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Understanding the Facebook ads structure

Understanding the Facebook ads structure

By on Jul 14, 2018

The Facebook ads structure has 3 different levels: ad campaign, ad sets, and ads creative.

They are referred to as ad objects.

  • Campaigns contain ad sets
  • Ad sets exist a level below campaigns, and contain ads
  • Ads belong to ad sets, which in turn belong to campaigns

Editing an existing ad set will affect all the ads that the ad set contains. Editing a campaign will affect all the ad sets that is under that specific ad campaign. Imagine a pyramid structure where changes at the top flow downhill, but a change at a lower level does not go uphill.

Campaigns: objective

Creating and structuring your Facebook ads start with creating a campaign or campaigns. Create a campaign by selecting an objective for the kind of results you want for your ads. Your ad sets, your targeted audience, your placements, and ads will focus on that objective, as well.

This helps Facebook determine the best ad placements, formats, and calls to action — and delivers your messages to the right people.

Facebook ad structure campaigns

Create separate campaigns for each objective and goals.

Whether your goal is to create awareness, engagement, or conversion, you can find an objective in Facebook for it. For example, if you want to send people to a website or to a chatbot, choose the Traffic objective. If you want to show your ad to the maximum number of people, choose Reach. Each campaign objective is aligned with a specific business goal.

You can turn individual ads and ad sets off in your campaigns. Also, you can easily measure how successful the ad or ad set was for the selected objective.

You can choose objectives based on your goals:

If your goal is awareness, drive attention and interest: Select Brand Awareness or Reach as an objective.

If you want to engage people who already know your brand, choose Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, or Video views.

If your goal is to generate more leads, Lead Generation or Messages are your best objective choices.

To convert prospects to buyers, select Conversions, Catalog Sales, or Store Visits.

Facebook ad campaign objective

Ad Sets: Audience

Determine the audiences you want to target. You will also choose your placement and establish a schedule and budget.

Facebook allows advertisers to target different audience types:

  • New audiences you create and define manually
  • Custom Audiences
  • Lookalike Audiences

Facebook ad set audience

Set up the schedule

Set a daily or lifetime ad budget and set start/end dates for the ad set. Ads Manager will tell you how many people are likely to see your ad (estimated reach) based on the budget you select.

Note that optimization options and when you get charged may vary based on the campaign objective and placements you’ve selected.

Facebook ad set budget schedule

Choose bidding

You can choose to bid for your objective, clicks, or impressions. Your choice determines how you pay and who your ad is served to. For example, when you optimize your bid for the “Page Likes” objective, you’ll be charged when your ad is served to people within your audience who are more inclined to like your page. Your spending limit, budget, and ad spend are all different figures.

Per Facebook ad guidelines: “The account spending limit is set at the ad account level, and is the maximum you’re willing to pay for all ads for all time across your ad account. If you try to change this more than ten times in an hour, you’ll have to wait a full hour before attempting again.”

A budget, submitted at the ad set level, is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for delivery of the specific ads contained in that ad set per day.

Your ad spend is the actual amount you paid for those ads.” Facebook

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Select placements

Your ads can appear on multiple platforms across the Facebook family of apps and services.

The placements available to you may vary depending on which ad objective you selected, but will include at least one of the following:

  • Facebook ads can appear in News Feeds, Instant Articles, In-stream Video, Suggested Videos, Marketplace, and in the Right Column on desktop
  • Instagram ads can appear in Feeds and Stories
  • Audience Network extends your ads to other app and website publishers
  • Messenger ads can drive re-engagement and scaled communication

Facebook ad placement options

Ads: Get creative

The ad level is where you create the ad itself, and test what works best.

Create different ads with various pictures, descriptions, and headlines. You can do up to 50 ads per ad set.

Measure the ads effectiveness and turn them on or off, and change them if needed.


  • Carousel: a scrollable sequence of 2-10 images or videos
  • Image: a single photo or graphic
  • Video: an ad anchored by a single video
  • Slideshow: a looping video ad composed of up to 10 images and/or frames extracted from a video to which you can add transitions and music
  • Collection: a visual and immersive way to promote your business or products

Facebook ads creative formats

Ad account settings

The Settings area contains the following sections:

Ad Accounts: Set up or edit the name of your ad account, choose your currency, time zone, enter a business name, address, and tax ID number, and specify whether you’re purchasing ads on behalf of a business or an agency.

This is also where you can set an ad attribution window, which tells Facebook how long after someone sees or interacts with an ad we should attribute people’s actions to it.

Ad account admins can add people to — or remove people from — an ad account, as well as manage roles/permissions from this section.

Pages: View a list of all the Pages for which you have permissions, and what role you have on each.

Payment Settings: Add or edit payment methods, set a top-level spending limit on the ad account, and find out when your next billing date is.

Notifications: Manage how Facebook informs you of activity on your ad account(s). Set a primary email address.

Facebook ads manager settings

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Creating a Facebook ad is just one part of the process. To create a successful ad campaign, you must also have an ad strategy.

You can figure out which approach works best if you test different ad campaigns, ad sets, and ad creatives, and measure the effectiveness of each. If one doesn’t perform well,  simply turn it off and forget about it.

Related articles:

Creating a “Offer Ad” in Facebook ad manager

Competitor analysis in social media marketing

Social media marketers’ strategy 

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