Editor's Note: This post has been updated with new content and links.
Original Publication Date: May 4, 2017
Knowing how to use the Facebook Ads Manager is like a superpower in many ways.
Navigating this tool gives you the ability to reach more than 2.38 billion monthly active users around the world.
That’s over 30% of the Earth's population, potentially seeing your ads and reading your posts.
You could almost say that the Facebook Ads Manager can make or break newbie -- and seasoned -- marketers that want to be the heroes of their teams.
Of course, no hero is perfect. Even if you’re the superstar of your marketing team, you can’t know everything.
What if your ideas get tangled up in the exhausting process of setting up Facebook ad campaigns?
All those campaign levels, optimization options, and bidding methods…
Facebook Ads Manager can be a tricky tool to master.
But you don’t have to be sad like Batman. It gets much easier if you take the time to discover all the options and possibilities of the Ads Manager.
We’ve put together this guide to give you a step-by-step overview of Facebook Ads Manager, from setting up your first campaign to optimizing for higher ROI.
By the time we're done, the next time a team member asks for help with Facebook campaign setup, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Why do you need Facebook Ads Manager?
Maybe you’re thinking “What’s all this fuss about?”
Why do you need Facebook ads at all?
Buffer’s 2019 social media report found that 93% of marketers use Facebook for their business and 91% have invested in Facebook ads.
And it can pay off. A German home décor search portal was able to reduce its CPA by nearly 25% using Facebook Custom Audiences to drive high-quality traffic to its partner sites.
And that’s just one example.
We have over 100 clients that use Facebook ads, and we've shared our experiences through countless pieces of content (this being one of them).
So if you want to be among the 91% of marketers reaching their audiences via Facebook ads, there’s really no way around the Facebook Ads Manager or the Power Editor.
The Power Editor, by the way, is more complex and mainly used for managing large-scale campaigns. I’d suggest that you start by mastering the Ads Manager.
If you’re not familiar with this ad management tool yet, here’s a super quick overview of what can be done with it:
With Facebook Ads Manager, you can:
- Set up Facebook ad campaigns
- Create new ad sets and ads
- A/B test your Facebook ad campaigns
- Manage Facebook ad bidding and budgets
- Keep track of your campaign performance
- Optimize your ad campaigns for higher ROI
- Get more target audience insight
That’s a lot of sweet features for a single tool.
And here’s some good news -- you can get all those golden benefits quite easily. All you need to do is set up a Facebook Ads Manager account and learn to navigate between the tools.
Sounds like a stellar deal to me. You ready?
Getting started with Ads Manager
Just to get this out of the way, Facebook Ads Manager by itself is a free tool.
You only pay when your ads show in your target audiences’ news feeds.
There are three ways to get to your Facebook Ads Manager account:
1) Click this link to open your account now (and bookmark the link for quick access).
2) Click the drop-down arrow in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page that you have Admin access to. Select “Manage Ads” in the drop-down menu.
You’ll land on the Facebook Ad Accounts page where you can select an ad account to manage. To switch between Facebook pages, you can go to the Business Manager and select another page.
3) Use Facebook’s Ads Manager mobile app to manage your ads on the go.
With a combination of these three options, you can access and review your Facebook ads anytime and anywhere.
Navigating the Facebook Ads Manager
On the first look, the Ads Manager can seem slightly overwhelming, which is why we created a little roadmap for you.
Bear with me. We’ll get into all those features later in the article.
The easiest way to find your way throughout the entire ad management process is by using Facebook Business Manager’s navigation bar menu.
You’ll have plenty of options to move between your ad campaigns, Facebook target audiences, admin settings, and much more.
In addition to the menu, there’s other stuff worth checking out inside the navigation bar:
- Search: Quickly find your campaigns, ad sets, and ads
- Notifications: See what’s new on your Facebook pages
- Help: Access FAQs and Facebook’s ad glossary whenever you’re stuck with something
Using Facebook Ads Manager for campaign setup
Learning to create and handle Facebook ad campaigns has many analogies with learning to dance.
