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How to Run Facebook Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide to Facebook Advertising in 2021

If you had a perfect advertising tool, what would it be? Let’s fantasize a bit. First, the tool of your dream must help you reach your target audience and make it grow bigger. Second, this tool should be smart enough to distinguish your potential customers based on their interests, demographics, and online behavior. Third, this magical app should optimize your promotions and deliver your message in a way that makes viewers convert into buyers immediately. 

Actually, such a great tool exists – this is Facebook. This social network is a perfect advertising environment, crowded with people potentially craving your amazing goods. The platform is already used by thousands of brands, individual marketers, and entrepreneurs – both experienced and fresh. The reason for that popularity is simple – Facebook provides a balanced combination of great commercial potential and small ad expenses. Every person and company can start his/her ad campaign on Facebook, as long as they know the basics.

In today’s guide, we are going to tell you how to run Facebook ads to drive sales and improve your business performance. Let’s get started!

What Is Facebook Ads Manager?

Before we dive into instructions and steps, let’s define one of the key terms related to Facebook advertising – Ads Manager. We can define Facebook Ads Manager as a specialized ads tool helping to create, develop, and monitor various marketing campaigns on Facebook. It allows the preparation of customized reports concerning the results of your ads performance and sharing these reports with other team members. 

You can access the Ads Manager through the link that will open your Ads Manager account, select the “Business Manager” section within the Facebook menu or use the Ads Manager app to access your account at any time and place.

How to Use Facebook Ads Manager and Create Ads?

So, you must be wondering, how could you create an account with Facebook Ads Manager and start creating your amazing ads. You should start with opening the Facebook Ad Manager page, where you will have two strategies to choose from: a quick creation or a guided creation. The first approach helps to automate the campaign’s start setting up its parameters in one window. You can create ad sets and campaigns simultaneously. 

If this is your first encounter with Facebook Ads Manager, you might find it a bit overwhelming. There will be four tabs on your screen:

  • Account Overview
  • Campaigns
  • Ad Sets
  • Ads

 Clicking around the tabs, you will see that the tool includes all imaginable features for your successful and simple Facebook advertising. Click the button Ads Manager at the top left corner and you will get access to reports, custom audiences, and saved users. Open “All Tools” at the bottom of the window to see all instruments for planning, creation, analysis, and assets. Also, you will find settings for your account there. 

To create your first campaign, you should open the “Campaigns” tab and click the “Create” button. Don’t worry, Facebook will guide you through the process and give valuable hints to make the next steps. And our guide will help you make your first campaign in a flash. Let’s move on.

Six Simple Steps to Create and Run a Facebook Ad:

Step #1: Set the goal of your campaign

Facebook Ads Manager is smart enough to suggest a handful of campaign objectives, so you should choose the one that fits your needs. For instance:

  1. Local awareness – to drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar shop;
  2. Conversions – to bring traffic to your site;
  3. Brand awareness – to promote your brand;
  4. Reach – to expand audience;
  5. Messages – to communicate with your customers;
  6. Lead generation – to turn users into your clients;

And more! How to choose the right one? Think about the most desired outcome for your campaign. Be careful at this stage – Facebook offers different ad formats considering the objective you initially choose. Depending on the objective, you can choose the type of test for your campaign to experiment a bit and get insights on how to improve things and optimize strategies.

And now move to the creation process!

Step #2: Choose the name for your campaign

Giving the name to your campaign might seem an easy step, but be sure to treat it with attention, especially if you plan to lead more than one campaign on Facebook – this will help you organize them properly and get clearer reporting in the future. 

Add some meaningful information to the name and you won’t get confused later. Whether you create one for your brand or for customers, you may want to add such details as customer name, location, audience, type of ad, etc. 

Step #3: Specify your target audience

Facebook allows you to target the right audience by type. The first step here is to choose whether you want to target a new audience or use a saved audience. At this point, Facebook will help you measure it, target likes, interests, demographics, etc. With this data, you will easily reach specific people who are most likely interested in your goods. Remember that the final results of your campaign depend on the accuracy of your audience settings heavily!

Step #4: Set ad placement

Another tip on how to make a Facebook ad maximally efficient – set the ad placement manually. By default, Facebook will apply automatic placement, which is less precise, but still – optimized to your campaign settings. Make sure to edit ad placement to set the one that suits your best. Even though Facebook does a good job with auto-placement, you are the one to know where your audience spends more time. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Desktop feed
  2. Mobile feed
  3. Audience network
  4. Videos
  5. Marketplace
  6. Right column
  7. Stories
  8. Articles
  9. Messenger
  10. Banners

Also, you can spread your content around Instagram, as well. The available options are all the same as those for Facebook (feed, stories, videos, etc.). 

