Step-By-Step Guide To Running Your First Facebook Ad

Step-By-Step Guide To Running Your First Facebook Ad

Charlie Pemberton
By Charlie Pemberton

So you've decided that Facebook advertising could be a worthwhile marketing tactic to explore for your business.   Great!   Now comes the fun bit.   Putting together your first Facebook ad campaign can be daunting at first, but you shouldn't feel like you have to run in blind without a clue of what to expect.   Before we go any further, check out our overview guide on "does Facebook advertising really work?", for those who are still on the fence about the efficacy of these ads. We're not going to try and fool you with Facebook "growth hacks" or dodgy ways of trying to triple your ROAS. Most of those kinds of guides can steer your business off track. Instead, we want to teach you how to run Facebook ads step-by-step, so you can jump in and start creating the most optimal campaigns for your business.   Enough chit-chat, let's get your first Facebook ad campaign live!

Start A New Campaign

When you open up your ad account on Ads Manager you'll be faced with three 3 tabs labelled: 'Campaigns' 'Ad Sets' and 'Ads'. Click on the 'Campaigns' tab and hit the green 'Create' button to get started.

Select The Perfect Campaign Objective

Facebook gives you the option of choosing between 11 different campaign objectives, based on your own marketing objectives for the ad. These objectives sit under 3 broader umbrella objectives of 'awareness', 'consideration' and 'conversion'. Facebook Ad Campaign AWARENESS

  • Brand awareness - This one's self-explanatory, but the objective here is to get your ads in front of people to help them remember your brand.
  • Reach - Slightly different to brand awareness, by selecting the reach objective, Facebook will show your ads to as many people as possible under the constraints that you identify.


  • Traffic - The traffic objective allows you to drive people to your particular website, app or even a Messenger conversation.
  • Engagement - This will show your ad to those more likely to engage with your post, comment, share or respond to a Facebook event.
  • App installs - This shows your ad to people who are most likely to install your app.
  • Video views - This objective gets views on your video creatives.
  • Lead generation - The lead generation objective helps to build more potential leads for your business.
  • Messages -This influences people to get in touch with you through Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct or WhatsApp.


  • Conversions - This shows your ads to those more likely to make a specific action, such as buying a product on your website.
  • Catalogue sales - This pushes items from your product catalogue to your target audience.
  • Store traffic - This can help drive more people to your physical storefront when they're nearby.

Give Your Campaign A Name

Once you've selected the ideal objective, you can name your campaign, the ad set that sits underneath it, and then the individual ads that are housed in the ad set. Getting your naming conventions down pat right from the start will save you a lot of hassle in the long run, especially if you're planning on building out quite a few campaigns and ad sets for your business.   Organising your ad account in such a way will allow you or another team member to jump in and quickly search for a specific ad in the Ad Manager dashboard. We’re speaking from experience when we say that you should never underestimate a good naming protocol on your campaigns!

Choose Your Schedule and Budget

From here you can allocate a suitable budget to your campaign. The two budget options to choose from are a "daily" or "lifetime" budget. Lifetime budgets are suitable for when you know the end date of the campaign. For example, if you have a special Easter sale on, this will only be running for a limited time, where you know exactly when you want the ads to turn off. Facebook Budget & Schedule On the other hand, if you're running a campaign that's likely to run over a few months and aren't exactly sure of the end date, you can select a daily budget. This way you know that you're going to be spending around the same amount each day. However, things can get a bit tricky here, with people getting confused about why their ad spend goes over the allocated daily budget. 

  • To put it simply, Facebook does this automatically when it detects more opportunities to get results for your campaign. 
  • This can mean your ad spend will go up to 25% over the daily budget. 
  • So let's say you've put a $50 daily budget on the campaign, Facebook can spend up to $62.50 on the given day.

There's no reason to panic about this, as this just allows Facebook to use your budget in the most efficient way. Some days it may go over, and others it may be under. The best way to think of your daily budget is as an average spend over a 7 day period. For example, with that $50 daily budget, you won't spend more than $350 a week.   Note: you'll only be able to run your ads on a specific schedule (e.g. only between 4-9 pm on weekdays) by choosing a lifetime budget. Plus, if you've got a quick flash sale and are planning on running your ad set for less than 24 hours, you'll need to put it as a lifetime budget too.

Define Your Ideal Target Audience

This is where things get really interesting. Using the powerful data and algorithms of Facebook, you'll be able to define your target audience so that your ads are displayed to the right audience at the right time. With the billions of Facebook users that are on the platform, you're able to hone in on the specific audience that you outline with your targeting settings.   You have the option of creating a new audience or you can search from your existing custom audiences. If you are setting up a Facebook campaign for the first time, we're going to assume you're creating a new audience. This audience can also be saved at the end, so you can use it for future campaigns. We could talk about custom audiences for hours, but for now, we'll just keep it simple so you can get your ad up and running as soon as possible.   As part of your targeting, you have the ability to create audiences based on locations, age, gender, as well as detailed targeting. This is where you can get into the nitty-gritty, targeting people with specific interests, behaviours or other detailed demographics. For example, based on the simple screenshot below, you could target 18-30-year-olds in Australia who have an interest in bouldering and rock climbing. Facebook Audience Targeting At the same time, you can also exclude particular interests or behaviours to make sure you hone in on your ideal target audience. For example, you might be advertising a new video game. You can choose to target people who have an interest in video games and video game consoles, but you could exclude Facebook users who have shown an interest in PC gaming (as the game is only on console) so you aren't diluting your audience with people outside your perfect target market.

