How to Run Your First Facebook Ad

Do you need to grow your business? Has the success others have had with Facebook ads made you curious? Good. You’ve come to the right place.

Over the years, I’ve used Facebook advertising to reach new clients and grow my business. But I remember how daunting the platform seemed when I first started out.

Trust me, you don’t need to feel afraid.

With a bit of guidance, you can have your first ad running in no time.

Today, I’m going to take you through the process step-by step. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be well-equipped to launch your first ad campaign. Whether you want to make sales or build your email list. Facebook ads can help.

Step 1: Navigate to the Ad section

Before you can start creating ads, you need to navigate to the ad section. There are a couple of ways to access this area of Facebook.

You can use the left sidebar under the “Pages” section.

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Alternatively, you can use the dropdown in the top right hand corner.

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Step 2: Choose “Send people to your website”

When you’re just starting out, I’d suggest sticking with the clicks to website option. You’ll access it by choosing the “Send people to your website” option on the start screen.

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You can use Facebook ads to increase conversions on your website (or any of the other options), but I’d wait until you got a bit more experience. This is a great novice way to get your feet wet.

Let’s keep this first Facebook ad as simple as possible.

You won’t start by spending $100,000 a month with your first ad. At least, you shouldn’t. Clicks to website keep it simple, which allows you to get a feel for how Facebook ads works.

Step 3: Create your campaign

First things first – type in the URL of the website you’d like to promote. This is the page where you’ll send traffic to. If you have a special landing page for the ad, make sure to use that URL.

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Then, name your campaign. You’ll see that I’ve named mine “ – Website Clicks.” This shows me which URL I’m promoting, as well as the type of campaign I’m using.

Make sure to create a campaign name that specifically identifies it. This gets more important as you develop additional campaigns in the future.

Step 4: Setup custom audiences (if applicable)

Do you already know customers using Facebook? If so, your business might benefit from Custom Audiences.

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As you can see, you have three options for the Custom Audiences. Since you’re just getting started, I’d advise either skipping customer audiences or using the Customer List option.


Customer List

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Through this method, you can upload a list of email address or phone numbers of at least 100 people. If you have an email list, you can also import the customer list directly from MailChimp. Then Facebook will deliver your ads directly to those people.

Step 5: Narrow your location

As with any type of targeting, you should strive to make things as precise as possible. If you run a local business, you can get your targeting down to your business address.

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Now, Facebook tracks location a few different ways. You’ll see a dropdown titled “Everyone in this location.” This helps you choose which type of location tracking you want Facebook to you. It features the following options:

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Choosing the appropriate option makes sure your ads only get in front of the most relevant audience.

Step 6: Choose your demographics

In terms of demographics, you’ll find three main options for your Facebook ads: age, gender and languages. Choose the demographics most relevant to your target audience. Again, you want get these demographics as specific as possible.

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If your target demographic speaks multiple languages, select the language you’ll use in the ad. For example, Freshbooks has customers around the globe. But I’ll create an ad in English. So, I’ll choose English as my language here.

Facebook ads gives you additional demographic options as well. Under the “More Demographics” tab, you can continue to narrow down your options in several categories, including:

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Step 7: Drill down with interests, behaviors and connections

By this point, you might find that your reach doesn’t go very far. Many small, local businesses will find that this is the case. But if you’re larger or reaching a national audience, then you can continue narrowing down by interests, behaviors and connections.

I’ll give a brief overview of each:


Interests include broad categories that your audience shows interest in through liking pages related to that category. Facebook features a wide variety of interests that go several levels deep.

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If you have large, well-known competitors, you can search their brand name. They may show up as an interest category. This gives you direct access to your competitor’s customers.

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Facebook gathers data about how people live their lives. They do this through the applications you connect to Facebook, the data you include in your Facebook profile and the pages that you like.

Advertisers can use this to narrow down their audience even more.

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Much like the Interests section, Behaviors go several level deep and give the search option as well.


You can use your Page, App or Event to only show ads to your connections, reach the connections of your connections or exclude your connections from seeing ads.

As you can imagine, this could come in handy, depending on the specific type of audience you’re trying to reach.

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Step 8: Choose your budget

This part will depend on the monthly or lifetime budget that you’ve allotted for Facebook advertising. I can’t tell you how much to spend. Just that you’re going to need to spend something.

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For your first ad, don’t worry about the advanced budgeting options. Let’s keep the first Facebook ad simple. Starting with just a few dollars a day can help you see results quickly.

Step 9: Write your ad

You don’t have to be a world-class copywriter to create good Facebook advertising copy. I like to just communicate clearly what I’m offering without pushing a hard sell.

(Here are 10 examples of Facebook advertisements to give you some inspiration.)

To get started, let’s make a desktop newsfeed ad. Unless you’re promoting an App, I’d stay away from promoting to a mobile audience. Traffic is less likely to purchase or give you an email address from a mobile device.

Desktop ads also outperform right sidebar ads. That’s why we’ll focus on them for your first Facebook ad.

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When writing your ad, fill out each section.

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Text: 90 characters
  • News Feed Link Description: 200 characters

You’ll also have the option to create a call-to-action button. If you’re sending users to a landing page where they’ll perform an action (for example, subscribe to your newsletter), consider using this button.

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Step 10: Launch your ad

Click “Review Order” at the bottom right-hand corner. This screen will pop up:

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Make sure everything looks good, then place your order. Your first Facebook ad will launch after it get approved.

There you have it. That’s everything you need to know to run your first Facebook ad. Experiment, have fun, and watch as this social site makes it easy to grow your small business.

How will you use this platform to grow your business? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear your story.

about the author

Freelance Contributor Justine Grey empowers creative entrepreneurs to diversify their income with affiliate marketing. Join thousands in her AffiliateAce community getting doable affiliate experiments and action tips every week.