All you need to know about Facebook ads

Whether you’re a Facebook addict yourself, or shy away from all that sharing on social media, you probably know you should be advertising your business on Facebook. But where do you start? It’s actually very simple to do when you know how. Facebook advertising offers great value for money, making it perfect for entrepreneurs and small business startups that don’t want to pay an agency to run their ads. With just a little time spent learning the basics, you can easily grow your ecommerce business. Follow our ultimate step-by-step guide and you’ll soon be boosting sales the easy way.


Why should you advertise on Facebook?


First of all, it’s the world’s largest social network. It has 2.8 billion monthly active users. That’s an incredibly large audience you could be putting your products in front of. But what’s clever is not the 2.80 billion, but the actual segments that are predestined to like your cute pet toys/sustainable fashion/garden furniture or whatever it is because of targeting. Facebook ads let you target your message to exactly the right people that are most likely to buy them. Facebook has the best ad targeting of any site.


If you sell garden hoses, you can reach people who are interested in vegetable gardens and home improvement. If you sell a software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool, you can target the people who’ve visited a landing page on your website.


It’s one of the most popular reasons businesses advertise on Facebook. So-called Facebook intelligent ads deliver your ads to people who are more likely to take certain actions. The network offers a wide range of demographic targeting, letting you target customers on the basis of:


  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Job title
  • Job industry
  • Interests 


If you're a new business who does not have a contact list to retarget yet, you can start targeting brand new customers instead.


Of course, if you have a good customer database already, you can target contacts/leads from your CRM database directly on Facebook. Remarketing to your current customer database gives you the chance to reconnect with customers, reminding them to come back to your business.


Facebook is especially popular for local advertisers and is now used by 62% of them—and for good reason. An eMarketer survey found that 96% of social media marketers consider Facebook the best social media platform for ROI. This is includes for both B2C and B2B companies.


Facebook's popularity gives you an opportunity to attract new customers to your business and market to them, all in an affordable way. Advertising on Facebook is much cheaper than running print adverts in magazines. Pay per click (PPC) campaigns are effective, but they can eat up your budget very quickly if you haven't got a trained and experienced team watching over your account. You might find CPC ads more cost-effective as it means you can limit how much you want to spend.


Facebook advertising is easy too. Some people get put off using Facebook to advertise because they don’t understand how to run Facebook ads or the tools seem complicated. Facebook Business Manager, Adverts Manager and Power Editor can be hard to get to grips with at first. But like all things, taking the time to understand the process of creating an advert and setting up the targeting options can give you the massive benefits of advertising on Facebook.


How does Facebook advertising work?


Facebook deliberately makes it easy for you to create an ad. It takes you through what you need to do, step by step, starting with the type of ad, then defining your audience and setting your budget etc.  


Although it’s simple, it’ s still highly-customizable. You can choose from a variety of options for your ads.


Generally Facebook ads use a pay-per-click model. But if you’d prefer pay per impression, pay per like, or pay per action, that’s possible too.  


Types of Facebook ads




This is the easiest type of ads to create. But just because they’re simple - doesn’t mean they’re not effective. In a Facebook survey, an image-only ad outperformed the other strategies on driving unique traffic with a 75% higher likelihood than the control. They’re perfect if you only have a small budget, or want to run an ad quickly.




Video ads can engage your customers a little more, as they give you the chance to tell a bit more of a story within your ad than a single image. If you keep them short – to around 15 seconds – then they are easily watched and won’t bore your audience. Make them entertaining but make sure your advertising has a call to action at the end. This is a clear message to your customer telling them how or why to buy your product. Often it will involve a link to your website.




Carousel ads let you include up to 10 images or videos in a single ad, each with its own link. This gives you scope to showcase more products, or simply tell your selling story in a longer form. Customers can swipe left or right or use directional arrows to see the additional images.


Collection ads


If you have a lot of products, these ads might suit you. They have a cover image or video with multiple products underneath. These Facebook Instant Experiences, formerly known as Canvas, load instantly, are mobile-optimised and are designed to be very engaging.


How to advertise on Facebook


Step 1 – Set up your Business Manager account


Make sure you set up your Business Manager account properly from the get go. Business Manager is the section of Facebook that houses your Facebook ad account, business pages, and other tools you’ll need to run your ads. Go to and click Create Account. You’ll need your ecommerce business name, your Facebook business page (create one first if you don't have one), your name, and your email address.


Next, create or add your existing advertising account. Choose Business Settings in the Business Manager menu, then click More Tools and Ad Account Settings. This is your advertising hub.


Step 2 – Install Facebook Pixel


You need to install Facebook Pixel to know if your ads are working. It’s the connection between your Facebook ads and your website. Pixel is a tracking code you need to create within your Business Manager account and then add to your website before you begin paying for ads. It shows you what visitors coming to your website through your Facebook ads are doing. If you're using Shopify, just copy your Pixel ID, which is a 16-digit number, from your Business Manager account and paste it into the Facebook Pixel ID field, located under Online Store in the preferences section of your Shopify store. You’ll see essential stats such as visitors, add to carts, and purchases recorded under Pixels.


Step 3  - Do your targeting


You can set up the people you want to target with your ad from Audiences - a section within Business Manager. You can create Facebook retargeting audiences, and consequently retargeting ads, using the Custom Audiences feature, which you’ll find in the Audiences section of Business Manager. Custom Audiences lets you tap into all the data captured by your Facebook pixel and business pages. Or if you want new customers, Facebook has created two useful tools to help you: Lookalike Audiences use the data from your Custom Audiences to create a new audience of Facebook users similar to your existing customers. A 1% Lookalike Audience contains people who most closely resemble your Custom Audience source. These would be an easy first target for prospecting. As your budget increases, you could move to a 5 or 10% audience that’s still similar but offers more scale.


