It’s far too easy to slip into a state of panic when creating Facebook ads. There are so many elements that go into making it before it’s even made – such as finding your target audience, figuring out your ad formats, and working in those all-important best practices. Let’s start our “How To: Facebook Ad Planning”.
Despite talk that Facebook’s reach is waning slightly, it’s pretty clear that people still love the site more than ever – with 70% of Facebook users in the U.S. alone logging in to the app on a daily basis. This is compared to 59% on Instagram, 38% on Twitter, and LinkedIn on a staggeringly low 22% – all according to Pew Research Centre, anyway.
All these users spell out huge potential for marketers, and Facebook has emerged as one of the best advertising platforms for both B2B and B2C businesses. In the past few years, as organic reach on Facebook has certainly declined, savvy marketers (like yours truly) have been advertising on Facebook to get results. Let’s get started on your first ad.
Where Do You Start on a Facebook Ad?
Getting started on your first ad is difficult, but that’s where we come in. We’re going to walk you through some key steps that we do to ensure you’re giving a belting Facebook advertising campaign. Every. Single. Time. Firstly, let’s talk about why Facebook ads work so well. Now, we already know there are tonnes of users on Facebook, but sending an ad out into the void is not going to get you the conversions you want or get the best out of your campaign. This is where we want to introduce you to our trusty friend: targeting.
Targeting on Facebook Ads allows you to be super (ridiculously) specific about what audience you want your ads to reach. It all depends on where you want your ad to go. If you sell stationery, you would reach people who are teachers, or city center dwellers, or people who are more likely to work in offices. There are six main ways to target people with your ads on Facebook:
- Custom audiences — allow you to target existing customers or leads.
- Target through location — allowing you to target by area (city, town, country).
- Gender (or lack of!) — allowing you to target through gender identification. Non-binary? No problem! There’s a Facebook ad for you.
- Interests — allows you to target through interests (like gardening, fashion, books).
- Behaviors — you can target past behaviors, such as someone visiting your website.
- Connections — allows you to target people who have already liked your page or who have connections that do.
If you want more information on these, you can check out this nifty infographic from WordStream.
Have You Got a Clear CTA on Your Facebook Ad?
Another thing to take into consideration is a clear CTA – otherwise known as a call to action. Every campaign or ad format in the world can be stripped back to two types: ads to engage your prospect’s attention and ads designed to drive a direct action such as sale, app install, or lead.
In an ideal world, a single campaign would do both. But the majority of the time, you’ll either get one or the other. An ad that is designed to gain the prospector’s attention is sometimes called a brand awareness campaign – this is extremely valuable. It’s a smart strategy that builds your business over the long-term. Creative brand awareness campaigns are better served with CTAs related to content consumption, such as following your page, subscribing or collecting more email subscriptions.
Is Your Ad Copy Reflective of Your Brand?
Now we have that part out the way, it’s time to start doing the creative for your ad. Let’s start off with ad copy. As much as you want to cram in as much information as possible about whatever you’re trying to sell, that isn’t always the best approach. When you write the copy for your ads, you want to keep it either three lines long OR a couple of sentences. If it’s any longer than that then it comes up with a pesky ‘see more’ option – which most users won’t click, rendering your work useless and the CTA disappearing (if you put it at the end!)
The first thing you want to take into consideration are your USPs (unique selling points). Do you offer free delivery when they spend £50? Do you have pay later options such as Klarna or Clearpay? Use these to your advantage – it might just get you that sale!
Keywords and Power Words
Start plugging in those keywords too, after all this may be the first impression of your company the user has. And first impressions are important. For example, if you’re selling loungewear then use words like ‘comfort’ and ‘style’ or even try and work a sneaky little ‘trending’ in there too. Keep it as relevant as you can – seasonality is key.
Your text, no matter how long, should contain at least two ‘power’ words that are relevant to the custom audience you’re trying to target. The style of writing and vocabulary used will differ depending on your target audience. For example, “trending” might be an effective power word for a younger demographic, but if you’re targeting males in their 50s, then this would be a poor choice. Instead, opt for a more fact-based power word such as “proven,” “solution,” or “benefit.”
Sometimes ad copy involves a clever phrase or a nod to a current trend or meme. Other times, it’s straight-forward benefits of the products. This entirely depends on who your target audience is, and what kind of brand guidelines and tone of voice you’re going for.
As you might have already noticed in Facebook’s ad builder, the ‘headline’ appears in conjunction with the assets you’re displaying in the ad. So it would make the headline the second thing you see in the ad, not making it a headline at all. Thanks Zuck.
In essence, when it comes to writing copy for a Facebook Ad, it’s not what you’re saying. It’s about how you say it.
