The Essential Guide to Navigating Meta (Facebook) Ads Manager

Facebook Ads
Oct 18, 2023
Oct 18, 2023
14 mins
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Meta (Facebook) Ads Manager

Lost in the vast ocean of Facebook Ads Manager? Learn how to get the most out of it and how to analyze and optimize your campaigns with this complete guide.

If you've ever traveled to a foreign country where you don't speak the common language, you might know what it's like to be lost and afraid after spending a lot of money to have what was supposed to be a 'fun' time.

This is the exact same feeling a marketer gets when they have to create ads on Facebook Ads Manager without any prior experience.

But seeing as how Madgicx is an official Facebook partner, we can be considered native on our home turf—and that means we can show you around all the top locations to make sure your stay at the Casa de Facebook Ads is a pleasant (and profitable) one.

In this article, we'll be taking a deep dive into Facebook Ads Manager, including what it is, an overview of all the tools and features therein, and how to make the most out of the analytics and optimization goodies inside.

Let's get started!

What is Facebook Ads Manager?

Facebook Ads Manager and Facebook Business Manager are both free tools provided by Meta to help businesses manage and optimize their advertising and online presence on the platform.

Given how intertwined the two are, it's easy to get them confused.

Ads Manager focuses specifically on the creation, management, and analysis of paid ads across the Meta platforms (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.).

Business Manager (and the Meta Business Suite) encompasses a broader set of tools for managing all aspects of a business's presence on Facebook. These include an inbox for all your social profiles, a content planner, business insights, etc.

Here's a quick breakdown of the two in a savable format!

Ads manager vs Business Manager

Luckily enough, you won't need to choose one or the other—you will need to use both to effectively take advantage of all of the different Facebook advertising tools.

How do I get to Facebook (or Meta) Ads Manager?

To access Facebook Ads Manager, just paste this link into your browser:

Note: You need to be signed into Facebook to view it.

You can also find this link by logging into Facebook and clicking the Ads Manager link on the left-hand side of the page:

Facebook Ads Manager

Why use Facebook Ads Manager?

Asking why you should use Facebook Ads Manager is like asking why you should use a spatula instead of a fork when flipping an omelet.

It just makes the job easier.

Facebook Ads Manager provides businesses with a robust platform for advertising that offers unparalleled reach and targeting on the world's most-used social network. Its suite of free tools and analytics ensures that businesses, from small to large, can craft effective ad campaigns tailored to their unique goals and audiences.

While other platforms do have other features that Facebook lacks (more on that soon), Ads Manager will always have a part to play in the grand scheme of Facebook advertising.

Setting up your Facebook Ads Manager account

One of the best parts of setting up Ads Manager is how easy it is to do. In fact, if you have a Facebook Page, then you already have an Ads Manager account, as they're created for you automatically. Easy peasy!

What you'll need to do next is to create your Business Manager account so you can add other team members and assign any assets they'll need to create, manage, and analyze your campaigns.

Since this process has a lot of moving parts, and we want to focus mostly on how to use Ads Manager, we don't have time to cover it all in this article. Luckily, we have an entire how-to guide for setting up a new ad account and Business Manager account here if you need it.

In short, you'll need to:

  • Create your new ad account (if you don't have one already)
  • Set up your timezone, billing currency, and payment method
  • Assign team members to your assets (Pages, etc.)

After that, you're all set to create your first campaign with Ads Manager!

The Facebook Ads Manager interface

Before we dive into campaign creation, let's get ourselves acquainted with the different parts of Ads Manager. We'll be starting off at the top of the navigation bar and working our way down.

Since we already covered billing and settings in the above guide, we'll be focusing on the others—namely the account overview, campaigns, and audiences tabs,

Facebook Ads Manager Navigation

Account overview

Account overview

Much like the name implies, the account overview will provide an overview of everything going on within the ad account you're viewing (if you have more than one, you can use the dropdown at the top of this page to switch back and forth).

Here, we can see campaign trends for the past 7 days and have some quick links to create or finalize campaign publication.

Most of our analysis and actions will take place on the following tabs.



The Campaigns tab is the starting point for managing your advertising endeavors on Facebook. It provides a high-level view of your advertising activities, making it easier to strategize, allocate resources, and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

In addition, you can also review your results by ad set or ad by clicking on the respective tabs next to it.

Going down a bit further in the campaigns view, you'll be able to see a breakdown of your campaigns and their results. Facebook has a default view here, but you can customize the different metric dashboards or even create your own (which we'll be covering further on down this article).

To keep it brief, this is where you'll be doing the majority of your analytics and optimization work for your ads.

Ads Reporting

Ads Reporting tab, Facebook Ads Manager

The Ads Reporting tab within Facebook Ads Manager is a section designed for advertisers to generate detailed, custom reports about their campaign performance.

Here, advertisers can tailor reports to their needs by selecting pertinent metrics, ranging from basic figures like clicks and impressions to more nuanced data like conversion rate or return on ad spend (ROAS). This section also allows for a deep dive into data by offering breakdowns, which segment the report based on criteria like age, gender, or platform.