As you make your first moves, you may take a wrong step somewhere and fall.
But after you’ve set up a couple of successful ad campaigns and worked through this guide, you’re all set to rock the Facebook advertising landscape and beat the competition.
The Facebook campaign creation process starts once you hit the green “Create Ad” button on the upper-right corner of Ads Manager.
Here’s what happens next:
You’re going to be guided through the entire ad creation process. All you have to do is select the options you prefer and enter your very best Facebook ad copy. That’s easy, right?
Step 1: Choose your campaign objective
Your “campaign objective” is a fancy name for the ultimate goal of your Facebook ad campaign. That is, getting new leads or paying customers, having people download your content, etc.
This step is arguably one of the decisive elements of your campaign success. The Facebook campaign objective determines the optimization and bidding options you’ll have later.
Look at the campaign objective as the foundation of your entire campaign. You should make sure it reflects on your final goals instead of vanity metrics such as ad clicks or impressions.
When setting up a new Facebook ad campaign in the Ads Manager, you can choose between 11 campaign objectives:
If you’re interested in all the bidding and delivery optimization possibilities that come with each campaign objective, see our guide to ad bidding and optimization.
Step 2: Name your ad campaign
This one is easy: type in the name of your ad campaign.
If that's not enough information, you can find an in-depth guide on Facebook ad campaign naming best practices here, put together by Facebook advertising expert Jon Loomer.
Step 3: Select the target audience
After you’ve given your campaign a name, that’s where the real fun begins.
Usually, the next step in the row is selecting or creating one or several Facebook ad audiences.
Facebook Ads Manager lets you target people based on the demographics, past website visits, conversions, etc. – the choice is crazy-extensive.
As I could go on for hours talking about the importance of targeting the right audiences, I’ll restrict myself to telling you this: Make sure your audiences match with your offer.
You wouldn’t want to advertise the same offer to every single person in your sales funnel. Those people have all different problems and expectations for your product.
Make it a priority to define your buyer personas so you can craft ad messages based on your target audience’s personalities and expectations.
By doing so, you’ll avoid one of the gravest Facebook ad mistakes that break otherwise brilliant campaigns.
Tip: Don’t forget to exclude Facebook Custom Audiences of past converters or people who have already visited your landing pages for particular offers.
Finally, check out our 101-point guide to Facebook Custom Audiences to learn everything there is to know. (As icing on the cake, this guide is full of first-class retargeting ideas.)
Step 4: Select your ad placements
Facebook’s ad placements include:
- Facebook News Feeds (Mobile and Desktop)
- Facebook Right-Hand Column
- Audience Network
- Instant Articles
- In-Stream Video
Should you deliver your ads across all these channels and placements? Probably not.
As Kissmetrics pointed out, the Instagram ad placement converted nearly 500% better than the Mobile News Feed placement, at a fraction of the CPA.
It really depends on what you’re offering and whom you’re targeting.
For example, when creating Mobile App Download ads, it makes sense to use Mobile ad placements.
If you’re unsure which ad placements to start with, here’s what Facebook suggests:
- Brand awareness: Facebook and Instagram
- Engagement: Facebook and Instagram
- Video views: Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
- App installs: Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
- Traffic (for website clicks and app engagement): Facebook and Audience Network
- Product catalog sales: Facebook and Audience Network
- Conversions: Facebook and Audience Network
Step 5: Set your advertising budget
Facebook’s PPC bidding operates on an auction-type bidding system, just like Google Ads. Believe me, it’s a science on its own.
To customize your ad budget, go to your campaign’s Budget & Schedule section.
When using Facebook Ads Manager, you can select between Daily and Lifetime Budget.
Let’s power through a crash course in Facebook ad budgets:
Facebook will spend a set amount of money every day during your campaign dates.
Note that when you set your daily budget, you’re setting an average. This means that Facebook will try to get you roughly your daily budget’s worth of results for every day along the campaign runway.
On certain days, when Facebook sees better opportunities, it may spend up to 25% more than your daily budget.
