Facebook Advertising: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners and All

Facebook!  Facebook!! Facebook!!!  This one word has become a household name all over the world.  The world’s population was estimated at 7.63 billion at the end of the year 2018 and the three most populated countries in the world during that same period were listed as:

  1. China 1.4 billion
  2. India 1.3 billion
  3. United States of America 320 million

Consider for a moment that, as of September 30th 2018, Facebook reported that its daily active members totaled 1.49 billion, including 2.27 billion monthly active members.  Now, comparing that to the above world population statistics would mean that there are more people in the Facebook community than in each of the top three most populated geographical countries of the world.  Speaking figuratively, Facebook has the largest population in the world situated online, making it the largest social network in the world.

When Facebook was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, it was initially intended for Harvard students, and more than half of its students joined the network at its inception.  That soon changed as more and more Harvard students joined the network and became dependent on it.  In time, students from other top-ranking universities also joined.  Eventually, membership became open to the public and anyone and everyone was free to join.  Facebook quickly overtook MySpace, which was the largest and leading social media network at that time.

From 2004 to date, Facebook has evolved tremendously with lots of tools and features for the benefit of its members.  One of those tools and features is advertising.  Most people have seen one form of advertisement or the other in their Facebook news feed.  However, many are ignorant of how to advertise on Facebook themselves, whether that may be to promote their products, services, blog, website or business.  Being an online “country”, with 2.27 billion active users monthly and 1.49 billion daily active users, Facebook is the place to advertise and therefore a market that you cannot ignore.

So, you don’t know anything about Facebook Advertising or how to create ads on Facebook?  Relax!  That is the purpose and objective of this guide.  We will not only enlighten you about Facebook Advertising, but we will take you through the steps, one-by-one, of how to create your own detailed and impressive ads.

Social Media: The No. 1 Advertising Platform

Perhaps you are wondering:  why should I advertise online on social media?  Why Facebook?  Why can’t I just use the normal traditional time-honored advertising methods, platforms and techniques?  Well, the answers to those questions are simple and straight-forward.  First, and most obvious, is that virtually everyone is online, and everyone is on one or more social network.  Therefore, you will reach a bigger and wider target audience on social media than you can using traditional methods of advertising.  Secondly, most social media networks and platform now have built-in features, tools and functions designed to assist you in designing your ads to your own taste, and in running your advertisement for you.  They can do this better, faster and more effectively than you or I can.  To advertise traditionally would be like having a fully automatic washing machine and still insisting on washing your clothes by hand.  Facebook pioneered the advertising system on social media, and has a very good, reliable advertising system.  Coupled with the fact that it has the largest target audience, there is no better place to advertise than on Facebook, regardless of who or what you are, your advertising budget or the size of your business.

Why Facebook for Advertising?

If you or your business already have a profile on Facebook, then you are already set up to advertise on it.  If you don’t currently have a profile, don’t worry, it is very easy to create one and, should you need any help, you can find guides online that can help you create a profile on Facebook.  To advertise on Facebook, you need a page, and you cannot create a page unless you have a Facebook profile.  You can create a page for your business or a place, your brand or product, a cause or community, an artist, band or public figure, entertainment, a company, organization or institution.  Like a website page, your Facebook page is the medium and platform by which you display and share all information you desire to publish about your business, product, etc.  Therefore, all your advertising on Facebook would be about and directed towards this page. We shall discuss what you can do with your page on Facebook.

So… what are the benefits of advertising on Facebook?

  • It is the largest social network in the world
  • Has an effective built-in advertising mechanism
  • Very easy to use and can save you costs
  • Has different options for advertising
  • You can direct your advertisement to specific people using various criteria and filters
  • All of your advertisements can be centred or directed to one page

Creating a Facebook Page

  1. You can create a Facebook Page in just a few steps by clicking the link.  Ensure that you have logged in with your personal Facebook account details.  From this link, you are directed to the page creation screen where you will choose whether your page relates to a business or brand, or to a community or public figure.

2. Depending on your choice in Step (1) above, you will be presented with either of these two dialog boxes below:

You are then required to enter the page name and the category.  You can type a few characters of your category and Facebook will give you a list of existing categories from which you can choose from.

