If you’re new to Facebook Ads or haven’t been running them for long, you may be unfamiliar with many of the configurations and options you have when it comes to setting your ads up. Some options make little to no difference, and others are absolutely critical to getting good results from them.
So to help I’ve created this handy little checklist that you can follow to ensure you set your Facebook Ads up in the best possible way, every time.
Before we get started, a quick caveat. The checklist I’m going to cover works for Facebook Ads as of December 2021. But (as I’m sure you know) Facebook changes very often, with little tweaks to settings almost daily. Just keep that in mind if you’re reading in the future! And if you are reading in the future; Hello there!
So I call this the ABC Facebook Ads Setup Checklist because it’s in 3 stages.
A = Campaign
B = Ad Set
C = Ads
This is how all of your Facebook Ads will be Structured, into three separate layers.
You have to set the Campaign up first, then the Ad Sets, then Ads.
For one campaign you may very well have dozens of Ad Sets, with each Ad Set having dozens of Ads.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
At the very top level there are two things you need to do.
A1. Choosing an Objective
Firstly, you need to choose an Objective for your campaign. This is critical because it helps guide Facebook towards your chosen outcome, meaning they will help get your ads in front of the people that consider most likely to meet your outcome.
The full list of Objectives constantly change, but here’s a list of the main ones paired with typical outcomes.
Outcome = Driving traffic to your website. Objective = Traffic
Outcome = Engagement (likes, shares, comments) on your ads, posts and page. Objective = Engagement
Outcome = Watching Videos. Objective = Video Views
Outcome = Lead Generation via Facebook Forms. Objective = Lead Generation
Outcome = Data Capture/Sales. Objective = Conversion
A2. Pick a Category (if applicable)
Next you can pick a category IF your campaign fits any of the options. Failing to do this may mean your ads are rejected. But as long as you’re confident your campaign doesn’t fit into any of the categories then you should be fine
B. Ad Set
Now we’re onto the Ad Set level. If you’re not already aware, this is where you configure the audiences for your ads. This is very important because the fact is not everybody wants what you have to offer. You only want to run ads to people who are relevant.
In terms of best practice you always want multiple different Ad Sets under a single campaign. Each Ad Set being configured differently to target a different group of people. Click here to read a recent blog I wrote on Facebook Ad best practices.
B1. Configure a Conversion
First things first is configuring the conversion (outcome) you want from your ads if you’ve chosen Conversions at the Campaign/Objectives section. This can be complicated the first few times doing it but there are many guides out there. Today’s post is more of a checklist than a detailed guide.
B2. Set a Budget
Next you need to set a budget for that ad set daily. Take into account the fact that you’ll probably end up spending just 85% of the budget you set. Also take into account that you should be running multiple ad sets. So if you have a daily budget of £100 for the campaign split it equally between ad sets. So 5 ad sets would be £20 each.
Taking best practice into account, always start with low budgets and slowly increase when you start to see some results and traction. Don’t just go all in on your first day unless you like burning money.
B3. Choose Demographics (Location, Age, Gender)
Now we’re onto crafting the actual audiences. The first half of this is demographics where you have location, age and gender options. As a minimum you want to select the country you live in. However if you want to run ads to other areas too you can. For example I run ads for clients in every English speaking country: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand & Australia.
Depending on who your audience is you might also want to narrow down the age and gender. But this is down to your discretion. All I will say is be realistic in your targeting.
B4. Select Custom/Lookalike/Interest/Connection-Based Audiences
Next we get to the really juicy audience stuff. I mentioned that you want to run multiple Ad Sets. Usually for these you’d have the same demographics across them all, but the differences will come this part.
First you can create a custom audience. For example, you can upload a list of all of your customer email addresses and run ads to them if they’re at least 1,000 strong. Bare in mind not everybody is on Facebook (Shocking, I know) and that many email addresses may not be linked to a Facebook Account.