Don’t be surprised if your daily ad spend looks something like this. It’s just the way it works:
Facebook will spend this sum over the entire campaign duration.
You can adjust your ad budgets during your campaigns by going to the Facebook Ads Manager and editing your campaign parameters on the Ad Set level.
Step 6: Optimize your ad delivery
After you’ve set your campaign’s budget, click on the “Show Advanced Options” link to continue to the next step.
While we're in the campaign creation phase, you’ll tell Facebook what the most important campaign objectives are for you.
Is it conversions, impressions, link clicks, or delivering your ads to a large set of people once a day?
Here’s how Facebook explains delivery optimization:
Your optimization choice tells us what to value when delivering your ad. For example, you could tell us to show your ad to the people in your target audience most likely to click a link to your website (optimizing for link clicks) or to show it as many times as possible (optimizing for impressions).
Facebook has four different delivery optimization options:
- Conversions: Facebook will do its best to deliver your ads to people who are most likely to convert. Basically, Facebook will do the hardest part of ad optimization for you. (In most cases, I recommend selecting this option.)
- Link Clicks: Facebook focuses on getting users to click on your ad to be taken to a landing page or a download page. If your goal is to get a lot of users to your website, this might be a good option.
- Impressions: Facebook will optimize your ads to be seen by as many people as possible. This is a good option for businesses looking to build brand awareness.
- Daily Unique Reach: Facebook will deliver your ads to the maximum number of people up to once a day. This method works well when combined with retargeting.
For best results, select the optimization method that’s closest to your advertising goal. (Most likely, that's conversions.)
Step 7: Review your ad bidding method (optional)
We already have a super in-depth and up-to-date Facebook Ads bidding guide on the KlientBoost blog, so I won’t go into too much detail here.
If you’re new to the Facebook Ads Manager, you can skip this step completely and use automatic bidding, or you can select the manual bidding method and tell Facebook how much a conversion is worth to you.
For example, if you’ve optimized your ad campaign for Link Clicks, you can set the highest price per click you’re willing to pay.
Step 8: Set up a custom schedule (optional)
If you’re using the Lifetime Budget, Facebook offers an option to set up a custom ad schedule.
This means you can select which hours of the day and days of the week your ads will be delivered.
For example, if you select 5pm - 8pm on Tuesdays, your ad will be served to people during the evening commute in their local time.
Alright, you’re through the technical campaign setup phase -- congratulations! Now it’s time to move on to the sweet, sweet ad creation phase!
Step 9: Create your Facebook Ads
During this step, you’re going to create your Facebook ads by setting up ad messages, links, and images.
Facebook Ads Manager lets you either use an existing post or create a new ad.
Use existing page posts in your ads
There are at least three reasons why promoting your Facebook page posts can pay off big time.
First, you can uncover your best-performing page posts by measuring their organic engagement level. Instead of guessing what works, you’ll be promoting an already tested Facebook post.
Second, using Facebook page posts across multiple ads ensures that all the likes and shares the ads get in different campaigns show up in one place.
Finally, as you promote a single page post in multiple ad sets to different audiences, all of the likes (your social proof) will accumulate under this one post.
To use a Facebook post in your ad campaigns, you need to post it on your Facebook page first.
Next, select “Use Existing Post” in the ad creation phase.
Create a new ad
Start by selecting the Facebook ad type you’d like to use. There are plenty of options, the most popular ones being:
- Carousel ads
- Single Image ads
- Single Video ads
- Slideshow ads
- Canvas ads
- Lead Gen ads
- Dynamic Product ads
Your choice of ad type should depend on which ad layout matches best with your offer and your advertising goals.
Moreover, a Mobile ad requires a completely different input than a Desktop ad. Not all ad designs and messages look great across each channel.
Now switch your brain cells to "work mode" and create one or more Facebook ads. Fill in all the empty boxes and select your ad images and calls-to-action.
After you’ve selected the right ad image(s) or a video and filled in all the text boxes, you’ll have an ad that looks like the ones in your Facebook news feed.
