How to set up a Facebook paid ad campaign

Marketing and brand

11 December 2017

Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular social network – around 78% of UK adults have an account.

Unfortunately, the network knows this, and is starting to remove organic (free) business posts from its users' timelines. So, unless you pay to advertise your content, your audience may not be able to see it.

To get started with paid ads on Facebook, go to and click "Create an Ad". We'll walk you through the next steps.

Step one: choose your objective

Facebook offers three categories: awareness, consideration and conversion. Each of these has a series of objectives that your campaign will be based on.

For small business owners, the best objectives might include brand awareness, engagement, traffic, lead generation, conversions, product catalogue sales (great for e-commerce) and store visits (which encourages people to visit your bricks and mortar store).

There are eleven to choose from. Place your cursor over the "i" icon next to each one to find out more about it and find what’s right for you.

Step two: name your campaign

Give your campaign a name so you can easily track it – you might create more adverts later.
Depending on your chosen objective, you might be asked for additional information. For example, Facebook needs to know whether you're looking for page likes, event responses or post engagement for an "engagement" campaign, and the location of your shop if you are running a "store visits" campaign.

Step three: target your audience

You pay every time someone views or clicks on your advert, so make every penny count by only showing it to people who are likely to be interested. At the targeting stage, you can drill down based on location, age and gender.

You can add detailed targeting by including (and excluding) Facebook users with certain interests. You can even opt to promote your post to the friends of people who already like your page, even if they don't necessarily fit your other demographics.

With "create a custom audience" you can target new people based on your existing customers. Upload a file of your current email mailing list, and you'll be able to focus your advertising towards them (and people similar to them).

Step four: choose your placement

The easiest option is to select "automatic placement", as Facebook's algorithms will show your adverts in places where they're most likely to attract attention.

When you click "edit placements" you can be specific about where your advert will be shown. If you don't want your ad to appear on Instagram or mobile, deselect them.

Step five: set a budget and schedule

You can set a daily budget or a lifetime budget for your campaign. The daily budget is the average that will be spent each day while the advert runs, while a lifetime budget is the maximum that will be spent overall. Once the limit is met, the ads stop running.

Select a start and end date for time-dependent campaigns (such as Christmas). If you just want to raise awareness, you can let the ad run continuously – or until it meets its lifetime budget.

Step six: confirm your advert

On the final page, you can either write a new advert, or choose a post from your Facebook page. You can test how it will look on a mobile news feed, desktop news feed and more.

Take time to review everything – the next click sends your ad to Facebook for approval!

Next steps

For more information on how to use social media for your business, we’ve developed a step-by-step guide to social media marketing success, collecting some of the best guides and advice from leading experts.

You can also take a look at our social media advertising guide to find out about different social platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

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*10% of our customers paid this or less between July and September 2017.