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A Beginners’ Guide to Facebook Ads

A Beginners’ Guide to Facebook Ads

Fab Giovanetti

In this guide, I am going to be talking about a tool I was incredibly skeptical about myself. That tool is Facebook ads. 

Now, it could be due to the fact I did not want to give Facebook my money to just show ads on its newsfeed, or even more so the fact I never had incredibly positive experiences with my own ads (or the ones I set up for clients, for what matters).

Still, I shied away from Facebook ads with a mix of fear and skepticism. 

Until I signed in a new client to help her launch her first online program, and she asked me whether we could also set up some Facebook ads.  After a moment of hesitant silence, something (the spirit of marketing maybe?) possessed me and I agreed to help her set up three months worth of campaigns. 

What were you thinking woman? Screamed incredibly loudly the voice inside my head.  Yet, I believe that everything happens for a reason - and that this was the sign for me to rekindle with Facebook ads and go past my fears. 

Spoiler alerts: I am so glad I did. 

I am hoping that with this piece I can bring a bit more clarity around Facebook ads and the impact they can have on businesses.

The evolution of Facebook ads

By checking my Business Manager account, I can see I set up my first Facebook ad campaign in 2015. 

At the time, Facebook ads were incredibly easy to set up, the conversion rate was incredibly favourable for pretty much any advertiser, and the main reason was that it was not a tool loads of businesses used. 

Since Facebook ads are based on an auction system, through which you’re actually bidding for your ads to be shown on specific placements, you can understand how Facebook had to add more customisation and variables to show the right people the right ads. 

The biggest shift over the past five years has been in the amount of responsibility the advertiser (that’s yourself) has when it comes to create the right assets and pick the most relevant audience for a specific campaign. 

This is also the reason why, over the past two years, testing campaigns have become key for people looking to advertise on Facebook.

Pro tip: Always allow some testing budget and run a test campaign with split testing. You can detract the amount from the whole campaign budget.

As well as that, Facebook now allows you to tap into some brand new ad types such as Lead Ads and Canvas Ads. 

Credits: Facebook for Business

Facebook put loads of effort into creating e-commerce driven ads as well as more generic engagement and traffic ads, and the introduction to Instagram as placement for ads has been a game-changer for loads of businesses.

In that way, the fact that Facebook is spending loads of time to develop this service for its advertisers has been incredibly beneficial for businesses.

To recap, the two key changes over the past five years have been in the sheer amount of people using Facebook ads services and the variety of assets and options for advertisers.

On a personal note, this is probably the reason why I felt incredibly overwhelmed every time I got near my ads manager.

How Facebook ads can work for you

Facebook ads are still one of the best advertising tools for so many brands out there.

Now that you understand the key changes in the Ad platform, let me explain why Facebook ads are still a great advertising tool, especially for startups and small businesses. One of the things Facebook has is contacts. Data. This data can truly help you target the right people with your message.

If you remember, I said that nowadays you cannot simply hope that by boosting a post you’ll get an incredible return of investment. Today, Facebook Ads require you to take the time to understand how to maximise your Ads Manager (or for more advanced readers, the Power Editor)

You are in charge of creating the right audiences and the right assets for your ads. 

When it comes to your audience, I always recommend creating relevant audiences to your brand. This is where custom audiences coming from a Customer list or Website traffic have changed the way I use Facebook ads today (and given me and my client amazing results).

You can obviously use core audiences, but I always recommend focusing on custom audiences when possible.

Pro tip: Whenever you create a custom audience, make sure you create a related lookalike audience. These audiences allow you to reach new people whose interests are similar to those of your best customers.

After that, spending time to truly understand what type of ads and messaging can work for YOU is key.

Now, if you are like me, you probably love seeing real examples of ads that work. This is why I recommend you to spend time looking at success stories Facebook collected to learn more about how real businesses.

Examples like this campaign provide you with a goal for the campaign, the results, a brief, and real examples of the ads used - which is an incredible wealth of information.

This amazing resource also reminds us that whether you are an e-commerce, a corporate business like Linkedin, a brand like Guinness or an online coach looking to launch a program, you can make ads work for you.

Facebook ads for retargeting

“Your top of the funnel content must be intellectually divorced from your product but emotionally wed to it.” - Joe Chernov

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When it comes to evaluating whether Facebook ads are worth your time, there is something that needs to be said about the power of retargeting. 

With custom audiences such as a Customer list or Website traffic (remember, you’ll need to install a Facebook Pixel for that) you can create incredibly efficient ads for warm leads and master retargeting.

Why is retargeting important for Facebook ads? 

Because by retargeting warm leads from your whole website (or specific pages) or a customer list (like Mailchimp or an existing database) you can upsell anything to people who already know you and love you. 

E-commerce integration can go as far as targeting people who did not purchase your product or stopped at checkout with Facebook custom conversions.  I specialise in ads for digital campaigns and personal brands, yet I also use custom conversions when looking at big launches.

Retargeting is truly a powerful strategy for your Facebook ads.

Simple tips to make your ads work

Yes, setting up, running and analysing Facebook ads will take you time and effort. 

Truthfully, being open to block out one or two days to get familiar with the platform, how it works and set up your key audiences is what is needed to make Ads work for you.  I know, clicking on “boost post” can definitely be tempting when you have little time to spend on marketing, yet if you want your Facebook ads to be successful and work for you. 

This series of tips can work in two scenarios:

  • You are looking to set up your own Ads
  • You want to outsource your Ads to a professional

Even when outsourcing your ads, you want to make sure you have these three elements in place

  1. Set a clear goal for your ads: each success story has a clear goal. Instead of looking at ads as a quick fix, make sure you spend the time to set goals for your campaigns that you can analyse and quantify.
  2. Create a simple funnel: always outline how the ad fits in your funnel. What are the different steps your audience will take for you to reach your goal?
  3. Set up reporting for your test ads and your overall campaign: unless you track performance, you will not know what works and what doesn’t. As simple as that.


As a Facebook Ads convert, I realised that the REAL secret to making Ads work for me was understanding who my customers are and what they want.

Once I booked two days to fully immerse myself in how the Ads platform has evolved, and how I could make the most of it, I found that my campaigns were driving tangible results. 

Overall, Ads require a budget and time - yet, more than anything, require a true understanding of what your customer needs and wants from you.  If you can take the time to understand that, your return on investment will grow tenfolds.

Looking for more ways to harness social media for sales? Check out our social media courses here.

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