How To Set Up Facebook and Instagram Ads

The title is a little misleading, because it actually is pretty much one in the same since Facebook now owns Instagram. The reason we have a special page dedicated to this is because I was notified by an organization that is very data driven in the United Kingdom that started running Facebook Ads for their member dojos, and they had remarkable success with it. Since the beginning of the year to June, organization-wide (they are a smaller organization), they attracted 50+ people through the door, and converted 25+ of them to full time members. So when I shared their findings with our collaborators, many of us began running our own experiments. A dojo in Sweden for their Try Out night attracted 24 people through the door, and 12 of them stayed for class.

For myself, I ran two campaigns so far, one month each. The first was a bokken video, which translated to 10 visitors and a call every day expressing interest (and a surprisingly large number of women looking to get their significant others gift certificates) but no conversions. Also a single person who signed our online waiver but never showed up. This was with just 13 click throughs. The second, an open hand video of a woman throwing got 300+ views on the landing page (which you can see here: but not many calls and only a family of try outs who may possibly convert in the next few weeks (it is currently mid September.)

I will be running more AB testing in the next few months to see what has the highest walk in and visitor rate. You can see the overview below:

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. If you haven’t already, take a look at the social media marketing guide.
  2. Only use videos, don’t bother with text style ads because they don’t work.
  3. Stay away from “self defense” since apparently there is a preconceived notion of what that means to people who see it. Some of my friends who teach BJJ note that they don’t advertise self defense at all because people either think they’re going to get beat up or beat people up, and that’s not why they want to do it. Or they end up attracting people who just want to beat people up. Likewise, those people don’t tend to stay. Talk about having fun, social benefits, mental benefits, health benefits, and learning new things. Also, if you’ve been following the preliminary research by Ko et al, you’ll know that Self Defense ranks low as motivators for martial arts practitioners.
  4. From my ad writing for copy clients, the caption for the ad should be about 90 characters. It is also near Facebook’s character limits for regular ads. That’s the sweet spot. It’s enough for a sentence and a half. However, if you have very compelling copy, you can use more. However, since FB limits the number of characters, you can work around it by captioning a post first and instead of using the “create ad” function, use the “boost post” function which will use your post’s caption as the copy.
  5. While the click through exceeded expectations for the empty handed one (10%), the visitor rate was very low. The bokken one had an abysmal click through rate but a many actual try outs. However, I wonder if that might be because one of “have more people visit your website” and the other is “promote local business”–both of which I set the same radius, but perhaps FB’s algorithms hit different demographics from those choices. I will be testing it more in the future, or if anyone has already done so, please let us know! Please check the Marketing Your Funnel Course page for even more data on specific ads. *Facebook begins restricting the demographics hit by your ad once it gets a feel on the kind of people most likely to convert. More on this later.
  6. Any videos you upload to IG and share to FB can be used as the ad video, making it super easy and intuitive to use.
  7. There are more in depth insights you can get in csv files from Facebook’s Ad center. It has to be on desktop though, so you can’t view it through mobile. It provides pretty cool things like what the percentage of people watching through the whole video is–for us, about 10%. Feel free to look at our csv file here:
  8. It’s so low cost compared to everything else–only $1 a day at the lowest setting. Imagine what we could do with more?
  9. Given the responses for the swordwork video by people who wish to give their other halves a present, a great one to run (which I plan to do this year), will be a gift ad option. Will let everyone know the results after.

Steps to Setting up Facebook Ads


If you need help or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!