Facebook and Instagram Ads 101: Start Here

Jenna Kutcher 

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September 20, 2021


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As my business grows, my strategies grow with it. One big entrepreneurial growth spurt for me was when I transitioned from all organic marketing methods to a mix of organic and paid ads. The world of Facebook and Instagram advertising is complex, especially recently, but it’s also paid off exponentially to have a smart ad strategy in place. 

I love Renee Bull’s approach to ads. She believes that your business deserves a strategy that can take it to the next level and a funnel that allows you to work less while profiting more. Her proven tactics, updated for all the changes that online ads recently experienced, will help you get started with paid marketing on Facebook and Instagram. 

If you want to know how to implement an ad strategy, best-practices for getting started, and how to tell if your marketing investment is actually worth it, this is your episode. 

Boosted Post versus Ads

One of the primary misconceptions about Facebook and Instagram ads is that “boosting a post” is the same as running an ad. They are two very different things that will yield different results. 

Renee explained that Instagram makes it so easy for you to promote a post, “You really feel like you’re running ads and they give you a bunch of vanity metrics, that you reached thousands of people and you have thousands of impressions, but these are vanity metrics.” The biggest difference is when you boost your post or use the promoted post feature on Instagram, you’re missing out on a lot of key data. 

Ads can only be set up in the Facebook Business Manager at business.facebook.com. If you paid for a promoted post via Instagram or Facebook without going through the business manager, you’re not running ads and therefore missing out on the opportunity to drive real results — not just vanity metrics — for your business.

What is a pixel?

Essentially, a Facebook “pixel” is a piece of code that tracks the traffic and the results of your ads.

If you have any page that you own — it could be an opt-in page, a website, a blog page, a sales page — You drop in this little piece of code and Facebook walks you through how to do it. It’ll tell you how many people are seeing your ad or clicking all the way through to purchasing. It gives you the ability to track different things that will help get you more results.

Renee noted that it’s free to place your pixel and even if you’re not running ads and you don’t plan on running ads until the future, it’s still important to place those pixels. That information can be gathered even before you intend on running ads.

Changes to Tracking and Ads

Renee explained that there were a lot of updates and there’s still updates going on, but one of the biggest updates was that there’s going to be less information shared with marketers. “Now users have the opportunity to actually opt out of being tracked,” she told me. 

What does that mean? Before the changes, the data used to come back to the marketers and it used to tell me this specific person got to the checkout page so that we could then create ads to retarget them to take that next action of purchasing. 

Now, the consumer can opt out of tracking. You have limited visibility as to where your traffic is in their customer journey. But Renee stressed this: “No matter what changes or updates come, there’s always ways to win.”

Do This Now

To start running ads with a solid strategy that holds up through all the changes, Renee said you need to: 

Verify your domain: For your platforms that you own, you want to make sure that you purchased your domain and you own it and it’s not a free/default domain from a website platform.

Set up aggregated events: This is very important because before the updates, when it came to tracking the behavior of your traffic as it pertained to page views, add to cart purchases, etc. all these events were automatically set up. Now you have to manually set these events for your verified domains so that behavior will be tracked.

Three-Step Framework

The best way to approach ads and the cheapest way, is not directly for the purchase, but to add value and get leads. Renee teaches this in a three-step framework — define your objective, position yourself as the solution, and then optimize and scale.

Renee said, “I really preach about giving value and nurturing your audience. I think that at the core of just marketing. People take action and they buy from people they trust,” she continued, “And so if you are new and wanting to build your list, wanting to build your audience, and your end goal is to sell more courses or get more people enrolled in your program, the best way to do that is focusing on lead generation.”

Running ads to freebies (quality freebies) and other free content that supports your end objective is a great way to collect quality, qualified leads that you can then target with ads with an invitation to take action on your next offer. Renee explained, “It’s important to define your objective in the beginning, not just throw ads up to try to get numbers or build your list, but really understand your end goal and then work backwards.”

More from Renee Bull

Why are ads more expensive in Q4? How do you know if an ad is working for you? What can you do right now to start utilizing ads in your marketing and sales strategy? Renee Bull walks through the 101 of Facebook and Instagram ads in a clear, actionable way, so hit play on this episode for the full scoop right now.

Connect with Renee on Instagram @helpfuldigitalmarketer and learn more about what she teaches with her course, My First 1K with Facebook Ads.

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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