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Customer Retention. Automated

Set Up Facebook & Instagram Ads in 6 Steps

Posted by Polly Flinch on Jun 15, 2017 11:17:31 AM
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While many retailers already have some social media strategy in place, it can be daunting to create ad campaigns in Facebook and Instagram (Facebook’s sister site). This blog post will walk you through the steps to create ads using business ad manager, the different options available to you and even give you a few ideas for custom audiences to get you started.

Within Facebook ads managers there are three levels of ads:

  1. Campaign - overarching umbrella encompassing all of your assets
  2. Ad Set - for each audience you will have an ad set
  3. Ad - the actual ads that are being served to the users

Step 1: Choose an Objective  - Campaign Level

When creating a new campaign or ad set, the first thing you want to do is choose an objective. Depending on your goals with advertising on Facebook and Instagram - there’s a variety of options you can choose from. I generally see retailers looking at two categories: conversions and acquisition (brand awareness, traffic, lead generation).


Choosing an objective helps Facebook understand your goals and present you with the best ad options.

Step 2: Set Up Your Ad Set - Ad Set Level

After you’ve selected your objective for the campaign, you will be taken through a wizard to create your ad sets. This includes deciding whether you want to test variable ad sets with split testing. You’re able to test the following:

  • Delivery
  • Audience
  • Placement

For each ad set you create you will then need to select your optimization for ad delivery. This helps Facebook understand how you want your ads delivered:

  • Conversions
  • Link Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Daily Unique Reaches


Don’t forget to set your bid amounts - you can do this manually or let Facebook do this for you. Note: Facebook uses cost per impression for most delivery optimization methods.

Step 3: Create Your Audiences - Ad Set Level

This is where the real fun begins. Facebook has a plethora of information at their fingertips that you can use in a standalone manner, or you can layer it on top of your existing data to create highly personalized campaigns. At Windsor Circle, we prefer the latter, regardless of what type of campaign you want to run  - acquisition, retention, etc. We’re going to focus solely on creating custom audiences in this article. Custom audiences are built off of your contact database, they can then be used to target those particular customers, or to create a lookalike audience for acquisition and brand purposes. Depending on the goal and the segment both can work really well. If you use a solution, like Windsor Circle, that includes an audience sync feature, you only need to create your custom segment one time and it will update indefinitely. However, if you’re using a platform like MailChimp or manually importing your contact list, you will need to rebuild or re-import your list on a fairly regular basis.

Automatic sync option works really well for things like:

  • Product launches, releases, and cross-sell opportunities
  • Replenishment Campaigns for consumable goods
  • Cart or Browse Abandonment
  • Best Customer
  • Win-Back Campaigns for churning customers
  • Brand awareness for new subscribers and customers

Note: once a person is no longer eligible for a segment, because they made a purchase or maybe they dropped out of being a best customer, they will be pulled from the custom audience and will not be served an ad in Facebook.

Once you’ve created your custom audience and synced it over to Facebook - you can either layer in Facebook data or leave the audience as is. If you’re doing a lookalike campaign, experiment with layering in key attributes that Facebook unlocks for you. For example, let’s say you want to create a lookalike campaign based off of your best customers. You could create the lookalike audience using your best customer custom audience and then layer in key data points, such as they like one of your competitors’ pages on Facebook or they live in a certain area of the country.  Below is an example from Steiner Tractor, where they did just that - they created a custom audience of their best customers to use as a lookalike audience and then layered in Facebook data to only target people who looked like a best customer and like a certain other company on Facebook.

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With access to your data and Facebook data, the possibilities for campaigns and audiences is endless. Stay tuned for our series on some of the key segments and campaigns you should be running.

Step 4: Choose your Ad Placement

Ad manager, by default, selects that your ad shows in all Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Networks where it believes your ad will perform best, based on your objectives. You can also manually select which positions and platforms you would like your ad to appear on, as well as devices (desktop, mobile, or all). Here’s the list:

  • Facebook
    • Feeds
    • Instant Articles
    • Right Column
    • In-Stream Videos (if eligible)
    • Suggested Videos (if eligible)
  • Instagram
    • Feeds
    • Stories
  • Audience Networks
Note: You can also include exclusion and block lists to ensure that your ad doesn’t appear on pages, networks, or articles that you feel may not represent your brand.

Step 5: Set Your Budget & Schedule

Decided whether you want this ad to run continuously or for a certain period of time. If you decided to run a split test - you will need to choose a start and end date (or select “end test as soon as winning ad set can be confirmed.”) You will also need to designate budget. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend starting with a smaller budget and maybe 1-2 ads, this way you can easily monitor your successes and scale as needed. Similarly, if you’re struggling to find budget, instead of finding net new spend, simply reallocate some of your advertising budget from another function. Looking for some ideas? Check out the RightStufAnime.com Case Study to learn how they spent less than $200 on two ads and made over $15k combined.

Step 6: Design Your Ad:

Depending on the type of creative and what you’re trying to promote, you can choose from the following ad types:

  • Carousel - scrolls through multiple images and/or videos
    • Great for product shots
  • Single Image - one large image
    • Great for focused calls to action, flash-sales, and succinct messaging
  • Single Video - one video
    • Great for brand awareness or announcements
  • Slideshow - looping video created from 10 images
  • Collection - a collection of items including video, slideshow, and product images.
    • Great for brand awareness and product sales

Once you’ve picked your ad type you can work on your copy. Helpful tip on copy, keep it clear and simple. A recent study done by AdEspresso looked at over 35,000 ads and found the main headline median number of words was 5, post link text was 14, and the link description was 18 words. So when your content writer is writing prose, just remember KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Some Campaign Ideas for You

We’re launching a blog series that will walk through some of the key campaign and segments that you should run and test, but to get you started, here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Create a lookalike campaign off of your best customer list for acquisition
  2. Use product data to find customers who are ripe for an upsell or cross-sell and market to them
  3. Product launches - target customers based on past product purchases and get them excited about your new releases
  4. Replenishment - for consumable goods - remind customers to repurchase with an ad on Facebook before they run out
  5. Cart Abandoners - reminder cart abandoners to come back and finish their purchase
  6. Browse abandoners - showcase relevant products from your top categories

For more information on how our Facebook Solution works or if you have any questions about this article, feel free to email me or request a demo.


Topics: Best Practices, omnichannel, Social Media

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