Let's Do This: Building Your Facebook Ads & Measuring Success

Continuing our series on building ads using Facebook business manager, today we’re diving into the actual building of the ads, with some tricks to make your campaign as effective as possible – making your dollars go farther as you rack up conversions.

Facebook and Instagram ads are built in three parts – think of them as a Russian nesting doll with a large doll holding a smaller doll inside it with its own smaller doll inside that one.

In Business Manager, your largest doll is your Campaign. At the campaign level, you set your budget and optimize how you want your money spent.

Inside your Campaign (your next smallest doll) are your Ad Sets. Ad Sets are where you define your audience and choose where you would like your ads to be displayed.

Finally, within your Ad Sets live your ads. These are the physical posts you see in news feeds, what your audience will actually see.

Let’s dive into each of these with some tricks as you build your campaigns and get started advertising.

QUICK NOTE: I prefer to build my ads in what is called Quick Creation Mode. Facebook also provides “Guided Creation” but I personally believe there are limited options for customization in Guided Creation.



As mentioned above, the Campaign level is where you set your budget. When building a Campaign, first select your objective. You have the option then of setting a campaign-level spending limit and publishing from there.

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Learn more about the campaign objectives here.

Below your initial selections, you have the option to toggle on Campaign Budget Optimization. I highly recommend this. You can select a budget you’d like Facebook to spend daily for the duration of your ad flight, but I prefer to set my Campaign Budget as a Lifetime Budget.

This means Facebook will look at your targeting and the length of time you’re running your ads and optimize the spend it allows to meet your ideal budget, completely eliminating the risk of you spending more than you’d like or blowing your budget in the first few days of your ad flight.


Ad Sets:

Once you’ve determined your Campaign spending, it’s time to dive into ad sets and get freaky with your targeting.

Targeting is all about defining your audience. There’s a great number of ways to hone in your audience within Ad Sets, including: 

  • Custom Audiences: Facebook allows you to create custom audiences based off of customer lists or past website visitors. You can even create Look Alike audience based off existing lists to match more people likely to be interested in your business. You’ll need a pixel installed on your website to leverage some of these and can learn more about custom audiences in the Facebook Business Help Center.

  • Locations: Define an audience based on a physical address or geographical region. Facebook allows you the option of reaching everyone in that location, people who live in the location, people who visited the location recently or people who are traveling in the location.

  • Demographics: Limit your target audience by gender, age, or languages.

  • Detailed Targeting: This is based off of Facebook data. You can layer in people’s interests, their life events, their careers, etc.

  • Connections: Another Facebook metric – this one allows you to target to people who like your Facebook page or used your app or responded to your event, etc.

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These things are not mutually exclusive, in all cases you’ll want to make sure your audience is specific enough to drive business but not too specific that you’re targeting too small of a population.

Facebook provides an Audience Definition meter and it’s your goal to hit the meter as central to the green as possible.

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Within Ad Sets you can also direct your placements, or where you want your ads to be shown.

This is where you can select where you want whether your ads are exclusively shown on Instagram or exclusively in Facebook.

At the bottom of Ad Sets, is Optimization and Delivery. These individual options will change depending on what your campaign objective is, but it includes information about how to ensure your ads are performing to get you the best possible results.

What do we mean by that? In the case of the Traffic objective, you can optimize your ads for clicks (getting as many people as possible to click on your link) or for Landing Page Views (getting as many people as possible to click on your link and actually open and load your landing page).

In this example, optimizing for Landing Page Views eliminates any arbitrary clicks being lumped in your results.


Once you’ve defined your campaign objective and set your targeting, you can begin to build your ads.

There are a few different ways you can build your ads:

  • Single Image: This is where your ad contains copy, a single image and a Call to Action button.

  • Video: Similar to a Single Image ad with the exception that a video be used in place of a single image

  • Carousel: Multiple images in a click-through carousel. This ad type is great for telling multiple parts of a story.

  • Canvas: Also called Instant Experience or Collection, these ads include a series of products that open into a mobile landing page where your customers can complete transactions or learn more without leaving Facebook.

  • Existing Post: If you have a piece of organic content that is working really well on your page, you can also pull existing content into your ads.

Creative is a huge part of what makes your ads successful. It should be eye catching and scroll-stopping.

Videos are extremely popular on Facebook and tend to perform very well, however most people watch videos on Facebook with the sound off. If Video is your preferred method of creative for your ads, you’ll want to include captions, text bubbles and the like to get your message across without sound.

For single image ads, be wary of how much text is in your message. Facebook will only allow around 20% of a single image to include text. Design accordingly.


Measuring Success

Building your campaigns, ad sets and creative is the first step, but once your ads are live and running, their success lives entirely with you.

Give your ads about 7-10 days to fully optimize before you begin to assess their performance. You should be keeping an eye on your Cost Per Result. Anything extremely high means you’re working too hard to get the results you want. This may mean your audience needs adjusting.

Another metric to watch is Frequency. Frequency shows you how often each person exposed to your ad has seen it. I try to stay under 10 on this metric. Anything higher and you’re bombarding your fans with the same message over and over.

Depending on your objective, you’ll also want to start calculating your Return on Investment (ROI) or Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

ROAS is the ratio comparison of how much you spent to how much you earn whereas ROI accounts for the amount you make after paying your expenses.


Calculating ROAS:

Return on Ad Spend looks at the total amount of dollars your ad brought in through purchases and subtracts the amount of money you spent on ads.

So, if your ads brought in $5000 in total revenue, and you spend $1000 on your ads, you would divide your revenue by the amount you spent to get your ROAS.

$5000/$1000 = 500% Return on Ad Spend.


Calculating ROI:

Return on Investment looks at your total incremental profit and accounts for any expenses it takes to manage your business.

Let’s say you run a small café and your ads are set on the Store Visits objective. You spent $300 on ads and according to Facebook, you drove 500 store visits as a result of your advertising. You also know the average check at your small café is $9.50.

First you need to determine what your Margin after Variable Expense is. This metric has many different names but they all mean the same – it’s the percent of your total revenue that goes back into your business to pay your employees, keep your lights on, purchase product, etc. In the example of the small café, let’s say after all variable expenses, our restaurant makes $3.75 in incremental profit with every $9.50 check they have (about a 40% margin after variable expense).

Let’s look at what we know:

-        Total Store Visits Ads Drove: 500

-        Average Check Cost: $9.50

-        Margin after Variable Expense: $3.75

With this information, we can calculate our estimated incremental profit by taking the number of store visits (500) and multiply it by our margin after variable expense ($3.75) – resulting in $1,875 of estimated incremental profit.

What is our return on investment then?

Take the amount of estimated incremental profit ($1,875) and divide it by the amount of dollars spend on advertising ($300) to get your Return on Investment:

$1,875/$300 = 625% ROI.

A 100% return on investment means you broke even, anything below 100% is not worth the investment.


Hopefully by now, you’re feeling like a pro at Facebook ads and that’s awesome!

If you want to follow up on the rest of our Facebook Series you can check out the posts below:

Ready to Run Social Ads? Do these four things first.  

Choose your Campion: Selecting your Facebook Ad Campaign Objective