If You Haven’t Run Facebook Ads in a While, Start Here

I was introduced to the world of digital advertising through social media advertising. I discovered how exciting and satisfying it was to create an ad, put some money behind it, get results, and analyze the data through the Facebook platform.

It’s personally my favorite platform to run ads on because of the great targeting options, easy campaign management, and the ability to create aesthetically pleasing advertisements.

But like all things digital, Facebook changes quickly. Things are constantly evolving on the platform to ensure users will have a great experience and advertisers will continue spending money.

So, if you took a break and have recently decided to hop back on the social media advertising horse, here’s a quick crash course of how to get back into Facebook ads. 


Facebook Pixel

If the Facebook pixel isn’t already installed on your site, this is step number one. You must correctly install the Facebook pixel on all of your website pages in order to track conversions and ensure the results are accurate.

This unique piece of code helps you create custom audiences from website visitors, measure conversions accurately with cross-device tracking, optimize your campaigns for conversions, and more.

There are a few ways to do this.

First, you can do this yourself by navigating to the Events Manager tab from Ads Manager.

Screenshot of the 'Get Started' button for the Facebook Pixel.

From there, you’ll automatically be brought to the Data Sources tab, where you can click the “Get Started” on creating a Facebook pixel. If you have access to your web page code, you can manually install the pixel code yourself.

If you have one of Facebook’s Partner Integrations, you can follow the step-by-step instructions offered to you.

Screenshot of the Facebook Ad integrations.

If neither of those options work, you can simply email the instructions to your website developer and they will be able to install the pixel code for you.

The pixel is absolutely essential to successfully advertise on Facebook. Otherwise, you’re just wasting ad spend.

Once you have it installed, be sure to send test traffic to ensure it’s working properly.


Conversion Events

Now that you’ve set your pixel up, setting up conversion events is the next necessary step for successful Facebook advertising.

This is where you can create and track purchase conversions, lead conversions, and more.

To begin, you’ll want to go back to Events Manager and click into your pixel.

Screenshot of an overview screen of conversion events.

Once there, you can navigate to the “Set Up” drop down on the top right, and select “Set Up New Events.”

You can choose to set up the event with Facebook’s Event Setup Tool, or manually install the code yourself. 

Screenshot of Facebook's Event Setup Tool.

Facebook offers a variety of conversion events to choose from. If you choose to manually install the code yourself, there are instructions on where to place it in your web page code. You can also install them with Google Tag Manager.

Once installed, be sure to test the event to confirm everything is working correctly.

Some common ones you can consider setting up are:

  • Purchase: Install this conversion event on your thank you or confirmation page.
  • Lead: Install this conversion event on the thank you page that comes after someone gives you their email or contact information.
  • Initiate Checkout: Install this conversion on the first page of your checkout process. You can retarget these users to bring them back to continue their checkout if they don’t finish.

Having conversion events fire on a page load is usually the easiest way to set them up, but there are also other options. You can have events fire on specific actions like when someone submits a form.

There are a lot of new and easy ways to set up conversions that Facebook now offers. Depending on your situation, you might want to set up custom conversions rather than the standard conversions, or utilize Facebook’s automatic data to set conversions up.


Campaign Objectives

Facebook wants to ensure it’s optimizing your campaign for your desired goal.

The marketing objective is the first prompt you’ll encounter when creating a campaign.

Screenshot of the Marketing Objective screen of the campaign settings.

They’re sorted by sections of the marketing funnel so you’ll be able to pick the one that best fits your campaign objective.

A quick breakdown of each campaign type can be found below:



  • Brand Awareness: Educate your audience about your brand, service, or product offering.
  • Reach: Show your ad to a ton of people in your audience.


