How to create your first Facebook campaign (+4 little-known targeting strategies)

Let’s face it, there are hundreds of Facebook Ads guides out there. Why does this guide win a prize?

Well, first because it is really a step by step guide. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how Facebook Ads works and what buttons to push when you’ll want to create your first campaign.

Second, this guide combines high-level stuff with practical examples. Till the end of this article you’ll have 4 tested customer acquisition strategies (with examples included) you can implement starting from tomorrow.

There’s no general advice like “be creative” or “know your audience” in this post. You’ll see only concrete examples you can adapt for your business.

So, anytime you don’t remember what buttons you had to push to create a Facebook Ads campaign or you run out of inspiration for new ways of getting to your clients via Facebook ads, you can come back to this article.

Sounds good?

Great. Let’s dive right in!

Crash course: how Facebook works and why it’s one of the best platforms to get to the ideal client

Have you noticed that when you interact more with a friend’s posts (maybe you comment, or you like or you share), you tend to see more from him than from other people?

And the same goes with Facebook Pages. The more we interact with a page, the more posts we see from it AND from SIMILAR pages.

For example, if you interact a lot with sport related posts, you’ll see more and more sports related posts in your newsfeed.

How does Facebook know what to show you?

First, it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning that gathers all the data from users.

When you like 10 football related posts, that’s data for the algorithm.

When you spend more time watching tech videos than cooking videos for example, that’s data for Facebook (you’ll be more likely to see tech videos than food videos).

When you share John Travolta memes, that’s data.

Then, based on all the information it gathered (there are more than 100.000 factors that it takes into consideration), the algorithm decides what posts you see in the newsfeed.

But, how does this help you, as a business owner, make more money, right?Let’s say you sell baby clothes. You need to get to parents, right? Otherwise, you’d probably waste 80% of your money advertising to people who don’t have a child and will never buy from you.

Now, here’s the best part.

Facebook has the data. Facebook knows who’s a parent and who is not, based on people interaction with certain posts.

So, all you have to do, is go to Facebook and say: “Here’s my ad. For this amount of money, I want you to show it only to parents (or even just moms) between 24 and 35 years old, that live in Texas City (or whatever area you want)”.

And here’s how simple it is to do it:

Facebook ads guide - Ads Manager-married-parents

So basically Facebook puts your product or service only in front of those people who are more likely to buy from you, in return for some money you pay to them to deliver your ads.

Now, let’s see how you can create a Facebook ad.

How to quickly create your first Facebook ad

Before diving in, here’s a quick overview of the whole process:

Facebook Ads Structure

Image via Digital Vidya

  1. You select what you want to achieve with your campaign (the campaign objective )
  2. You select the audience you want to show your ad to. The audience selection is part of a so called Ad Set. Here you choose the area you want to target, the age of the people you want to reach to, what are their interests, what job do they have etc. You have tons of options to choose from.
  3. Only in the last step you actually create your ad. You select the images/videos you want and the text associated with them.

Step #1 – Create a Facebook Ads account

Go to your personal Facebook profile, click on the down-arrow button, then click on Create ads to enter in the Ads Manager.

Facebook ads guide - How to enter Facebook Ads Manager from personal profile

Step 2 – Choose your campaign objective

Facebook tutorial - Choose objective

When you create a new Ads account, Facebook automatically wants you to create a new campaign. That’s why at this step, you have to select a campaign objective before actually creating the account.

But don’t worry, you can always pause it after that or delete it.

So, at this step we basically tell Facebook what do we want to obtain from our campaign and it will show our ad only to those people who are most likely to do the action we want.

For example:

You want more clicks to your website? Choose the Traffic objective and your ad will be shown only to those people who usually tend to click on a lot of ads.

You have a cool video presentation of your product/service? Choose the the Video views objective and it will be shown to people who usually tend to watch more videos than let’s say, comment or like posts.

Some of the most common and most efficient objectives are Traffic, Engagement (get people to interact with your posts) and Video Views.

You can read more about all the options available here.

Step 3 – Create the account and it’s settings

This is the step where the account is actually created.

Facebook tutorial - Create the ad account

Make sure you select the correct time zone and currency because otherwise, if you want to change these settings later, it will automatically create another account.

Step 3.1 – Set up your Facebook Pixel (semi-optional, but very important step)

Facebook Pixel is a piece of code you insert on your website (it is provided by Facebook) that tracks the actions people take on your website like the pages that were visited, how many people ended up your clients etc.

You don’t have to set up the Pixel right now. You can run ads without the Pixel installed.

But it is strongly recommend to do it because it will enable you to use some very powerful advanced targeting features that make this platform so great (you’ll see exactly what in the second part of this guide).

Here’s how to get your Facebook Pixel and how to install it on your websiteAfter you’ve created your first ad, go to the Facebook Pixel Window.

