Anatomy of a Facebook Ads campaign

The first time I created Facebook Ads by myself, I didn’t know what I was doing, a common scenario for small and medium businesses. For then, as you may know, I had my personal blog ( and something that I actually wanted was that more people get interested in the posts I wrote. Based on this, one of the problems at that moment was that I didn’t know how Facebook could help me reach that objective.

Before understanding the anatomy of a Facebook Ads campaign, ask yourself this question: what do you want for your business? The answer of this question will help us to drive the objective of this post: explaining in detail all you need to know before, during and after creating your first Facebook Ads campaign.

Part I: Facebook Ads don’t exist without Facebook Pages

Something I should mention before talking about Facebook is how people used to know that my blog existed. Important: back in 2014, I did not even have a Facebook Page. Everything I had was a Blog hosted in Blogger/Blogspot that used a domain I bought in GoDaddy, and I used my personal accounts in Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ to share the content I was generating. That’s it.

For then, what was driving most of the new readers to my blog was Google Search organic results. Actually, most of the 90% of the traffic came from people doing queries in Google Search about how to purchase products in Amazon from Colombia. Readers would find a post I wrote in 2013 and this explains how people found my blog for years.

In 2015 I realized that, besides my personal account, my blog had no presence at all in Facebook, and during a lot of time I really didn’t care about it. According to Google Analytics, only 10% of the people came via social media channels, such like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. All my activity on Facebook was posting in my personal Time Line some of the posts I wrote and waiting for my friends and family to interact, liking, commenting or sharing.

In the end, the reason why I created a Facebook Page for my blog was to separate myself (as a person) of the blog (as a website). Even when both are related and depend of each other, they are different entities (things). Based on this, before continue, ask yourself: does your business have an appropriate presence in Facebook? This should be a Facebook Page, not a profile with the name of your company nor a group. If the answer is not, go to the link below and create a Page. You will need it in order to create you first Facebook Ads campaign.

My Facebook Page

My Facebook Page:

Something that happened when I created my Facebook Page was that none of the content I shared was generating any interactions. After a few weeks I understood that this was happening mainly because Facebook algorithm must organize for each and every user all their friends, Groups and Pages content. Imagine you have 700 Facebook friends, you like 300 Pages and you participate in 50 Groups. Among all the content these connections share, why should our Page get views, likes or comments?

Based on the mentioned above, accept that your Facebook Page won’t get you new customers just because it exists. In other words, why would you want to be at Facebook if none knows that you are there? Generating high quality content or having thousands of fans doesn’t guarantee anything and here’s why: for each 100 fans of your Page, probably less than one will see what you posted. That’s correct, if one person sees your post, that doesn’t mean he or she will click, go to your website, fill a contact form or purchase a product. Let’s see it like this: organic reach in Facebook is close to 0 for Pages.

Part II: Anatomy of a Facebook Ads campaign: the basics

Screenshot of a Facebook Ads campaign showing adsets

  1. Campaign (objective)
  2. Adset (public)
  3. Ad (creative)

(Don’t forget this: a campaign has the 3 levels listed above.)

Once you accept that you will have to invest money for people to know that your Page exists, you will have to know the answer of one question we already asked. Do you already know what you want for your business? Going back to my blog, what I wanted was more people to read it, but if I had an e-commerce, probably I would want people to purchase my products. A pizza restaurant in my neighborhood would want more deliveries on weekends and  big brands like Pepsi or MasterCard invest in brand awareness for consumers to remember they exist. The good news is that Facebook Ads can do all of this and more.

To start, visit

List of objectives you can reach by creating a Facebook campaign

  1. Campaign (objective):

There you will see a list of objectives. Facebook will ask you before creating an Ads campaign what do you want to do. Ir oder to explain the image above, brand awareness, as I’ve just mentioned, is  focused on people to know that you exist. Hardly or probably in the long term you will translate this in sales, and that’s why people working at Facebook say that ‘likes don’t pay the bills. Sales do’. On the other side, consideration is getting potential costumers that would buy your product at some moment in the future, but probably not now. This could be an online or an offline purchase. Finally, conversions would be that a Facebook user bought your product, installed your app or gave you money in exchange of something you was selling. This can be demonstrated by installing a Facebook Pixel in the HTML of your website that counts every time a purchase is confirmed.

One personal experience I like to mention when talking about conversions is one I had as a customer when I wanted to buy an Adidas jacket of a football team. I went to Adidas website, to Netshoes and to FutFanatics. I only found the jacket in FutFanatics, the least known, but I bookmarked the link in my browser because I didn’t have the money at that moment to buy the product. A few days later, I started seeing Facebook Ads in the right column and in my Timeline all the time. In all those ads I saw there was a picture of the jacket I was looking for. In the end, I saw so many ads, that I bought the jacket because an ad based on a product I liked chased me all around the Internet. After that, they not only sold a product but generated brand awareness because I would go back in the future and purchase another products.

Going back to my blog, let’s say that in my case the objective of my first Facebook Ads campaign was to send people to my website, by using a post I wrote about an Amazon Kindle Review (you can read it here). The name of my campaign was Amazon Kindle – Clicks.

Important: you will be able to name your campaign after you choose your objective. I recommend you to create a nomenclature or use names you will remember easily. At some moment you will have created so many campaigns that you will go crazy if you are not organized. In the example above, I used a keyword to remember the name of the post I was sharing (Amazon Kindle) and included the objective (clicks).

