Ok you’ve done it.
You’ve convinced the owner, or upper management of your company that Facebook ads are going to bring in so much new business that they can buy a company yacht and sail around the world while the team operates its headquarters from the stern of the “Maid O’ Sails”.
Sounds magical, right?
Alright fine. I’m embellishing a bit.
But you gotta do what you gotta do to convince non-marketers of the incredible opportunity that Facebook ads gives businesses in all industries. The opportunity, or advantage, is especially high in medium-sized cities like Syracuse, NY or Cary, NC, due to low competition from local small businesses.
You can really kill it right now if you are smart about targeting with your Facebook ads. But as businesses of all sizes catch on, that advantage is quickly diminishing.
Now is the time to invest in Facebook Advertising if your company has not already.
BUT, you need to make sure one thing is very clear: just buying Facebook ads isn’t the thing that will bring results. The creative–you know, pictures, videos and copy–is what will buy your company a unicorn office-yacht.
Ok, I’m done with the yacht-thing. But you get my point (I hope).
In order for your Facebook ad campaigns to generate actual results while maintaining a positive ROI, you need to have a great mix of math and art.
In this article I’m going to focus on the art piece because that’s where most businesses fail and lose boat loads of money.
So let’s get started…
Understand specific problems of specific people—focus your Facebook Ad creative on solving that problem
This seems obvious, but don’t overlook its impact on every dollar you spend from here on out.
If every letter you type, and every photo you take doesn’t have a direct relation to a very specific person, you are less likely to get the results you want.
So do your homework.
Don’t just blanket your audience and say “we want to target 25-34 year old women in Chicago”. Chances are really slim that you will be able to produce creative that will engage all of the different types of women in that audience (There are 1,490,909 of them, we checked).
Instead, build out very specific audiences by creating a persona:
- 27 year old women
- Lives in Buffalo Grove, IL
- Likes gardening
- Owns their home
- Earns $75k
By building out a very specific audience persona like “Ashley”, you can now figure out how your company can solve her very specific problems.
If you do your research, you might find that people like Ashley often have trouble finding the time to garden in their busy schedules.
If your product happens to be able to help her make gardening less time-consuming, you can produce creative that shows her exactly how you can solve that problem.
You can start by gathering a real life story from a current customer like Ashley. Create some great copy like: “Join 367 other busy gardeners like Ashley who have grown beautiful gardens in just 7 minutes per day using this.”
Then you pair that with a very engaging, short video that shows exactly how your product can help someone like Ashley spend just 7-minutes per day to grow a beautiful flourishing garden.
Boom *mic drop*.
I know, easier said than done. But that’s why companies like you, hire companies like us.
Boost or Promote posts to find the most engaging creative
PPE stands for Page Post Engagement BTW (calling all acronym police!)
Page Post Engagement Ads are great for building social proof and gaining awareness (and eventually, sales).
Basically: instead of paying for clicks, conversions or reach, you are paying for likes, comments, shares or views. When you are running PPE Ads, you are trying to get people to love you.
But money will only get you there, you can’t buy love.
Just like every single other type of advertising—creative is the variable.
So let’s talk about how to make sure you have the best possible creative before you go H.A.M. on your marketing budget.
First, you want to create a bunch of images to share on your Facebook page. Once you share them, boost each of them with $5-$20 for a day, maybe two.
If you already have a large Facebook community, boost them to your followers—if not, then promote them to a lookalike community or people that are interested in your industry.
Then watch to see which one gets the most likes, comments or shares.
The 1 or 2 that are outliers and get good engagement, are the ones that you will convert into PPE Ads.
When split testing Facebook ad creative, test no more than one variable at a time
Ok, so above we came up with one potential ad designed to target one specific persona (Ashley). But how do you know this is the perfect presentation to get someone like Ashley to either engage or buy?
I’ll answer for you: you don’t.
And also, we don’t. In fact; no one knows because creative is subjective.
This commercial makes absolutely no sense. And it boosted Cadbury’s sales by 9%
If making people love your videos and pictures on the first try was easy, then we would all be sharing videos like this on our iPhones and watching the greenbacks roll in.
Not quite that easy.
What we can do is split test (or A/B test) the creative to find out what the market thinks about our creative.
But be careful not to test too many variations, because Facebook’s Ad algorithm might not give a “diamond-in-the-rough” a chance.
Let me explain.
Ok so, inside Facebook Ads Manager we have campaigns, which include ad sets, which include ads:
The “campaign” refers to the goals and budget of your campaign. The ad sets includes your audience and targeting parameters. And the ads are the creative.
For the sake of this chat we’re having, we want to split test the ad creative. Plus Consumer Acquisition found that Images are responsible for 75-90% of ad performance–so stay with me.
Since we want to test the creative, we are looking at images/video, headlines, descriptions and ad copy.
If we were to test 3 different images/videos, 3 different headlines, 3 different descriptions and 3 different versions of ad copy, it would look something like the chart below.
Before I dive into the massive cluster f*** that this will present to you, it’s important to note something.
Facebook’s Ad Algorithm needs to achieve about 50 events (based on your campaign goals) in about 7 days in order to give you accurate split test data.
But this is for each ad.
This means that if you have 81 different ads (based on our chart above), each ad needs to get 50 events to collect the most accurate data.
**81 times…50…carry the…..THAT’S 4,050 EVENTS 🤯
Can you imagine the budget you would need to try to achieve that? Yea me either.
So instead, let’s just test one thing at a time.
Here’s how you do it:
Since images are the most important factor in ad performance, we want to start there. Keep it simple–get your creative team to design three ad images to test (or videos if you want awareness).
Then write the same copy across all ads and let it run for a week.
example of split test ad images by Minted.
After you get some data you can sink your teeth into, select the best performing image, and run another Facebook split test changing up the headlines instead.
Using this process you can trickle your budget into the best performing ad, before you go for the home run.
Make separate ad creative for each specific persona you want to target
My wife and I both like Crossfit, but she likes and follows different people than I do—so why would brands target us with the same exact content?
Seems like a no-brainer, but brands are getting overwhelmed and are just “checking the box” when it comes to creative content.
Almost every brand has more than one type of person you are targeting.
A baby appliance brand could have the following potential customers:
- New moms
- New dads
- Parents of new parents
- Friends of new parents
- Family members of new parents
- Parents having a second or third child
Now, conventional strategy is to make ads that target all of these audiences at the same time in a general way, or to pick your most valuable audience and just target them.
But if your ready to really do some damage, we need to go deep on each audience and speak to them directly.
This is where the magic happens.
The problem most brands come across is figuring out how to make the creative for each audience efficiently.
They think it will be too expensive.
And it can be, but it doesn’t need to be.
Here is the most efficient content strategy we’ve ever used; and it works.
Hire influencers in each demographic to create the content for you and share it with their audience.
The results are amazing:
- You find great partners to help you do market and product research
- You get brand awareness with potential customers
- You get great content to use in your ad campaigns
- You can do this with hundreds of influencers at once
- The cost is either only the cost of your product, or COGS + a small influencer fee
So if you commit and do this right, you should have plenty of targeted creative for each campaign you setup (one campaign for each audience to start).
Then, inside these campaigns, you can test 2-3 different ads to find the best performer.
But the best part is, you are finding the best performer across 6 different audiences, so you get 6x the growth you would have if you just ran one ad campaign to everyone.
Note: if you don’t have a large budget, start with just one audience. But DO NOT blanket the entire group.
Use video for more eyeballs on your brand
So you want thousands of people to see you brand? Run video ads.
You want people to love your brand? Run great stories as video ads.
On Facebook, viewers spend on average 5x longer looking at your videos than an image.
So, imagine they are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and they stop to watch your video. In the first 2 seconds, one of two things will happen:
- They will lose interest because it’s not interesting enough to stop what they are searching for.
- You’ve made an impactful video that delivers something valuable, and they keep watching.
Obviously we all are aiming for #2, and if you understand how to make great content, you will get vastly better reach and engagement than a standard image.
Psychologist Daniel Berlyne, one of the most important figures in the 20th century study of curiosity identified a main form of human curiosity as epistemic.
This type of curiosity is described as a drive aimed “not only at obtaining access to information-bearing stimulation, capable of dispelling uncertainties of the moment, but also at acquiring knowledge”
So when someone is scrolling through their news feed on Facebook or Instagram and they see a video start playing, there is a high likelihood that they will give it a few seconds to evaluate if will make their life better.
This is an example of why we constantly advise people that creative is the single most important factor to successful marketing.
And that will never change unless the robots take over the human race and enslave us to clean their house.
Which I’m pretty sure is already happening because the most advanced robot in the world can’t even vacuum yet…
…and I’m pretty sure Marie Kondo is secretly a robot.
So the moral of the story is that video is the best type of Facebook ad creative for awareness, reach and engagement.
Use static images or graphics for engagement or clicks
Now that I just got done explaining that video will turn your Facebook ads into unicorns (until the robots come), let’s talk about when static images might serve you better.
If you want people to click through to a landing page and video isn’t the best way to go. Remember when we talked about people stopping to watch your video if it’s interesting?
Well, there is a definite a limit on how many times you can distract someone.
Getting them to stop to watch your video AND click through to your website AND read your sales page or surf your products, well, it’s highly unlikely.
The key to being successful with Facebook ad creative, is to stay focused.
So if your #1 goal is to get someone to click-through to your landing page, then make sure everything maps to that. You want to impact them as quickly as you can, and limit the actions they have to take before clicking on that “Learn More” or “Buy Now” button.
A viewer can make an initial decision in about 1/10th of a second which means if you distract them with anything else, your chances could start to go way down, or completely disappear.
It might sound like I’m contradicting myself from my explanation of why video works. But remember: they work in different ways for completely different goals.
In the general sense, video is best for top of funnel awareness when you are trying to impress or engage someone for the first time.
It’s great for telling a story.
Images are best if someone already knows you, and you are trying to get them to perform a specific action.
Of course there are plenty of images will win you fans as well.
Get a professional copywriter to write your Facebook ads
This is my last tip, and it is not a small one.
I believe that although pictures and video will grab someone’s attention, copy will seal the deal on their decision.
It’s the ending of the story started by a great video or image.
It’s where you can instruct the viewer on what they should do next.
Way too many times I see Facebook ads that just state what something is, and it frustrates me because it’s such a wasted opportunity.
If you post a picture of a blue pair of running shoes, then why would you put “Blue Track Runners” in the ad description? I’m pretty sure most people will know they are looking at blue track shoes.
Instead, tell the end of that story — “Run more miles with smiles in our new ultralight runners.”
David Olgivy once said, “The more you tell, the more you sell.”
Here is a good example of how Dollar Shave Club told a mini-story with minimal copy to get Gillette users curious as to why they are better:
So apply this to you Facebook ads, even if you have one line of space; tell the best truthful story you can with that space.
Wrapping it up
Remember, anyone can click “Promote” on a Facebook ad, but the creative included in that ad is what makes magic.
Far too often brands runs Facebook ads, get poor results and chock it up that “Facebook ads don’t work for my business”. But one thing is for sure, Facebook ads work—there are thousands of case studies out there showing that they do.
The ticket to getting amazing results from your Facebook ads lies in the creative.
Follow these 7 steps to make sure that your Facebook ad creative gets the results it deserves.
- Make sure it so,few a problem
- Boost your posts to find the most engaging creative
- Split-test only 1 creative variable at a time
- Use separate creative for each audience you target
- Use video for more awareness and reach
- Use images for more engagement or clicks
- Spend more time on your copy
Don’t cut corners with your Facebook ad creative, it’s the equivalent of flushing money down the drain.