Ninety-one percent of marketers invested in Facebook advertising last year. And it’s easy to understand why when you look at the data: more than 1.4 billion people use Facebook every day, and on average, each person spends more than 50 minutes a day across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.
That’s a lot of attention! And no matter who your audience is — age, gender, occupation, (almost) anything — you’ll be sure to reach them through Facebook Ads. So the question becomes …
How do marketers create, manage and analyze their Facebook ads?
The short answer is Facebook Ads Manager.
However, Facebook Ads Manager can look intimidating at a first glance. But fear not, once you get below the surface Ads Manager is an amazing tool, offering everything you need to optimize your ads and deliver successful campaigns.
In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know to get familiar with Facebook Ads Manager, including how to manage and analyze your Facebook ads, and create in-depth ad reports your team will love.
Let’s jump in.
How to Navigate This Guide
This guide is broken down into five main chapters. Feel free to skip to the chapter that is most relevant to your needs.
Chapter 1: Getting started: All you need to get up and running with the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard.
Chapter 2: Creating and editing Facebook ads: How to create and edit Facebook ads using Facebook Ads Manager.
Chapter 3: Facebook Ads Reporting: How to find specific campaigns, ad sets, or ads and the relevant data for your reporting.
Chapter 4: Understanding the performance of each Facebook ad: How to take a more in-depth look at each of your campaign, ad set, or ad and find out how each of them performing.
Chapter 5: Other useful features and relevant resources: A brief look at several other great features for Facebook advertising and a list of resources on Facebook advertising.
Where to find Facebook Ads Manager
To get to your Facebook Ads Manager, you can click on the drop-down arrow in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page and choose “Manage Ads” from the drop-down (or you can use the Facebook Ads Manager mobile app, which we will mention below).
You will be brought to your Facebook Ad Accounts page where there will be a quick overview of your ad account(s). If you have access to more than one ad account, here’s where you can select which account to manage, too.
Alternatively, you can head to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager. You will be brought directly into the Facebook Ads Manager of your personal ad account. If you manage more than one ad account and want to switch to another ad account, you can use the account drop-down menu to make the switch.
How to get your teammates set up on your Ads account
If you wish to let your teammates manage and create Facebook ads with your ad account, you’ll need to grant them access to the ad account and assign them the appropriate advertising roles. Here are some quick steps to do that:
Step 1: Navigating to Ad Account Settings
Click on the hamburger menu icon, hover over “All Tools”, and choose “Ad Account Setting”. (If you do not see this option, you might be in your Facebook Business Manager. You would want to click on “Ads Manager” first and then follow the steps mentioned earlier.)
Step 2: Add a User
Select “Account Roles” on the left column and click on the “Add a User” button to add a teammate to the ad account.
Step 3: Assign the appropriate role
The final step is to select the appropriate role for your teammate.
Here are the various roles and their respective advertising permissions:
An “Analyst” can see only your ad performance. This role is great for someone who only needs to access your Facebook ads data and create reports.
An “Advertiser” can see and edit your ads and create ads using the payment method associated with your ad account. This role is suitable for someone needs to create ads on your behalf but not have access to the payment details (e.g. a freelance marketer or a partner agency).
An “Admin” can edit the payment details and manage the roles, on top of everything an “Analyst” and an “Advertiser” can do. This role fits someone who needs to manage access permissions to the ad account, billing, payment details, and ad spending limit.
Tip: Facebook Page roles, Facebook Business Manager roles, and ad account roles are not the same. Even if you are the admin of your company’s Facebook Page or Business Manager, you might not have access to your company’s ad account.
Finding your way around the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard
You’ll be able to manage every aspect of your Facebook ads experience through your Facebook Ad Manager dashboard. There’re a lot of things on it! This is where to find all the essential tools, menus, and buttons.
- Top navigation bar
- Create ad
- Spending in the last 7 days
- Reporting table of all your Facebook ads
- Facebook ads filters
- Stats filters
We’ll get into the details of these options in the chapters below. Feel free to click on the quick links above to jump to the relevant section or use CTRL+F or CMD+F to find any exact phrase you need.