  1. Add a Profile Picture: Next, Facebook asks you to upload a profile picture or you can skip this and add one later.
  2. Add a Cover Photo: After that, you are asked to upload a cover photo.  Your cover photo appears as the background photo on your page.  Again, you may upload a picture or you can skip this and add one later.
  3. And voila! That’s it! Your Facebook Page is created!  All that is left for you to do now is to add any embellishments to your page.

Advertising or Promoting your Facebook Page

Once you have created your page, there are so many things you can do with it, including advertising or promoting it.  Facebook offers you two methods of advertising: free (organic) or paid advertising.  With free advertising, you do not have access to the Facebook Advertising system and tools.  That means you would have to create your advert campaign, ads and ad sets by yourself, and also market and advertise them using your own knowledge and skills.  The paid option, on the other hand, extends to you all the privileges of Facebook Advertising systems and tools.

The menu bar gives you options on some things you can do: Home, Inbox, Notifications, Insights, Publishing Tools and Ad Centre.  The left sidebar gives you a number of options such as Home, Posts, Reviews, Videos, Photos, Events, About, Community, Groups, Info and Ads, Promote and Manage Promotions.

Creating a Facebook Ad Campaign

To create your ad campaign, click on Ad Centre in the menu bar at the top of your page.  You are presented with a Welcome page.  The left sidebar lists Promotion, Overview, All ads and Audiences.  The bottom half of the welcome page gives you an Advertising Summary for your page.  Because this is a new page, and a new campaign without any ads, the data areas (People reached, Post engagements and Link clicks) will be blank.

To start your campaign, click on Create Promotion.  Facebook then asks what exactly you would like to do to grow your business.  You are presented with five options:

  • Get more website purchases
  • Promote your page
  • Get more website visitors
  • Get more leads, and
  • Get a custom advertising plan

Get more website purchases

If your web page is about selling products or services, then this option will be available for you to select.

Audience:  Facebook ad requires you to create a Facebook pixel in order to recommend an audience from people who have visited your site and audiences similar to those who have visited your site.  Facebook recommends two types of audiences: Website visitors and Lookalike audiences.  The former is comprised of those who actually visited your website, whilst the latter are suggested by Facebook by comparing the interests and activities of those in its database to those of members that actually visited your website.

Budget: Once your audience has been selected, you are required to set a budget for your ad.

Automatic Optimization:  Facebook determines how to optimize your page depending on the number of visitors to your page and the amount of data it gives to Facebook.  More traffic to your page means Facebook will recommend Add to cart or Purchase as the action to audiences.  Less traffic means it will recommend view content.

Promote your page

In the Promote Your Page screen, the screen is divided into a left and right pane.  In the left pane, you get to:

  1. Choose your format: You can upload a single image, a video or a slideshow or choose an existing one from your page.  An image can have a resolution of up to 1290 by 1290 pixels.  You can upload a video in most formats or add a slideshow containing 3 to 12 slides.
  2. Add a text: You can add text of up to 90 characters introducing your page.
  3. Select your target audience: Here you get to choose the following:

a) Gender: You can select all, male only or female only.

b) Age: You set the minimum and maximum age of your target audience.

c) Locations: You choose the location (i.e. country) of your target audience. You can choose more than one location.

d) Detailed targeting: You can further narrow down your target audience by selecting one or more of demographics, interests and behaviors.

e) Exclusion: You can also exclude members from your audience depending on a combination of their demographics, interests and behaviors.

Based on your target audience parameters, Facebook shows you an estimated number for the targeted audience.  It advises whether your target audience is specific (within reason and realistic) or broad (i.e. wide and general).  It also advises you about the estimated budget for the advert.

Click on SAVE to save your selected target audience selection.

  1. Budget and Duration:

a) Duration type: You can choose for the ad to run continuously or when it will end.

b) Daily budget: You specify the daily budget for your ad (in your local currency), depending on the number of likes per day from options listed in the drop-down menu, or you can set the optimal number of likes per day yourself.

c) Duration: You can choose to run your ad for 3 days, 7 days, 14 days, or choose a specific date for the ad to end.

Facebook will then give you a summary statement showing the cost of your ad, number of days it will run and the end date (e.g. “You will spend a total of $350.  This ad will run for 10 days, ending on 20 Jan 2019.”)

