Ads Manager is Meta’s full-featured interface for creating and managing ads over the various platforms Meta owns, as well as a network of partner apps called Audience Network. Ads Manager is designed to give advertisers control over many different aspects of their advertising to experiment to find ways that work best for them. There are a great many options and features involved, so it takes practice to become adept in the interface.

Keep in mind that Ads Manager is not something you need to set up. It’s already set up for you if you have a Facebook Business Page. You should be directed to Ads Manager by typing https://business.facebook.com/adsmanager/ in your browser’s address bar.

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Account Structure/Levels

When working in Ads Manager, there is a four-tiered structure you’ll need to understand. The levels are:

  • Account
  • Campaign
  • Ad Set
  • Ad

This is a nested hierarchy, with each level serving a specific purpose. A single ad account can contain multiple campaigns; a single campaign can contain multiple ad sets; and a single ad set can contain multiple ads.

Here are more detailed descriptions of each level, its purpose, and the specific options and features it offers.


The account level is where a few key settings are established that affect the entire account. You will rarely need to make any changes here. The account level settings are:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Time zone
  • Language
  • Currency
  • Billing and payment
  • Account spending limit – Here, you can set a maximum amount you want your account to be able to spend.


To begin the process of advertising, you’ll click to create a campaign. A campaign can be thought of as an outer container for ad sets and ads, but it’s where some important settings are established. The most significant setting that gets chosen at the campaign level is the campaign “objective.” Selecting the objective means choosing from a pre-set list of goals you might want to accomplish with the campaign. The choices include:

  • Awareness
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • Leads
  • App Promotion
  • Sales

Other settings at the campaign level are:

Campaign name – Choose a custom name for your campaign

A/B Test (on/off) – This allows a structure to be employed for learning how better results can be obtained. For example, you might want to test between two or three different audience configurations to see which is the most responsive.

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) – This allows you to set a single budget for the whole campaign rather than have separate budgets for each ad set.

Special Category — You’ll need to indicate if your ads will relate to one of the following special categories: real estate, credit, employment, social issues, elections, or politics. If your ads relate to one of these categories, Facebook will restrict your options for how you can target your ads. If you fail to indicate the special category, you can be at risk of having your ads disapproved or your ad account suspended.

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Ad Set

The ad set level is where a number of important settings are established. The purpose of this level is to allow advertisers to create a theme or segment of the campaign. For example, perhaps a professional photographer wants to create a campaign to get more website traffic. Within that campaign, they might want to create various ad sets based on themes of wedding photography, portrait photography, and pet photography.

Besides theme segmentation, there are other reasons one might want to create more than one ad set. These might include:

Location – Have separate ad sets for different geographic areas

Schedule – Have separate ads sets for different time frames the ads are intended to run

Budget – Have separate ad sets based on the amount of budget they will have

Targeting – Have separate ad sets based on who you target to see the ads

Placement – Have separate ad sets based on where the ad will be shown (such as in Instagram Stories or in the Facebook feed)

Optimization – Have separate ads sets based on what Meta should focus on the most for results


The ad level is where you put together the various elements of the ad itself. While you’re creating the ad, you’ll be able to see a preview of how it will look. You can see the different ways it might look depending on where it’s placed (such as on Facebook or Instagram). You can also use other preview options, such as sending a preview to be seen through the Facebook app on your phone.

Meta’s ad builder has become much more flexible and sophisticated in recent times. It now lets you make adjustments to the ad separately for every possible placement where it can appear. For example, you could adjust the picture and text specifically for ads showing in the Instagram feed, Facebook Marketplace, and every other possible placement.

You will also see options for adding multiple versions of particular elements. For example, you could add another version of the primary text that appears with the ad. If you do, Meta will alternate versions for a while to determine which has a higher success rate.

Some of the options and variables when creating an ad include:

  • Image
  • Carousel of images
  • Slideshow of images
  • Video
  • Text
  • Call-to-action button
  • Website URL
  • Instant Experience (a.k.a. Fullscreen Mobile Experience)
  • Tracking