Find your way around Facebook Ads Manager
Here’s a quick run-through of the key options on top navigation bar:
Menu: Facebook recently updated the dashboard and moved most options into this menu. Clicking on the hamburger menu icon brings up all the Facebook advertising options such as Ads Manager, Power Editor, Ad Account Settings, and more.
Search: The search bar allows you to search for your campaigns, ad sets, ads, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Business Notifications: Clicking on the globe icon shows you only the notifications of your Facebook Pages.
Your Pages: Clicking on the flag icon allows you to quickly access any of your Facebook Pages.
Help: Behind this option, you can access Facebook advertising tips, FAQs, and ads glossary.
Creating and editing Facebook ads
How to create ads using Facebook Ads Manager
Creating ads with the Ads Manager couldn’t be easier!
To get started with creating an ad, simply click the prominent green “Create Ad” button in the upper-right corner of your Facebook Ads Manager.
Once you click to create a new ad, you’ll have the choice of 15 different ad objectives, such as promoting your Facebook Page, getting installs of your app and boosting your posts. To learn more about each of these and best practices, click below to visit complete guide to Facebook advertising.
The Complete, Always-Updated Guide to Facebook Advertising
How to edit ads using Facebook Ads Manager
There may be times when you want to edit your Facebook ads. For example, you might notice a typo in your ad only after creating the ad. Or an ad set is performing well, and you want to increase its budget.
To edit an existing Facebook campaign, ad set, or ad, hover over the ad name and click on the edit icons. A popup will slide in from the right, where you can edit the campaign, ad set, or ad.
A cool feature of Facebook Ads Manager is that it allows you to edit multiple Facebook campaigns, ad sets, or ads at once. To bulk edit a group of campaigns, ad sets, or ads, check the boxes in the first column and choose “Edit” on the navigation bar that’d appear above.
For campaigns, you can
- edit the campaign name
- set a campaign spending limit (optional)
- switch the campaign on or off
For ad sets, you can
- edit the ad set name
- edit the ad placement
- edit the budget and schedule
- edit the target audience
- edit the optimization and delivery (i.e. what your ad set is optimized for)
- switch the ad set on or off
For ads, you can
- edit the ad name
- edit the destination (i.e. the Facebook Page where your ad is coming from)
- edit the creatives of the ad (image, text, link, Call-To-Action)
- switch the ad on or off
While it’s great to be able to edit your ads, Jon Loomer advised against editing ads to split test the ads:
A Caution on Editing Ads
Some advertisers will use this feature to split test ads. An ad isn’t working, so they change the copy or imagery. I’d consider this a very bad idea.
First, Facebook will distribute your ad partially based on the response it is receiving. If you completely change the copy and imagery, people are bound to react to it differently.
Second, this messes up Facebook reporting. When was your change made? Was it the reason for the change in performance of the ad?
If you are completely changing your imagery or messaging, I encourage you to create a separate ad. Especially if the ad has already run for a while.
Facebook Ads Reporting
If you have set social media goals for your business, you’d want to see how your Facebook ads are performing against your goals.
For example, if you are using Facebook ads to drive signups for your product, you might be curious to know which ad in your campaign is driving the most signups, how many people signed up through those ads, and how much each signup cost you.
Through Facebook Ads Manager’s ads and stats filters, you will be able to find out all that and create neat reports for your team.
Ads filters: Finding the relevant campaigns, ad sets, or ads
Facebook provides four quick ways to filter through and search for specific ads or groups of ads:
- Date range
- Ad tier
Search: You can search for your ads by:
- Campaign Name
- Ad Set Name
- Ad Name
- Campaign ID
- Ad Set ID
- Ad ID
Filters: You can filter your ads by:
- Saved Filters – Filters you have created and saved previously
- Delivery – The status of your ads
- Objective – What your ad is optimized for (e.g. Brand awareness or conversions)
- Buying Type – How you pay for your ads (e.g. Auction or fixed price)
- Placement – Where your ads appear (e.g. Facebook right column or Instagram)
- Metrics – Specific measures for your ads (e.g. Lifetime spent less than $50)
- Date Updated – When your ads were last updated
Date range: These are the data ranges you can select:
- Last 7 days
- Last 14 days
- Last 30 days
- Last month
- This month
Ad Tier: The option to filter by ad tier (i.e. campaigns, ad sets, or ads) is separated from the above three options. It is located just above the reporting table in the dashboard towards the left side. Using this drop-down, you can toggle between:
- All Campaigns
- All Ad Sets
- All Ads
You can apply multiple filters at once. For example, you can search for all your ad sets with the objective of “Conversions” and lifetime spend of less than $50 in the last 30 days.
