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Advertising on Facebook: Five Tips to Create a Successful Campaign

Written by Hayden Wilson  September 5, 2018

With more than 2 billion daily active users, Facebook is a great place (perhaps, the place) for advertising your business. In fact, 93% of marketers claim to use Facebook advertising regularly.

Various mock-ups of digital advertising placements

But not all ads are created equal. Crafting a successful Facebook ad is much more than throwing your offer on a post and raking in the engagements. The internet is a busy place, and you’ve got to be smart about what you say and how you say it if you want to make the biggest impact.

The good news? Building ads on Facebook doesn’t require any digital voodoo. Crafting a Facebook ad is actually a lot closer to science than magic — you just need to experiment.

So what’s the secret formula? Here are 5 elements of successful Facebook ads that you should incorporate into your next big campaign.

Advertising Tip #1: Go Beyond the Billboard

Over the years, Facebook has expanded the ad format options available to advertisers. What essentially started as static digital billboards has now exploded into ads that you can tilt, tap, pinch, and swipe.

Ad formats are currently divided into 3 categories: video, interactive (carousel, canvas, and collection), and image ads. Each format requires a different level of production ability, with video and interactive obviously requiring more from your creative capabilities.

So what do you choose for your campaign? There are safe choices (like link preview ads), but no go-to first choice. Consumers expect more from us as advertisers and the brands we market. Drawing consumers into your brand and selling your story has never been more important.

Mobile device with Facebook Collection Advertising Example

As seen on Facebook’s inspiration page, Dollar Shave Club designed a collection ad to show off the many powerfully angled images of their product.

Here’s a quick exercise: take a deep look at your brand to determine the best way to tell your brand’s story. Are you a clothing retailer? Try a collection ad to display your product. Want to grow your photography business? Present your images in carousel ads and showcase your photos and their finer details.

Your primary goal should be to get whatever most effectively drives your objectives, be it clicks, comments, shares, purchases, or other engagements. Your creativity is the limit – just make sure it makes sense for your brand!

Advertising Tip #2: Make it Bite-Sized

We’ve become hardwired to think in short bursts (thanks, Twitter). As a result, advertisers need to craft their ad content in short, digestible bites.

So how short exactly? According to Sprout Social’s data marketing research, the “most effective length of an ad headline on Facebook is 4 words.” Yup, just 4. If your creative puts a roadblock anywhere on your consumer’s journey to converting, remove it.

Facebook also encourages advertisers to not muddy up their visual as well, implementing a “20% rule.” That means the creative for your ad can’t have more than 20% of the image covered by copy — which forces you to really nail down your asset’s visual strategy.

Results from Facebook's Text Overlay Tool

You can upload an image to Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool and check to see if your ad falls within the guidelines.

The overall goal is to make your copy and images efficient together. The path to engaging with your brand should be painless, easy, and enticing. If you can get the essence of your brand into those bite-sized pieces, it won’t be hard to swallow for anyone.

Advertising Tip #3: Make a Murderous Headline

“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.”

It’s a bludgeoning truth by the famous “Socrates of San Francisco” Howard Gossage. Call it ego or narcissism, the fact is deep down we all like what will benefit us most.

So how does this play into successful Facebook ads? Enter: the headline.

Your headline is the most important thing next to your ad’s visual. As a copywriter, this means the pressure is on to perform. The idea is to make the headline enticing, and that means putting the consumer’s interests and desires first.

Don’t use your headline to sell someone on your product; make it about his or her needs.

If thinking about writing your headline gives you nervous sweats, keep this in mind: Facebook’s intuitive ad manager lets you test everything. From link descriptions to images to — you guessed it — headlines, you have the power to see what works before you go all in.

When crafting your ad, consider running an A/B/C test for your headlines. Set up the different ads, leave them running for a few days, weeks, or months (depending on your budget and campaign timeline), and then switch off the ones that don’t covert as well. With this strategy, you’ll have definitive proof that what you’re writing is the most impactful.

Some of Vert’s favorite things to test in headlines are:

  • Emojis in headlines 👇 

  • Numbers in headlines (96% Success Rate)
  • [Brackets] in headlines

  • Just Adding “You” 
to Headlines

Test your heart out and make your headline slay.

Advertising Tip #4: Poke Me

Often neglected is the call-to-action. Advertisers get so focused on the nitty-gritty details of the offer that they forget to tell people reading their ad what to do next.

Luckily, Facebook gets that, and for most ad formats you can include a call-to-action (CTA) button. These range from things like “Shop Now” to “See Menu” to “Get Showtimes,” and they can make a big difference for conversion rates. CTAs make it clear about what comes after someone clicks on the ad, and what to expect on the landing page.

It’s important to note, however, that you don’t always have to include a CTA button. Your CTA can also exist in the headline instead. It’s a subtle strategy if your ad feels too cluttered or if bits of your copy get truncated in mobile.  

While you’re out testing headlines, try adding CTA-focused headlines or link descriptions (e.g. “Get 50% Off Bike Accessories,” “Refresh Your Winter Wardrobe,” or “Explore India’s Velvet Countryside).

You might be surprised at how well they perform.

Advertising Tip #5: Retarget Like It’s Hot

To track those coveted conversions, drop-offs, and determine the general effectiveness of your ad, you’ll need to set up a Facebook Pixel. Facebook Pixels give you a clear idea of where consumers are on the path to conversion. It lets you track users moving from ad to page, ad to ad, or page to page.  You can learn how to set up a Pixel here.

With your Pixel in place, you’ll be armed and ready for whatever happens in the ad journey. Plus you’ll be given the ability to send new ads to users who have already interacted with your ad. This means — ta-da! — you’re building a full campaign. You’ll have the ammo and data to send new messages and convert consumers farther down the pipeline. Or, if you’re like Svedka Vodka, use it to creep people out on Halloween.

It was creepy, but it worked. Svedka made a seemingly annoying digital advertising feature fun and engaging.

Svedka's Retargeting Facebook Ad Campaign

Retargeting is a crucial part of any successful ad or ad campaign, and it’s highly recommended to incorporate it into your strategy.

You’ve Got the Power

Now you’re armed with 5 new tips for creating your next Facebook advertising campaign! Just remember that there’s no magic to writing Facebook ads; bad targeting or hokey deals never perform well. Your ability to write copy and design ads that convert correlate to how well you know your audience. Be sure to always test copy, creative, and ad formats until you find the chemistry that works.

Want some help crafting some killer Facebook ads? Talk to us!

Hayden Wilson