Facebook is huge. With 1.49 billion monthly active users according to Statista, it’s a marketing channel that you can’t ignore.
But running a Facebook marketing campaign can be quite frustrating. There’s not only a lot of options to pick from, but you need to get many things right if you want to see the results.
So how can you do it? We wrote a step by step guide that’s built on best practices of marketing experts who stand out with their results as well as years of our own experience running high-converting ad campaigns on Facebook.
Here are my 8 golden rules for creating best performing Facebook ads ever!
#1. Start With Your Objectives
Before you spend your first dollars, think about what you want to achieve. Knowing your goals is paramount to creating a perfect plan.
And having a plan is critical – as General Patton pointed out, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” So pick your goal and make sure it’s aligned with your strategy.
What do you want to achieve? Get paying customer? Send traffic to your website? Re-engage lapsed users? Retarget some of your hot leads?
So when you create a Facebook ad campaign, start by selecting an objective. Once you’ve set your objective, you can better determine your budget too.
#2. Know Your Audience
Facebook’s targeting features are unrivalled in their versatility. You can target your ads based on audience age, gender, interest, location, relationship status, education, etc. So it makes sense to know your audience well.
But not only that. Knowing who to target is absolutely critical. Failing to understand this can lead to low conversions and high customer acquisition costs.
To start with, create a customer persona, a fictional character that best describes the kind of person buys your products or services. Go into details, what are their demographics, age, location, gender, device, OS they’re using, what media do they like, etc.
If you’re an existing business, this exercise is going to be easy for you. However, if you’re a startup, you want to spend some time on it and talk to people who have purchased your product to date. Most importantly, avoid guessing. Validate your assumptions.
#3. Select the Right Type of the Ad
Now that you know your objectives and your audience, you want to better the different Facebook ad types. Over the years, Facebook has developed different types of ads to better meet the needs of its users. Here’s some of what’s available today.
Domain Ads: This is the most simple of all ads. You can have it displayed in the right column, but there’s no mobile support. It usually under performs, but the cost isn’t high, so it’s good for cheap traffic.
Page Post Link Ads: feature a big image in a feed and that’s great to catch user attention. They perform well and have the side benefit of generating Likes for your page. Just don’t forget to reply to comments for better engagement.
Multi-Product Ads: This ad can be extremely useful for all e-Commerce advertisers, looking to promote multiple products from their store. It allows you promote three different products with a single ad.
Page Likes and Engagement Ads: This is the go-to ad for increasing your page following. You can also promote video post, photo post and text post. It turns out video posts are the best performing in terms of reach.
App Install Ad: Facebook has become one of the biggest players in the mobile advertising space. If you’re a mobile entrepreneur, this is unique opportunity to bring more users to your app.
But not only that. You can also target existing users and bring them back to your app. This is huge as retention is a major problem in the mobile business.
Offers: This type of ad is great for brick and mortar stores. It’s available as soon as you get 50 likes on your page. Once you get it live, every user who clicks on it receives an email with the details and the terms of the offer.
Event Ads: Events can be a great community building and marketing strategy. This ad is designed to attract more visitors, whether it’s conference, meetup or an event at your shop.
Premium Video Ads: This marketing tool delivers the video right into user’s feeds and starts playing 15-second clips automatically. It’s great for building brand awareness.
There’s lot’s of stuff you can do with Facebook ads; such generate leads or re-engage lost customers but again it depends on your objective. Now, let’s move onto what’s needed to design a great ad.
#4. The Fundamentals of a Great Facebook Ad
Some ads deliver excellent ROI, others are a waste of money. How you design your ads will affect your conversion rates and engagement you get. It all depends on many factors.
Firstly, there’s not that much you can put into your ad copy. It’s like poetry, you have to deliver a lot using as few words as possible. Unlike art, there a few rules to follow, if you want to design a great ad.
Clarity: Be as clear as you can about the value proposition. Don’t let your audience double-guess. And when you communicate your UVP, you want to do so in an authoritative tone.
For example, compare the following two sentences: “learn how you can become a better entrepreneur” vs. “become a better entrepreneur.” Which of the two is more powerful?
Be concise: People have short attention spans, and hey know when they’re being sold to. So don’t hide it, get to the point and don’t waste their time. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Example: Great use of social proof (trusted by over 12,000 brands), clear and concise UVP (Free 30 day trial), smartly takes away the risk (No credit card required)
Use numbers: If you can quantify the value of your product or a service, do it. It’s powerful. It builds trust too. E.g. Join 5000 customers who are happy with our service.
Inspire action: The ad is just the beginning of the customer journey. It should motivate your audience to take action.
