How to run Facebook ads for clients and earn money on the side

How to run Facebook ads for clients and earn money on the side

One of my first serious freelance projects was to run Facebook ads for a client. It turned out to be a great client and a nice little project earning me about $1,200.

how to run facebook ads for clients - case study example
case study example

They wanted more customers and had tried running ads but they were too expensive.

Before we dive into how to run Facebook ads for clients, I’d like to point out that one of the most important aspects is the product. 

Facebook ads cannot make a shitty product or brand great. They, like many other platforms, can only amplify what is already existing. 

The reason I bring this up is that I’ve noticed many businesses thinking Facebook ads are like a magic pill that can turn water into wine. Be aware of their expectations so you don’t get into a sticky situation.

The way I like to approach that is to categorize it as a test. Unless you are Mark Zuckerberg (hey Mark!), you don’t own Facebook and thus can’t guarantee any results since it is a platform out of our control.

Just like when we buy a bicycle, the store doesn’t guarantee that we can ride it just by buying it (we have to learn how first).

Instead, we can test if Facebook ads are a meaningful platform for the client’s business. For non-desperate clients that is great value because they have many different channels that they could use. 

Understanding if this one is the right fit for them helps them know if they should double down on it or move on to something that performs better for their business.

Facebook ads work well for many businesses but it depends on factors such as if the client is OK promoting their brand in a fairly aggressive manner, if their products or services cost enough to make it a profitable channel for them along with many other factors.

How do I run a Facebook ad for a client? And other frequently asked questions

How do I manage Facebook ads for multiple clients?

The best approach is to use a Facebook Business Manager account for each client since you’ll easily be able to manage them all in your own control dashboard even though they can only see their own business. 

Learn how to set it up by following the steps in the next section.

How do Facebook ads charge clients?

Facebook ads charge clients by credit card most of the time. Charging for your own services to run the ads depends on what you prefer. There are a few common ways to do it:

  • By a percentage of the ad spend
  • Fixed fee
  • Hourly rate

If you are just starting out running Facebook ads for clients I recommend using an hourly rate, so you don’t undercharge yourself until you know how long it takes for you. 

Facebook ads freelancers charge many different rates, often anywhere from $10/h to $100/h. Don’t worry about picking the perfect rate at first but rather pick something you are comfortable with since you can adjust it with time. I started out with $50/h and that was fine. You can also start out with less if you feel uncomfortable charging that.

Can you run a Facebook ad from a personal page?

Yes, you can run a Facebook ad from a personal page or account but I recommend against it because you might be sharing your password and that can make it unsafe. 

Instead, use Facebook’s Business Manager that is designed to cater to businesses with different tools to make things easier. That includes the option to add multiple employees to the account without sharing your password. Find the step-by-step guide below.

The biggest advance of Facebook ads at the moment is its comprehensive set of targeting options. 

Your client will likely have a different experience depending on if they are an offline store focusing on people in the neighborhood compared to an online business that can target people all over the world. By using the business dashboard, you’ll have access to more features to help your client reach their goals.

How to run Facebook ads for clients without feeling overwhelmed

Use Business Manager and Ads Manager to run ads instead of running “boosted posts” from the page to get more options.

The irony is that many people find it more challenging to set up Facebook’s Business Manager dashboard than to run the Facebook ads themselves. Let’s set up the dashboard for you right away:

Get your Business Manager account set up: step-by-step

Create a Facebook Business Manager account

  1. Go to (you need to be logged in to FB with your personal account) 
  2. Click the big blue button that says “Create Account”
  3. Add your business name (it’s for internal use with your and your client, so you can call it whatever you want)
  4. Add the details on the signup page
  5. Click “Finish”

Add your client or employees to Business Manager

  1. You should now be logged in and enter the main screen when you open In the menu bar in the left side, click on “settings” at the bottom
  2. Choose “Business Manager Settings”
  3. On the right hand side, you’ll find a blue button that says “Add people”
  4. Enter their email address, select the right type of access (admin, editor, etc.) and click “Add”

Add your Facebook fan page to Business Manager (you need one to run ads)

  1. To add a Facebook page, stay within the same screen, click “Business settings” and “Pages” in the menu bar on the left
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen

Creating a new ad account is done in the same way but instead of clicking “Pages” you now click “Ad accounts” in the menu bar on the left and follow the instructions.

Keep in mind that if you are requesting access to your client’s already existing ad account, you need the account ID to find it. You (or they) will be able to find it under Ads Manager ( next to your name.

How to run your first ad

  1. Open Ads Manager ( and click the green “Create” button
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen (for most clients running first campaign the traffic objective is a good choice)
  3. In the next section, we’ll dive into some of the different types of Facebook advertising campaigns you can run depending on which goals your clients have

Pro tip: Often we won’t know what works before we get the data, so it’s a good idea to test different ideas like ad copy, targeting and even products. This is an advanced step for a future article but the point here is that a different ad might perform differently, so advertisers often create lots of ads to see what works best for them.

