New Facebook Advertising Campaign Structure: The Addition of Ad Sets

Facebook Campaign Structure Ad Sets

[AUDIO VERSION: As an experiment, I also recorded an audio version of this blog post. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]

Facebook is rolling out a major change to the structure of advertising campaigns that will significantly improve control for advertisers. This change impacts the self-serve ad tool, Ads Manager, Power Editor and third party interfaces.

This roll-out begins March 4 and will continue through the month of March. If you don’t have it yet, get in line!

Today I am going to focus on the following:

  • The New Structure
  • A Definition of Each Level
  • How This Impacts Current Advertising
  • How to Use This Structure Going Forward

The New Structure

Facebook Campaign Structure

Before this change, Facebook advertising had a simple two-level structure:

  1. Campaign
  2. Ads

The campaign was used to set the start/end dates and daily or lifetime budget. The ads were for picking creative, placement, targeting and bidding.

After the change, the new Facebook advertising campaign structure looks like this:

  1. Campaign
  2. Ad Sets
  3. Ads


Here is how Facebook defines a campaign:

You’ll choose an advertising objective for each campaign you create and that campaign will consist of one or more ad sets. This will help you optimize and measure your results for each advertising objective.

In other words, you should consider creating any of the following campaigns:

  • Clicks to Website
  • Website Conversions
  • Page Post Engagement
  • Page Likes
  • App Installs
  • App Engagement
  • Offer Claims
  • Event Responses

The goal of all ad sets and ads within the Clicks to Website campaign, for example, will be to drive website traffic.

These are quite broad, but you may also want to create separate campaigns based on a specific type of conversion. I’ll discuss that possibility later.

You’ll be able to break down reports by Campaign and also easily start/stop all ad sets and ads within that campaign.

Ad Sets

Here is how Facebook defines an ad set:

An ad set will have one or more ads and you’ll continue to define the budget and schedule for each ad set. You can create an ad set for each of your audience segments by making the ads within the ad set target the same audience. This will help you control the amount you spend on each audience, decide when each audience will see your ads, and see metrics specific to each audience.

Ad sets now behave in much the same way that campaigns did before. You will control the start/end dates as well as daily or lifetime budget of all ads within each ad set here.

Facebook recommends that your ad sets be broken down by target audience. You’ll recall that your campaign was set up per objective.

So let’s go back to the Clicks to Website campaign. Following may be a few ad sets that you’d create:

  • Fans
  • Email Subscribers
  • Website Custom Audience
  • Lookalike Audience
  • Precise Interests
  • Partner Categories

This is still rather broad as you may create ad sets for different email, website visitor, Lookalike Audience, precise interest or Partner Category segments.

You will be able to break your ad reports down by ad set as well as stop or start individual ad sets within a campaign.


Here is how Facebook defines ads:

Ads will now live within ad sets. You’ll continue to define your creative, target your audience, and select your bidding at the ad level. Multiple ads should be created in each ad set so our system can optimize for variations in images, links, video, text or placements.

Very little, if anything changes here. You’ll continue to control creative, targeting and bidding on the ad level.

As you can see from Facebook’s definition, however, they are pushing advertisers to lump together all ads that have a particular audience within the same ad set. Once again, let’s use the Clicks to Website campaign example.

We’ll say that within that Clicks to Website campaign, we created ad sets for Fans and Website Custom Audience. Within that Website Custom Audience, you may create ads as follows:

  • Link Share (no CTA button) – News Feed
  • Link Share (Learn More CTA button) – News Feed
  • Link Share (Shop Now CTA button) – News Feed
  • Photo Share + Link – News Feed
  • Link Share (no CTA button) – Sidebar
  • Link Share (Learn More CTA button) – Sidebar
  • Link Share (Shop Now CTA button) – Sidebar
  • Photo Share + Link – Sidebar

Reminder: All of these ads are targeted at the same audience.

While the ad reports do a great job of breaking down performance by placement, you may create separate ads for sidebar and News Feed to optimize for different image sizes and copy limitations. Facebook will then optimize your ads, focusing on the ad variations that perform best.

Once again, you’ll be able to turn ads on and off at this level as well as break down performance by ad within the Facebook ad reports.

How This Impacts Current Advertising

Your current campaigns won’t be impacted. They’ll continue to deliver as they are now, and you shouldn’t see any change in performance.

The only change you’ll notice is that a default ad set will be created within your old campaigns that will hold all ads within it.