If you use these set of filters regularly, you can choose to save them as a custom filter for quick access in the future. The button is located to the right of the gray filter bar.
Stats filters: Getting the important data for your ad reporting
Facebook provides you with a wealth of data for all your ads and a powerful system to customize the reporting table to show data that’s important for your reporting. The two main ways to customize your reporting table is through Columns and Breakdown.
To help you find the relevant data quickly, there are several presets of columns you can choose from:
- Performance: Results, Reach, Costs, Amount Spent, etc.
- Delivery: Reach, Frequency, CPM, Impressions, etc.
- Engagement: People Taking Action, Reactions, Comments, Shares, etc.
- Video Engagement: Impressions, 3s Video Views, Cost per 3s Video Views, etc.
- App Engagement: Mobile App Installs, Mobile App Actions, Cost per Mobile App Install, etc.
- Carousel Engagement: Reach, Frequency, Impressions, Clicks, etc.
- Performance and Clicks: Results, Reach, Cost, etc.
- Cross-Device: Website Actions, Mobile Apps Install, Website Action, Conversion Value, etc.
- Messenger Engagement: Link Clicks, Messaging Replies, Blocked Messaging Conversations, etc.
- Offline Conversions: Purchase, Purchase Conversion Value, Cost per Purchase, etc.
If none of these presets suits your needs, you can either further customize the presets or create your own presets from scratch by choosing “Customize Columns…” in the Columns: Performance drop-down.
A pop-up will appear, and you can deselect or select more metrics (or columns) according to your needs.
The data in the reporting table can be sorted by clicking on the heading for each column. If you are unclear of what the metric is, hover over the “i” beside the metric, and a popup with explanations will appear. You can toggle between “Overview”, “Details”, and “Related” to find out more.
You can get more insights into your Facebook ads by breaking down the data further. You can break down the data by:
- Delivery (e.g. Age, location, or platform)
- Action (e.g. Conversion device, destination, or video view type)
- Time (e.g. Day, week, or month)
You’re able to select up to one criterion from each section (e.g. one from Delivery, one from Action, and one from Time). For example, you can see the results of your ads broken down by age categories, devices, and weeks.
Tip: When you hover over a criterion, Facebook will provide an explanation for it.
This is an example of how your reporting table could look like after selecting the appropriate columns and breakdown:
Exporting, sharing, and saving Facebook Ads reports
Once you have found the data that you need for your report, you can export, share, or save them as a report.
- Export: You can download the data as an Excel or CSV file.
- Share: This option gives you a link to the view of data you created, which you can share with people who has access to your ad account.
- Save: This button is separated from the Export and Share options. It is located near the upper-left corner of the dashboard. You can use reports to easily save views of data to come back to later or schedule an email to send the report to you automatically every day, week, or month.
Understanding the performance of your Facebook Ads
To create more effective Facebook ads, you might want to analyze the performance of your individual Facebook ads. Facebook Ads Manager allows you to drill down to each of your campaigns, ad sets, or ads, providing more detailed information such as results over time and demographics breakdown.
To do so, click on the name of the ad. You can also select and view multiple campaigns, ad sets, or ads by using the checkboxes in the first column. This is what you would see when you view a campaign:
The insights graphs section contains graphs that visualize your ad’s data to give you an at-a-glance overview. There are three tabs — Performance, Demographics, and Placement.
The Performance tab shows you the performance of your ad over your selected date range. There are three preset graphs, showing the results of your ad according to its objective, its reach, and the total amount spent. You can also customize the graphs to compare two metrics of your choice.