Where you can find Facebook Pixel

Then click on the Create a Pixel button to get started.

How to create Facebook Pixel

Give it a name and click Next.

Next, you have to choose how you want to install it.

I recommend you go with the MANUAL option. It’s easy and it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes, which is: copy the Facebook Pixel Code and then introduce it in every one of your pages.

Now, there’s lots of ways to do this, depending on how your website is created.

Here’s how to do it if your website is build on WordPress*.

*Even if you don’t have a WordPress website, a developer can install it in 5 minutes.

Facebook guide - How to add Facebook Pixel Code in WordPress

In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Appearance -> Editor.

Then, on the right hand side you select the header.php file.

And finally, you paste the code right after the <head> tag.

Don’t forget to click save!

Step 4 – Choose who you want to show your ad to

There’s tons of options here.

You can choose to show you ad only to people of a certain age, who live in a certain town.

Or even better, in a certain area of a town.

How to create a Facebook ads campaign - Target specific area

Or, you can show an ad to people who have certain interests. If you’re selling some products or services for people in the agricultural industry, you can target only those people who like John Deere for example.

How to use Facebook to target people interested in John Deere

But that’s not the best part.

You can also choose to show your ad based on behaviors.

For example, if you sell dental equipment, you can choose to show your ads only to dentists.

How to use Facebook to target dentists

Or, you can choose to show your ad to people who visited a certain page on your website, but didn’t buy (we’ll see how in the Advanced Strategies part).

How to create a Facebook retargeting campaign from website traffic

You see, the possibilities are endless.

All you have to do is figure out who is your ideal customer, what is his job, what does he like, what are his interests etc. and then you can easily come up with the right targeting options.

Step 5 – Choose your budget and the schedule for your campaign

You can choose either to set a fixed amount for a certain period or you can choose to spend a certain amount per day.

The option you choose doesn’t influence your campaign. It’s basically just a matter of preference.

Facebook Ads Guide - budget

At this step you can also choose to run the ad according to a certain schedule, but it is not recommended, unless you know exactly the time interval when your potential clients are active on Facebook.

The last step of this tutorial is to actually create your ad. Click Continue to go to the next step.

Step 6 – Create your ad

Here you have again a lot of options you can choose from.

You can show people

a single image,


several images (a carousel),


a video etc.

After you select the graphics, you have to enter the web page you want your ad to direct people and the text of your ad (in case you chose the Traffic objective).

Facebook tutorial ad example

Very important: make sure the page that people land on is relevant to the text of your ad.

For example, if you are offering lawn mower services, don’t send people to your homepage or to a general page where you present all your services. The conversion rates are very, very low for this approach.

Advanced Facebook Ads strategies

Till now you’ve learned how to create a basic Facebook campaign.

But, this platform has so many other powerful targeting features that if you use only the ones mentioned above – like targeting people who like certain pages – it would be like driving a Ferrari at 10 miles per hour, on off-road.

In the next part of the article you’ll see 4 targeting strategies that can help your ads put more money in your pockets because it will help you laser-target your potential customers.

Advanced Strategy#1 – How to get back almost all the visitors who don’t want to buy yet (and convince them to take action)

What it would be like to use a simple technique that wouldn’t take you more than 10-15 minutes to implement it, but it would increase the chances of someone ending up your client with 30 to 50%?

Well, I’m not going to just tell you about it, but you’ll also see a concrete example on how to implement it.

But first, let’s take a step back, so that you understand why this step is so crucial for a successful Facebook marketing campaign.

Why do we usually use Facebook?

To relax. To talk to friends and family. Or maybe we’re at work, we have a lot of tasks so procrastination kicks in and the next minute we find ourselves endlessly scrolling, right?

So, the point is, we don’t use Facebook the same way we use Google for example.

When we’re on Facebook, we have no specific intent of taking action, of buying something. Quite the opposite, we just want to avoid decisions.

Plus, on Facebook there are a lot of things that can distract us.

Let’s say your ad managed to get the attention of a potential customer. He clicked the ad, landed on your website, but maybe his phone starts ringing and has to go. Or maybe his boss entered the room and had to close the window.

If you think about it, these situations aren’t so uncommon, right?

So, you’ve spent all those money on ads, you’ve almost convinced someone to buy from you, but in the end, you lost it.

But fortunately, there is hope.

Retargeting is a Facebook feature that helps you bring back all those people that were almost convinced.

Here’s how.

Step #1 – Install Facebook Pixel. We’ve talked about this a bit earlier.

Step #2 – Create a custom audience based on your website visitorsSo, we’ve seen that when you create a new campaign, you choose your objective and after that you select your audience, right? That is age, area, interests etc.

Now, at this step, besides selecting the age and the area you want to target, you also create a custom audience.

