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How to Learn Facebook Ads (Without Pulling Your Hair Out) 

Last updated December 20, 2022

By  Daniel Larsen

How to learn facebook ads, and fast? Need to do it without spending a big chunk of money and losing your hair?

Starting in 2012, I taught myself Facebook ads and have had success using them for a wide variety of businesses since. I've helped dozens of others one-on-one, to learn them and use them with success.

sreenshot showing facebook ads results

Some people can sleep with their head on a book, drooling in a public library, and wake up knowing every word they slobbered on.

If that's you, get outta here. Go solve global hunger or cure cancer, and leave advertising to us mouth breathers.

If you're a normal, above-average human who wants to kick some Facebook ads, come with me.

How to Learn Facebook Ads

1. How to Learn Facebook Advertising Fundamentals

These days, it is not enough to know how to run a facebook ad. You have to learn the fundamentals of advertising and human psychology.

That way, you can take your knowledge of those fundamentals and combine it with creativity. You must do this to lasso your customers out of the feed, wrangle them in to buy, and to keep them coming back for more.

1. Choose your learning method

Some people learn best by doing. Others learn best by observing and studying.

When I started, there were no resources, courses, or even blog articles about how to do it. I had no choice but to learn by trial and error.

Now, there are many ways to study Facebook ads. There are books, courses, and more. I'm biased, but you can learn everything you need in my Facebook ads book.

Why did I write a book on Facebook ads?

I Learned Facebook Ads the Hard Way.

Originally I hired agencies to run them, for my business at the time.

These were established agencies, and they were confident they could get me results. So I paid a lot of money, expecting it was worth the investment.

They got me zero results. 

Rather than abandon the ads platform, I abandoned the agencies. I took it on myself to figure it out.

Gradually, by trial and error, I figured it out. That’s when I learned how to test, what to test, and why.

Along the way, I learned a ton of tricks and a lot of pitfalls. I learned what to focus on, and what to ignore.

All that experience and more is jammed into the book, in Q&A style, based on questions I get often.

2. Learn to Write Ad Copy That Sells

People have more distractions now than a cat in a room full of laser pointers. Loud noises, bright shiny objects, fake news, and oh the memes and gifs. Ding, beep, blump, the notifications pull them every which-a-way all day long.

Even if they're focused individuals, with their phones on silent, you compete with their inner monologue. Your audience has countless things clouding their mind, and less attention span to give in total.

Advertising has picked up the pace to match, creating a vicious cycle. Ads everywhere are more compelling and distracting than ever before, with each advertiser trying to one-up the others.

Some are good, some are great, and some are downright awful. Unfortunately, you have to compete with all of them.

In order to rise above all that, your ads have to be way better than "not bad".

Creating killer ads is a combination of art and science, logic and creativity. In a nutshell, your ads have to:

  • Catch people's attention by interrupting the pattern they're in while scrolling the feed
  • Hook them with a reason to keep reading/watching
  • Hit them with the benefits that speak to the buying reasons from #1
  • Leave them curious enough to participate in the next step in the buying process. 
  • Bonus: If you can do all that and get them to engage by commenting or tagging a friend/colleague, you get extra Zuckbucks.

Know your customer and what makes them tick (and buy)

When you understand the reasons people buy, it's much easier to make an offer they'll take. Even more important, this makes it easier to avoid offering them something they don't want.

People buy to:

  • Reduce pain / increase pleasure
  • Make money / save money
  • Save time / reduce work
  • Reduce effort
  • Gain prestige, social status

Notice these are the results. That's what you're really selling - not your product, but what it does for your customer.

If this sounds overly simplified, it's because it is. Good thing is, that doesn't reduce the value of knowing these motivations.

These reasons stem from deep human psychology, and understanding them fully takes a lot of study.

But you can easily apply them as a basic checkpoint for any offer you make.  Doing just that gives you a lot more power to make effective ads.

If you make an offer and it doesn't meet these reasons, you know you need to go back to the drawing board. 

3. Learn Facebook Advertising Mechanics

Even once you get good at writing ads, you'll still make some that don't work. You'll still make writing mistakes, targeting errors, or miss the mark with your audience. You live, you learn, and you make more ads. 

Facebook ads are an art and a science. 

Every ad is a test.

Every test is based on a theory.

For example, I theorize that if I do x, it will give me y result.

You run many of those tests, changing only one variable at a time. You learn and adjust, and that’s how you begin to create successful ads. Then, you keep testing to make them better.

Once you have some experience, you can get more wild with what you test. Some of the wild stuff I've tried over the years has surprised me the most, in a good way.

If you're new to the platform altogether, use Blueprint to learn how stuff works. You'll find more on that and other recommendations in the Facebook Ads Q&A

2. Facebook Ad Experimentation

Now it's time to take what you've learned and put it into practice. If you already have a product or brand, that's great. But I'm still going to suggest something a little unconventional. 

A surgery student wouldn't do his first open heart procedure on a live person, much less his own baby, so why would you practice your first ads using your brand? 

You can if you want, but it would be a better idea to experiment with something with lower stakes. That way you can iron out the kinks before you start experimenting with your own business.

1. Choose a Market

You might choose to advertise to your existing market, but with a different product, and that would be ok. That way some of your research is still useful to your brand later on.

How to choose your market, if you don't already have one?

For this purpose, you don't need to overcomplicate it. You just need a market with:

  • Plenty of people in it
  • Plenty of money to buy products
  • A need you can solve with an existing product (someone else's)

2. Decide What You Want to Offer

If you want sales, you must offer something specific that people actually want.

