9 Steps to Creating Effective Facebook Ads

9 Steps to Creating Effective Facebook Ads

9 Steps to Creating Facebook Ads

By Emily Garman

Here’s a “how-to” for creating a Facebook ad whose goal is to get more “likes” on your Facebook page. To start, make sure you’re logged into your personal Facebook account, and that you are on a computer, not your phone.

Set up your payment method with PayPal or a credit card. All payments are tied to your personal account–not your organization’s page. You can use a company card or PayPal account, but you do have to associate it with your personal profile.

  • Click on the small arrow in the blue bar at the very top right of your browser window, and choose “Manage Ads.”
  • Click on the main menu indicated by 3 horizontal bars next to the Facebook icon at the top of the page, and select “Billing and Payment Methods.” Here you’ll see any payment methods you already have on file (if you do).
  • Click “Add a Payment Method” if you don’t have any, or “Edit Payment Methods” if you want to add another or edit the ones you currently have. (This is where you would enter any coupons, too.)

When you’re ready, go back to the main menu and choose “Ads Manager.” If you haven’t created any ads before, this will be blank. Click on the green button at the top right of the screen that says “Create Ad.”


  • The key to an effective Facebook ad is to keep it simple – don’t try to make your ad do everything! We’re going to create an ad whose sole purpose is to get more “likes” on your page. The more “likes” your page has, the more reach you have.
  • Under “Awareness,” choose “Brand Awareness.”
  • Give your campaign a name. A campaign can contain many “ad sets,” which in turn can each contain many ads. If you’re just creating one ad, it should be pretty simple. You can name it something like “Page Likes.”


  • Leave the “Custom Audience” field blank, since you haven’t defined any audiences yet. If you’d like to exclude people who already like your page (your existing fans won’t see the ad), you can do that there.
  • Next, you’ll choose the geographic area where you’d like to show your ad. Type in the city name in the “include” field. Select your city when it appears, and choose the radius where you’d like your ad to appear. No one living outside this area will see your ad. You’ll notice your “Audience Definition” on the right side of your screen changing as you make edits to your audience. It shows you the criteria you’ve selected and the “potential reach” of your ad. This is the maximum number of people who could potentially see your ad. You’ll also see a meter that goes from specific to broad. You want your audience to be somewhere in the green area. Not too broad, but not too narrow.
  • Next, you can choose the age range and gender of people you want to see your ad. For this type of ad, you’ll want to choose all ages and all genders. Under “Detailed Targeting”, you can specify the interests of people you’d like to see this ad. Facebook gets this information from peoples’ profiles and collects massive amounts of data based on the links clicked, posts and pages liked, and articles read on Facebook (and other sites). Facebook can pretty accurately target your audience for you when you create an ad. You might choose interests like “dogs,” “cats,” “volunteering,” etc. Under “Connections,” you can exclude or include people who are connected to your page from seeing your ad. For example, you can choose to target only people who are Facebook friends with someone who already likes your page. Or you can exclude people who already have liked your page. You can also just leave this blank.

Choose “Automatic Placement.” In most cases, you’ll choose this. Let Facebook do the work for you and determine where your ad will be most effective.


  • You can choose a daily budget (spend a certain amount per day), or a lifetime budget (spend a certain amount over the entire time the ad runs). For this type of ad, I recommend choosing “Lifetime Budget.” This gives you some more options later on, too. Enter the amount you’d like to spend over the ENTIRE course of the ad, and enter the start and stop date and time you’d like the ad to run. For example, if your lifetime budget is $100, and you want the ad to run for 10 days, it won’t necessarily spend $10 per day – it may spend more on Thursday than on Saturday, since there’s more Facebook traffic on Thursday.
  • Under “Optimization for Ad Delivery,” choose “Brand Awareness,” as we want our ad to be served to people who will be most likely to respond to it. “Bid Amount” and “What You Get Charged” will not be editable if you choose “Brand Awareness.” If you choose “Reach,” go ahead and select those options.
  • Your ad will, by default, run 24 hours a day. Under “Ad Scheduling,” you can change this. Run your ad during the day, when most people are using Facebook.
  • Under “Delivery Type,” choose “Standard.” The only time you would choose “Accelerated” is if you were advertising for an event or deadline that was coming up very soon, and you wanted to show the ad very frequently, right away. Give this an Ad Set name.

Now you’ll select the most important part of your ad – the visuals! You can select among a few different formats. For this ad, select “Single Image.” You can upload up to six different images that will be used (one at a time) in your ad.

  • Under “Images,” browse to select your images from your computer, or look through Facebook’s free stock photos. You want clear, tight shots of human or animal faces, looking right at the camera. Facebook rules prohibit the ad from containing too much text. You could put your logo or name on the photo, but nothing else. Ideally, the photo should contain no text.
  • TIP: Facebook will run all the images, and based on the ad responses, will determine which of your photo(s) is most effective. Once it determines this, it will run the effective photo version of your ad more than the others.
  • Under “Page and Text,” choose the Facebook Page that you want the ad to point to. This is the page that you want people to “like.” You can also add an Instagram account here.
  • Under “Text,” enter a very brief sentence about your organization and what it does. Something as simple as “Saving the lives of homeless animals in Des Moines since 1985” is perfect.
  • Check the box next to “add a website URL” and enter your website URL there. This lets people see your website address and adds credibility. If your actual website URL is different than what you want people to see, put that under “display URL.” For example, if you want people to see “www.myhumanesociety.org” but your actual URL is “www.myhumanesociety.org/index.html”, then you’ll need to put the first URL in the “display link” field.
  • You can also enter a headline and a news feed link description. Look in the preview area on the right side of the screen to make sure all your text fits! If you want to add a “call to action” button, see if there’s one that fits your ad from the drop down list. If not, choose “no button.”

You can scroll through all your ads. Remember, you uploaded 6 different images, so you can actually create 6 different versions of this ad AND the previews of those ads in their various forms on the right side of your screen. You can see what your ad will look like on a phone, in the desktop news feed, etc. Make sure your text and photo look good in each different scenario.

Once you are finished editing, click the green “Place Order” button at the bottom of the page. Your ad will go through an approval process, which can take up to 24 hours. You’ll get a notification once your ad has been approved.

  • As your ad runs, you can check on its performance in your Ad Manager panel. To get there, click on “Manage Ads” from the small white arrow menu at the top right of your browser window. You can edit ads – for example, if you see a typo or you want to change the text on an ad that is not performing well.
  • You’ll be able to see statistics on your ad, including how much you spent per new “like.” Keep in mind that every paid “like” results in an average of 3 non-paid “likes” on Facebook. A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t be spending more than 25 or 30 cents per new “like.”

Emily Garman has been a foster mom and animal welfare volunteer for 20 years, and founded TheSocialAnimal.com in 2008 to teach animal advocates how to use social media to raise money, recruit volunteers and save more lives. She presents on next-generation fundraising, social media and internet marketing all over North America.