Facebook tutorial - create custom audience

This custom audience can be created based on many factors, but we want to show an ad only to those people who visited our website, so we choose the Website Traffic option.

Facebook website retargeting tutorial - choose website traffic

And here we can tell Facebook to show our ad to people who visited ANY page of our website.

Or to display the ad only to those people who visited a certain page.

How to create a Facebook retargeting campaign from website traffic

What are some concrete retargeting ad examples?Well, if we’re to continue our dental marketing example, you can retarget people with testimonials in order to nurture the relationship and earn their trust.

Another best practice is to answer to whatever objections still keep people on the fence.

Facebook ads example - use retargeting to answerobjections

All you have to do is think how would a face to face conversation with your ideal customer go? What would you say to him or her if he says “no” to your services the first time?

Advanced Strategy #2 – How to use video retargeting to get people from a complete stranger to someone ready to buy

This works basically the same way as retargeting people who’ve been to your website. The difference is, you show an ad to people who’ve already watched a previous video you posted.

Here’s how to do it.

When you create a custom audience, you don’t select Website Traffic as a starting point, but Engagement.

How to create a Facebook video retargeting ad - choose Engagement

Then choose Video.

Video retargeting - create a custom audience - choose video

And here you basically tell Facebook: “I want to show an ad to people who’ve watched 25% of this video (and you select a video you’ve previously posted) in the past 32 days”.

Video retargeting - create a custom audience - choose percentage

The rest of the ad creation process is exactly the same.

Advanced strategy #3 – How to find more potential customers similar to your existing customers, using the Lookalike Audience feature

Using this feature, you basically tell Facebook: “Hey, here are my potential customers. Find me more people like these”.

And this is exactly what Facebook will do for you. It’ll search people with similar interests and behaviours with an existing audience you provide.

Now, what is this existing audience?

It can be a list of emails (of your existing customers) you provide. Or it can be people similar to your website visitors. Or, it can be people who signed up for a consultation etc.

Here’s how to set this up.

How to find people who are similar to an existing list of emailsFirst create a custom audience.

Facebook tutorial - how to create a lookalike audience - step 1

Choose Customer file.

Facebook tutorial - how to create a lookalike audience - step 2

And then you either upload a .CSV file or you manually copy-paste the emails.

Facebook tutorial - how to create a lookalike audience - add emails

Important: this feature matches the email address you provide with the existing Facebook account. But if people created a Facebook account with one email and then they provided you another email address, Facebook cannot match those two.

So, it’s possible that a good chunk of the emails you provide won’t be of any good. That’s why you have to have at least a couple of hundreds of emails.

The last step is to create a lookalike audience starting from the list you provided.

The source will be automatically selected as being your email list. All you have to choose is the location for your lookalike audience and hit the Create audience button.

Facebook tutorial - how to create a lookalike audience - step 3

How to find people who are similar to your website visitorsRemember that a bit earlier we created an audience with all the people who visited our website?

Well, you saved that audience in Facebook Ads Library and now you can use it to create a lookalike audience.


Because if they’ve already visited your website, it means that they’re interested in what you have to offer, right?

To set this up, all you have to do now is click on the Create a lookalike audience button and select the source as being the audience you created earlier (the one in which you targeted your website visitors).

How to create a Facebook Lookalike Audience from website visitors

And then, the rest of the ad creation process is the same.

Advanced Strategy #4 – How to use A/B testing to find your ideal customer

Sometimes, we’re not sure who is our ideal customer and at what messages are they more likely to respond.

Let’s say you are a fitness instructor. Will women between 20 and 30 years old respond to your ads or women between 30-45?

Here’s how you can test it.

When you choose your campaign objective, you can check the Split Test option.

Facebook ads - how to split test campaigns

Then, you will be asked what do you want to test.

Facebook Ads Split Test Options

What this does is that your ad will be shown to two different groups of people and you’ll be able to measure the results of each campaign: engagement, cost per click, clicks on your ads etc.

If you choose to test an audience – women between 20-30 or between 30-45 – you’ll have 2 (or more) different ad sets you can test.

The rest of the ad creation process is the same in this case, because you test only the audience and not the creative part (image + test).

If you want to test the image and the text of your ads, you’ll have to choose the “Creative” option split test.

In this case, two different ads will be delivered to a single audience (eg. women between 30-40 or whatever you choose).

Before creating your first campaign…

You see, there are lots of ways you can target your potential customer. But getting to your clients is just one part of the equation.

If you want to use these features at their full potential, first you must clearly define what is your ideal customer.

Their preferences, behaviors, likes, dislikes etc. will give you not only the best way you can reach them but also what is the most powerful message you can develop to get them to to the action you want.

Patrik Bindea is a growth hacking marketer and the owner of Strodin Dental Marketing where he helps dentists get more patients. He obsessively tests everything until he finds those details that turn strategies, concepts and words into sales.