Some people promote Facebook ads as a way to sell literally anything, but it's not like magical fairy dust. It doesn't make hippies want to buy business suits.

Good advertising makes people aware of a product made for them, gets them interested in it, and walks them down the path of buying it. So, everything starts with the product, also called an offer.

Now, you just need to find a product your market is already buying. Why? If you offer something they already buy, you have more information. You know if you can't sell it, it's not the product, it's you - And you can take steps to get better.

With the internet, this is so much easier than it used to be. 

You can do all of it using Facebook groups, Reddit, and Amazon. Use groups and subthreads to find what products people are talking about. Use Amazon rankings and reviews to see what people are actively buying.

You can also look through affiliate sites like ShareASale or Clickbank to see if there's something in your market you could advertise from there.

3. Sell Your Wares

There are two ways to do this. One is to use a product that has an affiliate program. The other is to resell a product you can buy on Amazon.

Affiliate Products: This is the lowest barrier to entry, but it's also the most difficult and gives you the least amount of feedback. You'll be able to track clicks to the offer and sales, but that's about it. It can still be a good way to experiment with ads, just be prepared for that minimal feedback. Here's how you'd do it:

1. Find a product that is already converting well (clickbank, shareasale, etc.) and fits your market. Sign up as an affiliate, get your referral link.

2. Study their landing page and take note of what result they're selling to the customer.

3. Write your ad and choose an image that is completely consistent with the landing page and gets them warmed up to read it and buy the product.

4. Use your affiliate link when running the ad.

Note: If you were to go into affiliate marketing, this would be a very short-sighted way of doing things, but that's not our purpose here. You're just testing your ability to convert scrollers to buyers.

Resell Products: Anytime I've learned a new platform, I've always started by reselling. It's not a way to make great money, but it's a great way to learn and grow.

1. Take that product you found on Amazon, and order one sent to you.

2. Use it, get to know it well. Take some pictures and videos of it while you're using it.

3. Make notes of all the benefits it gives you (and might give others). Go through the reviews on the listing and make notes of the most frequent benefits touted there.

4. Write your sales copy for a sales page.

5. Build your salespage on Shopify, WooCommerce, Clickfunnels, or your chosen site. See how to get Shopify for free

6. Crop and edit your photos and videos so they look good and feature the product well, and add them all to the page along with your sales copy.

7. Create an ad with copy and short-form video designed to warm them up to buy, and run it to your sales page.

8. With any sales, you can either have extra units on hand from Amazon (or alibaba usually if it's on Amazon), or in a pinch you can just dropship it from Amazon using the customer's address.

4. Evaluate your results

Every experiment teaches us something. 

Every ad is an experiment. You have your hypothesis - "This headline will improve click-through" or "this copy will increase conversions after click-through".

You run your experiment - the ad. 

You check your results. Did the ad confirm or smack down your hypothesis?

Rinse. Repeat.

You can read more about all of this in the Facebook ads Q&A

3. Your Facebook Ads Edge (How to Really Crush It)

Facebook ads have become very competitive. Even some people who once succeeded are now struggling to get a profitable return on ad spend.

Facebook advertising is accessible to anyone with a credit card, so thousands of new advertisers enter the feed each week. Everyone is competing for the same feed space, and the same attention span of the people they're interrupting with ads.

And many of them are losing money, because they haven't applied the concepts here. Some of them, wondering how to learn Facebook ads, even paid good money for a course that taught them how to lose money.

Meanwhile, others are still profiting well and scaling up their businesses. What's the difference?

As you've learned, the first part is fundamentals. The second part, is figuring out your edge, your unique approach.

To be truly successful with ads, find that edge. What will be yours?

It could come from a skill you already possess. Maybe you're an enthralling storyteller, or a master of verbal selling. Maybe you just have a knack for writing piss-your-pants-funny jokes or one liners.

Maybe you can create catchy animations, or mind-blowing graphic effects. Maybe you're a skilled visual story teller.

Or, maybe you just decide to work with someone who can give you an edge, and help you skip ahead. 

But, Who to Follow?

My suggestion would be to choose one person who knows their stuff, and follow them. Preferably, follow someone who is selling something to your market and killing it.

Apply their strategies, test, and learn. Take notes on everything you do, and note how your results change in response to your own changes.

Keep working at it, with whatever you’re offering, until you get results. Then work on the next offering. Make sure first, that it’s something people will actually buy, of course.

And in case you hadn't guessed it by now...

4. Pay Your Tuition.

Whether you go it alone or study under someone else, you'll have to spend some money to learn.

By this method, you're going to pay some tuition to Facebook in the form of ad dollars.

When I started, I let ad agencies spend tens of thousands of dollars, and they couldn't cut it.

I then spent a couple thousand more, figuring things out, before I had one truly profitable ad. But at that time, I didn't know much of what I just taught you. 

I learned by doing, and now you can benefit from that experience.  So while you will have to have some skin in the game in order to learn, you should be able to keep a lot more of it.

Conclusion

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to learn Facebook ads. You don't even need a college degree.

But you absolutely need a hunger for knowledge, a budget for learning, and some thick skin. It's not easy losing money and keeping your cool, sticking to the plan. 

And you do need a plan. On the contrary, if you figure out the way to just boost a few posts and rake in the millions, you let me know.


Daniel Larsen


Since Daniel started his first business at age 11, making up to $500 each school day, he's owned, operated, and sold businesses in niche products and services. He now focuses on marketing & advertising physical products, apps, and other innovative B2C solutions online, which is ironic since all his hobbies involve getting far away from all data connections.

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