How to Set Up Your First Facebook Ad Campaign on Ads Manager

Facebook Ads Manager is an excellent choice for most companies looking to get started with their first Facebook ad campaigns.

Setting up your first Facebook ad campaign in Ads Manager may seem daunting at first.  Our goal with this guide is to make it simple for you to get your first ad campaign going and driving traffic to your website.

Let's get some terminology out of the way first. You'll first want to understand how Facebook Ads Manager organizes ads. There are three elements to Facebook's campaign structure:

  • Campaigns - This acts as a container that houses your ad assets for a specific campaign (ad sets and ads). Campaigns house ads focused on a single advertising objective.
  • Ad sets - These contain your specific audience targeting and budget information. If you're targeting separate audiences with different characteristics, it is best to create a different ad set for each. Ad sets may vary in color, copy, images, offer, etc. You may create multiple ad sets within a campaign; however, each ad set should target the same audience segment.
  • Ads - Your ads are grouped by Ad Set and house the specific combination of creative. Again, you may create multiple variations of ads within a single Ad Set, which is useful for A/B testing.

To use the Facebook Ads Manager, you'll need a Facebook Business Page.

10 Quick Steps to Set Up Your First Facebook Ad Campaign

STEP 1. Create your ad account with Facebook Ads Manager

Before you begin to run any ads, you'll need to set up your Facebook Ads Manager account first.  You can do it later as well but this process will still be required or you'll get an error when you complete setting up everything.

5 Simple Steps To Ready Your Facebook Account for Ads

  1. Make sure you already have a Facebook Business Page created and customized
  2. Navigate to FB Ads Manager
  3. Confirm your information shown on the ad account setup page
  4. Set up a payment method
  5. Save changes

Congratulations, Facebook Ads Manager is now ready to be the performance dashboard for all your Facebook ads.

STEP 2. Create Your Facebook Ad Campaign in Ads Manager From Scratch

Since you don't have any ads created yet, expect the dashboard to be empty.

To create a new Facebook Ad Campaign, Ad Set, or Ad, head over to the 'Create' button.

STEP 3. Choose From 11 Different Objectives For Your Campaign

Now, you have to choose your campaign objectives.

The ad options (segregated based on Customer Journey):

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Website traffic
  • Engagement
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Catalog sales
  • Store traffic

Choose the correct objective for your business because each will consist of different elements such as ad formats, bidding options, and campaign optimization. Always select an objective that closely matches your desired outcome.

Decide what business goals you want your FB ad strategy to solve, keep track of metrics that best reflect your success in those specific areas.

For campaigns where your end goal is to collect information via an opt-in form, you should select lead generation as your objective.

If you do a lot of content marketing, promoting your posts is a great way to start getting traffic to your content and build awareness around your company.

While tempting, never use the Boost Post button on your business page.  It's two clicks to Boost but you'll cede a lot of control on targeting.  Set up your ad within the ads manager with a few extra clicks and you'll be far better off.

For the purpose of this article, we will decide on driving more traffic to your website URL. You'd select Traffic as your objective.

You'll need to enter the URL you want to promote. If using marketing automation software, create a unique tracking URL with UTM parameters to ensure you are keeping track of traffic and conversions from this ad.

Facebook will then present you with ad options most suitable for achieving your objective.

Keep campaigns to a minimum as you want to house your ad sets and ads within as few campaigns as possible to avoid muddying up Facebook's targeting algorithm and causing your entire account to underperform.

Make sure you give your campaign a meaningful name to easily organize your campaigns as you scale and run more campaigns later. Consider various elements such as website, target audience, custom audience, creative type (carousel, link, video), Facebook page, etc.

For example, you can name it as 'Custom_Link_WebsiteName' to denote a custom audience, using a link campaign to your website.

STEP 4. Set Up Your Facebook Audience Targeting

Now, you'll want to configure your target audience. It is best to keep your campaign simple in the beginning for ease of troubleshooting any issues later. Experiment with different targeting options to determine the audience that fits you.

To determine the right audience for your business, work out who your Customer Avatar is. Download our Customer Avatar Worksheet if you haven't already done so.

