Zero to hero: how to set up Facebook & Instagram ads

Intimidated by the hundreds of buttons and fiddly bits that appear when you go to set up and run a Facebook and Instagram ad?

Time to read through our GIANT guide to advertising through Facebook and become a pro…

If you’re here, then you probably are ok with the fact you’ve gotta spend a little to make a lot. But, if you’re not sure why paid advertising is good, let us break it down…

There are numerous benefits of running a paid campaign, especially with the hydra of decreasing organic results being such a looming threat. With just a small paid budget it is much easier to improve your return on investment, increase conversions and goal competitions and there are plenty of options when it comes to what you promote and where.

In today’s guide/blog/lesson, whatever you want to call it, we will be walking you through the whole process of setting up and running your own social ads on Facebook, as well as some tips and tricks to help.  

It’s business time

There are two main ways to run your ads, through your Facebook page or through a Business Manager account. We will run through both here but basically, running ads through your page is probably the easier option, but Business Manager gives you much more options when it comes to tracking, different ad types, and analytics. Not to mention the fact you can also use it to run ads on Facebook and Instagram at the same time. Click the tabs below to explore the two in more detail. 

Running ads through your Facebook page
If you see an ad that is performing well, or if you have a post that you want to share with more people, you can easily boost a post by clicking the little blue ‘boost post’ box under the post itself.

Clicking this box will bring up an interface which will allow you to choose who you want to reach, how long you want the ad to run and how much you want to pay.

We will cover off a few of these aspects in more detail below, but in general, this set up process is fairly easy to use and means you can get your ad set-up in a matter of minutes.

Running ads through Business Manager
Now if you want to get serious about your ad campaign (and we very much recommend you do!) you should first set up a business manager and ad account for your page.

An ad account provides a number of nifty features including:
> Audience creation
> A wider variety of ad types
> Exportable ad reporting
> A creative hub, allowing you to make different ads before they go live

There are a lot more benefits to using Business manager but at the risk of jumping into a full explanation (which would be a blog in itself), let’s just say it’s pretty great. If you haven’t set one up head to have a read through this guide from Facebook.

Once you’ve got those set up and decided which one you’d like to advertise through, it’s time to get going.

Pick your objectives

One of the main things to decide before you get any ads running is what you hope to achieve by running them. Whether you want to increase conversions on your website or increase the reach of your posts, these will require different approaches that should be factored into your ad creation.

Thankfully Facebook makes this whole step much more straightforward.

– First, head to your business manager
– Click the three lines in the top left corner and choose Ad Manager
– Select your chosen ad account
– Click Create
– You will then be greeted with this lovely selection:

– After choosing, scroll down, name your campaign and click continue
– This will create your ad campaign. The next step is to make your ad set which requires you to choose your audience, where you want it shared and how much you want to pay.

Pick your audience

Choosing your audience is one of the most important parts of your ad creation. Too specific and you will limit the number of people you reach, too broad and you might minimise the number of relevant people your ad reaches.

Hopefully, you have a good idea who you want to reach with your ads but here are some tips to help.

  • Don’t ignore the Connections box. This gives you some interesting audience specifications such as choosing people who have responded to an event, friends of people who like your page. Alternatively, you can choose to exclude these audiences instead.
  • As you add more demographics, interests, and behaviours Facebook will make more suggestions for similar groups you should target.
  • If you aren’t sure about which audience will have better results or want to target very different ad types, you can always create multiple ads or run an A/B testing on your ads.
  • Look into setting up Lookalike and custom audiences for EVEN MORE audience options.

As you input your audience requirements you will notice that the gauge on the right side starts to jump around more than a House of Pain on a trampoline. Ideally, you want the pointer as close to the centre of the gauge as possible.

Under the graph you will see the estimated number of people you can expect to reach with your ad. As Facebook are quick to point out, this is an estimation and should be used as a guide only.



Now you have chosen who you want to see your ad, it is time to choose where they see it.

Though Facebook automatically ticks the ‘Automatic Placements’ box, we would recommend editing your placements (or at least having a look at where your ads are going!).

Manual placements allow for you to narrow your audiences by device type, for example, you can show your new iPhone announcement video to iOS users only if you want. Afterall, what says exclusivity more than anything Apple.

You can also choose to exclude categories, such as stopping your ad appearing on places that have Mature, Gambling or Dating related content for example.

Set your budget

Another benefit of running ads on Facebook over other platforms such as LinkedIn is that ads are actually pretty cheap.

Whether your budget is £50 or £5000, you can set your daily budget or lifetime budget, set your ad live and see great results.

For those new to social ads we would recommend starting small and scaling up your budget as your results do.

Creating the ad!

So now you have done all that it is time to create the ads themselves!

Time for more options. Yaaaaaaaay. Let’s go back to bullet points to make this quicker…

  • First off, choose to either create an ad or use one of the preexisting posts on your page (this will then ask you to pick the post you want).
  • Select your Facebook account where you want the ad to run
  • Select your Instagram account where you want the ad to run (if it isn’t here, there is a handy instruction above the box to help).
  • Choose your ad type:

  • Upload images or videos, depending on the ad you chose.
  • Choose accompanying text on the post.
  • Add links to your site if needed (UTM this and you will win extra brownie points).
  • Add a call to action and overlay if you want one.

It’s alive! Facebook will now check your ad to make sure it adheres to their ad policies but it should be set live within very little time.

There are a number of other options and complexities we didn’t cover off here, such as how to use Pixel tracking, but that is a subject for another blog. Needless to say, as you get more ads live, looking into extra features is recommended.

Tips for ad creation!
Here are a few tips for your ad creation:

>Make sure your images are optimised for both Facebook and Instagram. These use different specifications so it is important to check. You can upload two seperate images if needed.
> Watch out for text in your image. Facebook has a strict policy on text in ads so make sure to keep it as small as possible. Have a lot and Facebook will limit the number of people that see your ad. Too much and they will stop your ad altogether.
> Video content works particularly well. Keep your post content short and to the point.
> If you want to try out multiple images, create a number of them within the ad-set and monitor the results to see which ones perform better. You can then increase budget or pause specific ads based on this.

And you are done!

Congratulations. Assuming your ad did not contain gambling babies with guns, your ad will be live in the world. You can monitor the results of your ad in the Ad Manager tab and make any adjustments to any part of your ad as it is going on.

If you have any further questions, pop us an email on

Click here to read this blog and learn how to increase views on your Facebook video content! 

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