The Demographics tab shows you the gender and age breakdown of the data of your ad. You can toggle to see the breakdown of the ad results, impressions, reach, and amount spent. (Tip: Impression is the number of times the ad is seen, while reach is the number of people who saw the ad.)
The Placement tab shows you how your ad performed across different platforms (eg. Facebook or Instagram) and placements (eg. Facebook desktop right column or Instagram mobile News Feed). You can view data like ad results, impressions, reach, and amount spent across platforms.
The summary section gives you a summary of your ad such as delivery, objective, the amount spent today, and total schedule. There are also options to toggle your ad on or off, edit your ad, create a similar ad, or delete the ad.
The reporting table is similar to the one on the main dashboard. The only difference is that it doesn’t show you all your Facebook ads. If you are viewing a campaign, it shows you only the ad sets or ads in the campaign. If you are viewing an ad set, it shows you only the ads in the ad set. If you are viewing an ad, it shows you only the ad.
Quickfire overview of other useful features
Here are some features outside of the Facebook Ads Manager, which might be useful to you. They are accessible via the menu button in the upper-left corner of your Facebook Ads Manager.
Audience Insights is a tool to help you learn more about your target audience with aggregated information about the audience’s demographics, location, behavior, and more.
For example, if you are curious to learn more about people who liked your Facebook Page, you can add select your Facebook Page under the “People Connected to” section on the left. Audience Insights will show you their demographics, the Pages they liked, their location, and more.
If you are keen to reach this audience, you can hit the green “Create Ad” button to create an ad targeting this audience.
Power Editor is for those who wish to create large amounts of ads at a go and want to have specific control over how the ads are served. You can access the power editor through the Facebook Ads menu, under “Create & Manage”.
Facebook pixel is several lines of code that enable you to leverage the actions people take on your website to create better Facebook ads. By placing the pixel code in the header of your website, you can track conversions on your website, optimize your ads for conversions, and remarket to people who have visited your site or taken specific actions on your site.
To create your Facebook Pixel and track conversions, head to “Pixels” through the Facebook Ads menu, under “Assets”.
As I mentioned earlier, there are so much to learn about Facebook ads. I know I haven’t been able to cover everything about Facebook advertising. If you are interested in learning more and diving deeper into Facebook advertising, here are some tools and resources you might find useful:
Facebook Ads Manager mobile apps
If you want to manage your Facebook ads on the go, Facebook has created a Facebook Ads Manager app for iOS and Android. With the app, you can create ads, manage your campaigns, get notifications about your ad performance, and check the metrics of your ads.
For more Facebook advertising tools, Neil Patel has written up a great list of 11 Facebook advertising tools that’ll save you time and money.
Facebook’s Creative Hub
Facebook’s Creative Hub is one of its latest tools for advertisers and marketers. It allows you to create mock-ups of ads, preview them as though they are live on a Facebook News Feed or Instagram Feed, and collaborate and share ideas with your team.
It also has an Inspiration Gallery for you to discover how other businesses are using the various ad formats such as carousel and 360 video. You can get started creating your mock-ups here.
Facebook advertising tips
Facebook has created a resource of tips and recommendations for improving the quality of your Facebook ads. It covers everything from writing your ad copy to creating videos for the mobile feed to getting the most out of the Facebook pixel. You can find this resource here.
Facebook ad specs and sizes [Fully updated for 2017]
Facebook Ad Specs and Image Sizes [Fully Updated for 2018]
Getting the right specs and sizes for your ad visuals is important for your ad to perform. We know that these can change quite often so here’re the latest Facebook ad specs and sizes — fully updated for 2017.
Over to You
Thanks for staying with me throughout this guide! Hope you have found it to be useful.
With things moving so quickly at Facebook, I believe some parts of this guide might be outdated by the time you read it (hopefully not!). If you spot any updates about Facebook ads since we published this post, we’ll appreciate the heads up. We are keen to keep this guide up-to-date and useful for you.
Thank you! And all the best for your Facebook advertising!
Originally written Jan 11, 2017. Last updated Nov 29, 2018