Using the Facebook Ads Manager

Published July 7, 2016
Facebook has grown beyond a platform into an intricate world. We have memories, emotional states, events, groups and updates in an international, multi-generational, real-time ecosystem.
It’s no surprise that within this space we have powerful marketing opportunities. Getting the best results for your efforts means maximizing all of the options provided though the ad setup, audience targeting and customizations provided within Facebook’s Ads Manager.
The Facebook Ads Manager allows you to create, edit, and optimize your advertising campaigns within a web-based interface. While the Manager provides powerful options for customizing campaigns and evaluating metrics, the interface can also be somewhat unwieldy to learn. We’ll walk you through the process of creating a basic campaign, as well as how to look at performance.


Facebook Ads Manager


Understanding Facebook Ad Campaign Structure

At the top level, your Facebook advertising account contains your company information and billing details. You can also assign access to individuals on the account level. Finally, you can see aggregated metrics for the entire account, such as total spend on reach.

The account breaks down further into campaigns, for which you set an advertising objective. The objective will affect what types of ads you can run and what kinds of bidding you can choose. Available objectives include:

  • Generating local awareness
  • Boosting a post
  • Sending people to your website
  • Collecting leads
  • Raising event attendance
  • Getting offer claims
  • Driving app installs
  • Increasing app engagement

Within each campaign, you can create multiple ad sets. Each ad set contains audience targeting criteria, schedule, and budget. Finally, each ad set can contain multiple ads, which you can create in many different formats, depending on your objective. With so many different options and combinations, it may take time to fully explore your options and find the right balance.

Creating a New Campaign

It all starts by setting up and jumping in. Once you’ve entered the Facebook Ads Manager, you can begin creating a new campaign. Click the “Create Campaign” button in the upper left above the list of campaigns. You’ll go through six steps.


Facebook Ads Manager - Create Campaign


Step 1: Objective

First you’ll see a screen where you can choose the objective mentioned earlier. Think carefully about you’re objective and what you’re trying to achieve. For instance, the “Boost Your Posts” goal can easily waste spend if your ultimate goal is to drive people from a link in a post to your website. You’ll pay for any engagement with a post (likes, comments, shares, etc.) in addition to clicks. If your goal is to drive an audience to a blog post, you should choose the “Send people to your website” objective instead.


Facebook Ads Manager - Choose Objective


Once you choose your objective, you’ll see a prompt to name your campaign.

Step 2: Audience Targeting

Next, you can proceed to creating an ad set within the campaign.

Here, you can define age ranges, gender, language, geography, interests, behaviors, and other audience targeting criteria. You can also target people who like your page. We’ll get into choosing your target audience with a lot more detail in a future post.

Step 3: Placement


Facebook Ads Manager - Create Ads Set


In addition, you can choose what types of Facebook ad placements you want to use: mobile vs. desktop, news feed vs. right hand side. You can also control whether or not your ads appear on Instagram here. Finally, you can choose to show ads on all mobile devices or just a specific type: Android, iOS, or feature phones.


Facebook Ads Manager - Choose Placements


Step 4: Budget & Time Frame

Finally, you can set a budget and the timeframe for your campaign. You can choose between a daily budget, in which you define a maximum spend for each day, and a lifetime budget, in which you define a maximum spend for the duration of the ad set’s schedule. Facebook generally will attempt to allocate the lifetime budget evenly each day.

Next, you can set your campaign to run continuously or choose to run it within a set timeframe. You can even specify start and end times down to the minute.


Facebook Ads Manager - Budget Schedule


Step 5: Bids

In the Optimization section, you can choose how you bid for ad placements: by link clicks, impressions (showing ads as many times as possible), or unique reach (delivery to unique individuals no more than once in a day). You can also select whether you’ll use automatic bidding or set bids manually.

While we tend to recommend hands-on control of bids in most advertising systems, Facebook’s auto-bidding actually tends to be fairly effective at getting ad results with an efficient cost. Of course, you’ll want to watch performance closely to see if manual bidding may prove more efficient.

Step 6: Create an Ad

Once you’ve built an ad set, your final step is to create an ad. You can choose your ad format; options may vary depending on the campaign objective. In this case, for the “Send people to your website” objective, we can create an ad with a single image or an ad with multiple images (Carousel format).


Facebook Ads Manager - Create Ad


Here, you can upload an image, insert a link, and add your copy. You can also preview how the ad will look in various formats to ensure that your image displays properly and text isn’t cutting off. Once you’ve finalized your ad, you can save it and launch the campaign. You should also create at least one additional ad, with different copy and/or imagery, to test against this one.

Evaluating Performance

Once you’ve launched a campaign, you can review its performance within the Ads Manager interface. When you log in, you’ll see a list of campaigns in the main screen with columns for performance metrics. Click the heading for any metric to sort by that column; for instance, if you want to quickly see which campaign has reached the most people, you can sort by the Reach column.

Use the “Columns” dropdown above this section to customize the metrics that appear. Within the dropdown, you’ll see several options for sets of columns. We’ll choose “Customize Columns” to select the specific metrics we want to include.


Facebook Ads Manager - Customize Columns


Now, you can scroll through a list of metrics, checking the boxes next to the ones you want to add. For instance, in addition to showing clicks and reach, you may also want to show how many new likes resulted from your ads. Once you click Apply, you’ll see any new metrics you’ve added in the interface. If you want to show only select campaigns in the interface, use the Filter dropdown in the upper right. For instance, you may want to display only active campaigns using the Active filter.


Facebook Ads Manager - Create Filter


Other filters you may find useful include filtering by objective or looking at placement by device. Note that you can also use the Search button next to Filter to find campaigns, ad sets, or ads by name.


You can use the Facebook Ads Manager to create tightly targeted campaigns and customized creative. To evaluate the success of your campaigns, you can easily review a number of metrics. If you’re not overly familiar with the interface, or you’re just getting into the world of highly targeted Facebook Ads, all of the variations and nuances may come with a learning curve before you establish your most effective strategy. Through a process of testing you’ll get a stronger sense of how to customize your campaigns, drill into results and apply the insights the metrics provide.

Looking ahead, we’ll plan to cover some more topics related to Facebook Ads, digging deeper into strategies for targeting campaigns and optimizing ad performance. Keep an eye on our blog for more Facebook Ads-related announcements coming soon!


When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:



It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.


Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.