Organic social media can only go so far in all the noise (for example, less than 5% of all your facebook followers will ever see your page posts), whereas paid ads are guaranteed to reach millions of your target demographic if you tell it to.

I’m going to show you:

  • how powerful facebook can be
  • what you can do with it
  • the basics of setting up, running and analysing ads

Set Up

  • Verify your Facebook page. This will help it to be ranked higher in facebook searches so that users can find your page more easily.
  • Set up a facebook business account. You will need one in order to manage your ads most successfully.
  • Set up conversion pixels. This is essential, and very clever – when someone visits certain pages on your site, or makes a purchase from your site, or clicks on a certain button, facebook can store that data and later target that particular customer with a particular kind of ad that matches what they were interested in.

    You need to make sure that when you set this up you also set up the goals correctly. Do you want the ‘conversion’ to be when they buy something from your site? Like a ticket or an item? When they sign up for a newsletter? When they visit a certain page? This is important.

For example, have you ever gone shopping for a particular item and then suddenly that item keeps popping up everywhere on facebook? That’s the facebook pixel at work.

So long as you’re logged into facebook, it can see that it’s you visiting that item on that site and their facebook pixel will follow you around afterwards, gathering and storing data about you to be used as marketing. Amazing.


  • Update your Profile, photos & headers – this is the first impression you’re giving the audience, so make everything including the header informative and professional. (You can make the header into a video now, too, which is nice and eye-catching.)
  • Facebook Group – this is a bonus option and will only really work for certain organisations. Everyone in the group will get a notification of new postings in the group (as opposed to only 5% of everyone who likes your page). It’s a great way to have conversations – if you do this I’d recommend keeping it for a small loyal group of customers/ clients,  it’s not the sort of place to bombard them with ads, they’ll just change their settings to escape them. It’s a good place to make yourself useful by giving them free information, which can help with brand loyalty.


Facebook Ad Manager

Okay, so you have your Facebook Business Page all set up, verified, filled out and the pixel is now live and hungry for information.

Time to go to your Ad Manager tab to set up your first Ad campaign.

I will only mention the things I like to use, because facebook is so vast and varied it’s easy to get lost in all the options. This is a very brief overview.


The Structure of a Facebook Ad

Campaign Adset Advert
Set what you want the Ad to actually do, for example,

  • Reach –
    The ad will be shown to as many people as possible
  • Post Engagement –

The ad will be shown to people most likely to interact with your post in some way, be this a Like, comment, video view, link click etc.


  • Conversion

The ad will be shown to people most likely to ‘convert’ on your website (this is where the pixel comes in handy)

The most important part. This is where the magic happens, where you can set things like:


  • Audience
  • Budget
  • Schedule
  • Placement

More on what you can do with this below.

This is the Ad Creative, where you can choose what your audience actually sees.
For example, this can be a:

  • Single image
  • Slideshow of images
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Page post
  • Catalogue

…and more.

Here are some notes on the different components that make up the structure of a Facebook Ad that I like to use and why.

My main goal is to get as many conversions as cheaply as possible.


Facebook will optimise the ad to do what you tell it to do.

Reach ads are good for prospecting, that is, finding new people to let them know that you exist.

Conversion ads have proved to be more productive if you want them to do a certain action (which you will have set the pixel to show).

As have Post Engagement ads, if you want them to interact with the post itself in some way – such as commenting (this is good if used in conjunction with Manychat – a note on this later)



In this part you decide the budget, scheduling, placement & types of audiences…again, I’ll explain the ones I use with my marketing and why.


A Daily budget gives you more control over what you spend each day and over how long the ad lasts.

A Lifetime budget forces Facebook to optimise quicker, because you’ve set an end time and an amount the ad MUST use within that period of time given.

This can also go wrong if it’s forced to use a lot of money over a very short period of time, because it needs to learn which audiences are most productive over time.

Start small with the budget, and let facebook optimise over time. Increase or decrease by 20% maximum, or risk the ad losing it’s legs.

Scheduling (lifetime of the ad)

You decide when the ad is shown and for how long.

I always show the ad all the time, and if I do set a lifetime it is always over a minimum of 2 weeks (and any less than 3 days is pointless – the ad wouldn’t have had time to learn anything in that limited time frame. )



This is where the audience will see the ad.

