Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads Complete Guide 2021. Ultimate Guide To Facebook Ads Campaigns

When it comes to online advertising, Facebook would be one of the first places you might think about.

Facebook is the largest social media network with more than two billion monthly active users and it continues to grow every day.

But with all of Facebook’s smart features and huge user base, it can spend all your budgets without any significant results for you.

In this complete guide, I’ll help you avoid all negative consequences with the Facebook advertising platform and to profit more consistently with the most powerful ads platform on the planet.

facebook ads set up

This is a Complete 2021 Guide to launching, optimizing, and scaling Facebook Ads campaigns 

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to launch, track, optimize, and analyze your Facebook advertising campaigns, including:

Step #1:  Facebook’s Pixel. Keep Track of Users on your website

Facebook pixel

The Facebook pixel is a piece of code you place on the backend of your website to track visitors to your site. The pixel allows you to run highly targeted campaigns, so it’s important to install it before running Facebook ads.

Each ad account gets one default pixel to use. The code is made up of two main parts: the pixel base code and event code. The pixel base code tracks all of the traffic to your site. Event codes are additional pieces of code you can add under the default pixel code to specific pages of your website that allow you to track certain actions on those pages.

Install the base pixel code on your website and Facebook will begin tracking immediately.

Learn more about Facebook Pixel Set Up

Step #2: Create a right campaign structure

facebook ads campaign structure

Ads you create in Facebook Ads Manager have three levels (parts):

  • campaign level
  • ad sets level
  • individual ads creatives

Basically, this is called the campaign structure.

Knowing how the parts work together will help you run your ads the way you want to and get them to the right people.

campaign setup

Start at least with 5 ad sets with different audiences for A/B testing

facebook ads

Step #3: Choose the Campaign Objective and Conversion Event

Facebook offers 11 marketing objectives based on what you want your ad to accomplish. Here’s how they align with business goals:

Brand awareness

Introduce your brand to a new audience.


Expose your ad to as many people in your audience as possible.


Drive traffic to a specific web page, app, or Facebook Messenger conversation.


Reach a wide audience to increase the number of post engagements or Page follows, increase attendance at your event, or encourage people to claim a special offer.

App installs

Get people to install your app.

Video views

Get more people to watch your videos.

Lead generation

Get new prospects into your sales funnel.


Encourage people to contact your business using Facebook Messenger.


Get people to take a specific action on your website (like subscribe to your list or buy your product), with your app, or in Facebook Messenger.

Catalog sales

Connect your Facebook ads to your product catalog to show people ads for the products they are most likely to want to buy.

Store traffic

Drive nearby customers to brick-and-mortar stores.

facebook ads guide campaign objectives

Optimize for the pixel event or objective goal you want to achieve.

If you optimize your campaign for conversions – this might be:

  • Purchase
  • Complete Registrations
  • Lead
  • View Content
  • Search
  • Subscribe
  • Add to cart
  • Add to wishlist
  • Contact

Facebook Optimization

Step #4: CBO or Ad Set Budgets? What’s Best?

Facebook CBO

CBO stands for Campaign Budget Optimization, and it’s no longer just a best practice.

In the land of Facebook Ads, there are two ways to set your budgets.

One is at the ad set level, which allows you to set a budget for each ad set within a given campaign.

CBO, on the other hand, is a (relatively) new Facebook advertising feature that allows you to set a daily budget for an entire campaign rather than setting budgets for each ad set.

To dive deeper, CBO utilizes Facebook’s algorithm to distribute your budget across ad sets where they are most likely to get conversions for the best price.

Instead of maintaining a constant spend per each ad set, Facebook will pool the budget into the ad sets that are most likely to get results on any given day.

Source: www.fetchfunnel.com

So how do we go about testing with CBO?

Below is an easy print and reference cheat sheet followed by a step-by-step guide.

Let’s dive in!

If you’ve not been through the introduction to CBO, there are a few things you need to recap on:

  1. CBO is a learning system and is different from ABO (Ad set budget optimization) – the decisions made on which audiences and ads focus on adapting during the day.
  2. If you’re constantly using a single CBO for testing and scaling, pausing out ad sets and ads as your testing cycles end, this causes issues with the ML (machine learning) – the clever nerdy stuff that Facebook implement to help you achieve your goals.
  3. CBO gets better over time, with stability – meaning the fewer edits you make on ad sets and ads, the better the CBO learning algorithm becomes. Stability on average should be there within 5-10 days but it highly depends on the various factors I cover below.
  4. CBO does not completely, yet, replace the need for ad and ad set level optimization to pause/replace bad performance.
  5. However, CBO used right gives better stability and reduces the need for constant tweaking and analysis freeing you up to focus more on marketing, offer creation, and your funnel.
  6. CBO gives faster results with qualified ad sets and ads – which means if they are pre-tested as ‘working’ then you’ll get stability and strong results faster.

NOTE: Campaigns with smaller budgets (below $200 daily) with Ad Set Budget Optimization (ABO) provide better results faster and are more stable

Source: The Ultimate CBO Cookbook (for Facebook Ads)

Depending on the amount of time it typically takes for someone to complete a valuable action (conversion) after clicking or viewing your ad select your conversion window.