You can then take one step further by creating a lookalike audience of your custom audience. This is where Facebook analyses your custom list, identifies trends in demographics and interests of the people in your list, and creates an even bigger list of people who are very similar. This makes them a great target for your ads.
Next you have interest options. This is where Facebook holds a huge bank of information on peoples interests and other data that you can use to narrow down your ideal audience. For example, you can choose people who like Tony Robbins. Or that are self employed. You get the idea.
That said, Facebook have recently announced they’re getting rid of some of these options in the very near future but I imagine it will still be a great bank of data to utilise. Quality over quantity.
Finally you have connection based options. For example all those who follow your page, or people who are friends with people who follow your page.
Taking best practice into consideration, you want a combination of warm and cold audiences. Warm are people who already know you – your lists, your customers, your page followers. Then cold are other people who have interests that match your ideal target audience.
B5. Configure Platforms & Positioning (Or Leave As Automatic)
Finally you can choose WHERE your ads show up inside of Facebook and Instagram. The default setting is automatically having them all active but leaving Facebook to optimise and show where it feels you’ll get the most results. In many cases with Facebook Ads I always prefer a manual approach vs relying on Facebooks algorithm BUT for this I do recommend just leaving it on the default option.
Finally we’re onto the actual ads themselves. This is what people will see and interact with. Everything else so far has been behind the scenes. In terms of best practice, you want to run and test many different ads per ad set to identify which does best. And your ads need to have a variety of different elements which I’ll cover.
C1. Select Facebook Page & Instagram Profile (If Applicable) to Promote From
Firstly you need to choose the Facebook Page and Instagram Profile you want to run your ads from. You should have a default option but you may consider changing these if you run multiple pages/instas across multiple brands.
C2. Add Copy (Main Text, Headline, News Feed Description & Call To Action Button)
Next you have the written copy that makes up a significant portion of your ad. There are a total of 4 areas you want to focus on with copy.
Firstly you have the main text box where 98% of your copy will need to be.
Then you have the headline which you want to keep short and snappy.
Then a news feed description which only shows on certain placements (news feeds primarily). Again keep this short and snappy.
Then you can choose from a selection of fixed labels for the call to action button. Usually you want to match them with the type of outcome you’re looking for. But what I’ve actually that over the years is that the “Learn More” CTA button works best regardless of the outcome/conversion you’re after.
C3. Choose Media (Single Image/Video, Multiple Images/Instant Experiences)
Next you have the visuals and media that make up a chunk of your ad. You have different options here and you want to test them all.
You can have a single image or video. Multiple images in a carousel. Or instant experiences which are effectively a condensed landing page that runs in Facebook Ads that are primarily used for ecommerce and online sales.
With copy and media, I could share with you best practices that I’ve found work well. Different types of images/videos, different types of copy – long, short, etc.
But the fact is it wouldn’t help you to get results – you need to run your own tests and see how your audience responds. There isn’t a fixed formula that makes the perfect Facebook Ad.
C4. Input Destination Link (And Link Preview if Applicable)
Finally we have the link you want to take people to if your outcome involves going outside of Facebook. This needs to be to a domain you own and have approved with Facebook which may sound complicated but there are many guides online
And that my friends, is it. You may want to go into further depth for each part of the checklist but what I really wanted to provide here is a structure you can follow that ensures you set ads up correctly every single time.
Here’s a quick summary you can use to check off your progress:
A1. Choose Objective
A2. Pick a Category (if applicable)
B. Ad Set
B1. Configure Conversion
B2. Set Budget
B3. Choose demographics (location, age, gender)
B4. Select a custom/lookalike/interest/connection based audience
B5. Configure platforms & positioning (or leave as automatic)
C1. Select Facebook Page and Instagram Profile (if applicable) to promote from
C2. Add copy (Main text, headline, news feed description and CTA button)
C3. Choose media (Single image/video, multiple images)
C4. Input Destination link (and link preview if applicable)
As a thank you for reading I want to send you a free electronic copy of my Facebook Ad guide.
Click here to get that now.
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