You might have heard about something called the Facebook pixel. It allows us to track the performance of a campaign after someone leaves Facebook onto your client’s website. 

It needs to be installed on the website in order to work but it isn’t necessary to run your first ad unless you want to track sales or other types of actions off of Facebook. We’ll discuss more below.

Advanced: client recommendations you can steal

how to run facebook ads for clients

Later we’ll talk about all the details but for now, it’s a matter of picking the right type of campaign to get started. Read on to see which of your client’s business goals are listed and which campaign you might want to run with Facebook ads.

The most common business goals to achieve with Facebook advertising are:

  1. Get more sales from your client’s existing audience
  2. Get more (of the right) people to your client’s website or email newsletter
  3. Get your client’s first website visitors or email subscribers

Are you considering at least one of these goals? Here are a few ideas to get you started followed by a detailed explanation.

Retargeting campaign

  1. Get more sales from your client’s existing audience

Look-a-like audience campaign (or “manual” campaign)

  1. Get more (of the right) people to your client’s website or email newsletter

“Manual” campaign

  1. Get your client’s first website visitors or email subscribers

Don’t worry if you are not sure what a retargeting, manual or look-alike audience campaign is yet, I’ll explain it all below.

If your client is new to Facebook advertising and just wants to try it out, you will probably get the best results with a retargeting campaign plus it’s the least work required to set up compared to the results you’ll get since it is based on your client’s existing audience of people that already know them.

Get more sales with an existing audience: retargeting campaign

Selling more of a product to your client’s audience or upselling other services are great examples of ways to retarget current customers. 

The idea is that you can reach the audience on other websites than your own. They will probably be in a different state of mind when browsing Facebook – for better or worse. Allow me to explain.

Most people are browsing Facebook because they are bored. That makes them receptive if we are able to catch their attention but we have to compete with their friends, family and other companies. 

Thinking about how we can tailor our ad copy and image to them can give us a huge advantage over competitors as they are already familiar or even interested in your client’s brand.

When running Facebook retargeting campaigns I expect them to perform better than other campaign types as people have a prequalified interest.

If you want to get retargeting campaigns running on Facebook, you will need the following:

  1. An audience; from your website, Facebook fan-page, email list or something else
  2. The Facebook pixel installed
  3. Image + ad copy for your ad

It’s fairly simple to set up but if you are interested in a guide to retargeting, please comment below.

Get more (of the right) people to your client’s website or to subscribe to your client’s email newsletter: look-a-like audiences (or “manual” campaign)

Having already built their audience gives your client the great advantage of knowing them well, which makes it easier for you to find similar people around the web.

Facebook has a tool called look-a-like audiences (referred to as LAL) that makes it possible to programmatically find people similar to your client’s audience. 

For Facebook to understand who they are looking for you’ll need a “seed” audience. That’s a minimum of a thousand people.

Imagine a Facebook-computer, that when you feed it your client’s email list, finds the person on Facebook connected to each address and at the same time looks for similarities between the people on the list. It will then search for other people who appear to be similar based on their behavior.

Look-a-like audiences are definitely less time consuming and easier than setting campaigns up the “manual” way (I’ll explain those in the next section). 

But manually researching the audience may give your client better performing ads as you can tailor your ad to what you know about the audience. 

For example, if you are targeting a specific football team’s fan-page, you can tie an inside joke that you know the fans will relate to, into your message.

If you want to set up look-a-like audience campaigns up, you will need the following:

  1. A seed audience (e.g. an email list)
  2. The Facebook pixel installed
  3. Image + ad copy for the ad

Get your client’s first website visitors or email subscribers: “manual” campaign

If your client doesn’t have an audience or traffic, Facebook is a great place to start finding one as with their almost three billion people, any audience must be available there. 

It is important to know that they will probably be in a different state of mind compared to if we find them through, say, a blog post as they will have read the whole article and formed an impression of the brand. 

This type of campaign can be used for the other types of goals as well but to not get overwhelmed, I suggest trying out the other campaigns first if your client has an audience already. 

The difference with this type of campaign is that you manually have to do research and creatively figure out how you can target your client’s audience. 

It offers you access to crazy combos of behavior, interests, demographics and a lot of other ways to describe your client’s audience and with the right combo you can get good performance and lots of sales.

There are some pitfalls that you need to avoid to master this type of campaign and the more time and budget your client can set aside for this, the better results you are likely to get.

If you want to manually find the audience on Facebook, you will need the following:

  1. Audience research (figure out how to find your audience on Facebook e.g. which fan-pages do they like?)
  2. The Facebook pixel installed
  3. Image + ad copy for the ad

One of the things I like about Facebook is that you can basically get started on as little as $5/day. I recommend setting aside at least a couple of thousand dollars if your client is serious about testing out the platform – it will usually take a bit of time to make things work.

If you are interested in learning how to set up your Facebook pixel, take a look here and go here if you are interested in reading more about landing freelance digital marketing clients.


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