Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads Manager​

guide to using facebook ads manager

Congratulations, you’ve found it! The ultimate guide to Facebook Ads Manager. This guide is meant for beginners, but it also contains some advanced info that you can look over now and come back to later when you’re a little more familiar with the app.


What is Facebook Ads Manager?​

Facebook ads manager lets you run targeted, complex, and high-quality ads across all of Facebook’s platforms to help your business achieve pretty much any kind of marketing goal you want. Not only that, but Facebook provides you with detailed data on how your ads are doing, what your target audience is up to, and more.


In short, you’ll be able to run ads across desktop and mobile devices on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Then you can track the success of these ads in real time to learn more about how to better market to your audience. What’s not to love?


Oh, and don’t worry if this all seems like a bit much. You don’t need to have previous experience with Facebook Ads Manager to understand this guide or to become a pro at it. We’ll break down all of the steps to make this monster app seem a little more… tame.


What’s in this Guide:

      Setting up your account

      Running Your First Ad

      Tracking Your Data

      Additional Features


Setting Up Your Account​

First things first: if you don’t have one already, you need to get yourself a Facebook business page. When you create it, your ad account will be created at the same time. You can learn how to set up a Facebook business page here.


Create Your Account

You may not have a Facebook Business page but you already have an ad account that you’ve started. That’s okay! From your business manager dashboard, click ‘Add Ad Account’ ➡️ ‘Create Account’

Note: If this is your first ad account, you can only have one for now. You have to spend money in your first account to be able to add more accounts. 

Once you’re taken to the Create Account screen, confirm your account details. You’ll be assigned a number for your ad account. You can use this number to share with other businesses or partners you want to work on your ads, but more on that later. 


Set Time Zone/Currency

Select the currency and time zone in which you want to work. 

Note: If you change the currency or time zone on your account at any time, you will be given a new ad account and the old one will close. The ads in the old account will stop running but still be visible until they expire. 


Set Advertising Purpose 

Next you’ll confirm your business and advertising purpose—this is so Facebook can confirm that you are allowed to advertise for your specific product/service in your area.


Add Employees/Colleagues

Once you’ve set up your account, you can add people you want to work on the ads to your account. This could be employees, independent contractors, or business partners. You don’t need to be Facebook friends with the people you want to add—all you need is their work emails. 

From your dashboard, click Add People and enter the work email of your colleague. You can give them employee access, which is limited, or admin access, which gives them the same permissions as you, the owner. 

Click ‘next’ and then you’ll be able to specify which accounts and pages you want this person to access. Use the toggles on the right to specify the permissions you can to give them for each page. Click on the Ad Accounts tab on the left-hand menu and perform the same task.

Your colleagues will receive an email inviting them to accept your offer to be added to the account, but you should message them to let them know an invite is coming. 

If you need to revoke permissions from anyone at any time, click ‘Business Settings’ on the top right of your dashboard, click on ‘People’ ➡️ ‘Remove’ next to the name of the person you wish to remove. 


Add Business Partners/Ad Agencies

Eventually you may be partnering with another business or an ad agency to run ads. You can add business partners separately from individuals by clicking on ‘Business Settings’ ➡️ ‘Partners’ ➡️ ‘Add’

Your partner has to already have a Facebook business account with an existing business ID. They’ll need to provide that to you so you can add them. They can find it under ‘Business Settings’ ➡️ ‘Business info’ 

Your business partner controls their own employees and permissions for the ad account, so you don’t need to worry about repeating that process. 

Set Up Your Pixel 

Pixels are bits of code that track all kinds of activity on your website, help you target your ads to your ideal audience, and allow you to remarket to potential customers. See this link for more details on how to set up your pixel.

It’s important to set up your pixel before you start running ads so you’ll have a baseline of data before you start tracking how your ads affect sales, etc.


Running Your First Ad

Alright, you’re ready to start running your first ad! How exciting! 

First, click on the menu icon in the top left corner and select ‘Ads Manager’ ➡️ ‘Advertise’ ➡️ ‘Create’.

You’ll be prompted to select different kinds of settings for your ad such as content, budget, and target demo. 