I’d start by showing it everywhere, on all devices and platforms.

Then after a fortnight of data gathering, I’d check my stats to see where the ad was getting the most conversions and would make adjustments from there.

For example, if more people are converting on their mobiles, I might adjust it to show only on mobiles in order to make the most of my facebook budget.

Or maybe I’ll only run certain ads on Instagram (you’ll need to set up an Instagram Business account for this).

If it’s just on facebook, the Desktop Newsfeed is what they scroll past on their main feed, and then there’s the little ads in the Right-hand Display & Instant Articles.



This is the biggest factor when creating an ad. It will make or break it.

On Facebook we can target people so specifically, based on demographic, location, age, sex, interests, hopes, dreams and blood type (just kidding about those last 3) (I hope).

Before we get into this, I think here is a good time to briefly talk about your Conversion Funnel

Your funnel has a pool of people that haven’t heard of you at the top of the funnel (aka T.O.F for “Top of the Funnel”) (your target demographic).

Then once they’ve seen your ad, if they engage with it in any way, they’ve shown some interest in you so they enter into the middle of the funnel (M.O.F), and they are much more likely to convert.

Once they’ve converted they reach the bottom of the funnel (B.O.F), and you’re focus switches to keeping them as a return customer with special offers and announcements.

With that in mind, here are some example audiences that can fall into each category:


T.O.F Audiences (aka Prospecting)

These people have never seen or heard of you before, they are a cold audience, so I’d recommend using the Reach campaign to get seen by as many people as possible and I’d use an eye-catching, memorable Ad to introduce yourself.

  • People within your chosen demographic (based on age, gender, location & interests)
  • People who are interested in your Competitors pages
  • Friends of people who like your page
  • Lookalike audiences 1-3%*

*This is why I mentioned collecting email addresses via your website.

You can add this to your Facebook Business Account as a Custom Audience – it will then show your ad to the facebook profiles it finds attached to that email.

From that you can make Lookalike audiences – audiences made up of facebook profiles that look like your customers.


M.O.F (aka Remarketing)

These people have now seen or heard of you:

  • Engaged with/ watched your ads
  • visited your Website (in the last 30 days) / visited any specific pages on your site
  • visited your Facebook Page
  • Friends of your Page


B.O.F (aka Retention)

These are your customers/ clients – you’ll need their email addresses. I’d recommend separating them out if you can for the different messages you want to promote for returning custom.

For example, you might want a facebook Custom Audience made up of the following:

  • All current Active customers
  • All past customers (who haven’t come back in a while)
  • Customers who have been with you a long time/ regulars


A Side Note on Audience Overlap

Don’t forget to exclude audiences from each other to avoid clashing.

If audiences clash and ads compete against each other it drives the cost per application right up, so be careful with this.


Ad creative

This is that the audience will see on their screen – the actual ad itself.

When testing multiple ads to see which works best with your audience it’s recommended to do no more than 3 at a time.

The ad creative could be an existing post, a single image, a carousel of single images, a catalogue, a video, a slide show of items…this is always expanding and getting better.

Carousels encourage engagement with the ad as they have to click right or left to see more items

Slideshows show a range of items quickly so that it’s more of a thumb stopper

Videos work best of all because they’re cheaper and more engaging to watch

Existing Posts allow you to ask customers for their email or comments.


A Note on Videos

Videos are great, but it’s also the most time consuming and costly content you could create. Here are some budget ways to get the most effective video:

  1. Customer selfie videos are golden – it’s social proof AND it’s eye catching. If you can run a competition to get these sent in – that’s great.
  2. Another video you can try out is Scriberia – you get a free trial, it’s easy to use and it looks pretty good.
  3. If you want to use a professional, then I’d recommend finding someone on Upwork or People per Hour.
  4. Video Selfies! Film yourself, it’s a great way to build trust.



Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s & Reporting

Once the Ad is set up we monitor it on a daily basis.

Any changes to ads should be left for a minimum of 42 hours before judging the performance.

(Just to note, Pixels track users for up to 28 days after the ad is clicked on, so it may show up as a conversion much later).

Click Through Rate (CTR %) – How click-happy people are with the ad.

This indicates the relevancy of the audience you’ve chosen & the appropriateness of the ad itself. A 2-3% CTR is the average, so anything close to that is good.

