In the olden days (pre-Internet), if you wanted to advertise something, you would stick an advert in the newspaper and hope somebody was interested. Or if you had the cash to splash about, maybe a billboard or a TV advert.

But lots of people who saw your advert would not be interested in what you were offering, and the people who would be interested might not see it at all.

So when the Internet came along, the right kind of buyers could now be targeted with micro-precision laser targeting based on their interests. Facebook is one of the  biggest online players and the good news is that anybody can make a powerful Facebook advert with just a few dollars.

Setting Up Your Own Facebook Ad For $5 a Day

Although you can technically run an ad on Facebook for $1 a day, you really need to up the amount to a minimum $5 a day if you want to see any meaningful results. But if you have the budget, the more you invest, the more eyeballs you will reach.

The first thing to emphasize is that you are in complete control of your budget. You specify a maximum daily amount to Facebook and when they hit that amount, the advert is stopped till the next day. So you will never get horrific bills you can’t pay.

Boosted Posts Versus Facebook Ads

There are two forms of advertising on Facebook – boosted posts and actual ads. It’s worth spending a moment explaining the difference.

Boost Post is an extremely limited form of Facebook ad and many people have dismissed them as a waste of money. But I think they have their place if you use them right. I have used boosted posts to promote my dog’s fan page from 50 fans to well over 750 highly engaged fans.

With a normal Facebook ad, you can tweak it and customize it to add lots of amazing features. You have complete control over the messaging and the image.

With a boosted post however, it does what the name says – it takes an already existing Facebook post on your page and merely boosts its presence to others who might be interested in seeing it.

Boosted posts is a nice way to gently dip your toes into the water with ads if the whole thing makes you nervous. But today, we’re going to jump right in with the real thing.

Starting a Proper Facebook Ad

Obviously it goes without saying that you need a Facebook account. First make a personal account and then use the personal account to make a Facebook business page. Both are free and you need the business page to run the adverts.

Once the business page has been set up, go to the Ads Manager and click on the green Create button on the left.

It will ask you if you want to do Quick Creation or Guided Creation. Choose the latter.

The first thing you need to do is decide on your marketing objective. In other words, why do you want to run the advert? What do you hope to gain from it?

When you click one, Facebook explains underneath what it means and what you can expect from that option. This is what you will see if you click on Traffic.

For the purposes of this article, I am going to go with this one. So let’s look at the options above.

  • Campaign Name: fairly self-explanatory. Give the ad campaign a name which will be private to you only.
  • Create Split Test: for beginners, this is not necessary. But split-testing is where you run different versions of the same ad to see which one is the most effective.
  • Campaign Budget Optimisation : Facebook will (unless you tell them otherwise) spread your budget across various advertising platforms that they own, such as Instagram. I would recommend switching this off and only choosing Facebook and maybe Instagram.
  • Campaign Budget: How much you’re prepared to spend. A daily budget is the maximum amount Facebook will spend every day. A lifetime budget requires a start and end date to the advert and that amount will be spent evenly over that period.
  • Campaign Bid Strategy: when deciding on whether to show your ad, Facebook will see who is bidding the most for particular keywords. This option is to either let Facebook decide your costs or whether to impose a bid cap. A bid cap though can seriously impede your ad’s exposure.

Now click Continue.

The options on the next pages are quite a lot and not all of them are necessary for beginners. So I will just show the ones you need to get your first ad online. As you go through each feature, you will see this start to change.

For the ad to be effective, you need to get it down to narrow (green) or specific (red). Remember what I said about laser-focused targeting towards your desired audience.

OK, here we go. First, choose where your traffic is going.

Now the audience section, and this is the part you need to spend the most time on. It will make or break your ad.

If this is your first time, ignore custom audiences and go straight to Locations.

Where it says Include, dropping down the menu will allow you to choose exclude instead. So choose one and then add your desired geographical location. This can either be a continent, a country or a specific state, city, town, or village. Think about where your customers will likely be.

I chose the United States and it added it to the list.

To make your audience narrow or specific, limit the number of places. Don’t go crazy.

Now specify the person’s age, gender, and spoken languages. Do you see that dial moving to the left yet to green or red?

Detailed targeting are the keywords. Make a list of all relevant keywords for your advert to make sure the right people see it. But Facebook must already have the keyword in its database for you to choose it. But get specific – instead of books, try eBooks instead. Or audio books.

Once you have got the audience as narrow or specific as you can get it, it is time to move on.

OK, that’s enough to digest for today. In the next article, I will discuss how to make the graphic which goes with your advertising text and finally submit the whole thing to Facebook for their approval.