  1. Payment: You select which currency payment is to be made in.

By clicking or unclicking a check box, you specify whether you wish to receive updates and tips about ads created and managed under your account in Messenger.

In the right hand pane, there are three tabs:  Desktop News Feed, Mobile News feed and Right column.  These tabs show you a preview of your ad based on the entries, selections and uploads you made in the left hand pane.

Once you are satisfied with your entries, you click the Promote button.  You are then taken to a screen where you enter details of your payment method.  Once entered and validated, your ad will be published and become operational.

Get more website visitors (recommended)

These option settings are similar to those of Promote your Page.  Additional settings only are explained below.

Website URL: The first thing you are required to enter in the left pane is the URL of the website to be promoted.

Format:  In the format section, you can upload a carousel (users can scroll through multiple images) in addition to the other formats that can be uploaded in Promote your Page.

Headline:  You can enter a headline for the website.

Call to action:  You can select what your audience should do once they have visited your site – i.e. Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Request Time, See Menu, Shop Now or Sign Up.

Automatic Placement:  This is a switch button that, if set, allows Facebook to maximize your budget by showing your ads to more people.

Options for Text, Audience, Budget and Duration and payment are the same as those of Promote your Page.

Get more leads

Leads are referrals given by those members who have visited your page.  Visitors complete a form to provide you with their referral contact details.  In the Get more leads screen, you enter:

Form name:  The form name is required.  If you check the Customize your text (optional) box, then you are required to enter a headline and a description text.

Customer Info:  These are the customer information fields you will be requesting in the form and they include email, full name, phone number, street address, date of birth, gender, job title, company name, 1 or more short-answer questions, form language and an optional check box to add a privacy policy.

Once completed, you click the Save form button and again you are taken to a series of questions identical to those on the Promote your Page screen.

Again, once completed and you click on Promote, you are taken to the payment details screen where you get to enter your payment details.

Get a custom advertising plan

So far, we have discussed Facebook’s fixed options for promoting your page.  But, if you are like most of us, and don’t know exactly where to start or what to choose on the Create Promotion page, then you are in luck.  Facebook, through the Get a Custom Advertising Plan asks you a series of questions and then comes up with the best advertising plan for you.  Isn’t that cool?

Monitoring and Analyzing your Ads

Facebook starts running your ads once you have promoted and funded them, or when you have scheduled them.  Now that your ads are running, how do you monitor them and analyze their performance?  Facebook offers you a range of  metrics to monitor and analyze your pages and ads.

Clicking on Insights on the Page menu bar reveals a whole load of information about your ad and page.  Data are color-coded and are shown for both organic advertising (free) and paid advertising.  You can also select the date range for which you require data to be displayed.

Insights gives you metrics on:

  • Actions on page
  • Page views
  • Page reviews
  • Page likes
  • Post Reach
  • Recommendations
  • Post engagements
  • Videos
  • Page followers

There is an export data feature, that allows you to export page, post, and video data in MS Excel (xls) or CSV format, for a date range and for all data, edited data or custom data.

You are provided with metrics about your recent posts on the page such as published, post, type, targeting, reach, engagement and promote.  For each of the posts, Facebook indicates the reach, clicks, reactions, comments and shares.

For your page data, you are provided with the total number of page likes and the percentage likes compared to the previous week, number of posts this week and level of engagement this week.  You can enter the details of any page on Facebook similar to your page and have Facebook compare the pages for you.

Facebook Advertising Tools

This guide was designed to help you understand the basics of advertising on Facebook  and the steps involved.  Once you have mastered these steps, you just may decide that you are ready to become a pro.  Well, you don’t have to do it all by yourself.  There are now many Facebook Ads tools that can take out the stress and hassles out of creating your campaigns, ads and ad sets.  These apps also assist in automatically running, monitoring and analyzing your entire Facebook ads campaign plan.

These tools vary in price, features and effectiveness.  Take your time to check out the  reviews on them, and only pick those which suit your needs and requirements.

As you improve, and start to better structure and organize your ads campaign, your goal in advertising on Facebook will be accomplished – whether to sell a product or service, promote your passion or interests, further a cause, etc. (You should learn more about Facebook Ad Guidelines)

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