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Facebook Advertising: A Step-By-Step Guide to Running Your First Campaign

Facebook Advertising Guide

Facebook is big business.

How big?

According to Hubspot, Facebook generated $12.46 billion in sales in 2014, alone…

…and that number is growing.

But that’s not all:

According to eMarketer, by 2017, social network ad spending will reach $35.98 billion, representing 16.0% of all digital ad spending globally.

With more than 2 million advertisers on Facebook, Facebook is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to advertise online.

The problem, though, is many business owners massively underestimate Facebook’s potential to help them grow their business.


They tried Facebook ads once but failed to achieve the results they were hoping for.

This is for a host of reasons, but none are more common than driving traffic to an irrelevant page (rather than a blog post that demonstrates their knowledge and expertise).

And when they do that and fail to recoup their ad costs (because their conversion rates were so low), they give up on Facebook ads altogether when, really, it wasn’t the strategy that was at fault—it was the execution.

As Neil Patel writes,

I think every business tries Facebook ads, fails at it and then blames the platform.

It’s no secret:

Without a viable lead generation strategy, your business won’t stand out in today’s crowded marketplace.

I don’t want that to happen to your business, that’s why, in today’s article, I’m going to show you how to create a Facebook ad that converts so you can generate more leads, close more deals and accelerate revenue growth.

Do You Make This Mistake?

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You run an ad campaign by targeting people who like your competitors’ pages, drive traffic to an application form (or worse, your homepage), and then curse Facebook for your lack of conversions.

If you’re nodding along, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The truth is, if you want better conversions from your advertising efforts, you need to drive traffic to a specific content piece that not just solves a problem for your target market, but demonstrates you’re a trusted expert on the subject.

This is known as a ‘read magnet’ and it’s one of the most effective ways of converting cold traffic into warm traffic (and eventually hot leads).


  1. It’s more affordable to drive traffic to a content piece than a landing page (and Facebook loves it)
  2. It familiarizes your audience with your message

Here’s how it works:

  1. You write a killer blog post (your read magnet) that addresses a pain point your target market has
  2. You drive traffic to that piece of content using Facebook ads
  3. You invite readers to optin in exchange for a freebie (your lead magnet)
  4. You put your email subscribers through an email sequence in your funnel that ultimately invites them to buy your product or service
  5. You retarget people who either (1) didn’t optin on your site or (2) didn’t buy your product or service

It’s that simple.

While that may sound overwhelming if you’ve never run a Facebook ad campaign before, the truth is it’s a lot easier when you follow the following three steps…

Step 1. Decide Who You’re Targeting

Before you create your Facebook ad—before you write a headline, before you customize your image, before you write your description—you need to identify who you’re targeting.

If you haven’t done already, it’s worth creating a customer avatar.

This will help you clarify your audience’s goals, desires and pain points.

If you’re a real estate investment broker, for example, your customer avatar might include:

  1. Goals and values. Stephen wants to buy a property for him and his new wife and is committed to finding a property that caters to his and his wife’s needs.
  2. Challenges and pain points. Stephen has been taken advantage of by real estate brokers before and is afraid it will happen again.
  3. Sources of information. http://realtormag.realtor.org/
  4. Objections & role in purchasing process. “Would you be willing to reduce your commission?” Stephen is the decision-maker.

Once you’ve identified who you’re targeting, you need to clarify why you’re targeting them.

In other words, you need to have a target outcome.

Is it increasing likes for a business page? Sending traffic to a website? Converting prospects into buyers?

This will determine the type of ad campaign you run.

Once you’re clear on who you’re selling to and what you’re objective is, you can begin creating a targeted audience on Facebook.

There are two ways to do that:

  1. Create an Audience Overlap
  2. Create a Lookalike Audience

i. Create an Audience Overlap

An Audience Overlap is a Facebook Ads tool that allows you to compare up to five different audiences at once and see the percentage of people who overlap among those audiences.

The best part?

You can create a highly-targeted audience based on specific interests.

Here’s how to do that:

Login to Facebook and click ‘Create Adverts’:

This will take you to Facebook’s Adverts Manager.

Facebook Advertising

This is the go-to option for beginners and when starting out, you should use it, too. The Power Editor is for more advanced users.

