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The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads Manager: How to Create, Manage, Analyze Your Facebook Ads

Alfred Lua
Alfred Lua Former Product Marketer @ Buffer
The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads Manager: How to Create, Manage, Analyze Your Facebook Ads

13 min read
You will learn

Over 10 million people advertise on Facebook. And it’s easy to understand why when you look at the data: Facebook has about 2.7 billion users, and people are now spending more than two hours a day on social media platforms.

That’s a lot of attention! No matter who your audience is — age, gender, occupation, (almost) anything — you’ll be sure to reach them through Facebook ads.

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How do marketers create, manage, and analyze their Facebook ads?

The short answer is Facebook Ads Manager.

While it can look intimidating at first glance, once you get to know Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll find it’s an amazing tool, offering everything you need to optimize your ads and deliver successful campaigns.

Chapter 1: Getting started

Where is Facebook Ads Manager?

The easiest way to find Facebook Ads Manager is to bookmark the direct link. You will be brought directly into the Facebook Ads Manager of your personal ad account. If you manage more than one ad account, use the account dropdown menu to pick the right one.

To navigate to Ads Manager right from your business Page, head to the left sidebar and click on the "Ad Center" dropdown arrow of any Facebook Page, then choose “All Ads” from the dropdown. At the bottom of that Page, there is an option to click "Ads Manager."

Manage ads option

Finally, there is a Facebook Ads Manager app available for mobile.

How to set up your Ads Manager account

When you sign up for Facebook, you’re given a personal ad account ID by default. You can see this ID by going to Ads Manager and looking in the upper left-hand corner.

In order to use Facebook Ads Manager, you need a verified payment method and:

  1. A Facebook Page or
  2. Be an admin, editor, or advertiser on someone else’s Page

If you do not have a Page for your business, you can follow Facebook’s steps. Any Page you create will be automatically given an ad account.

If there is a Page you wish to advertise for that was created by someone else, you need to ask the Page admin to assign you an admin, editor, or advertiser role on the Page.

If you already have an existing ad account for your Page but would like to create a new one, you’ll need to have a Business Manager account. Once you sign up for Business Manager, you can create a new ad account.

How to get your teammates set up on your Facebook Ads account

If you want your teammates to manage and create Facebook ads, you’ll need to grant them access to your Facebook Ads account and assign them the appropriate advertising roles.

  • An “Analyst” can see only your ad performance. This role is great for someone who only needs your Facebook ads’ data to create reports.
  • An “Advertiser” can view, edit, and create ads using the payment method associated with your ad account. This role is best for someone who needs to create ads but does 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 the ad account, including permissions, billing, payment details, and ad spending limit.
Facebook ad roles and permissions

To add someone to your ad account:

  1. Navigate to Ads Manager Settings.
  2. Under Ad Account Roles, select Add People.
  3. Add the person you want to give access to by typing in their name or email address. You can only give ad account permissions to people who have personal Facebook accounts.
  4. Use the dropdown menu to choose their role and then click Confirm.

Note: 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

Once you’re in Facebook Ads Manager, you will see the campaign dashboard. There’s a lot to take in, but don’t worry, we will walk you through it all.

We’ll focus on three main parts for now: the campaigns plus their left and right menus.


On the left

  • Hit the home option at the top to be taken to the Business Suite. Here you’ll find updates, messages, and analytics on all of your Facebook and Instagram profiles.
  • Click the hamburger menu to open navigation to a variety of places such as account set up, Events Manager, Creative Hub, and analytics.
  • Hit your profile picture to change ad accounts and the clock icon below it to see an account overview for your selected ad account.
  • Toward the bottom, you will see settings, account notifications, a search feature, and help resources.

On the right

The right-side menu is used to edit campaigns, see their history, and check out additional analytics. More on this when we talk about reporting below.

Your campaigns

All of your campaigns are shown in the middle. Your Facebook ad campaigns are comprised of three elements shown across the top in tab format: ad campaign, ad sets, and ads. Each ad campaign can contain multiple ad sets, and each ad set can include various ad creatives.

Let’s clear up these terms.