A great example of an ad showing all the above fundamentals is one of the older Appsumo ads. It is simple, clear about the UVP, it builds trust and inspires action.
#5. Putting Theory Into Practice
So how do you actually make a great ad? How do you turn that theory into practice? Let’s start with all the elements of an ad.
Headline: Most people read the headline only. It’s the most important part of your copy. To write a great headline, start with thinking about the customer’s goal.
Example: specific, visible and straightforward headline.
A great headline can’t be vague, it must be specific, and it has to mirror what people ultimately want to accomplish with the use of your product or service. For example, compare the two: “Struggle to become an entrepreneur?” vs. “Make a $1000 business.”
Featured Picture: Low-quality pictures don’t convert. So avoid using cheap pics. Likewise, stock-photo pics are cheesy. You know the overly retouched ones that show happy workers laughing.
The more personal and real, the more you’re likely to see good results. People like to buy from other people. In the case of Appsumo, it’s the founder smiling and a bunch of real customers.
In general, show a picture that’s relevant and to the point. If you do payments, show payments. If you sell shoes, show shoes. If you can communicate your UVP with it – perfect.
If you don’t have your pics, you can find images in the Shutterstock database when creating a campaign. Facebook and Shutterstock made a partnership give access to millions of stock pictures for free.
Make it Eye-Catching: Obviously, there are many ads you compete against. People are distracted, so you want to stand out. Here are few things that can make your ad eye-catching.
- Happy People: the image proved to convert best is a happy woman, looking directly at the camera.
- Eyes and Faces: in general, converting well.
- Color: if you employ the same color as Facebook, it will blend into it; use a color that stands out.
- Children and Pets: are most shared images on social media and, as such, they are a safe bet for an ad.
- Odd or Funny: can seriously increase your conversion rates.
Copy: Get super specific with your copy. Again, using numbers can help. The point of the body is to build trust. The psychology here is as follows: people who read the body of the ad are interested but need to get assured before clicking on an ad.
Example: Eye-catching colours, relevant deliciously looking picture, strong value proposition, to-the point copy and powerful call to action.
You also want to expand on the promise. As you could see in the Appsumo ad, there’s some strong display of the social proof. You can find some great tips on writing a perfect copy in this post by Kissmetrics.
Show off Your Social Proof: To reiterate the point, social proof is a powerful trust builder. Were you featured in popular media? Mention it. Is your product highly rated? Show off your rating.
#6. Don’t Forget the Landing Page
To create a perfect a perfect ad and have it go to your homepage is a huge fail. Just like having a great ad is important, you want to nail the following steps.
A great landing page has same fundamentals as your ad. It needs a powerful call to action, a clear headline that matches the one on your ad (otherwise people get confused), social proof, copy, etc. Here’s the one that Appsumo used for their campaign.
Showing urgency a great way to convert your customers while they’re interested. Basically, you get one opportunity to make them sign up, so make sure it’s clear they have to do it now.
Countdown timers, a limited number of products or expiration date on the offer are a great way to achieve that.
Here’s a great post on building a high converting landing page and one more example of a landing page. Note how the headlines and the message are aligned. Even the colour of the page resembles Facebook so the user feels safe about it.
#7. Use Custom and Lookalike Audiences
Custom audiences is probably the best ad targeting feature out there. It’s extremely powerful. First, take a list of the emails, Facebook user IDs or phone numbers of your hottest leads, or generally people you know are interested in your product.
Upload that list to Facebook and can create a Custom Audience containing all of those people.
You can then re-target people who are your hot leads, that means they visited your landing page, your website or expressed interest in some other way.
You can target them based on parameters such as specific job title, annual salary, etc.
Once you created your custom audience, the next best step it to create lookalike audiences. That means you can find people outside your customer base that exactly match your ideal customer profile or the profile of your hottest leads.
#8. Test and Optimize
You won’t get it right the first time. What you want to do it to test and improve your ads for better conversions. do the same with your landing page.
Consider A/B testing – testing two versions of an ad at a time to see which performs the best. Some of the things to A/B test are call to action, copy, colors, creative, headline, etc.
So that’s why you need to start with Facebook ads. Obviously, it’s a discipline that requires constant learning, so it’s not that easy. However, once you start, most of the work is in the optimization
Here’s the summary of what we learned:
Have a clear objective
Create your customer persona
Pick the right type of Facebook ad to match your objectives
Design ads that are clear, concise, with a strong call to action
Focus on the headline – it’s the most important part of your copy
Use relevant pictures that inspire trust
Show off your social proof
Lead your traffic to a well designed landing page
Use custom and lookalike audiences
Is there anything we missed or you’d like to learn more about? Let us know!