Here’s is how Facebook describes the impact to campaigns created prior to the change…

Pre-migrated campaign:

Campaign: Spring M18-24
Ad: Car Creative
Ad: Truck Creative
Migrated campaign:

Campaign: Spring M18-24
Ad Set: Ad Set 1
Ad: Car Creative
Ad: Truck Creative

How to Use This Structure Going Forward

This vastly improves organization of your advertising.

Up until now, I’d create separate campaigns for each audience I was targeting. Following is an example of what I’d do when promoting a post:

  • Campaign #1: Targeting Fans
  • Campaign #2: Targeting Email Subscribers
  • Campaign #3: Targeting Website Custom Audiences

I may have one or a handful of ads within each campaign, depending on whether I created variations of those ads.

I did this because I didn’t want Facebook to optimize by audience. I wanted a set budget to run for each audience, and Facebook could then optimize within that campaign.

Well, this process will now be much cleaner. I’ll create one campaign for the specific post to be promoted with ad sets for each audience.

This also improves ad reporting.

If you aren’t using Facebook ad reports, you are missing out on some hidden gold. But creating these reports with the old campaign structure was somewhat complicated since it was important to include key words or phrases in campaign names to filter your results.

But now you can simply filter by campaign name and you’ll get all relevant information by ad set and ads.

Your Turn

Since I don’t yet have this update, I have assumptions about how I’ll use it. How about you? How will you use this new campaign structure?

Let me know in the comments below!

  • Elijah R. Young

    Nice! Power Editor always seemed a bit cluttered, even when using your naming structure it was tough to find the ad I wanted quickly. Good to hear that Facebook is listening.

  • ecosystemm

    hey Loomer, i like the new experiment with the audio file, that gives me the chance to play it and continue with my agenda. Good one!

  • rennick

    I’m disappointed they won’t let budgets be set at the campaign level. Every campaign we run has a budget set by objective, not audience.

    Looks like they won’t optimize among ad sets / audiences, either. Any suggestions on managing large budgets when you don’t know up front which audiences will have the better performance?

    • Jon Loomer

      You can always continue to create campaigns essentially like you were before and have one ad set per campaign.

  • Kenneth

    This will be great when they roll it out – it was one of those “missing links”, so much easier to manage all this now.

  • Jon Bjork

    That’s funny, because I was going to ask you what is the best practices way to do A/B testing of ad variations. Now it looks like we’ll throw all ad variations with the same target group into one Ad Set. But now my question is: Does Facebook show a particular Facebook user only one impression of one of the Ads in an Ad Set, or do they keep showing impressions of all the ads in the Ad Set to all users in that Ad Set’s target? (I suppose this is different than email direct marketing due to the random-like nature of the Facebook feed, whereas you wouldn’t want a user to receive more than one email.)

    • Jon Loomer

      You can expect to continue reaching users in a way that isn’t frequency capped, Jon. Still holding out hope they add that feature.

  • Rob Hagman

    Haven’t seen anything different in my Power Editor or Ads Manager in FB yet. This is going it easier to organize ads and track ROI for specific objectives.

  • Justin Blase

    Great post Jon. I enjoyed the audio version as well as it allowed me to consumer the info while multitasking :)

  • Sarah Pinnix

    Love this. I’ve been wanting the capability to do this for a while.

  • Sheila Hensley

    New experience but I do like the audio as I followed along through the text. Great post – still over my head but I do so enjoy your advice and guidance.

  • Bill

    Which level is bidding type now set at? Currently it’s campaign level, is that part remaining the same?

    • Bill

      Ad level is where bidding is. Nevermind :)

  • Mike Seddon

    Very interesting. I’m all for extra layers as it gives flexibility for managing your spend, targeting etc. I always thought that just having campaign and ads was limiting. I’ll be very interested to see how this works out in practice. If nothing else it brings it “sort of” inline with Adwords and Bing structures.

  • Elizabeth Delderfield

    Love this! I liked listening to the audio too. Helps me process the info easier for sure:)

  • Kirien Sangha

    Ahh – so I have had chance to look over this, however, it was very brief. I can see that this is going to take some looking into it. Any chance you will be doing a video about this when you get the feature on your end? P.S great post as always.

  • Marcus Maclean

    It’s about time they did this. Side note (sorry, this is way off topic), I haven’t found a way to change or edit my images in existing ads, are you aware of any way to do this?

    • Jon Loomer

      No good way to edit images in ads, Marcus.

  • Lanre Sonola

    Hey Jon. The changes just came to my power editor today and I have to say that the changes were a little confusing at first (actually very confusing). But after reading through your post(haven’t listened to your audio yet) I was surprised & pleased at how simple it really is and how I wouldn’t have to create so many multiple campaigns because of targeting. Thanks for this. Keep ‘em coming. *And I will listen to the audio on my second and third reading of this post.