Tip: Select Guided Creation for some ideas on how to design your first ad. It can be intimidating! If you don’t like any of the settings Facebook sets for you, you can always customize them. 


Choose Your Marketing Objective

Ask yourself what you want your ad to accomplish. You’ll be given the following choices: 


  • Brand Awareness: use this objective to introduce people to your brand
    • Example: Alerting people to the existence of your new restaurant
  • Reach: reach the maximum number of people with your ad
    • Example: Sell out a show
  • Traffic: generate clicks on your website or to your product in the app store
    • Example: show off your new website
  • Engagement: get people to comment on, like, and share your page
    • Example: get a conversation started about a topic related to your brand. 
  • App Installs: send people to the play store to download your app
    • Example: Getting people to review your app online
  • Video Views: generate views for a video ad you created
    • Example: highlight a specific story about your brand
  • Lead Generation: collect information from people who are interested in your product or service
    • Example: collecting email addresses for a mailing list
  • Messages: start conversations with current or potential customers
    • Example: encourage people to reach out and comment on your latest product release
  • Conversions: get users to perform a desired action
    • Example: drive downloads of your app or donations to your organization 
  • Catalog: show off items from your online catalog 
    • Example: introduce your fall fashion collection
  • Store Traffic: generate customers in your brick and mortar location (probably not a great idea right now…)


If you’re a beginner, you’re better off sticking with Brand Awareness, Traffic, or Reach for your main objectives. 


Here are some tips for choosing your campaign objectives based on your overall marketing objective: 


  • Awareness: If you want people to become interested in your brand, you’re looking to develop awareness. 
    • Example: Creating an ad that displays the list of ice cream flavors at your new ice cream parlor
    • Corresponding campaign objectives: Brand Awareness, Reach
  • Consideration: If you want people to cogitate on and research your brand, you’re running a consideration campaign. 
    • Example: An ad that highlights the features of your new app to encourage people to visit the play store and download it
    • Corresponding campaign objectives: Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Generation, Messages
  • Conversion: If you want people to order your product or use your service, you’re running a conversion campaign. 
    • Example: Running an ad that offers a free e-book or other item to people who subscribe to your mailing list
    • Corresponding campaign objectives: Conversions, Catalog Sales, Store Traffic
    • Note: If your goal is conversions, be sure to install your pixel first

Build Your Audience


Start by setting the location (you can drop a pin on the map) gender, age, and language for your ad. This is the bare minimum you have to choose, but the more specific you get, the better.


  • For example: Men aged 18-40 who live within a ten mile radius of New York City. (Language: English) 
  • Facebook knows everything about everyone, so you can kind of go down a rabbit hole here—you can target people according to what music they like, where they’ve shopped, what their spending habits are, what their kids’ names are…just kidding! 


You can also create custom audiences built of people who have already interacted with your business online or a lookalike audience that mimics the demographics of your current customers.


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When it comes to choosing your audience, a good tactic is to make a list of traits about the people you’re trying to attract and then come up with keywords that might describe those people. 


For example: are you looking for outdoorsy people? Select people who like the REI business page or the Columbia business page. Are you looking for foodies? Select people who like the pages of famous chefs and the types of restaurants that are similar to yours. 


Placement and Budget


Placement determines which Facebook platform your ad will populate: messenger, newsfeed, or Instagram stories. If you’re just starting out, select automatic and the Ad Manager will populate your ad according its algorithm for the objective you selected.


Just like placement, your budget for your campaign will depend on your objective. For example, you’ll want to think in terms of cost-per-click if conversions are what you’re after, but if you want likes, comments, or shares, judge your budget in terms of cost per engagement. 


You can select your budget in terms of a daily amount you want to spend or how much you want to spend total. Facebook will alert you if it thinks you’re spending more than usual on a particular ad. 


So if you want to spend $500 total, you could enter this as your lifetime budget or divide it by the number of days you want the ad to run. If you want the ad to run for about two weeks, your daily budget will be around $36. 


Adding Media and Text to Your Ad


Facebook Ads Manager will walk you through composing the ad itself. You can click Add Media on the left-hand menu to upload your pictures and videos. 

