Create a Facebook Ad for small businesses step by step

More than a decade has passed since its launch, and Facebook still remains the most popular social media platform. Its dominance has turned it into an indispensable tool for advertising. Facebook Ads feature has proven to be especially valuable for small, local businesses, as it offers a wide range of audience targeting options. In this guide, you will learn how to easily create an effective Facebook ad for small businesses.

The whole process consists of only 4 steps:

  1. Laying the Groundwork
  2. Creating the Campaign Objectives
  3. Setting the Ad Properties
  4. Creating the Ad

In order to make things even simpler, we will explain each step in great detail.

1. Laying the Groundwork

Create a Facebook Ad for Small Businesses

In order to create an ad, you must have a business Facebook page. If you don’t have one yet, you can create it here, and then fill in the information about your business. In order to create a successful ad, your page needs to be fully optimized, so you will need to take several steps to improve it.

To create a new ad, click on the drop-down arrow in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page that you have admin access to, and select ‘Create Ads’. This action will lead you straight to the Facebook Ads Manager.

2. Creating the Campaign Objective

Once you have entered the Ads Manager, you will need to choose your campaign objective. There are 3 groups of objectives: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion objectives.

2.1. Awareness objectives

In the Awareness section, you will be offered two objectives:

  • Brand awareness – Reaches as many people as possible who might be interested in your brand;
  • Reach – Shows your ad to a maximum number of people.

We don’t recommend opting for these objectives. Awareness objectives’ goal is to generate as much attention to your product or service as possible, so they are likely to show your ad to people who are not interested in your brand and will not become your potential customers.

2.2. Consideration objectives

Consideration objectives have a great value for any small business, as they get people to start thinking about your business and look for more information about it. Here, you have several choices:

  • Traffic – Sends people to a destination on or off Facebook, for example, to your website;
  • Engagement – Attracts more audience engagement, such as likes, comments, event responses and offer claims;
  • App installs – Gets more people to install your app;
  • Video views – Gets more people to view your video content;
  • Lead generation – Drives more sales leads, such as email addresses or demographics, from people interested in your brand;
  • Messages – Gets more people to send messages to your business in Messenger or WhatsApp.

The Traffic and Engagement objectives are especially important, as they will certainly help grow your business. However, our favourite pick would be the Video views objective. Nowadays, people have become impatient and their attention span has grown shorter, so it is essential to embrace a dynamic piece of content such as video. As we believe that every brand should have at least one video campaign, for the sake of this guide, we will continue by selecting the Video views objective. You can, of course, choose any objective that fits the needs of your campaign.

2.3. Conversion objectives

Conversion objectives target people who have already shown interest in your business and encourage them to purchase or use your product or service. There are three possible options:

  • Conversions – Drives valuable actions on your website or app;
  • Catalog sites – Creates ads that automatically show items from your catalog based on your target audience;
  • Store visits – Locates people nearby and gets them to visit your locations.

As your business grows, your campaign objectives will change. Think carefully about your current goals and select your desired objective. If you have multiple goals to achieve, it is essential that you create separate campaigns for each objective. Once you have finished this step, you need to choose a name for your campaign. Try to be as specific as possible. Finally, click ‘Set Up Ad Account’.

NOTE: If you are using the Ads Manager for the first time, after finishing this step, you will need to fill in basic information about your accounts, such as your country, currency and time zone. This part needs to be configured only once, and will not show up in the future.

3. Setting the Ad Properties

After clicking the ‘Set Up Ad Account’ button, you will find yourself at the Ad set level. Ad set is where you will define your targeting, budget, schedule, bidding and placement. While setting these properties, always have in mind your original objectives and act according to them.

3.1. Defining the Audience

No other advertising tool can target a particular audience as well as Facebook Ads can. It offers a wide range of options and you can be very specific when choosing your audience. These options include:

  • Location – select the specific location of your audience. You can choose the people who live at that particular location or, for example, people travelling in that location;
  • Age – select the minimum and maximum age of people who will find your ad relevant;
  • Gender – select the gender of your desired audience; if gender is not significant, select ‘All’;
  • Languages – fill this field only if the audience you are targeting uses a language that is not common to the location you have chosen above; otherwise, leave it blank;
  • Detailed Targeting – select a specific demographic group that will find your ad relevant: you can target people based on their income, education, relationship status, interests and habits. You can also target people who have shown interest in / bought products from your competitors by simply typing in their brand names.
  • Connections – reach people who have a specific kind of connection to your page, app or event, for example: show the ad only to people who like your page or who have responded to your event.

If you want to create a Custom Audience, you can find the instructions here.

