Running ads on Facebook and Instagram can sound complex at first, but I'm here to show you it can actually be pretty easy to get started! As long as you have a good understanding of who your target audience is and what your goals are, you can dive into social advertising.
Like anything, it may be challenging at first, but the more you play with the different features and learn how it works the better your results will get. Because of this, I do suggest starting with a smaller budget while you gain data and work through your own process of running ads.
There isn't just one straightforward approach to running ads. In fact, there are three ways you can do it! Those three ways are boosting posts, Facebook Ad Center, and Meta Ads Manager. I'll go through how to get started on each one, when to use them, and the biggest differences between each of them.
Boosting your posts is a fairly easy and straightforward way to run ads. You can simply click the "boost post" option on either Facebook or Instagram and then follow the instructions from there choosing your target audience, budget, how long you want it to run, and the call-to-action. Boosting posts are a great way to boost engagement, gain more awareness, and gain more followers. They can also help generate more leads and purchases, however, if that is your goal I recommend taking your ads to the next level using Facebook Ad Center or Facebook Ads Manager.
Facebook Ad Center
To get started on running basic ads (best for beginners), while viewing your business Facebook page, click the "Promote" button just below your cover photo on the right-hand side. Or, in the same view select the menu button (the 9 dots forming a square) on the left-hand side of Facebook. Under "Professional" select "Ad Center", "Create Ad", or search for it using the Search Menu at the top. From there, you will be given a summary of any past ads you've ran (if any) and the option to "Create Ad". Select that option to get started on creating your ad(s).
From here, Facebook makes it pretty easy to navigate. You won't have as many customizations as you do in Ads Manager, however, you do have more than when it comes to boosting a post.
Here you'll have the option to set a goal, shuffle creative (test different visuals and text), add a description, headline, button, target audience, schedule and duration, budget, placements, and attach to a Pixel if you have one set up. If not you can get started on setting one up here!
Meta Ads Manager
Starting from the same navigation above, this time instead of clicking "Ad Center" we're going to select "Ads Manager". Ads Manager will take us away from Facebook Pages and into Business Manager (business.facebook.com/adsmanager/). If you don't have an Ad account setup you will be prompted to do so. Or, click go into your "Business Settings" and select "Ad Accounts" under "Accounts" in the navigation on the left-hand side.
From there, you will see all the ad accounts you have access to or you can add or create a new ad account.
Once you've created an account or you see the one you would like to use, select that ad account and then the button "Open in Ads Manager" located on the upper right-hand side of the screen.
From there you will see all past ad campaigns you've run and the results (if any), and the option to "Create" (green button) an ad campaign
While a bit more complex, it is still easy to navigate by following the steps and instructions laid out for you by Meta.
When creating ads through Ads Managers you will have the option to create A/B tests, multiple ad sets, customize your creative for different placements (Facebook post versus Instagram posts, versus stories, etc.), schedule the ads, and more in addition to the same features mentioned above.
In Ads Manager, you can also get detailed analytics including reach, link clicks, cost per result, and more. You can customize the columns based on your goals by clicking the "Columns" button and then "Customize Columns".
The date range can also be adjusted in the top right-hand corner of your screen.
In summary, boosting posts and creating ads through Facebook Ad Center is the easiest route to go and what I recommend for our beginners. But, if you want to take it to the next level and start using ads to their fullest potential, Ads Manager is where it's at! With Ads Manager you have more creative control, advanced tools like retargeting or A/B testing, and you can dive deeper into analytics.
Don't be intimidated by running ads, instead, be open to learning and okay with making a few mistakes here and there. Take your time clicking through all the features available to you and reading the helpful articles Facebook/Meta provides for you. You have all the information you need right in front of you! And remember, not everything that works for someone else will work for you. You have to find your own "sweet spot" and process.
Good luck! I'd love to hear how running ads on Facebook and Instagram has helped your business or how you hope they will. Feel free to drop a comment below!