6 tips for an effective Facebook ad campaign

Here at Whole Whale, we’ve run quite a few Facebook ad campaigns. While we are always learning how to be more impactful whalers, we put together 6 of our favorite strategies to help you be successful with your next advertising campaign.

Tip 1: Build a spend planner

Before you even dive into ad manager, you’ll want to make sure you know how you’ll be organizing your spend, breaking up your different target audiences, and testing different ad elements. At Whole Whale, we like to start by building a spend planner, which outlines details on your ad spend, including:

  • Campaigns: How many different objectives do our ads address? Are some click to site vs. lead acquisition? If so, these should be split into their own campaigns. Facebook has a handy list of objectives you can use to determine your campaigns.
  • Ad Sets: How many unique target audiences do you have? Each unique audience should have their own ad set with their own targeting and budgets, so you know who those ads are hitting and how much you are spending.
    • Pro tip: When setting up your targeting, you can choose certain ‘or’ targeting parameters (such as targeting either people that like ice cream or pickles) or ‘and’ targeting (such as targeting only people that like ice cream and pickles). This is set in the ad set targeting here where it says “Narrow Audience.”

Check out Whole Whale’s guide to targeting while you are planning your ad sets to help you determine your different audiences.

  • Ads: How many ads do you want to serve to each ad set? Is there any copy or are there images you want to test between? Facebook will automatically optimize between the ads that are placed in an ad set and serve what it deems to be the best for its users.

Budgets are typically set at the ad set level. But, as an extra safety net, you can set a campaign spending limit that will turn off your ads if you go past it.

Tip 2: UTM tag all links

Once you have your ad plan set, the next step is to make sure all of your ads that have a click to site (CTS) links are UTM tagged. By UTM tagging all your links, you’ll be able to pass information to Google Analytics to help you identify the on-site behavior of users clicking on your ads at the campaign, ad set, and ad level.
You can either build your UTM tagged URLs with Google UTM builder, or you can use our custom UTM builder spreadsheet.

Tip 3: Customize your reporting

You’ve built your campaign according to your spend planner, created trackable links and you have set budget limits so you won’t overspend. Before you set your ads loose, you’ll want to set up Facebook’s custom columns to monitor the information most important to you, whether it’s clickthrough rate (CTR), reach, frequency, cost per click (CPC), or otherwise.

Because you built those UTM links, you can also track any clicks from your Facebook ads on your website using the campaign, source, ad content and keyword parameters, depending on how you set up the campaign. You can see all your campaign data and determine your session to click ratio (how many users that clicked on your ad actually made it to your site), bounce rate, goal completion % and so on.

We love setting up dashboard for our ad campaigns to get an overview of performance and have a great guide to dashboards you can follow if you are data nerds like us.

Tip 4: Establish a moderator

Sometimes we’ll run ad campaigns that have 13 ad sets with 4 ads in each one. That means, at any time, we could have 52 ads with users making comments that we should be keeping an eye on. Even if you only have one ad, you’ll want to make sure that someone is tracking comments on it daily to watch for any less-than-encouraging (or awesome!) comments from the peanut gallery.
When in your campaign, you can filter your campaign by ‘ads in this campaign’ and adjust your columns to show ‘post comments’. Filter by the date and you can quickly see any ads with new comments you’ll need to review.


Getting a lot of confused or angry comments? That’s usually a sign that your targeting is off. Take a second look at your targeting and see if you are truly targeting an audience that is right for what you are advertising. If not, adjust accordingly. Speaking of…

Tip 5: Make changes, but let Facebook do its thing.

When an ad set is delivering ads, it’s continuously optimizing your spend to find users within your targeting that meet your objective. Because of that, making any changes to an ad set can throw Facebook’s algorithm off and ruin the efficiency of your spend.
If you want to make tweaks to your targeting, the best route is to duplicate your ad set and make your changes on an entirely new ad set. That way, Facebook can continue its optimization on your initial ad set (if you choose to keep it running) and start fresh optimizing on your new ad set.

Tip 6: Dig deep into the metrics

One reason why we set our own custom columns in Facebook’s reporting view is because, by default, they might not be showing us the most relevant metrics. In particular, if we are running a campaign with a video view objective, Facebook shows 3 second views by default. Considering the fact that some of those views could be people simply scrolling slowly past the video, it’s not a great metric. Within the custom columns, there are some really great metrics, such as 30 second video views, that will help you get a better idea of how your traffic is truly performing.
For an even deeper dive, get familiar with Facebook Analytics, so you can see what your Facebook page visitors are doing once they click on a post and land on your site.

If you follow these 6 tips, you’ll be better prepared to run an effective and data-informed advertising campaign with Facebook.

More Resources

Want to learn more? Find your next course at Whole Whale University. We’ve compiled years of knowledge and learning in the social impact sector to create the best courses, webinars, and templates for nonprofits.

And remember, we have a lot of free advertising resources on our site too.