Don’t have a list of past customers or visitors to your website? No problem. You can use Facebook’s interest, behaviours, and demographic data to create prospecting audiences using the saved audiences option. Use the Audience Insights tool to narrow down these options and find categories for testing.


Step 4 – Create a campaign


A campaign is the group name for all of your ads together. It’s how you create Facebook ads. Within your campaign are what are called ad sets. These are where you choose your audience, which ad your customers will see etc. You can have multiple ad sets within a campaign, helping you to compare ads against each other for effectiveness.


The first thing you need to do in your campaign advertising, is to choose an objective. Go to Facebook Ads Manager within your Business Manager account and click the Create button. Then choose your objective, depending on where you are in the marketing funnel, whether its brand awareness or conversions you’re after. If you aren’t selling a product yet but want to build up some excitement around the launch, the Brand Awareness objective is a good way to get low-cost impressions.


Whatever objective you choose, Facebook will charge you for impressions, ie the number of people that see your ad. Make sure you name each of your campaigns to keep track of each one.


Step 5 – Set up your first ad sets


Once you’ve chosen your objective, Facebook will then ask you to choose which audience you want to target, what your budget is and where you want to place your ads. These are your ad sets. Setting your budget depends on a few factors; your marketing budget, the cost of your product obviously and the objective you have. Awareness tends to cost less than purchases.


Within ad sets you can then refine the prospecting or retargeting list you’ve chosen in the Audience section. You can do this by gender, age and language for example.


Finally, you need to choose where you want your ads to appear. Facebook owns other apps, so they can appear beyond the newsfeed and in Instagram, for example. You can also let Facebook handle this part of the job, by recommending optimal placement.


Step 6 – Make the ad


This is the fun part. Creating the advertising.


One of the most common Facebook ad formats in ecommerce is the dynamic product ad. This is where visitors to your website are shown products they looked at or added to their basket. You can also use dynamic product ads for prospecting. If you choose this option, Facebook will look at the profile data of your visitors and show products on your store it thinks they will like, even if they have never visited your website before.


Step 7 – Optimise performance


Don’t forget to check out how your ads are doing. Know your metrics; what website traffic you’re attracting, your conversion rate, etc.. Give them time though, as Facebook does need time to optimize so the algorithm can learn who is most interested in what you’re selling. Give it at least 1,000 impressions before changing anything.


Overall, think in terms of your advertising and marketing funnel. Combine prospecting and conversions. Create one campaign to a large audience to drive awareness and traffic. This is at the top of your funnel. Then subsequent campaigns can re-engage with those people to encourage them to purchase.


Facebook ads specs


Here’s a quick and easy guide to the specs you need to stick to with your ads.


Ad type Design Copy Technical Campaign objectives
Image ad

File type: JPG or PNG

Ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1

Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels
Primary text: 125 characters

Headline: 40 characters

Description: 30 characters

Maximum file size: 30 MB

Minimum width: 600 pixels

Minimum height: 600 pixels

All but video views
Video ad

File type: MP4, MOV, or GIF

Ratio: 4:5

Video settings: H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan and stereo AAC audio compression at 128 kbps+

Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels

Video captions: Optional, but recommended

Video sound: Optional, but recommended

Primary text: 125 characters

Headline: 40 characters

Description: 30 characters

Video duration: 1 second to 241 minutes

Maximum file size: 4 GB

Minimum width: 120 pixels

Minimum height: 120 pixels

All objectives besides catalog sales
Carousel ad

Image file type: JPG or PNG

Video file type: MP4, MOV, or GIF

Ratio: 1:1

Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels

Primary text: 125 characters

Headline: 40 characters

Description: 20 characters

Number of carousel cards: 2 to 10

Image maximum file size: 30 MB

Video maximum file size: 4 GB

Video duration: 1 second to 240 minutes

Traffic, conversions, catalog sales, store traffic
Collection ad

Image file type: JPG or PNG

Video file type: MP4, MOV, or GIF

Ratio: 1:1

Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels

Primary text: 125 characters

Headline: 40 characters

Instant Experience: Required

Image maximum file size: 30 MB

Video maximum file size: 4 GB

Traffic, conversions, catalog sales, store traffic



Tips for a successful Facebook campaign


Woo your audience


You want your customer to click on your ad, so you need to be interesting! Write an engaging headline. Imagine you’re writing to one person who you think your product would suit. Then your tone of voice will be more genuine and personal.


Focus on what you want your audience to do


The best Facebook ads have a clear goal. Are you trying to increase awareness of your brand, or sell a product immediately? For brand awareness, you can educate on the area you specialise in. If you sell garden sheds, give a free gardening related tip. If you are selling, then make sure you have a clear call-to-action, guiding your customer as to where to buy.


Keep it short and simple


Don’t get too money-conscious when writing your ad and try to cram everything in. if you throw someone several balls they will generally only catch one. Keep your message short and simple and they are more likely to remember it.


Be upfront about the numbers


If you’re selling a physical product, make sure the cost is clear.


Test your ad copy


You can work out what copy works best on your Facebook advertising copy by testing it. Try running two different ads—each with the same image, but different copy—to see which resonates most with your audience. Which version gets the most likes, comments, and conversions?


Ready to grow your ecommerce business with Facebook ads?


Growing your ecommerce business is easy to do with Facebook ads. They’re quick and easy to create and once you’ve set them up, you can adapt your advertising campaigns. If you don’t want the cost of an advertising agency, it’s a simple way to promote your ecommerce business or products. Happy creating and selling!


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