Example of Facebook ad campaigns

If you’re new to paid social media advertising, think of Facebook ads as the ideal place to get started — they’re inexpensive, low-pressure, and require a minimal time commitment.

But at first glance, Facebook Ad Manager may seem complicated and even intimidating. To help you explore what options suit your brand or business, we’ve put together this introductory guide to Facebook ad campaigns.

What is a Facebook campaign?

A campaign is where the ad creation process begins. Think of it as the core structure that houses and organizes your ads to support a specific goal. Additionally, the campaign level is where you can actively evaluate the performance of your ad sets by reviewing key metrics like results, reach and cost.

The Facebook ad campaign structure breaks down into three main components:

Campaigns. Each campaign has a specific advertising objective, and the ad sets nested within the campaign share that common goal.

Ad Sets. Within your ad sets, you determine what kind of targeting, budget, schedule, bidding and placement your ads will need to achieve the objective you defined for the campaign.

Ads. For each ad set, you’ll create one or more ads by deciding on format, images and ad copy.

What can a Facebook ad campaign achieve?

As exciting as it is to learn new things, we know you’re not just learning how to leverage Facebook advertising for kicks and giggles. You’re interested because you have broader business goals that you need to achieve with strategic decisions for your advertising budget.

Defining the objective for your campaign is the first step of advertising with Facebook. Facebook provides three objectives to guide each of your campaigns, with each housing more granular goals:


If you’re aiming to increase interest in a specific product or service offering, or hoping to boost your target audience’s brand recognition, Facebook offers two objectives to achieve those awareness goals: brand awareness and reach.

Brand awareness

You should select this as your campaign objective if you’re looking for a sign that people

have taken notice of your brand thanks to your ad. The most accurate measurement for the moments when people actively recognize your brand is engagement. If people are reacting to your ad and commenting, you know that they’ve seen your ad.


This is the option for you if you’re looking to reach people who are near your business. Choosing this objective will show your ad to people who reside in the general area of your local business.


Are you more interested in proactive, effective lead generation than raising brand awareness? Facebook provides options to help you get in touch with potential customers, no matter what your industry.

Facebook offers five consideration objectives to help you create a customized lead ad. These objectives are traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, and lead generation (form completes).


Selecting a traffic objective indicates that you’re interested in driving people to your website, your Facebook page, or to a conversation within the Messenger app to help move them further along in the sales funnel. This objective often aligns well with broader website traffic goals for your business, making it pretty easy to track your results.


An ad built around an engagement objective can help you measure potential customers’ interest in your brand. This objective will most on increasing post engagement, page likes, or event responses.

App installs

Choosing “app installs” as your objective allows you to create an ad that encourages your audience to download your mobile app.

Video views

If you have a video that you’d like to be watched by a specific target audience, then selecting the video views objective is a sound decision. These ads will help ensure your content reaches people who are the most likely to watch it.

Lead generation

A lead generation objective is just what it sounds like. It focuses on persuading people to share their contact information by filling out a form.


Let’s say you have a pretty clear idea about who your potential customers are. If you’re more interested in sealing the deal with a sale, then a conversion objective is probably more fitting for your campaign.


Conversion ads drive the customer to take a specific action, such as purchasing a product, making a donation, or registering for a program. You can track these actions from start to finish by adding the Facebook pixel to the code in your website or app.

Product catalog sales

A product catalog objective will help push product sales by displaying different items to different people, based on the item that will appeal to them most.

Store visits

If you’re interested in boosting sales goals but do not have an e-commerce platform, Facebook also offers the store visits objective. This encourages people to head to your brick-and-mortar locations.

What audiences can you reach with a Facebook ad campaign?

Whether you’re looking to target a single zip code or aiming to reach far and wide, Facebook can help you get in touch with the specific target audiences you have in mind.

Facebook has access to third-party data from companies like Acxiom, Experian, Oracle Data Cloud, TransUnion and WPP. That data is then matched to user IDs to connect individuals with relevant offerings through Facebook advertising. This third-party data is what allows Facebook ads to achieve such detailed targeting.

Facebook Ad Targeting

When you begin creating the ad set within your Facebook ad campaign, you’ll be given the opportunity to create a new audience.

The initial targeting decisions you must make surround the demographics of your intended audience. The three basic targeting categories are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages

You’ll then have the opportunity to get more specific in location-based targeting. When targeting ads to people by location, you’ll have the more obvious options available, such as country, state, city, province and zip code. You’ll also have less common targeting options, such as regional targeting for entire continents or specific areas that fall under a trade agreement.

Facebook’s third-party data really comes into play when you start to delve into interest- and behavior-based targeting options. Facebook dubs these refinements as “detailed targeting,” and you’ll quickly learn why.

You have the option to target an audience based on interests, such as an interest in skiing or ceramics. You also choose to include or exclude people in your audiences based on specific behaviors, like what apps they use or past ads they’ve clicked.

Just a little word to the wise: don’t get so carried away with detailed targeting that your audiences become too small. This greatly limits the effectiveness of your entire ad set!

Ready to get started?

There you have it: the basics of Facebook advertising.

Although Facebook offers a fairly user-friendly interface and simple ad creation process, it also provides numerous opportunities for optimization through more advanced targeting. The platform also provides detailed native insights to help you see where you’re succeeding and where there’s room for improvement.

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