After you have chosen your target audience, click ‘Save This Audience’. A pop up will show asking you to give a name to your audience. Once you have done that, click ‘Save’. Try to give your audience a recognizable name, as you might want to use that same audience again in the future.

3.2. Choosing Placements

Placements are incredibly important for every campaign as they heavily influence on how much attention your ad will grab. We strongly advise you never to use the recommended, automatic placements, but to select them yourself. If you keep the automatic placements, your ad will also end up on Instagram and Audience Network, and it is not advisable to create one and the same ad for multiple platforms.

After clicking the ‘Edit Placements’ option, please unselect all other social media platforms except Facebook. You will be left with several Facebook locations. The most important ones are

  • Newsfeed – this is where we recommend you place your ad, as this is where it will attract most engagement and achieve highest CTR;
  • Mobile Newsfeed – this is an amazing placement for mobile app installs and engagement; however, you should expect low website conversions;
  • Right Hand Column – it may be cheap, but it is not recommendable – the performance is low, it is too small and easy to miss, and lacks dynamics. It can be useful for retargeting, though.

Create a Facebook Ad for Small Businesses

  • In-stream Videos – they are very similar to commercial breaks. If you have opted for a video objective, our advice is to go with In-Stream Videos, as they are non-skippable, and the viewer will watch them in order to finish the interrupted video clip. Bear in mind that these videos are only 5-15 seconds long, but that shouldn’t scare you. If your video is longer, use its best part in the ad, and then post the full video on your Facebook page. Remember to use for making the most out of your YouTube videos.

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Our final advice for this section is to scroll down to the Specific Mobile Devices and Operating Systems section and select ‘Only when connected to Wi-Fi’. If a user is not connected to WiFi, the chances are that it is not a good time for them to see your ad – they might be driving or in a hurry, so they will not pay attention to your ad.

3.3 Determining the Budget and Schedule

The next step is to allocate your daily budget. Our advice is to start with $5.00 a day. This way, if you review your ad performance regularly, you can test different audiences, measure results, and identify which ads work better. Then, you can turn off poorly performing ad sets and ads, and reallocate your ad set budgets to focus on the most effective ad sets.

On your right, you will see the estimated daily reach, based on your audience, placements and budget, so you will know what to expect.

Create a Facebook Ad for Small Businesses

Finally, set your schedule: your ad can run continuously starting today, until the moment you turn it off, or you can set up the start date and end date.

4. Creating the Ad

Finally, you have reached the moment of ad creation. The first thing you need to do is to select your Facebook Page that will represent your business in the ad.

Next, Choose the format of your ad. For this guide, we selected Video Views objective, so now we opt for the Single Video ad. Afterwards, you should upload the media file for your campaign, in this case, a video file.

4.1. Ad Design

Ad design is of utmost importance  and you need to be very careful about it, and pay attention to the following:

  • Your ad must be eye-catching – you can achieve that by making it colourful
  • If your ad contains a video, pay attention that your thumbnail is dynamic and reflects what you have to offer
  • If your ad contains an image, that image must be related to the offer and it should highlight your value proposition
  • The ad preview image dimensions should be 1200×627 px – this way, the ad will look good on every screen.

The success of your ad is closely related to its design and the preview image. As it is difficult to create HQ images, we suggest that you use one of these free photo databases, as well as some graphic-design tool websites such as Canva.

4.2. Ad Content

If you want your ad to perform successfully, you need to ensure that the content is optimized.

  • First, write the text for your campaign. The text should clearly tell your audience about what you are promoting. Remember that people are not on Facebook looking for local businesses, but a powerful offer will attract them. Try to include words such as “discount”,  “free”, etc. If there is a video included, the caption should clearly state what is happening in the video.
  • Add a website URL that will take the audience to your website. The CTA will be a ‘Learn More’ button, but you can change it. Make sure that the landing page is consistent with the design and wording.
  • Write a headline for your link. Headlines are very important – try brainstorming headlines before making the final decision. The headline will be shown in bold font.
  • Write a link description. Remember to stay concise, don’t get too descriptive. Anticipate the common buying objections and offer a solution in this field.
  • Bear in mind that if any of the text runs over the required length for their specific fields, your ad will lose some of its power. The headline is limited to 25 characters, and link description to 90 characters.

Create a Facebook Ad for Small Businesses

Once you are satisfied with your ad, you can continue. You can click ‘Review’ to see the summarized information about your ad, or you can click ‘Confirm’ to finish the ad-making process.

Wrap up

Congratulations! You have created your first Facebook ad. Before being published, your ad will need to be reviewed and approved by the Facebook team. Once it is ready for publishing, you will be notified by email.

Did you find this easy enough? What is your opinion of Facebook Ads? Share your experience and impressions with us in the comment section below.