The Only Starter Guide to Facebook Ads You’ll Ever Need

Post by
Doug Sirkoch
The Only Starter Guide to Facebook Ads You’ll Ever Need

If you are considering doing Facebook Ads, first off - awesome! Way to think outside of the box. Getting the “plumbing” set up can for your Facebook Campaign be difficult. When you have think about the objective, placement, targeting options, ad format, and creatives you want to use it starts to add up. 

If you’ve ever tried setting up a single ad campaign before you know that this can be difficult and you may have ran into some questions along the way.

Well, we wanted to make things a little easier, so we created the ultimate Facebook Ads cheat sheet. This cheat sheet is the only thing you will need to plan out your next campaign. We will go over all the choices you have when building a campaign and try to explain all the options along the way.

Facebook Objectives

Your Facebook Ad objective will determine the goal of the campaign. This will directly affect the way your campaign performs and how it's displayed to users of the platform. 

Before we jump into the setting up of the campaign it’s important to notice how Facebook has built its objective selection campaign. Think of a 3 step marketing funnel. Something like this:

3 step marketing funnel
Example: 3 Step Marketing Funnel

Facebook’s Campaign objective screen is built off this same design. 

  • Step 1 = Awareness
  • Step 2 = Consideration
  • Step 3 = Conversion

Facebook Ad Objective
Screenshot: Facebook Marketing Campaign Objective

  • Brand awareness. Increase awareness for your brand by reaching people who are more likely to be interested in it. Here you will be paying for impressions.

  • Reach.  Show your ad to the maximum number of people. This is best used for large audiences. You can prioritize impressions (total views) or reach (unique views). Choose reach in most cases. You’ll be charged for impressions here as well.

  • Traffic. Send more people to a destination on or off Facebook such as a website, app or Messenger conversation. Facebook will display this ad to “clicky” users. You can choose to optimize for landing page views, link clicks, impressions, or daily unique reach, and your choice here will determine whether you’re charged per click or impressions.

  • Engagement. Drive on-platform actions, such as likes, comments, shares, or event responses. Messenger placements are not available for this campaign type. You can optimize for impressions, post engagements, or daily unique reach, and pay by impressions.

  • App installs. Get more post engagements, Page likes, event responses or offer claims. Here you can optimize for app installs, retention, link clicks, app events, and 10-second video views. You’re charged for impressions, 10-second video views, or link clicks depending on what you optimize for.

  • Video views. Get more people to view your video content. Show your ads to viewers who are most likely to watch your videos. Here can optimize for different lengths of views, including 15-seconds or less, 10-second views, and 2-second views. You’ll either pay for impressions or 10-second video views.

  • Lead generation.  One of the most powerful objectives with its built in form fills. Here you can drive more sales leads, such as email addresses, from people interested in your brand or business. You can optimize for leads, and pay accordingly.

  • Messages. Get more people to send messages to your business in Messenger or WhatsApp. You will pay for impressions here.

  • Conversions. Drive valuable actions on your website, app or in Messenger. Optimize for the right action by setting this up through the conversion pixel. Facebook recommends at least 50 sales per month for this option to be viable.

  • Catalog sales. Create ads that automatically show items from your catalog based on your target audience. You can optimize for link clicks, conversion events, or impressions.
  • Store traffic. Drive visits to your physical stores by showing ads to people who are nearby.

Ad Targeting Options

Audience targeting is where Facebook wins. This is the real “bread and butter” of Facebook and where campaigns can be won or lost. To put it frank, Facebook knows way too much about us. But, as marketers we can use that information to win over users.

Facebook Ads Audience Builder
Screenshot: Facebook Audience Builder
  • Location. Here you can target users based on people who live or have recently been to.

  • Age. Well, you can target what age you want the user to be. (I felt weird explaining that one)

  • Gender. You can target ALL, Men, or Women (Also weird)

  • Language. Use the languages users speak to show the right ad to the right audience.

  • Demographics, interests, and behaviors. This is where things get interesting. If you have a few minutes you should really play around here. You can get granular here. Want to target a women 26-35 who just got engaged? You can do that here. Yeah, those life events you post on Facebook, those are used to display ads.

  • Exclusionary targeting. Make sure that certain people don’t see your ad, even if they otherwise belong to your target audience, such as if they already like your page, because if its a “New Client Special” it may not make sense for people who already like your page to see that. 

Placement Options

Placement Options determine where your ad actually shows up on Facebook (or elsewhere). Whether you want your ad to show up only on desktop, or to those mobile users as well.

Facebook Ads Placement Builder
Screenshot: Placement Options

Facebook Ad Image & Video Guidelines

Facebook has specific image and video guidelines when it comes to ad size, file types, and more. Here’s what you need to know and all the sizes you need:

Images: You can use 1200 x 628 ads or square 1080 x 1080 ads for most placements.

Carousel ads: 1080 x 1080 or anything 1:1

Video Files Size: 4GB max size

Video Aspect Ratio: It’s recommended to use vertical video, which uses 4:5 or 2:3 aspect ratios.

Video Stories:
Instagram Story has to be 15 seconds or less

Facebook Story can be up to 30 seconds long

Images and videos can’t contain more than 20% text may be penalized in the ad system, particularly in reach. You can use this tool to double check and make sure you’re in are within the means.


You have just created your first ad! Proceed to place your image and write a nifty headline. Then grab a beer. Sit back and press that shiny Publish button in the lower right hand corner of the screen. In up to 24 hours your new ad will be live and new clients will come crawling.