Make sure to take your time to define your ideal customer as wholly and accurately as possible because it'll serve you well in this step.

Once you've defined your ideal customer avatar, it's time to create your audience.

You have two options:

  • Create a new target audience
  • Use a saved audience

If you have not done so, make sure you install the Facebook Pixel. Facebook uses the Pixel to track your website visitors and to run retargeting campaigns.

Retargeting is a powerful way to follow up with your website visitors who visited your site once at a lower ongoing cost. We'll discuss the proper set up of a retargeting campaign in another article.

Create custom audiences based on past interactions from data collected with the Facebook Pixel installed. You can target people already in your company's contact database, track events such as "conversions," or who already use your product.

When you uncover a specific audience who responds to your ads, you can save these audiences to use later.

Select the fields for targeting your audience based on your Customer Avatar.

As you define your audience targeting, Facebook presents you with their audience definition gauge. The gauge displays the estimated daily reach of your ad. FB will inform you if your audience sizes are too big, too small, or just right using the meter.

FB's built-in targeting offers options like location, age, gender, language, education, work, financial, connections, and a whole lot more. Here are the numerous targeting options to choose from:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (US only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

Audience Definition

If you're looking to drive traffic, focus on people who will be interested in your offering.

If you're looking to build brand awareness, focus on a general audience.

Make sure you define your audience correctly and avoid overlaps. If you take the time to set up the right target audience, you'll get much better results from your advertising efforts.

We'll cover the creation of custom/lookalike audiences in a later article.

STEP 5. Set Up Ad Placement

Generally, Facebook chooses automatic placements for best results, but you can choose to override these "optimal" settings. If you have data on what placement works best for your business, you can select your preferred ad placements.

Facebook, for the most part, does a decent job of auto-optimizing ad placements.

Because ad cost varies when you choose your own placements, it can be beneficial in some instances. If an advertiser doesn't know how to test the various ad placements, it can inadvertently end up costing more.

Generally, choosing your own placements is best left to the specialists like us as we can split-test different elements and identify where customers are likely to be. Avoid picking your own placements if you are a new advertiser.

Once you click on the radio button 'Manual', more options open up below.

Ad placement options include:


  • Feed
  • Instant Articles
  • In-Stream Videos
  • Right Column
  • Marketplace
  • Stories


  • Feed
  • Stories

Audience Network:

  • Native, Banner, and Interstitial
  • In-Stream Videos
  • Rewarded Videos


  • Inbox
  • Sponsored messages

STEP 6. Specify Your Budget - Daily or Lifetime

With a daily budget, FB paces your spending throughout the entire day. The minimum daily budget for an ad set is US$1 and must be at least 2x your CPC.

With a lifetime budget, FB paces your ad spend over the time period set for the ad to run.

Budget selection is only possible during campaign setup. You cannot change this setting after you create the ad set.

Advanced Options:


You may use this option to schedule the start and end dates. If none are specified, your ads will run immediately and continuously. As a start, it is best to run ads all the time so you can study the reports to see if any days/times are better to serve your ads.

You also have the option to set parameters such that your ad only appears during specific hours and days of the week.

We recommend setting a daily budget to run with no end date. Doing so gives you the ability to increase/decrease budgets later or pause the campaign as needed.

STEP 7. Optimization & Pricing

Optimization for Ad Delivery is selected based on the end goal you have.

If your goal is simply for website traffic, optimize ad delivery for link clicks.

If your goal is to convert visitors at your website, select 'Conversions' as your goal.

Campaign Budget Optimization

When you advertise on Facebook, you're competing with other advertisers who are similarly trying to reach goals like yours. To ensure fairness, Facebook uses an auction system for ad bidding.

The advertiser who pays the most may not necessarily win the bid. That's because the user experience is also part of the equation for what you ultimately pay.

Facebook is not alone in this. Google Ads also views relevance and engagement as factors determining how much someone ultimately pays for ads.

To Facebook, the advertiser who runs ads with the best combination of the highest bid, relevance score, and resulting action rates are ads that are deemed worthy of serving to its visitors.

To see the Campaign Budget Optimization options, toggle the switch on the right to 'On'.