Link Clicks – How many people have clicked through to our website on that ad.

Cost per Conversion  – This is the one I keep my eye on the most – I want to get as many conversions as cheaply as possible. How much this is depends on your organisation.

Conversion Rate % – shows you how well audiences are being converted into customers/clients/ fans.

(Fun Fact: these KPIs can also be applied to Google Analytics)

Other metrics you might want to measure:

Reach: the reach should hover around the same number day to day, it’s how many people are seeing your ad.

Frequency: This tells you how many times on average customers are seeing your ad.

At top of funnel level, where you are sending ads to a cold audience, you want to keep this at around 2, because you don’t want to show your ad too frequently to people who aren’t interested, as they could hide or leave negative feedback about your ads which can decrease your audience reach and bump your CPC up.

As your audiences become warmer you will want them to see your ads anywhere between 7-25 times.

CPC: The industry average for Cost Per Click varies country to country however I usually go by a guideline of 0.30-0.50 for cold audience conversion and traffic campaigns but can increase to 1.00 – 5.00 for retargeting warm and hot audiences.

CPM:  Your CPM is your cost per 1,000 impressions and you are looking to keep this below £5.

This is a particularly important metric and you should monitor monthly. If you see a sharp increase in CPM in one month, then it’s a good indication that your competitors are outbidding you for your target audience!

An increase means you either need to change the audience you are targeting or set a manual bid higher than average.

Relevance: Your ad relevance score is a guide to what Facebook think of your ad.

Relevance is extremely important because you could pump as much money as you like into a campaign but if Relevance is low your competitors that pay less than you could still have a higher reach than you.

You should be aiming for a score between 7-10.


As per the funnel I have suggested either sending a slideshow with a link to the application or using the Facebook Messenger option where you can ask people a question.

Below is an example of a messenger ad I set up for one of my other clients. You can set this up to link with ManyChat’s automated service, have an automated reply or you can have someone on hand to answer any queries there and then. This is had great results and the fact these people have opened a Messenger conversation with you means you can also send offers via Messenger (sparingly) for free in future.


You will have some audiences floating around the middle of your funnel that aren’t moving.

My suggestion is to keep an ‘always switched on’ engagement campaign going. Choose a post that you would like more comments/shares/likes on (maybe it’s a new offer/ announcement) and it will pop up in their newsfeed from time to time as a reminder that you’re there, and so is your offer.

Extra Bonus Pro Tip: MANYCHAT

You can also utilise this with the ManyChat tool for some pretty spectacular results, if you have the know how.

Here are the steps below on how to set this up:

  1.  Create a post on Facebook mentioning a new deal, discount or giveaway.  For the prospect to be in with a chance to win use the word “xxxxx” in the comments field below, confirm they will get a ‘ping’ in messenger and just follow instructions there.
  2. Create a post engagement campaign using this post that will go out to everyone, web traffic, FB audience, lookalike audiences and customer list. Test it on a smaller scale over a couple of days to make sure it works as it should then scale budget up.
  3.  Once people comment this is where the bot will come in. You can set it up (prior to all the above) so the commenter will get a nice ‘Thank You’ message, then it will also ask if they would like to leave their email address to be included in future offers. (in the background you would set up a Zapier which will send this email to your CRM)
  4. The beauty of this is you now have an email address and the ability to send a message to this list for free (sparingly) in future with a new promotion

You will require a ManyChat account, Zapier account, CRM, Prize, Graphic for post.


Your Action Points:

  • Set Up Facebook Business Ad Manager Account, with Pixels & Verified
  • Set up your first Ad Campaign
  • Advanced option: set up Manychat

Some friendly advice – The first paid advert I would run would be a promotion of some kind – a competition or offer code that will make the most of the money being spent by inspiring the most action, whether that be following your channel, signing up to your newsletter or buying something.


Some tools for Facebook

Text Overlay Tool – check that the graphic of your ad creative can be promoted (too many words and facebook won’t accept it).

Campaign URL Builder – shorten the URL & measure the posts effectiveness in Google Analytics (useful if you want to know exactly which organic post or link is converting)

Hootsuite – schedule posts to go out onto your page in advance. I use this ALL THE TIME.

Handy tip is to calendar in any upcoming events and plan posts for those holidays.


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