Step #5: Decide your budget

Now you need to pick the right budget for your campaign. In general, there are two options to consider:

1. Daily

With this option, Facebook will spend a specified sum on ad delivery every day. Sometimes, the network will spend up to 25% more than you specify – this happens when highly-potential opportunities are detected. Don’t worry about this – Facebook is optimizing your spending this way and this is a good thing.

2. Lifetime

If you set this option, Facebook will divide the total sum you invest across your campaign dates. The network will ask you about these dates to calculate the amount of everyday spend.

Our recommendation is to choose the Daily budget options and adjust the settings/edit the budget considering the efficiency of your strategies. Also, with this option, you can pause your campaign at any time and relaunch it later. The type of budget cannot be changed as you confirm it, so make sure that you make the right selection. 

Step #6: Set up your ads

At this step, you set the way your ads will be displayed on Facebook. We are pretty sure that you want them to look amazing, so select the ad type and insert your pictures + texts there. In our next section, we will focus on Facebook ad types.

Types of Facebook Ads with Specs

How to advertise on Facebook efficiently? Choose the right ad type and make sure to follow the specs. Here is a breakdown of ad types to help you:

Link Click Ads

Placements: desktop feed; mobile feed; audience network; right column; Instagram

The most common ads that lead to external websites, namely – landing pages and blog posts. The range of placements is pretty large, so you can deliver your content widely and reach more potential buyers. These are efficient ads that boost conversions and generate likes.


  • Image dimensions: 600 x 600px minimum
  • Image text: no more than 20%
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters

Video Ads

Placements: desktop feed; mobile feed; Instagram; audience network

Video ads are no different from Link Click ads. As you have guessed, the only difference is that they include videos instead of pictures. 


  • Video length: up to 120 min (recommended length: 15-30 seconds)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 to 9:16
  • Size of file: up to 4GB
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Continuous looping: Yes

Carousel Ads

Placements: desktop feed; mobile feed; audience network; Instagram

Carousels include a series of images, text, headline, and links. The images are scrollable, which allows advertisers to display one product from all sides or a number of them. They are great for ecommerce advertisers, shop owners, marketers looking to promote a number of offers in a single ad.


  • Number of Carousel Cards: 2 to 10
  • Image maximum file size: 30MB
  • Video maximum file size: 4GB
  • Video length: 1 second to 240 minutes.

Dynamic Product Ads

Placements: desktop feed; mobile feed; right column; audience network; Instagram

Dynamic Product Ads can boast of great targeting capacities – they are perfectly timed and only relevant audiences can see them. These ads target users considering their previous interactions – Facebook deals with retargeting and automation really well. Just make sure that you have Facebook Pixel installed.


Image ratio: 1.91:1 

Image size: 500 x 500 pixels or higher; 400 x 400 pixels is the minimum and will only show on Facebook

Lead Ads

Placements: desktop feed; mobile feed; audience network; Instagram

As you have already guessed from the name, these ads are perfect to generate leads. You should rely on them in case you want users to sign for your offer or download your content and therefore – leave Facebook and move to your site.

When people sign up, you get their emails and therefore – can send follow-up messages and remind them about yourself. 


  • Size: 1080×1080 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters

Canvas Ads

Placement: mobile feed

Canvas Ads are highly-interactive and they allow users to swipe angles, and zoom images with their fingers. As you have already understood, this type of ad is specific for mobile feeds.


  • Image size: 1200 x 628 pixels 
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1 
  • Text: 90 characters 
  • Headline: 45 characters

Collection Ads

Placement: mobile newsfeed

If you are selling clothes or any other products on your website, this ad type is something you really need. With its help, you can display multiple goods that you currently offer. Users will easily discover and purchase them with a couple of taps.  


  • Aspect Ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1
  • Image Size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • File Type: JPG or PNG
  • Primary Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters

Page Like Ads

Placements: right column; desktop feed; mobile feed

If you want to get more likes, then this ad type is the right one. Their main feature – a CTA button that encourages users to like your page immediately. Make sure to check the appealing image for this type of ad – this will increase your chances for more interactions. 


  • Image ratio: 1.91:1 to 4:5
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Recommended resolution: at least 1,080 x 1,080 pixeles
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Description: 30 characters

Page Post Photo Ads

Placements: right column; desktop feed; mobile feed

Page Post Photo Ads is perfect for brands based namely on visual aspects of their products. Pick the most eye-catching one to get more likes and comments from your fans. Of course, you can also place descriptions and links to your website in such an ad, but you shouldn’t expect that too many users will click it.


  • Maximum file size: 30MB
  • Minimum width: 600 pixels
  • Minimum height: 600 pixels
  • Aspect Ratio Tolerance: 3%

Page Post Video Ads

Placements: right column; desktop feed; mobile feed

Video is the most engaging format one could imagine. Such ads attract attention and boost the engagement of your fans, that is why even small companies use them. For this format, Facebook gives you especially great capacities for retargeting and custom audience creation.  