  • Traffic: Get your target audience to your website to consider your brand, service, or product.
  • Engagement: Find audiences that are more likely to engage with your post, such as commenting or liking it. This is great to build social proof, or if you’re running a free offer you want people to claim.
  • App Installs: Get people to the app store to consider downloading your app.
  • Video Views: Share your video ad to audiences who are more likely to watch it.
  • Lead Generation: Generate more leads (for a newsletter, email-list only sale, etc.) with a lead form. You have control over the fields you want to include in the lead form.
  • Messages: Encourage people to message your business to learn more.


  • Conversions: If you have conversion events set up in your account, Facebook will optimize for that conversion (i.e. purchase, sign up for a demo, etc.).
  • Catalog Sales: If you have a product catalog set up in Facebook, your campaign will show these products to your target audience to encourage sales.
  • Store Traffic: Promote your brick and mortar store to anyone within a certain radius.

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO)

If you haven’t advertised on Facebook in a while, one of the biggest updates Facebook has made is offering Campaign Budget Optimization, or CBO, as a new campaign structure.

With CBO, the budget is set at the campaign level, and Facebook will determine how to distribute the budget depending on the volume of conversions in each ad set. In theory, this will spend the budget more efficiently and get better results so advertisers will continue to spend on the platform.

Comparison chart of 'Without Campaign Budget Optimization' and 'With Campaign Budget Optimization.'

If desired, Facebook allows you to control budget per ad set by setting a minimum and maximum limit you’re willing to spend on each.

Screenshot of the 'Optimizations & Spending Controls' settings with minimum and maximum spend limits.

This can be helpful if you need to force spend into an ad set, but it’s not ideal. If you put too many restrictions on it, Facebook can’t optimize to its full potential. 

To avoid huge swings in some ad sets spending a ton, don’t use too many ad sets in one campaign, and make sure the audience sizes are similar between each ad set.

It’s important to monitor your campaigns and ensure ad sets that aren’t bringing results are turned off. If an ad set is doing particularly well, you can separate it out by leaving it running in its current campaign, and pausing the rest and moving them into a separate campaign.


Targeting Research

Facebook is huge - at the end of 2019 they reported over 2.5 billion monthly active users.

So, where do you find your audience?

A great place to start is with Audience Insights. This powerful tool gives insights into the interests, behaviors, and demographics of your desired audience.

Screenshot of the Audience Insights page.

There are few ways to maximize the tool.

First, you can start by creating a list of things your audience is likely interested in. This includes competitors, public figures in the industry, media, blogs, books, movies, and so on.

Plug a few of those into the interest drop down in the left column, and then start collecting the data.

The Page Likes tab offers a list of pages that your initial audience might also be interested in, which you can now use in your campaign. At the bottom, these audiences are sorted by relevance and affinity.

Keep in mind that not all of these audiences will be targetable, so it’s good to jot them down and check if they’re targetable during campaign creation.

Another way to use the tool is to take a look at the people who already like your page. This works best if you already have a large Facebook following.

Once you begin your campaign creation, you can also see what’s available under the “Suggestions” tab for audiences similar to the ones you’ve already selected.

The Suggestions tab in the campaign creation page.


Creating Ads

There are four elements to a Facebook ad: image, headline, body copy, and description.

Screenshot of a Ikon Pass ad.



The standard and recommended image size for Facebook is currently a 1080x1080 square image. However, Facebook now has tools to let you crop images or upload different images for different placement sizes. This allows you to have the best visual experience for different ad sizes.

The image is the most important element of the ad because it takes up the most space, and is the first thing that will catch the audience’s attention.

Here are a few tips for the image:

  • Use high resolution photos.
  • Add a bit of text to the photo but make sure it’s not too much by checking Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool.
  • Your ad will include your page’s name and profile image, so it’s usually unnecessary to include a logo in the ad image.


Headline, Body Copy, and Description

Here, we suggest creating several variations of each element.

This will give you tons of options for testing down the line in case your initial variations don’t resonate well with your audience.


Start Advertising on Facebook!

Facebook is a great platform for social media advertising. With proper set up, targeting, and creatives, you can achieve your social media advertising goals with ease. Reach out to us for a free audit and we’ll be happy to help!

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