Audience Definition

The key indicator to assess as you're defining your target audience is the "audience definition" section. This gives you an estimate on the potential reach you'll have with your current audience as well as if your audience is more broad or specific.   Underneath this, you'll also see a few different metrics on the estimated daily results. As you run more campaigns, this data will become more accurate, but always remember to take these numbers with a pinch of salt. Facebook Audience Targeting

Select The Right Ad Placements

There are a few options to choose from here, but the quickest way to get your ad live is to select the "automatic placements". This allows Facebook to place your ad across its different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network), helping to maximise your results for the campaign.   You can choose to take a manual approach here, selecting the exact placements that you want, based on your campaign objective. We'd recommend getting comfortable with the Facebook ads system first, before playing around with these placement options.   Placements can be selected based on device type, specific operating systems, placements (e.g. feeds, stories, search etc.) and platform.

Select Brand Safety and Cost Controls

At this stage in the process, you also have the ability to ensure your ads don't appear within or next to other content that's irrelevant or inappropriate for your brand. You might choose to exclude sensitive content here and avoid content with coarse language for example.   You can also add an optional cost control, but we recommend leaving it as the default option until you're more experienced.

Set Up Your Creative

Once you're happy with the more technical side of things, you can then get to work on the creative for the ad. First, you'll need to select the right format for your ad. Take a look at our blog on whether Facebook ads work for small businesses, to see a breakdown of the different types of ad formats you have available.   You'll need to fill in your primary text, which is where you can get creative with your ad copy and give your target audience a compelling reason to stop scrolling and click on your ad. Crafty copy is best paired with an eye-catching design to help your ad stand out from the constantly expanding sea of content.   If you want to test two different sets of ad copy, you might also want to look at running a Facebook ads split test. This is where you can assess which ad performs the best and the results will tell you what type of copy resonates well with your target audience. Facebook Ads Setup

Push It Live!

Take a deep breath. You've made it this far, so now's the time to go live with your campaign! If you want a sneak peek of your creation or want to create a preview that you can screenshot and send to other people, you can click on the preview tool to see how your ad will look once it's live.   Once you've got the tick of approval or are satisfied with your ad, you can now finally hit that shiny "publish" button and let the magic happen.

Test, Measure & Adjust

This last step is crucial to the success of your Facebook ad campaign. Unfortunately, you can't just set everything up and hope it delivers the most optimal results. Although the Facebook algorithm is smart, it needs time to work and you'll most likely end up tweaking or adjusting your ads after measuring their performance over a certain time period.   This is where you really need to invest a lot of time and make sure that you're not panicking and changing your creative or targeting after a bit of a slow day. As a result, this is where many people go wrong. Just like any other marketing tactic, you need to be measuring, evaluating and adjusting your ads efficiently to get the most out of them over time.

Feeling A Little Bit Out Of Your Depth? We've Got Your Back.

We know how you're feeling. We've gone through a lot of different steps and thrown a lot of information at you. Setting up your first Facebook ad campaign can be a bit overwhelming. But it's not impossible! However, we know that the days aren't getting any longer. If you're finding that time is slipping away from you each day, it might be time to put the work in the hands of some Facebook specialists.   Setting up your Facebook ad campaigns is only the first step. You need to be consistently monitoring them and improving them to ensure that you're optimising your campaigns and getting the best return on ad spend that you could hope for. Luckily, we've got a fair bit of experience under our belts helping businesses just like yours to make the most out of the Facebook advertising platform.   Feel free to give our team a call on 1300 345 283 or send us an enquiry with your current issues to let us know how exactly we can help to grow your business.   In the meantime, we've put together this free template for you to use so you can start planning out your Facebook campaigns!

Your secret advantage, right now.

Did someone say free template for brilliant Facebook Ads? Just let us know where to send it, and you'll have it in a moment!


Getting Your Head Around Facebook Ads Manager

Getting Your Head Around Facebook Ads Manager Start familiarising yourself with Facebook Ads Manager, as you'll be finding yourself getting stuck into this management tool in the coming months (if you haven't been already!)   Note here that you'll only be able to create a campaign if you have already set up your Facebook business page. If your Facebook page is all good to go, you can hop into your Business Manager and select your Facebook Ads Manager from there.    Think of the Ads Manager as the platform within your Business Manager, which is a broader home for all of your marketing efforts on Facebook.

How To Run Facebook Ads - Step-by-Step

Once you've had a play around on Business Manager and your Ads Manager to see what's possible and the sorts of settings you have access to, we can launch into how to run Facebook ads step by step.

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