, etc.).

Defining Your Budget

You have to keep track of what you get for invested advertising funds. You have to pay attention to important data such as the cost of clicks on your advert, the cost of likes on your Page, the number of users that will view your ad, the number of users that click on your ad, the average cost of ad clicks or page likes. The Ad Set Level on Facebook Ads Manager offers you options to define your budget when creating your ads.

You can define your budget on a daily basis (Daily Budget) or for an entire period of advertising (Lifetime Budget). You can select specific hours of advertising as well as start and end dates, with estimates of how much you will be spending. You can change all these variables later based on the performance of your Facebook ads.

Note that the lowest amount you can spend is $5 per day. You also have the option of setting the pricing to automatic. If you choose this option, Facebook will do all the work by optimizing your payments based on your budget. Once you have created your ad campaign, you'll have to select a payment method in the �Add Payment method" section.

After your ads have reached a certain consumption, Facebook will bill them. It's crucial that you have money in your account at the moment when Facebook bills you for your ads. If you don't have sufficient money, Facebook will stop your ad campaigns until they can bill you.

Once you have selected your payment method, you will be directed to the "Business Address Confirmation" page. On the Ads Manager dashboard, you will have all the information about your ads. To adjust the necessary billing elements, navigate to the "Billing" tab inside Ads Manager then the "Settings" tabs.

The Ad Level

This is probably the most interesting part of using Facebook Ads Manager and the final stage for creating your adverts. Here you decide what your target audience will see. There is a wide range of options in this section. Under the "Format" section, you will see several options for the type of ad you can create.

You can choose from a single image, carousel, a video, slideshow, or Canvas. It is very important that you select the appropriate format depending on your advertising goals. You don't want to end up sending the wrong message and at the same time, you want your ad to be visually appealing to your target audience.

An effective Facebook ad creative has 6 key elements. These elements include the headline, media/image, description, text, URL caption, and the call to action:

  • The Headline - You will find the headline settings under the Links section. Your headline is probably the most important part of your creative right next to the media/image. It has to grab the attention of your target audience to entice the users into clicking on your ad. Always keep your headlines brief (no more than 10 words), to the point and catchy.
  • The Image/Media - The media section allows you to select the image you'll use for your Facebook ads. The recommended image size is 1080 by 1080 pixels resolution. However, the image size is dependent on your ad placement. Your image should contain less than 20% text. This is very important.

Facebook provides a useful tool to help you with this overlay rule if you plan to include text in your images. Generally, you should avoid using text or use minimal text in your images (for a lower cost per click). If you are planning on using your business logo, make it small. Generally, ads with large logos in the image don't perform too well.

  • Description - The description will typically appear just below your headline. You can find the description settings under the Links section. The link description is located in the "Advanced Settings" area.

It is not shown in all ad placements (absent in the Mobile News Feed). The description box in your advert serves to clarify the product or service that you are advertising. You should ideally keep your ad descriptions below 20 words (you are not allowed to use more than 90 characters).

  • Text Option - You will fill out your text option in the Links section. What your Facebook ad is about will determine your text option. This should also be brief and straight to the point with less than 15 words. When thinking about your ad text, keep in mind that the average user views hundreds of ads daily, both online and offline. Ensure your text is interesting, unique, and different.
  • Website URL - This is where a user who clicks on your ad's call to action will be sent. You can also find it under the Links section.
  • The Call to Action - You can find the CTA under the Links Section. This is the button that appears at the bottom of your ad and prompts the user to perform an action. There are many options you can choose from depending on your ad offerings including Apply Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Sign Up, Shop Now, or Book Now.

Analyzing and Optimizing Your Facebook Ads

On the left side of the Ads Manager screen, you can see the "Advert Account Overview" menu. From this menu, you can view all your Facebook Ads accounts. Clicking on any one of them reveal some crucial information and insights. The information includes:

  • The main information available here are your campaign names, campaign statuses, the goals of your campaigns, campaign duration as well as daily and total consumption.
  • You can also view charts that highlight the trends of the recent amount of expenditure in your ad campaigns that are currently active.
  • When you click on any of your campaign names, you'll be directed to a detailed page containing all the Ad sets, which you can switch on and off when you like. From here you can also change your campaign names, duration, and budget.
  • When you enter a specific ad set, you can view the ads it contains and those that you can change content and appearance. You can also make changes to the Ad set targeting, positioning, and optimization as well as gain some insights into your current performance. In addition, if you want to create a similar advert you can simply click on the "Create Similar Ad" option.
  • View Report - This is located next to display menus for ads and ad sets. It is a detailed insight into reports for each of your campaigns, Ads, and Ad sets. This report is a summarized table which includes columns that you can set by clicking on "Customize Columns"

The Takeaway

While advertising on Facebook is very effective and efficient, you have to constantly monitor, analyze, measure, and compare your results to achieve impressive ROIs. Facebook provides plenty of data that you can access through Facebook Ads Manager. The analytics and deep statistics enable you to tailor your ads according to your specific business goals.

This ability to reach a wide and highly targeted audience at a low cost is nothing short of revolutionary. As you can tell, navigating all the offerings of Facebook's advertising platform can be a fairly complex and time-intensive process. That's why many business owners and CMOs outsource these and other PPC tasks to advertising agencies that have the time, resources, and expertise to drive effective and profitable PPC campaigns.

Facebook Ads Manager: Guide for Beginners


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost