Understanding Online Ad Structure

  • 19 September 2017
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Understanding the Online Advertising structure can be confusing for most people. This is largely because people go about it from the wrong direction. I frequently see people start with an ad in mind, and work backwards from there.

Ad structures are set up the way they are for a reason. In most cases, the set up is Campaign –> Ad Set –> Ad. In this article we will focus on Facebook, and how theirs is set up, and then once you understand this, the others will be easier to understand.


The Campaign is the first thing that you need to understand. This is what you want your ad to do, what is your objective? Are you looking to drive traffic, generate leads, encourage engagement such as video views? This is going to be the first thing we want to look at. We have decide what we want to get people to do before we figure out how we are going to go about doing that. If you want people to do multiple things, you will need to run multiple campaigns. This is great! The more targeted you can get, then the better your advertisements are going to be.

Ad Set:

Organize your Ad Sets by audience. Setting up Ad Sets this way will help you to keep each unique audience in mind when you are creating the ads. We want all of the audiences to do the same thing, that is why they are in one campaign, but they are going to be different people so we are going to treat them as such. This can be different geographic locations for unique stores, male or female audience, different ages, etc. You can set different budgets for different Ad Sets, and have the placement, scheduling and bidding vary as well. Ad Sets allow you to do a lot of different testing and variation to figure out what the best way to get in front of your ideal person is. They can also help you to figure out who your ideal client is, by showing you who the easiest to convert might be.


The ad is merely the creative. This is simple and straight forward. The creative consists of the copy and the images or videos. You can play around with a lot of different Ads. No, let me re-phrase that. You SHOULD play around with a lot of different ads. I always see drastically different results with different ads that I run. It only takes a day or two to see which ones are working the best, and then I turn off the lower performing or more expensive ads.

In the end, you should be running a large number of advertisements for your business. Marketing is constantly changing your campaign, ad set, and ads, and running a large number of variations of all of them to see what works the best. After you have built up a good audience, don’t forget to do re-targeting marketing for people who have engaged, but have not yet converted.

Small Businesses can be just as effective with their marketing as large businesses, they have the same resources and options available. Keep testing and re-testing and look for patterns and trends. Don’t be afraid to have your original assumptions be wrong. Maybe your target audience isn’t who you thought that it was. Perhaps the best call to action is something surpising.