2. Adset (public)

OK, we have a campaign, but we now have to create one or more publics that will see our ads. Fortunately, since 2004, Facebook has been getting tons of information of all its users using the service in desktop and mobile, and this is great because this will make easier for us to create a target to display our ads.  In my campaign, I created 8 publics: 4 in Brazil and 4 in Colombia and all of them would target to Spanish speaker users:

List of adsets in a Facebook campaign

I will only explain how I created one of those publics. At the end of the day, they are all very similar because their language (Spanish), their localization (Brazil and Colombia), their ages (18-65) and the device from which they are using Facebook at the moment they will see the ad (mobile and desktop). Actually, as they are all very similar, I could have created just one public. The thing is that doing it like this, it would not be possible to measure how much it costs a click of a user in desktop compared to a click in mobile. That’s the reason of creating multiple adsets (see that I kept the organization in the names just like I did when I created the campaign).

Here’s how I created one of those publics (the others I just duplicated them (Ctrl. + D in the Power Editor) and modified them):

I chose how much money would I spend on each of the publics above, the starting and final dates that public would see my ads, where would they be from (a. everyone in the chosen locations, b. people who lives in those locations, c. people recently in those locations and d. people traveling in this location), their age and their language. My audience would be people from 21 big cities in Brazil: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Fortaleza, Salvador, Manaus, etc., whose age were between 45-65 years old, that their language was Spanish and using Facebook in a mobile device. I would pay $5.000 COP ($1,74 USD) daily to display ads to this public during 7 days.

In addition, considering that this public would be so big (millions of people probably have these characteristics), and taking into account my post was about the Amazon Kindle, I had to include also some interests to target a little public that would be more interested in my blog post. For that reason, I chose people interested in: amazon, AliExpress, Alibaba, Dafiti, Groupon, MasterCard, Netshoes, PayPal, books and a couple of book editors in Brazil, among others (I chose these interests because they are all about people that would buy products online using a Credit Card). By choosing this targeting, I had a potential public of 75.000 Facebook users that would see my ads in mobile, and I would pay only when they clicked on the ad. For each click I would pay $450 COP ($0.15 USD). In other words, in the way I setup the campaign, I wouldn’t pay for people seeing or liking my ad, but for each actually clicking and driving traffic to my blog.

3. Ad (creatives)

Facebook organic post after being boosted

Finally, after choosing an objective by creating a campaign and after creating a new adset, you should now create an ad. Let’s say an ad is the single piece of content people will be exposed in the News Feed when they are scrolling down Facebook or Instagram in their mobile and desktop devices.

In this case, based in the fact that we are creating an ad campaign of a blog post, I was able to boost a post of my own page (the content already existed, but we would use it as an ad to reach more people). Otherwise, we would be able to create a dark post. A dark post (like the one below) looks like a post, but it only exists as an ad and no one can see it when visiting your Page. We also have more ad formats: single image, single video, multiple images and they will be displayed in desktop, mobile, Instagram, audience network  and desktop right column. Probably we will talk about them in a future post.


Finally, I could have boosted my post without all this whole process or even creating a campaign in Power Editor, but by clicking the Boost Post option after having posted in the Page. The thing is that when doing this, your target wouldn’t be very accurate because you won’t have all the options we’ve just mentioned until this point. Eventually I use it to reach people that already liked my Page and their friends, but the money I spend in this public is nothing compared to what I invest in a customized audience.

Part III: Reviewing your results


After having created your first Facebook Ads campaign, you will have enough information to improve your next campaigns. Probably you could stop trying to reach people that you are having to pay too high for their attention or you could just pay less per click the next time, being more accurate when setting up your campaign. You will see this not only because the statistics in Power Editor and Google Analytics, but probably because you even sold more products compared to past weeks when you didn’t use Facebook. So, here’s what you can do.

Go back to the Power Editor and click in the name of your campaign. You will see a dashboard like this one:

Facebook Power Editor showing adsets in a campaign.

Pay attention to what I did here: I had 8 adsets, but after a few days I paused those for which I was paying too high and that were not generating clicks enough (in gray color paused and blue color for active). Instead I could use the same amount of money and spend it in adsets that were reaching much more people and generating more and cheaper clicks. For example, I stopped the adset BR. 23-45, Desktop and boosted COL, 18-35, Mobile by investing not $5.000 ($1.72 USD), but $10.000 ($3.45 USD) instead. By the end of the campaign I would run for 1 day the adset that best performed with the amount of money I was spending in 8 adsets at the beginning of the campaign when I didn’t know which one would have a better performance.

Leaving Facebook and going to Google Analytics and the blog it self insights, we can see that the traffic passed from 175 sessions per day to 1.192 in a single day at some moment of the campaign and got 3 comments from readers that read the whole post, 1 comment in a different post, 13 comments in the Facebook post, 23 shares in Facebook and even a couple of likes. Said this I can confirm, based on my own experience, that this time Facebook Ads helped me reach my objective: to get more people reading my blog, compared to the amount of people that used to read it when I was not paying for Facebook Ads.

Still not sure how to start? Did you already create a Facebook Page? What about if you create your first campaign with $10-20 bucks and you measure your own results? Feel free to ask in the comments below if you get stucked at some moment or if you didn’t understand something mentioned in this post.