Facebook Advertising

Ad sets is where you decide what type of ads you want to run and what audience you want to target.

To create an Audience Overlap, click ‘Create Advert’ in the top-right hand corner:

Facebook Advertising

Then, ‘Increase conversions on your website’:

Facebook Advertising

For ‘Conversion Event’, choose ‘Purchase’. This allows Facebook to track how many people opted in after reading your read magnet:

Facebook Advertising

At this stage, Facebook will ask you to verify your pixel. This involves you copying and pasting some code on your ‘Thank You’ page but because we’re focusing on an Audience Overlap, we can skip this step and return to it later.

Next, scroll down to ‘Audience’:

Facebook Advertising

This is where the real fun begins.

Here you can choose key demographics like location, age, gender and languages.

What we want to focus on here, is ‘Detailed Targeting’ underneath it:

Facebook Advertising

Returning to our real estate investment broker example, you could target “Dean Graziosi”, “real estate investment” and “Robert Kiyosaki” and target those who lay at the intersection.

Choose an interest, demographic or behavior and click ‘Narrow Audience’:

Facebook Advertising

Continue to add interests, demographics or behaviors until you have a maximum of three. Remember to click ‘Narrow Audience’. Eventually, you’ll have a highly-targeted audience you can market to.

As a rule of thumb, you want to target 100,000 people as a maximum and have ‘Audience Definition’ between specific (red) and good (green):

Facebook Advertising

Lastly, tick the ‘Save Audience’ box and give it a name you’ll remember.

ii. Create a Lookalike Audience

Lookalike Audiences allow you to target people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your existing customers.

You can base your Lookalike Audience on a variety of sources including people who like your Page, visited your website, or…

…opted in on your website.

To create a Lookalike Audience, click ‘Audiences’:

Facebook Advertising

‘Create a Custom Audience’:

Facebook Advertising

‘Customer File’:

Facebook Advertising

‘Upload file’:

Facebook Advertising

This creates a ‘Custom Audience’. With it, you can target people who share similar demographics and psychographics to your existing customers like location, age, gender and interests.

Many business owners do all this, correctly, but then forget a very important step…


Have you ever visited a competitor’s website and then later, seen their ad on your newsfeed?

That’s retargeting.

Your competitor knew you had visited their page because of a piece of code called a pixel that uses your IP address to track your activity (more on that in a moment.)

To maximize your Facebook advertising, you need to retarget anyone who didn’t (1) optin after reading your read magnet, or (2) buy your product or service. (Think of it as converting window shoppers into buyers.)

To put a pixel on your website, go back to your previously saved advert in advert set and click ‘Verify Pixel’:

Facebook Advertising

Copy the code you’re provided with…

Facebook Advertising

…and paste it between the <head> and </head> of your website code.

To do that, I recommend a free plugin called, Facebook Conversions Pixel:

Facebook Conversion Pixel

Once you’ve downloaded Facebook Conversion Pixel, login to your WordPress dashboard and click ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add New’ > ‘Upload Plugins’ > ‘Choose File’ > ‘Install Now’.

While in your WordPress dashboard, go to your ‘Thank You’ page (the page your subscribers are redirected to after opting in), scroll down, tick the ‘Insert Code’ box and paste your tracking pixel in the ‘Conversion Pixel’ box:

Facebook Advertising

Now that you’ve verified your pixel, you’re ready to begin planning your ad.

Step 2. Plan Your Ad

Before writing your ad, you need to plan what your angle is going to be.

An angle is how companies approach marketing on a creative level.

For example, BMW doesn’t market itself as a safer, more luxurious car. Rather, it markets itself as, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

BMW Marketing Angle

This conjures a powerful image in the prospect’s mind.

Similarly, when creating a Facebook ad, you want to have an angle, one that gives you an edge over your competition.