If you’re happy with your campaign, click on the green “Place Order“ button and publish your campaign to Facebook.
Using Facebook Ads Manager to edit your campaigns
Proper Facebook campaign optimization can make or break ad campaigns.
Once you’ve published your Facebook ad campaigns, you’ll probably want to adjust and update the ad sets and campaign setup every so often.
It could be as simple as noticing a small typo in your ad copy and wanting to change it ASAP.
To edit an existing Facebook campaign, ad set, or ad, hover over its name and click on the Edit icon. You can also select multiple ad sets or ads and bulk edit them to be even more efficient.
You should see a popup editing window where you can make your changes.
At the campaign level in the Ads Manager, you can:
- Edit the campaign’s name
- Set a new spending limit
- Switch the campaign on or off
At the ad sets level in the Ads Manager, you can edit:
- The ad set’s name
- Ad placement
- The ad set’s budget and schedule
- Target audience
- Delivery optimization
- Switch the ad sets on or off
At the ads level in the Ads Manager, you can edit:
- The ad’s name
- The ad’s link
- The call-to-action
- Switch ads on or off
Also, wait at least 24 hours before you edit newly published Facebook ad campaigns -- it takes about that long for Facebook to process your ad and optimize delivery.
Using Facebook Ads Manager for reporting
The Ads Manager isn't just for campaign setup and quick edits. You can also use it for reporting.
Just like kids, your ads can get wild without a little discipline. This can lead to a slowdown in ad delivery and decreased campaign results. (Or temper tantrums and bad grades, if we're sticking with the metaphor.)
Fortunately, you can track relevant campaign metrics without breaking a sweat -- as long as you know what to look for in your ad reports.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with heaps of information and data that you have no idea how to use.
These metrics typically provide a detailed overview of each ad set’s (and each ad’s) performance:
- Cost-per-conversion: How much it costs to get a conversion (i.e. to acquire a new customer or lead, have your content downloaded, etc.)
- Conversion rate: How many people that see your ad will convert
- Click-to-conversion rate: How many people who click on your ad will also convert
- Ad frequency: How many times on average a person has seen your ad
- Relevance score: How relevant your ad is to your target audience
Avoid getting stuck with the nice-to-have vanity metrics such as (unless you are solely focused on brand awareness):
- Total ad impressions
- Click-through rate
- Cost per 1k impressions
When using Facebook Ads Manager to see ad reports, you can break down your campaign reports by ad sets or individual ads for a closer look into each ad’s performance.
Managing your ad report columns
In the Columns menu, you can select between different ad reports that change the metrics you see in your ad report.
You can either select a ready-made report or create custom ad reports by clicking on “Customize Columns.”
A quick(ish) overview of Facebook Ads Manager metrics
- Result Rate
- Social Reach
- Social Impressions
- People Taking Action
- Positive & Negative Feedback
- Amount Spent
- Post Engagement
- Page Engagement
- Event Responses
- Offer Claims
- Link Clicks
- Unique Link Clicks
- Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
- Social Clicks
- New Messaging Conversations
- Messaging Replies
- Cost per New Messaging Conversation
- Video Average Watch Time
- Canvas View Time
- 3-Second Video Views, 10-Second Video Views, 30-Second Video Views
- Video Watches at 25%, Video Watches at 100%, etc.
- Adds to Cart
- Registrations Completed
- Cost per Website Conversion
- Cost per Website Purchase
- Website Conversion Value
- Website Custom Conversions
- Desktop App Installs
- Mobile App Actions
- Mobile App Adds to Cart
- App Purchases
- Cost per App Install
- Leads (Form)
- Cost per On-Facebook Purchase
- Offline Leads
- Store Visits
- Offline Purchases
- Adds to Cart
- Cost per Offline Purchases
That's a lot of metrics to choose from, so don’t forget to save the ad reports you need after you create them.
Using the Breakdown menu for reporting
By using the Breakdown menu, you can break down your campaign reports by:
- Delivery: Age, gender, location, browsing platform, platform, device, time of day, etc.
- Action: Conversion device, destination, video view type, video sound, carousel card, etc.