I would start with a 1-day click, which means that Facebook will optimize ad delivery by using data from conversions that happen within 1 day of someone interacting with your ad.

Step #5: Audience Testing & Targeting

audience a/b split testing

The purpose of audience testing is to find the winning ones.

NOTE: it is common to make a minimum difference per ad set for accurate A/B testing, for instance, set 1-2 of the below options:

  • Age:
    • 25-35
    • 35-45
    • 45-55
  • Gender:
    • Male
    • Female
  • Interest:
    • Meditation
    • Physical exercise
    • Running
    • Yoga
  • Demographics:
    • Master’s degree
    • New job
    • New relationship
    • Newly engaged (3 months)
  • Behavior:
    • Engaged Shoppers
    • Frequent Travelers
    • Facebook Payments users (30 days)
    • Facebook Payments users (higher than average spend)
  • Different Lookalikes (LAAs):
    • LAA of users who visited the website in the past 30 days
    • LAA of users who visited a specific page of our website
    • LAA of leads
    • LAA of purchases

NOTE: You may use excludes based on people that have engaged with/clicked on your ads so that you’re targeting clean, COLD audiences. 

Facebook audience set up

PRO TIP: When including interests, narrow your options down to one interest per ad set. If you target more than one interest, there is no way to attribute performance to a specific variable. Select one and only one, so you can point to exactly why an ad does well.

Audience Exclusions

To create audience exclusions go to Audience Create a Custom Audience

Broad audiences

NOTE: Broad audiences work!

A Broad audience is one without interests, behaviors, or LAAs. It may be split by age and/or gender but does not contain other narrowing options.

  • Broad audiences can work better than interests, especially since FB introduced more data capture from their pixel to collect and understand the content and context of your website.
  • A lot of advertisers still using the narrow interest options to find winning audiences however a greater success could be achieved with larger audiences coupled with great ads.
  • Aim to split broad audiences by a unique segment, where relevant. Examples:
    • A broad audience targeting a specific age 18-30 in the US, split into an ad set for male and another for female
    • A broad audience targeting the UK, where our market is women 25+, split into 4 ad sets of 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+ because our ads appeal to those segments in different ways
    • A broad audience targeting the US, split by age and gender, into 2 separate CBOs: one is for Male and split by the same age group above, the other is for Female with the same age splits where we are delivering ads specifically by gender and age
    • If I have a single broad audience, say Canada 30+ and that’s my only target, with the same creative for them all with no further split, I’d duplicate the ad set 3-5 times so I can spread my bets wider and pause out any ad sets underperforming.

Minimum daily budget for each ad set

If your CBO campaign contains 5 ad sets with a minimum daily budget of $100 during the testing phase, set a MINIMUM budget for each ad set of at least $20 per ad set.

Use the calculation below for the MINIMUM budget:

(Total budget / number of ad sets) / 2 

This is needed to spend fair across the ad sets in the test phase. 

The screen below shows at the ad set level, where to find ad set spend limits (expanded under the Optimization and Spending Controls). 

Step #6: Placements

facebook ad placements

I would usually start with Mobile-only devices and Facebook News Feed placement. In another ad set, I would test Desktop devices only.

Facebook placements

I prefer to test in the newsfeed first before expanding to other placements (I prefer FB & IG in prospecting and All placements further down the funnel) but this will depend on your audience and how good your creative is set up to work with those placements.

I don’t include Audience Network or Messenger placements for testing because, in practice, these skew results, often quite badly in cases where Facebook may overspend in placements like Audience Network with very bad performance.

facebook ads mobile placements

Create ads that trigger the only 3 things you need a user to do: stop and take notice, engage, and take action.

Don’t overcomplicate your ads.

Plan of creatives to test – ideally to test 3 angles (or pain points – a specific problem that prospective customers are experiencing), each with at least one ad copy and multiple visuals.

I would usually aim to have 3 different ads with different formats:

  • image
  • carousel
  • video

However to start my testing, I’d use 3 different ads in my ad set, and use those SAME ads in each ad set.

I’m looking at achieving my pixel goal: add to cart, form registration within around 2K-3K impressions.

If ads show bad performance you have a few decisions to make:

  • Is it the ad that’s bad? If you run 3 distinct ads or duplicate the same ad 3 times in an ad set, you can potentially tell if its the ad or the audience: if 1 or 2 ads work well and the third doesn’t – then it is likely the ad
  • If ALL ads equally performed badly in an ad set, it could be:
    • that the audience is not a good one
    • or it could be that while the audience is good, Facebook delivers you poor traffic. In this case, you may give the ads another go – often by duplicating the ads and testing them again which drops them in a different audience allocation with a clear past history

If the ad testing has successfully created new winning ads but you don’t need them in your main prospecting campaigns yet, copy them into a social proofing campaign (via Post ID sharing) – specifically created as a keep-warm Page Post Engagement (PPE) campaign, with a single broad audience.