While angles go beyond the scope of today’s article, you can’t go wrong with ‘The Life Force 8’…

The Life Force 8

In his book, Cashvertising, Drew Eric Whitman outlines eight marketing angles based on our core biological desires:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

Returning to out real estate investment broker example, we might create eight adds using the above angles:

1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension

Buying your dream apartment is easier than you think. We’ll show you how with our free resource guide…

2. Enjoyment of food and beverages

Love cooking but hate doing it in a confined kitchen? We’ve got something you’ll love…

3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger

House prices have risen by 5% in the last 12-months. Do you know how much your home is worth? Get your free assessment here…

4. Sexual companionship

Ready to settle down start a family? Get started today with [INSERT BUSINESS NAME HERE]…

5. Comfortable living conditions

Live walking distance from the city? Yes. It is possible. And it’s never been easier with our newest listing…

6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses

Moving up in the world isn’t limited to your neighbor. Learn how to get on the property ladder today with our latest free report…

7. Care and protection of loved ones

Are you raising your children in a dangerous neighborhood? Get your free assessment here…  

8. Social approval

Nothing says status like a property by the ocean. Learn the secret realtors don’t want you to know with our new video…

If you want to go one step further, it’s advised you run at least three ads per angle to identify which converts best. This logic applies to the image you use, too (more on that in a moment.)

By A/B testing headlines, ad copy and images, you’ll be able to ascertain which converts best and maximize your ad investment.

Step 3. Create Your Ad

There are two types of Facebook ad:

  1. Newsfeed ads
  2. Sidebar ads

For the purpose of today’s article, we’ll focus on sidebar ads because they’re the easiest of the two.

There are three elements to consider when creating a Facebook ad:

  1. Image
  2. Headline
  3. Description

Facebook Ad Example

i. Image

The image is the most important element of your ad.


It takes up 50% of your ad space.

While the description and headline font and style will look identical to your competitors’ (because they’re not customizable), your image is your chance to create an ad that garners attention and helps you stand out.

As a rule, Facebook doesn’t allow text on images, so make sure you choose an image that’s relevant and reflects your message well.

ii. Headline

The purpose of your headline is to attract the reader’s attention, introduce the description and promise the benefit the reader will receive from clicking through.

With a maximum of 25 characters, you’re going to need to be as succinct as possible. Remember, of everyone who reads your headline, only 20% will read your description.

While much has been written on the subject of writing eye-catching headlines, my favorite headline formula is what Neil Patel calls, “The Ultimate Headline Formula.”

According to Patel, there are five main parts to it:

The Ultimate Headline Formula

If you were writing an ad to drive traffic to a read magnet about property investing, you might write a title like, “7 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your First Home.”

iii. Description

The description (the copy beneath the image) is what follows the headline.

You’re only allowed 90 characters, so you need to make sure it piques the reader’s interest and invites them to click-through.

Because we’ve recommended you drive traffic to a read magnet (rather than a generic appointment form), your description should address the problem your read magnet solves.

Let’s return to Ryan Levesque’s Facebook Ad:

Facebook Ad Example

In the above example, Ryan is launching a product and is driving traffic to a landing page by offering a free PDF download.

Notice how his headline includes a number, a rationale (“Ways”) and addresses a desire every entrepreneur has: getting life-long customers.

That’s why getting your angle right is crucial (and why it deserved its own section in this article.)

If you need inspiration, look at what your competitors are doing and keep a ‘swipe file’ of descriptions and headlines you could model and improve when creating your ad.

Take the best features and combine them to create an ad that’s unique and best sells your read magnet. Once you’ve tested its effectiveness, you can continue to refine and reuse it.


While initially overwhelming, Facebook advertising can seriously transform your business—if done correctly.

With 1.09 billion daily active users, the potential to generate highly qualified leads for your business is huge

…and there’s never been a better time to get started.

Have you tried Facebook Advertising? What have your results been?

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Written by

Josh Denning, founder of Authority Factory, helps high-achieving business owners generate more traffic, create more authority and capture and close more clients for their business. To learn a scalable and predictable approach to growing revenue, visit: http://www.onlinemeetingnow.com/register/?id=r8vh2pasjo

Comments 2

10 November 2016 Reply

Daaaamn! Great post, Josh 🙂

Thanks for the link love!

10 November 2016 Reply

You are welcome Jill, and, thanks for jumping in the conversation, you gorgeous rockstar you!

Say hello to my fellow Mango loving, twin brother from another mother 🙂

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