Obvious but often forgotten – you need a Facebook page. Although you’ll be sending traffic to your site or your app install the ads are still coming from your Facebook page – they are news feed posts that don’t appear in your organic timeline, only as ads. (A good thing too as most campaigns have hundreds of ads with minor variations).
You need your payment method, usually a credit card.
You can access Ads Manager from your regular Facebook domain but all the new features come to Business Manager first – go to business.facebook.com for that.
Then it gets interesting – you don’t have to but to get the most out of Facebook advertising you must install the Custom Audience pixel.
The Facebook Custom Audience pixel has two main uses – gathering audiences for retargeting and tracking conversions on your website or app.
You put the standard version of the pixel on every page you want to track and it records page views. You can then start building a number of Website Custom Audiences – probably one for all visits, then maybe one for people who’ve visited a certain URL or performed a certain action – signing up, buying etc. These may be used for targeting or the opposite – for excluding. Why serve ads to people who’ve already converted?
There are 9 standard events that can be tracked by the pixel and you simply add a different extra line of code to the main pixel on the page where that event occurs. The 9 standard events are;
Then should you need to track an event not in the standard list you can create a custom event. So the Custom Audience Pixel is hugely important for targeting, excluding and tracking ROI.
So you have a page, a payment method, the pixel installed all over your site and a couple of website custom audiences slowly cooking – say, one for all visits and one for those who check out. You will have noticed there are a further 2 kinds of audience – custom audience and lookalike – and these could also be crucial to a successful campaign.
A custom audience is normally a list of your existing customers – simply upload a CSV file of email addresses and Facebook matches them to users to give you an audience. As before, you can target these (recommend a friend maybe?) or more commonly exclude them from ads.
A lookalike audience is a selection of users chosen by Facebook as being similar to your source audience – this could be your customer list or perhaps your visitors. Simply select the source audience, the country you want to target and a balance between exactness of match and size and you’re off. So if you choose 1% likeness you may get 300,000 in your audience, if you want more than that and are happy for the audience to be not quite as similar you can increase the percentage.