Page Post Engagement (PPE) campaign creation

facebook ppe campaign

  • Create a new PPE Campaign.
  • Use the largest related audience you can for example a broad or large Interest or LAA – one ad set only required because we’re only after social proof – expect some sales to trickle in too!
  • Exclude site visitors and purchasers.
  • The budget of $5 min. multiplied by the number of ads, with all active ads accumulating social proof/running.
  • Copy ads from phase 1 or 2 testings in via their post ID (to share social proof)
  • When you need them from scaling, copy them, again via post ID into the scale campaigns. Leave the social proof campaign running!

Duplicate the winning ad set into a new CBO campaign so that you can ensure the new CBO campaign contains only winning audiences so you can purely focus on finding new ad/creatives/angles that work.

Step #8: Understand which types of Facebook ads to use

To create the best Facebook ads, you need to keep the recommended character counts in mind. Anything beyond these text limits will be cut off.

You also need to understand which types of Facebook ads work with each of the ad campaign objectives described above.

Image ads

  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Body text: 125 characters
  • Campaign objectives: All except video views

Video ads

  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Body text: 125 characters
  • Campaign objectives: All except catalog sales

Facebook Stories ads

  • Text: No set character count. Aim to leave 250 pixels text-free at the top and bottom of the ad.
  • Campaign objectives: All except engagement and store visits

Carousel ads

  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters
  • Body text: 125 characters
  • Campaign objectives: All except engagement and video views

Slideshow ads

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Body text: 125 characters
  • Campaign objectives: All

Collection ads

  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: n/a
  • Body text: 125 characters
  • Campaign objectives: Traffic, conversions, catalog sales, store traffic

Instant Experience ads

  • Text: Blocks of text up to 500 words each
  • Button text: 30 characters
  • Campaign objectives: All except lead generation

Messenger Inbox ads

  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: n/a
  • Body text: 125 characters
  • Campaign objectives: Traffic, app installs, conversions, catalog sales, messages

Step #9: Scaling

facebook ads scaling

After you start seeing the results of your campaign, you may want to increase your ad spend so your profits will continue to grow. Basically, this is called scaling.

There are 2 most popular techniques to scale your Facebook ads:

  • Horizontal scaling techniques:
    • duplicating the winning ad sets
    • creating and adding new lookalike audiences based on Pixel results
    • expanding the target geo
  • Vertical scaling:
    • increasing the budgets
      • Increase ad set budgets or CBO by 20% every 1-2 days if your campaign is performing consistently well for the last 3-4 days


  • Scaling is not about how fast and how big to increase your budget but how well your campaign is primed and ready to pump the gas
  • Facebook recommends increasing the budget by no more than 40% per day so it doesn’t impact the learning process. To play even safer you may start with 20-30% daily scaling.

Step #10: Retargeting

facebook retargeting

Facebook retargeting funnel

An advertising theory says that a consumer has to be exposed to an ad at least three times within a purchasing cycle (time between two consecutive purchases) to buy your product or service.

Retargeting is a method of finding the previously engaged with your ad users, to stimulate them to convert

Does Retargeting Actually Work?

You might be questioning whether this is just another marketing tactic that promises the world, only for you to still struggle to prove ROI once the campaign comes to a close.

The truth is: Facebook retargeting does work and the statistics prove it:

  • Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are more likely to convert by 70%
  • The click-through rate (CTR) of a retargeted ad is 10x higher than the CTR of a typical display ad
  • 44% of consumers say that they would likely become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience with a particular company

When we’re talking about Retargeting in the context of a profitable Facebook ad campaign we mean first of a sales funnel with several levels from top to bottom.

facebook ads sales funnel

When to set a retargeting campaign?

  • For warmed audience:
    • User clicked on the ad, visited your landing page but didn’t convert
    • People who have watched at 50-75% of your video
    • Viewed or added to cart but not purchased
  • For existing customers

Great Retargeting Audiences

  • Facebook engagement past 30 days
  • Instagram engagement
  • Email list
  • Past purchases
  • Website traffic past 180 days

How to set a retargeting campaign?

A retargeting campaign starts with audience creation

A source for your audience might be:

  • Email list of existing customers which you shall load to the Facebook Customer list;
  • Pixel-based events:
    • Specific page visits;
    • Specific CTA-buttons clicks (View Content);
    • Signing up (Complete registration);
    • Purchase

To create your retargeting audience for specific page visits:

1. Go to Audience Create a Custom Audience

2. Create a Website Custom Audience

  • Choose the right Pixel Choose the option: People who visited specific web pages
  • Indicate specific URL of your Offer Page Name your audience

facebook custom audience

3. Create a Website Custom Audience

  • Choose the right Pixel Choose the option: People who visited specific web pages
  • Indicate a specific URL of your Thank you page after the purchase has been done
  • Name your audience

facebook custom audience

3. Create your retargeting campaign 

  • INCLUDE Offer Page Visits Custom Audience EXCLUDE Thank you page visits

facebook audiences exclusions

In this scenario, you’ll reach people who have visited your offer page in the past 7 days but didn’t purchase your product or service.

P.S. I’d sure love to hear what you think about this post! Just drop a line in the comment section below and share your thoughts or questions.

Cheers 👋

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