Facebook ad reporting

To help you visualize trends and performance, this tool provides formats like pivot tables, trend charts, or bar graphs, which can be handy when communicating with clients or internal stakeholders. You can also use the customization widget on the right-hand side to add or remove different data points.


Facebook audience - Ads Manager

The Audience tab is where you go to, well, create your audiences. Facebook audiences are ways to group people based on demographics and activities to target them with ads later. Here, you can create one of three audience types:

  1. Lookalike audience: This is an audience created based on the traits of your existing customers or another specified audience. Facebook identifies common characteristics from a source audience (like your current customers) and then finds people on its platform who share those characteristics but aren't currently connected to your business.
  2. Saved audience: This is a user-defined audience based on things like demographics, interests, and behaviors. You can select those criteria to target a specific group of people on Facebook who fit that profile.
  3. Custom Audience: Created using data from your own sources, like an email list or website visitors. By using the Facebook (Meta) Pixel on your website, for example, you can retarget people who've visited specific pages or taken certain actions. Similarly, uploading a list of email subscribers can let you engage with them on Facebook directly.

Each of these audience types can be powerful on their own, but using them all to create a full-funnel ad strategy is the best way to generate the most revenue from your efforts.

Creating your first Facebook ad campaign

Your status in the Facebook world has officially been upgraded now that you've made it this far, but you still have a little ways to go before you can be considered a Facebook ads native.

Next up, you'll want to create your own Facebook campaign so you can utilize the analytics side of Ads Manager.

(If you have your campaign running already, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.)

While the campaign creation process isn't necessarily complicated, there are a lot of options and boxes to tick that make the process a bit more nuanced. That being said, the campaign creation process follows this flow:

  1. Choose your objective: Start by selecting the primary goal for your campaign. This could be anything from awareness and lead generation to conversions (like purchases).
campaign creation
  1. Determine your audience: Define who will see your ads. Use criteria like age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors, or utilize custom and lookalike audiences.
audience creation
  1. Choose ad placements: Decide where your ad will appear—on Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, or Messenger. You can choose Advantage+ (automatic) placements or manually select specific locations.
ad placements
  1. Set your budget & schedule: Determine how much you want to spend daily or over the lifetime of the ad, and decide the start and end dates for your campaign.
budget and schedule
  1. Design your ad: Choose the format (e.g., image, video, carousel) and input the creative elements such as images, headlines, text, and call-to-action buttons.
ad creation
  1. Optimization and delivery: You can adjust settings for how Meta will optimize the delivery of your ads, such as bid strategy and when you get charged.
bid optimization
  1. Review and submit: Before launching, double-check all settings and creative elements. Once everything looks good, submit the ad for Facebook's review.
  2. Monitor and adjust: After submission and approval, regularly check your campaign's performance in Ads Manager and make adjustments if needed to optimize results.

Measuring and optimizing ad performance with Facebook Ads Manager

After you hit that publish button, you'll undoubtedly want to run to the analytics and see how everything is performing. The problem is that with 100+ metrics to choose from, it'll be hard to figure out what to look for or how to use that data to optimize your campaign. #analysisparalysis

Instead, here are 3 ways you can use Ads Manager to analyze and improve your results right now.

1. Review your main KPIs

In Ads Manager, you can view a wide range of metrics for your ads, including impressions, clicks, conversions, reach, frequency, and return on ad spend, among others.

These are some of the top KPIs that you can review when you're trying to determine what's doing well or what needs to be changed. You can use the “Performance and clicks” column template inside the campaign tab to get this data:

performance and clicks column

By assessing which ads or ad sets yield the best results based on these metrics, you can allocate more of your budget to top performers or tweak the underperforming ads' content, imagery, or targeting.

campaigns data

2. Fine-tune your audience

Everyone has a certain preference for things—and in the world of Facebook ads, knowing who your audience is and what they want can mean the difference between profitability and barely breaking even.

To combat this, you want to delve deep into the demographics, behaviors, and interests of the people who engage with your ads and check factors like age groups, locations, device usage, and more. Facebook's breakdown tool will let you analyze your results via different demographic breakdowns.

Facebook audience breakdown

If you notice that a particular demographic responds better to your ads, consider refining your targeting to focus more on this group. Conversely, you can adjust your ad content or design to better appeal to less responsive segments.

3. Double down on your best ad placements

Superbowl ads and bus stop ads are at the polar opposite ends of the ad performance spectrum—and obviously have completely different costs associated with them.

And just like those placements, an easy check you can do is to see which placements (e.g., Facebook News Feed, Instagram Stories, etc.) and devices (e.g., mobile vs. desktop) are giving you the biggest bang for your buck.

For this one, use the “Placement” breakdown in Ads Manager:

placement breakdown

Here, you want to allocate more budget to placements and devices that yield better results. If a particular placement isn't working well, consider redesigning the ad for that specific placement or reallocating the budget elsewhere.

Bonus tip: automate your ad optimization

I know I said 3 tips, but I love to overdeliver. ;)

There's one thing you might have noticed while sifting through Ads Manager: there's a LOT of information here to read.