  • A campaign is where you choose your objective. Once chosen, you can start making ad sets with your target audience, ad placement, and budget.
  • There can be multiple ad sets under a campaign if you want to target different audiences and use different placements under one single objective.
  • And an ad is where you decide on imagery and messaging. There can also be many ads under an ad set if you want to split test what creative elements work best for your ad set.

Chapter 2: Creating and editing Facebook ads

How to create ads using Facebook Ads Manager

While the dashboard might seem overwhelming, the actual ad creation process is pretty straightforward. To get started with creating an ad, simply click the prominent green “Create” button.

Create an Facebook ad button

Once you click to create a new ad, choose your campaign objectives from the categories brand awareness, consideration, and conversions. You will then define other elements of your campaign, like audience targeting, ad placement, ad budget, ad format, ad creative, and more. Facebook will walk you through these steps one by one, but if you’d like to learn more about each of these steps, check out our beginner's guide to creating Facebook Ads.

Note: Once you publish your ad, Facebook can take up to 24 hours to review it. Once Facebook approves it, you will be notified and your ad will go live. Don’t stress out about hitting “Publish” on your Facebook ad; it’s easy to go back in and make changes once it’s live.

How to edit ads using Facebook Ads Manager

Not every ad is perfect. For example, you might notice a typo in your ad only after it’s live. Or maybe an ad set is performing well, and you want to increase its budget. No worries. Editing an ad in Facebook Ads Manager is super simple.

To update any part of your existing campaign, hover over the ad name and click on the edit icon. A popup will slide in from the right, where you can edit the campaign, ad set, or ad.

Edit Facebook ads

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” in the navigation bar.

For campaigns, you can:

  • Modify the campaign name
  • Set campaign spending limits and change budgets
  • Switch the campaign on or off

For ad sets, you can:

  • Edit the ad set’s name
  • Modify the start and end dates
  • Set minimum and maximum spend amounts
  • Edit your audience
  • Change ad placements
  • Edit the optimization and delivery

For ads, you can:

  • Edit the ad name
  • Change the destination (i.e., the Facebook Page where your ad is coming from)
  • Edit the creative elements of the ad (image, text, link, call to action)
  • Specify URL parameters

Chapter 3: Facebook ads reporting

You can use Facebook’s analytics to see how your ads are performing. One thing to look for is if your ads align with your social media goals for your business.

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, also known as Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC for short.

Search and filter: Finding the relevant campaigns, ad sets, or ads

You can find any of your campaigns, ad sets, and ads by using the search bar at the top of Ads Manager. Type in search terms and choose from a list of predicted searches or choose a filter from the dropdown.

Narrow down your search by typing in:

  • Campaign name
  • Ad set name
  • Ad name
  • Campaign ID
  • Ad set ID

Or filter by:

  • Saved searches
  • Name/ID
  • Delivery
  • Objectives
  • Placement
  • Campaign, ad set, or ad metrics
  • Audience
  • Attribution settings
  • Recently changed
  • A/B test
  • Special ad category
  • Test name

Select the arrow next to a filter category to see more detailed searches. Choose your filters and select Apply.

Additionally, you can specify the date range by clicking the dates next to the search and filter bar. Toggle the “Compare” feature to see how your ads are performing against a different date range.

This will give you the option to see your ads in the following date ranges:

  • Maximum
  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • Last 7 days
  • Last 14 days
  • Last 30 days
  • This week
  • Last week
  • This month
  • Last month
  • Custom

Columns and breakdowns: Getting the important data for your ad reporting

Facebook provides you with a wealth of data for all your ads. Customize your reports by choosing which columns to display or by breaking down ad performance based on factors like audience and reach.

Choose columns to analyze ad performance

To help you find relevant data quickly, there are several presets of columns for you to explore.

  • Performance: Results, reach, amount spent, etc.
  • Setup: Bid strategy, budget, objective, etc.
  • Delivery: Reach, frequency, CPM, impressions, etc.
  • Engagement: People taking action, reactions, comments, shares, etc.
  • Video Engagement: Two-second continuous video plays, cost per two-second continuous video plays, thru plays, 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: Attribution setting, results, reach, cost, etc.
  • Cross-Device: Website actions, mobile apps installed, conversion value, etc.
  • Offline Conversions: Purchase, cost per purchase, etc.
  • Targeting and Creative: Attribution setting, reach, frequency, etc.
  • Bidding and Optimization: Results, cost per result, bid strategy, budget, etc.
  • Messenger Engagement: Link clicks, messaging replies, blocked messaging connections, etc.
  • Digital Circular: Instant experience outbound clicks, instant experience impressions, etc.