- Time: Day, week, 2 weeks, month
Facebook Ads Manager allows you to add one criterion from each section to your report (i.e. one from Delivery, one from Action, and one from Time).
To find the Action and Time breakdown options, scroll to the bottom of the menu.
For example, here’s what an ad report broken down by placements looks like:
Searching and filtering your campaigns in Ads Manager
Ads Manager is a pretty thorough tool that can help you uncover tons of valuable information.
If you’re only interested in particular campaigns, objectives, or a specific date range, you can apply filters to your ad reports.
You’ll find the Search box, filters, and date range in the top right corner of your Ads Manager dashboard.
There are plenty of filtering options available. Each of these filters comes with multiple options:
- Buying Type
- Date Updated
In the Date Range section, you can apply filters to see campaign results for a specific time period.
If you use the same filter set often, hit the “Save Filter” button to save time when you check in on your ads.
Exporting and sharing your ad reports
If you work with clients or want to share the latest ad reports with your teammates, it’s easy to do.
You can choose from three options:
1. Export: Download your ad report data as an Excel or CSV file.
2. Share: Get a link that you can share with others having access to the ad account.
3. Save: Save ad report views for later use or schedule email reports to be sent to you regularly.
Setting up a scheduled ad report takes about 30 seconds and will save you lots of time.
But automating campaign reports isn’t by far the biggest time-saver in Facebook Ads Manager.
You can also automate huge parts of the campaign optimization process.
Campaign auto-optimization in Ads Manager
One of my favorite things about the Facebook Ads Manager is the auto-optimization rules.
Basically, you tell Facebook how you’d like your ad campaigns to be managed and let it do half of the hard work for you.
Automated rules help to keep your Facebook ad campaigns running smoothly and notify you when something isn't right.
You can set up four different consequences:
- Turning off the ad campaign, ad set or ad
- Sending notifications to the ad manager (that’s you)
- Adjusting budgets (increase/decrease daily/lifetime budget by…)
- Adjusting manual bids (increase/decrease bid by…)
You can apply the rules to specific campaigns, ad sets, or ads, or have all your active campaigns, ad sets or ads following the same rules pattern.
To create an automated rule, click on the “Create Rule” button in the Campaign Summary table that you’ll find under the editing tab.
- Cost per:
- Add Payment Info (Facebook Pixel)
- Click (Link)
- App Install
- Add to Cart (Facebook Pixel)
- Initiate Checkout (Facebook Pixel)
- Purchase (Facebook Pixel)
- Lead (Facebook Pixel)
- Complete Registration (Facebook Pixel)
- CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions)
- Daily Spend
- Lifetime Spent
After you’ve selected the campaigns or ads, you can create custom combinations of conditions that will trigger an action.
Once you click on “Create”, the new rules will go live and Facebook will start to monitor your ad results.
Learning from Audience Insights
There’s one more feature in the Ads Manager that I want you to know about. It’s called Audience Insights.
Put simply, Audience Insights is where Facebook gives you all their business intelligence regarding your target audiences, including the geography, demographics, purchase behavior, and much more.
For example, if you’re curious to discover more details about your Facebook page fans, select your Facebook page under the “People connected to your page” section.
You can use your new findings to create new Saved Audiences based on locations, purchase behavior, and interests – and reach more potential customers.
But that’s just scratching the surface of your Facebook audiences. If you want to know more, read my guide on Facebook audience targeting.
A quick recap on Facebook Ads Manager
After reading this guide, Facebook Ads Manager doesn’t seem that complicated any more, does it?
As a quick reminder, here’s what you can do in the Ads Manager:
- Create Facebook ad campaigns
- Track and report on your ad campaigns
- Set up custom rules and notifications
Even if it all seems a bit overwhelming right now, it will get easier once you get your hands dirty and create your first ad campaign. From there, you’ll pick everything up twice as fast.
We’d also like to hear from you. What are the most complex aspects of Facebook Ads Manager you've come across?
Post a comment below -- let's get the conversation started.