Note: Make sure your media sizes complies with Facebook’s specs. You don’t want your ad to look pixelated or lopsided!


You’ll be able to preview how your ad will look across Facebook Newsfeed, Messenger, and Instagram, as well as how it will look on different kinds of devices.


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Tracking Your Data

What good are all of these beautiful ads if you don’t know which ones are working? That’s where Facebook’s stellar analytics come in. Say what you want about them—they know how to collect data…


Search Your Ads

There are multiple ways you can search for the ads you want data about: the date when you ran them, the ad names, the objective of the ads, the placement, and much more. You can explore these options on your ad’s search function. For example, you can search all of the ads related to your new store downtown with a Traffic objective that you ran in the last month and have already finished running. 


Select Your Data Types

Once you’ve selected which ad or ads you want to look at, you can customize which types of data you want to see. You can choose from:

  • Performance: Results, Reach, Costs, Amount Spent, etc.
  • Delivery: Reach, Frequency, CPM (cost per 1,000 impressons), Impressions, etc.
  • Engagement: People Taking Action, Reactions, Comments, Shares, etc.
  • Video Engagement: Impressions, 3s Video Views, Cost per 3s Video Views, etc.
  • App Engagement: Mobile App Installs, Mobile App Actions, Cost per Mobile App     Install, etc.
  • Carousel Engagement: Reach, Frequency, Impressions, Clicks, etc.
  • Performance and Clicks: Results, Reach, Cost, etc.
  • Cross-Device: Website Actions, Mobile Apps Install, Website Action, Conversion Value,     etc.
  • Messenger Engagement: Link Clicks, Messaging Replies, Blocked Messaging     Conversations, etc.
  • Offline Conversions: Purchase, Purchase Conversion Value, Cost per Purchase, etc. 

Break It Down Further


Once you’ve selected the types of metrics you want to see, you can break it down even further for each metric you’ve selected. You can choose from three categories: 


  • Delivery (e.g. Age, location, or platform)
  • Action (e.g. Conversion device, destination, or video view type)
  • Time (e.g. Day, week, or month)


You can select one of each for every metric. For example, you could look up the app downloads by 20-30 year-olds on mobile devices last week. Pretty cool, huh? 


      Saving and Sharing Your Data

Once you have the data you want, there are a couple of ways to process it. You can export this data as an Excel or CSV file, share the data with a link Ads Manager will provide you, or save it to your account to view later. You can also set Ads Manager to email you recurring customized data reports of your choosing.


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      Performance Overview


If this feels overwhelming, there are preset ways to view your ad’s performance simply by clicking on the ad’s name. You can select multiple ads or types of ads if you like. 

This is what you’ll see when you click on the performance overview: 

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The performance overview shows performance, demographics, and placement. 

The performance graph shows how well your ad did in terms of its reach, objective, and the amount spent. 

Demographics shows the age and gender breakdown of the people who engaged with the ad.

The Placement tab shows how your ad did across the various platforms (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram) and placements (mobile newsfeed, desktop right column).

The Summary section tells you how much you’ve spent total, the amount spent today, delivery status, and delivery schedule. You can also edit, add to, pause, or delete your ad here.

The reporting table in the performance overview is similar to the one mentioned earlier, but it will only show you the data for the ad or ads you clicked on in the first place as opposed to all of your ads.


   Additional Features


    Audience Insights

Audience Insights is another great tool to help you learn more about the people you are trying to reach with your ads. This feature is available on the main drop down menu on the top left of your dashboard. 

With audience insights, you can learn about the gender, age, and location of your audience, including the behaviors and traits of people who like your Facebook page. You can also create custom ads aimed towards various sections of these audiences by clicking on the green Create Button.


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For example, maybe your data shows your product is unexpectedly popular with young stay-at-home moms. You can then create an ad that will automatically target that demographic.

Got all that? ? ?

That’s okay. This guide will be here when you need it to help you through your first days and weeks of Facebook Ad Manager. Take it slow, and you’ll be an expert in no time. Happy Advertising! ☺ 


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