  • File Type: MP4, MOV or GIF
  • Ratio: 4:5
  • Video Settings: H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+
  • Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Video Captions: Optional, but recommended
  • Video Sound: Optional, but recommended

Common Costly Facebook Ad Mistakes to Avoid

Now when you know so much about Facebook ads, you are ready to launch your beautiful campaign, right? Don’t hurry, because we have some valuable secrets to share with you. They are related to the most common mistakes you should avoid:

Mistake #1: No well-thought marketing plan

Facebook ads have a low entry barrier and launching a campaign is fast and easy. However, you cannot rely on the network’s algorithms entirely, even though they are pretty advanced. Make sure to develop a clear strategy based on your marketing assets – this will prevent you from initiating a useless campaign and losing money. 

Mistake #2: Lack of management

Not only your Facebook campaign needs planning, but also management. Setting up a campaign and letting it run on its own is not an option – the advertising process is dynamic and you need to update the strategy all the time. Your target audience becomes less engaged once the ads become repetitive and the results will generate less revenue. Analyze your campaigns in real-time and make adjustments – change targeting settings, add new copy, adjust the objective, present new offer, etc.

Mistake #3: Underestimating the power of reminders

Social media is a place where people get distracted fast. To refresh your brand in users’ memory and re-engage those who visited your page/website, you can bring them back with the help of a reminder ad. Tell them that the item is still available on your website and encourage them to finish the purchase.  

Mistake #4: Too long descriptions

If you write a description that is too long for an ad post, Facebook will cut the text off. This way, you will fail to deliver the right message to your audience and make your ad look less professional. So make it short and use mobile feed preview to check how the text is displayed. 

Mistake #5: Ignoring look-alike audiences

Look-alike audiences are a great way to find potential buyers that have the same interests as your current customers. If you don’t use this feature, then you should. When adjusting targeting settings, focus on your customers as a source of your look-alike audience. Ideally, you should have 1000 people in your current source audience. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ads Manager on Facebook

Facebook Ads Manager as any other tool has advantages and drawbacks for its users.

Some of its pros are more or less obvious:

  • You do not have to pay for it
  • You can save time – all campaigns are stored in one location and you do not have to switch between accounts to monitor their performance
  • You can manage your campaigns efficiently – again when you see the actions of your marketing managers you can improve communication and collaboration on various questions related to ads

In addition, you raise the security of your Facebook accounts as you can manage the admin roles on your page and ensure the protection of any private information within your accounts.

At the same time, a number of drawbacks still exist:

  • You have to spend too much time to set up your Facebook Ads Manager. It might not be a straightforward task and its interface requires a long period to master
  • You do not have the opportunity to remove ads accounts
  • You can come across various bugs on the go

Nevertheless, if you are a marketing agency or a business owner working on a number of product lines Facebook Ads Manager can make your marketing efforts more effective.


Facebook ads are great for both – developed and successful companies, as well as fresh brands with no digital marketing experience. One of the most attractive things about them is their affordability and low entry-level – everyone who has a Facebook account can run the ad campaign.  

Still, if you plan to make Facebook a part of your marketing strategy, make sure to learn some basics, and create a clear plan for your ad campaign. Even though advertising on this platform is relatively easy, you need to set your account smartly, choose the right goals, adjust targeting settings, and the most important – make sure to manage the campaign regularly. Good luck and use Facebook ads for your benefit – let them continue fueling your business as it skyrockets! 


How can I boost my Facebook ads for free?

If you want to promote your brand on Facebook without paying money, you should:

  1. Create unique ad content that really strikes
  2. Offer undoubted brand value 
  3. Provoke visitors to comment on your posts
  4. Ask customers for testimonials and publish them to evoke social trust
  5. Communicate with industry influencers 
  6. Find a way to get promoted by the influencers 
  • Is it free to advertise on Facebook?

No, Facebook ads are paid.

How much does it cost to run a Facebook ad?

It depends on the bidding model and objectives you set. In general, you are the one to specify the ad budget and Facebook will spend as much money as you decide. The price is determined by you. At least $1 per day is charged for impressions; at least $5 per day charged for ads that generate clicks, views, likes, and post-engagement actions. 

Is it better to boost a post or create an ad?

It depends on your objectives. A boosted post can help improve your brand’s reach, but it cannot boast of any customization solutions. Facebook ads can – they help companies create full-fledged ad campaigns and reach numerous marketing goals.

What happens if I don’t pay for Facebook ads?

Facebook will stop your campaign until you make payment. 

Are Facebook ads worth it?

Facebook ads are cost-effective and have precise targeting options. This channel might be one of the most profitable when used smartly. 

How much does it cost to advertise on Facebook 2021?

Again, you are the one to set the budget and the price will depend on your needs. In average, companies will have to pay about $1 per click, $7 per 1000 impressions, $1.5 per like, $5.50 per download in 2021.

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