If none of these presets suits your needs, you can either customize the presets or create your own presets from scratch by choosing “Customize Columns…” in the dropdown.

A popup will appear, and you can deselect or select more metrics (or columns) according to your needs.

Each column can be sorted by clicking on the heading with the title. If you need clarification about each metric, hover over the name and a popup will give you more information.

Get greater detail with breakdowns

The breakdown feature allows you to get even more granular with your Facebook ads insights.

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).

This is an example of how your reporting table might look after selecting the appropriate columns and breakdown:

Exporting, sharing, and saving Facebook ads reports

Once you’re satisfied with the data on your report, you can:

  1. Export: You can download the data as an Excel or CSV file.
  2. Create Custom Report: Further customize your report before downloading.
  3. Share: This option gives you a link to the view of data you created, which you can share with people who have access to your ad account.

If you’re not sure which option to choose, Facebook also provides some standard reports to choose from.

Chapter 4: Understanding the performance of your Facebook ads

Analyzing your ad performance will help you create more effective ads in the future. Facebook Ads Manager allows you to drill down in each of your campaigns, ad sets, or ads, providing more detailed information, such as results over time and demographics breakdown.

Remember the other menu we mentioned on the right-hand side of Facebook Ads Manager? This is where that menu comes into play.

Choose the campaigns, ad sets, or ads you wish to see analytics on, and then hit “View Charts” on that right-side menu. This opens a visual representation of your ad's performance.

In this expanded view, you will see various metrics for your campaign.

  • Performance: This chart shows link clicks, people reached, and the amount spent. If you scroll over the line chart, you'll see individual results for that day reflected in the chart. Click “Custom” to isolate certain metrics.
  • Demographics: This chart shows how your ad performed across different ages and genders. Scroll over each section to see individual results for each age group. You can filter results at the top.
  • Platform: This tab shows you how your ad performed across different platforms (e.g., Facebook or Instagram) and placements (e.g., Facebook desktop right column or Instagram mobile News Feed). You can view data like ad results, impressions, reach, and amount spent across platforms. You can also compare data on mobile vs. desktop.
  • Delivery: Here, you will see the predicted and delivered value for reach, impressions, and amount spent.

Chapter 5: Quickfire overview of other useful features

Outside of the Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll find some additional tools. They are accessible via the menu button in the upper-left corner of your Facebook Ads Manager.

Audience Insights

Audience Insights helps you learn more about your audience with aggregated information about their demographics, location, behavior, and more.

If you are keen to reach this audience, you can hit the blue “Create Ad” button to create an ad targeting this audience.

The Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that enables you to leverage actions taken on your website to create better Facebook ads. By placing the Pixel code on 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.

You can set up and track your Pixel by using Events Manager.

Relevant resources

There’s a lot to learn about Facebook Ads Manager, and we have just touched the surface of Facebook advertising. If you are interested in learning more and diving deeper into Facebook advertising, check out these useful tools and resources.

Facebook Ads Manager mobile apps

If you want to manage your Facebook Ads on the go, download the 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 9 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. This platform 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. Facebook has great resources if you want to learn more about the Creative Hub.

Meta’s Blueprint courses

Meta (Facebook’s parent company) has created many programs and resources for improving the quality of your Facebook ads. Its Blueprint courses cover everything, from writing your ad copy and creating videos for the mobile feed to getting the most out of the Facebook pixel.

Facebook ad specs and sizes

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’s a link to the latest Facebook ad specs.

Things constantly change within the Facebook platform

Thanks for staying with us throughout this guide! With things moving so quickly at Facebook, there’s a chance some of this information might be outdated by the time you read it (hopefully not!). If you spot anything that needs updating since we published this post, let us know. We are keen to keep this guide up-to-date and useful for you.

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