And unfortunately for us, ignoring this information overload can be a deadly mistake.

My bonus tip is one that will save you a lot of time and heartache in the long run—and that's to automate as much of the ad management as you can.

Given the advances of AI, marketers now have the ability to hand off tedious work (like analyzing data for trends multiple times a day, optimizing their bids and budget by the minute) and can focus on the bigger picture—like designing their next campaign and managing their business.

Unfortunately, Facebook Ads Manager doesn't offer any AI-based features and lacks more than a basic automatic optimization capability. That means if you really want to scale performance (and not have your eyes glued to Ads Manager every second of the day), you need a helping hand.

And that's where Madgicx comes in.

Madgicx's suite of powerful Facebook tools can turn your 12-hour workweek into less than 2 hours in the blink of an eye. Just check out some of the incredible things you can test out for $0:

Madgicx AI Marketer

AI Marketer harnesses a decade of expert experience in Facebook ads with the power of AI by recommending specific actions to take to increase your ad results.

Madgicx AI Marketer

Instead of generic advice, you're getting precise, actionable recommendations based on your specific account data, making your Facebook ad campaigns more efficient and effective, which can be implemented with a single click.

Ads Manager 2.0

The worst part about Meta Ads Manager is trying to find the data you're looking for in a quick and easy way. Fortunately for you, Madgicx has spun the concept on its head by recreating a more efficient version dubbed Ads Manager 2.0.

Madgicx Ads Manager 2.0

Here, you can not only manage your assets in one place and keep up with campaign trends but even take actions like increasing the budget or bid of multiple ad sets at once.

One-Click Report

Everyone has to send a performance report—regardless of whether it's to a client or internal stakeholders. And while Facebook does have a reporting tool, it only covers the Facebook platform. This means that no matter what, you'll always need to do some extra work to see it next to your other paid initiatives across other channels.

Unless you use Madgicx's One-Click Report, anyway. :)

With One-Click Report, you can get access to all of your important eCommerce data in one place—including Meta Ads, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Shopify, and TikTok.

On top of that, One-Click report offers a host of over 19 different pre-made drag-and-drop templates that give you access to every reporting dashboard you'll ever need.

Madgicx One-Click Report

If all that wasn't enough, you can rest easy knowing you can share these reports with absolutely anyone (even if they don't have a Madgicx account) for free.

Of course, we may be biased in thinking that Madgicx is one of the best Facebook ad platforms out there, but we have a plethora of customers who seem to agree.

And given we offer a 7-day free trial, there's absolutely no reason not to try it out. :)

Troubleshooting issues in Facebook Ads Manager

We've been around the block a few times and have seen our fair share of issues with Ads Manager. To save you from the same fate, we've compiled a list of the top issues we see with it and how to solve them.

1. Ad disapproval

  • Issue: Your ad gets disapproved for not meeting Facebook's advertising policies.
  • Solution: Make necessary changes to your ad's content, imagery, or targeting and resubmit it. Ensure you avoid prohibited content, misleading claims, or overly sensationalized language.

2. Billing issues

  • Issue: Problems related to payment methods, declined cards, or billing thresholds.
  • Solution: Check your payment method for any discrepancies or expired cards. Update or change the payment method if necessary. Ensure your billing address and card details match.

3. Ad not delivering

  • Issue: Your ad is approved and running but isn't getting any impressions.
  • Solution: This one has a few factors that impact it, so it's best to review our Facebook ad delivery guide and analyze all of your campaign settings.

4. Pixel issues

  • Issue: Facebook (or Meta) Pixel isn't tracking user actions correctly, or conversion data seems off.
  • Solution: Use the Facebook Pixel Helper (now the Meta Pixel Helper) browser extension to diagnose any issues. Ensure the pixel is properly installed on all necessary pages and that events are correctly configured. You can also use services like Madgicx Cloud Tracking to get expert help in tracking up to 20% more data.

5. Ads Manager loading issues

6. Your ad account has been restricted from advertising

  • Issue: Your ad account has been restricted from creating Facebook ads typically due to non-compliance with Facebook ad policies.
  • Solution: Request a manual review of your account if you believe the rejection to be an error.

Conclusion: Maximizing the potential of Facebook Ads Manager

In wrapping up our deep dive into Facebook Ads Manager, we've journeyed through its core essence, meticulously examined its user interface, and delved into the common hurdles many advertisers encounter.

While Ads Manager is an incredibly powerful tool, it comes with its own set of challenges. But with a comprehensive understanding of what it is, how it functions, and potential problems to troubleshoot, you're well-equipped to harness its full potential.

As with any tool, practice and experience will further refine your skills, ensuring your advertising campaigns on Facebook are as effective as they can be.

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Facebook Ads
Oct 18, 2023
Oct 18, 2023
Tory Wenger

Tory is a digital marketing specialist and the current Marketing Manager of She's been featured in various high-profile marketing blogs like Hootsuite, AdEspresso, and Databox and holds certificates for both Google and Facebook Ads. In her spare time, she gardens and paints from her house in the Florida panhandle.

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