Nice Ad! How to Easily Set Up Your First Facebook Ad

how to advertise on facebook

Facebook advertising is critical for ecommerce success. Unfortunately, it can be a little intimidating for some online sellers – especially if you haven’t tested your first Facebook ad yet.

That’s because Facebook has added a ton of options over the last few years, including video ads, a mobile ad network, and retargeting via custom audiences. You can even buy Instagram ads through Facebook.

So, yeah, lots of options. Don’t worry though. This introductory guide will get you started.

To keep things simple, we’re going to focus on the easiest path to your first Facebook ad — a photo ad with core audience targeting.

First though, you’ll need to be logged into your Facebook account and head to Ads Manager.

Ready to get started on your first ad? Here’s how to advertise on Facebook.

Choose Your Objective

There are three broad objectives and 10 sub-objectives.

They are:

  • Awareness: brand awareness and reach.
  • Consideration: traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, and lead generation.
  • Conversion: conversions, product catalog sales, and store visits.

For simplicity, we’ll select traffic and drive folks to our online store.

Eventually, you’ll want to graduate to conversion ads, but that will require some additional technical work.

Target Your Audience

Because they have so much demographic and interest data on us, audience targeting is where Facebook really stands apart from other ad platforms.

To be honest, as a Facebook user, it’s a little creepy. But, hey, it’s good for us as marketers.

Basic demographic info like location, age, gender, and language should be self-explanatory.

Detailed targeting options are a bit more complex but not overwhelming. Just browse until you find a good match for your product. Part of learning how to advertise on Facebook is testing what works for you and what doesn’t. But you won’t know till you try.

Whether you sell fitness equipment, fashion accessories, or beauty supplies, you’ll find an option worth testing.

  • For example, if you sell eco-friendly children’s clothing, you might select fans of The Honest Company, which is likely to be filled with eco-minded parents.
  • And if you sell handcrafted beard oil, you might try fans of Dollar Shave Club or even go by interests, like ‘mustaches’ or ‘manscaping.’

You don’t want your targeting to be too specific or too broad. Fortunately, Facebook’s cute audience size meter will point you in the right direction. Just look at the arrow!

Select Your Ad Placements

Placement is a fancy way of saying this is where people will see your ad.

If you want to get into the weeds on this, you can advertise only on desktops or mobile devices, avoid advertising on the mobile audience network or Facebook Messenger, or go all in on Instagram.

For your first Facebook ad, I recommend you select automatic placements.

Set Your Budget and Schedule

The default settings on most of these questions are fine for someone just getting started.

Here are two quick pro tips:

  • Set an end date for your ads. Facebook is fine with you forgetting your ads so you just keep on running them. Set an end date to prevent that!
  • Switch from cost-per-impression to cost-per-click. We don’t just want to be seen. We want to be visited (and bought from!). Adjust the when you get charge option accordingly.

Upload Your Image and Copy

Now comes the fun part. It’s time to get creative!

For simplicity, select the single image format and start adding your images and copy in the appropriate fields.

Here are some basic guidelines for creating a Facebook ad that’ll display properly on all placements across all devices.

  • Your image should be 1,200 x 628 pixels for a ratio of 1.9:1.
  • The less text the better.
  • Your focus should be on the imagery, or else you might pay more for clicks.

Your copy should meet the following character limitations:

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters

Sit Back and Get Paid –

And… go! That’s how to advertise on Facebook. Just hit confirm. Once Facebook reviews and approves your ad, you’ll be off to the races.

Remember to check back periodically to assess your campaign. Once you get a sense for how your first Facebook ad is performing, you’ll be ready to play with advanced targeting options, test new images and copy, and eventually integrate your ads with your shopping cart for better tracking.

Oh, and if you’re building your first Facebook ad, the timing might be right for a little spring cleaning. Our Facebook business page cleanup checklist might help.

Good luck!

Do you have tips for how to advertise on Facebook?

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.


  1. Margaret says

    You made it sound so easy! I wish it was so. I heard it’s really hard to set up Facebook ad. I’m going to do my first Facebook ad campaign next month. Thanks for the guide, it might help me.

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