  • Yoshi

    Hey Jon! My ads just got updated to the new structure. The webinar was very helpful, thank you. Let me know if you’d like me to send you a few screenshots.

  • Tom Smith

    Hey Loomer, I think the new updates make Facebook Power Editor a lot more organised however I wish they would allow you to set run dates for Ads within Ad Sets. As an example I might have a budget for an audience, over a certain amount of time, however as the time frame diminishes the ad would change to say ‘so many days left’. At the moment I have to create another ad set for the next set of dates even though it’s the same audience.

  • omarp

    How about organising around events

    Theatre company

    Campaigns: Lil Orphan Annie Campaign, Oedipus Rex Campaign

    Adsets: Clicks to website, Offers, Page or event Likes

    Ads:Self explanitory

    Based on your research do you see this as problem?

  • Luke

    Great post Jon, thanks for sharing! I just ran and ADV but I’m not sure if I’ve selected the right objective. I need to promote an App (Photo Contest Made using ShortStack) that’s installed in a TAB on my fan page. So I’ve published some posts with the link to get the TAB and boosted those posts via Advertising choosing “Page post engagement”.
    What I need in the end is that users go to the TAB and use the App.

    @jonloomer:disqus, do you think I’ve selected the best adv objective? Any advice?

  • Danny Chapman

    Still waiting for the re-structure here in the UK, darn it, it looks really cool.

  • kymtom

    Hey Jon. Have you ever ran a Clicks to Website campaign. I am currently running one and see a huge discrepancy between how many Clicks to Website Facebook reports, and what GA and Mediaplex report. For example, FB reports 1600 Clicks to Website, GA maybe 10, and Mediaplex 24. It’s a huge discrepancy. Do you have any advice or articles you could point me to?

  • Charles Miske

    Perfect timing. I just created my first Ad Set. To me it feels a little clunky trying to find your ads that are awaiting approval, but otherwise pretty straightforward. I’ll have to bookmark this in case I lose anything else :)

  • Anna

    Keep the audio version in every future post! It’s like having a one-to-one with you, but free! :) Also great for users like myself who find it hard to concentrate due to digital noise. No need to mention the relief of having your voice following your writing – for all the non native English speakers. :) Good choice in any way.

  • David Aitch

    Marketers ruined the Internet

    • Revasto India

      :) Many internet users are more profitable than common shoppers. Making a cheese cake is tedious job, having it readily is YUMMY..!!!!

  • Brett Fish

    Overall I like the functionality of Ad Sets with independent budgets, etc., but I do NOT like the fact that I have to set one objective for an entire campaign, and that all the Ad Sets and Ads within it have to have the same objective. What if I have a campaign for “Spring 2014 Contest” and I want to promote a post, drive traffic to a website, and run Page Like ads all under the same banner? Now I have to create 3 separate campaigns with those individual objectives for each. Clunky.

  • Julie Lowe

    I’m still not 100% sure on the campaign level if I should keep it totally broad and just have big campaigns for “website conversions” and “clicks to website” and then bucket everything into there or if I should have multiple “clicks to website” campaigns for different types of content types, for example.

  • Mark H

    Hey Jon,

    In the previous campaign setup, if I created two ads within a campaign and both targeted the same audience – there was a good chance that Facebook wouldn’t give love to one of them. Sure, the creative/copy are different and I want to do an A/B test to see which ad does best… but Facebook didn’t allow me.

    So, I would create another campaign, create the new creative ad and target the same audience from within the confines of a new campaign and that’s when this new ad gets impressions and life goes on well.

    With this new setup though, is it something similar? Or will I just keep making new ad sets?

  • Nelson

    Why isn’t targeting done in the Advert set? this makes it confusing to me. Making ads would be so much quicker if they all took the targeting of an advert set they are associated with. Isn’t this the point of advert sets anyway? or am I missing something?

  • Pam McCall

    This helped me sort out the structure so much easier than any previous training. I was so confused with campaigns, ad sets, and ads. This was simple and straightforward. I always like the option of audio. I have an off topic question-how can you preview your ad to make sure its pointing to the right link, etc.

    First time meeting Jon, I think I will take a look around. :)

  • John Campbell

    Great posts as usual Jon. Only thing that really frustrates me with the new interface is that you can’t add additional ads to an existing ad set. Once you hit the “Place Order” button, say goodbye to adding new variations to copy, etc… Incredibly frustrating.