Campaign Budget Optimization distributes your ad budget across all the ads sets in your campaign. It automatically places more of your funds in the ad sets that perform best.

Lowest Cost vs. Target Cost Bidding

Lowest cost bidding is where FB will attempt to get the lowest cost results based on your optimization goal while increasing the bid to spend the budget. Setting a bid cap ensures you don't bid more than a chosen amount for your goal. This method is most efficient for spending your budget, but costs may rise later.

Target cost bidding means you set a target cost based on the goal, and FB will bid to meet that cost on an average basis. This method is perfect for advertisers who wish to achieve a stable average price for ad spend even when they scale or increase their ad budgets. With this bidding strategy, you may not get the lowest cost because Facebook bids around your target ad spend.

Choose whether to bid for your objective, pay by clicks, or impressions. You may choose manual or Facebook's automated bidding, which controls your maximum bid.

Opting for manual bidding gives you more control over how much you're willing to pay per action. Facebook will still provide a suggested bid based on other advertiser's behavior, so you have some ballpark figures to work off.


There are two types of delivery: standard and accelerated.

Standard delivery shows ads throughout the day, while accelerated delivery enables you to reach an audience quickly with time-sensitive ads (requires manual bidding setting)

STEP 8. Create your ad

In this example setup, we've elected to drive traffic to your website. Ads Manager, therefore, appropriately enough, suggests you the 'Clicks to Website' ad option.

With the objective of 'Traffic' to a website, there are two formats to choose from: links and carousel ads.

Single Image displays a single image, video, or slideshow.

Carousel Ad displays a multi-image ad with 3-5 scrolling images at no additional cost.

The Collection Ad format includes an Instant Experience designed for people to discover, browse, and purchase products and services from their phones. These ads are best suited for companies with a catalog of products to display.

Once you've decided on which format to go with, you may begin to upload your creative assets.

Be sure to create a compelling headline for your ad.  If you need assistance with headlines, check out our copywriting resource.

Make sure to check Facebook help documentation for design criteria and match your character count and image dimensions.

Single image:

You'll want to check out the unique requirements based on the ad objective you initially chose if it is not for website traffic.

Upon selecting an ad type, Ads Manager will ask you to identify where you'd like your ad displayed.

Supported placements include:

  • Desktop Newsfeed
  • Mobile Newsfeed
  • Desktop Right Column

The placements available for your ad will depend on the objective you selected.

In our example of driving website traffic, supported placements that would show are: right column, desktop newsfeed, mobile newsfeed, audience network, and Instagram.

STEP 9. Hit 'Publish'

If you've set up your payment mode, your ad is ready to run as soon as you hit Publish.

Step 10. Monitor your performance in FB ads manager

You can also access and manage your ad campaign with their mobile app.

The Facebook ads manager dashboard gives users an overview of all their campaigns. You'll be able to view the estimated ad spend each day.

The dashboard is organized by columns making it easy to filter through ads and see custom views. Reach, frequency, and cost easily accessible.

You may view data using four main methods depending on how granular you want to get:

  • Account-level
  • Campaign-level
  • Ad Set-level
  • Ad-level

With Account level, you get a birds-eye picture of all your campaigns with aggregate data. To go there, click on Account Overview and select the metrics you want to see according to different settings such as time ranges, etc.

For a more in-depth analysis of your data, you can select Campaigns, Ad Sets, or Ads, which you find next to Account Overview. Here, you can determine whether your various messaging, audiences, collateral are working well.

For help with identifying the key performance indicators to track, check out our social media metrics guide for the essential KPIs that will keep your campaign on track.


We hope that we made the whole process of setting up your first Facebook ad campaign easier to understand and you are off to the races with your very first Facebook ad!

One last piece of advice, remember to review Facebook's ad policies regularly to stay compliant and avoid getting your ad account shut down.  Doing a quick read through their documentation will save a lot of hassle later.


About the Author: Anthony Yap is a customer acquisition specialist certified by DigitalMarketer.  He builds and optimizes ad campaigns so you can focus on your business. Reach out to have one of our customer acquisition specialists build your ad campaign.

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How to Set Up Your First Facebook Ad Campaign on Ads Manager

time to read: 10 min