Are You Optimising Your Assets for Facebook Advertising?
Your main purpose: to stop the scrolling. It only takes 2.6 seconds for a user’s eye to choose where to land on a feed when it comes to social media. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to garner much attention – unless you’ve been smart and optimised your assets. The use of eye-catching imagery on your Facebook ad campaigns/video ads means more chance of a click-through. First impressions are formed with design when you create your Facebook assets. Here are some things to consider when you get started on creating them.
Don’t overload your images with text. Facebook recommends you use text sparingly in images, if at all. Instead of crowding your visuals with text. Consider having a designed text area.
Size to spec. Low-res visuals reflect poorly on your brand. Check out Facebook’s image size guide to make sure your assets meet the right size specifications.
Use GIFs or videos. Opt for movement over static imagery to nab users’ attention. Don’t forget to test vertical videos for mobile devices. But we also know that video isn’t a magic fix-all. You should never go into any marketing assuming what’s going to work. You need to test to find out what works for your product or service, your target audience, and your objectives. It depends what you want to get out of it.
Do You Know Your Facebook Ad Placements?
After you’ve done the ad copy and the creative for your Facebook ads, you will then need to consider how it will look on both desktop and mobile devices. This ensures you design your ad for easy viewing no matter where it appears on feeds. Here are different places you can see your Facebook Ads show up.
Placement 1: Right Column
This type of Facebook ad is common, it appears on the right side of a news feed. Fun fact: this was the first type of advertising that Facebook had, and it still exists today! Although ads in the feed are less likely to get higher engagement metrics due to its native advertising features, the right columns shouldn’t be neglected. In order for these types of Facebook ads to be successful, it needs to be relevant, have a value proposition, a good visual and a clear and useful call-to-action.
Placement 2: Desktop News Feed
This type of Facebook ad appears directly in a user’s feed and looks more like a native Facebook advertising campaign. We’ve found that they have higher engagement rates than column ads, but they can also be more expensive. Be sure to follow Facebook’s organic posts’ best practices and be both engaging and visual to yield the best results. Or even check out our blog post on it.
Placement 3: Mobile News Feed
Like the desktop News Feed ad, this type of ad appears in the user’s mobile News Feed and displays like an organic post from the people and pages they follow.
Are Your Facebook Ad Formats Correct?
There are seven Facebook ad placements or templates to pick from. It’s important to choose your objective before you create ads.
Format 1: Photo Ad
Photo Ads are static images that can help to promote a product or event you want to specifically call attention to. If you have a special promotion going on, for example, this ad format puts a crisp snapshot of your product or venue at the center of your ad. For ads shown in a Facebook News Feed, the recommended image resolution is at least 1080 x 1080.
Format 2: Video Ad
Video ads have a GIF or a video that is the star of the Facebook advertising show. Video Ads help you form deeper connections with your custom audiences by aligning your brand with a type of content online users are quickly consuming more of (nearly 80% of all data consumed on mobile devices will be in video form by 2021, according to a Facebook study).
Here are the six (current) styles types of video ads:
- Short Videos and GIFs
- Vertical Videos
- Instagram Stories
- Video Carousels
- Video Collections
- In-steam Videos
Format 3: Stories Ad
This type of ad is fitted to the dimensions of mobile devices but can be played on most devices. As users browse their friends’ Stories, these ads can appear in the same format inside a stream. For this reason, it’s best to create Stories Ads that reflect the same candid and entertaining look and feel that people see from their friends. Stories Ads can be placed on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.
Format 4: Messenger Ad
A Messenger Ad appears as a direct message in a user’s message list when they’re inside Facebook’s Messenger app. This little ad can bring up messages from your brand or product with questions like “What product might you be interested in?” Then the user can select from three different responses, triggering a more streamlined product shopping experience for them.
Format 5: Carousel Ad
Carousel Ads contain a series of images or videos that users can rotate through, all of them helping to describe a single product, service, or event the ad is promoting. Each Carousel Ad can contain up to ten images or videos at a time and link to their own individual web pages. Because these types of Facebook ad campaigns are so full of information, the platform recommends them for endorsing multiple products, promoting multiple features of the same product. Or telling a story or sequence of events that unfold over the course of multiple pictures of videos. Or even explaining a process to potential customers.
Format 6: Slideshow Ad
Similar to Carousel Ads, explained above, Slideshow Ads segment your ad into individual images that users view one after another. The difference between these two ad formats is that Slideshow Ads only show images (not videos).. According to Facebook, Carousel Ads are ideal for: creating a video-like experience for users quickly and advertisers who want to choose from a library of pre-created images and music as well as simplifying an otherwise complicated concept or process for potential customers. And, finally, reaching people who have slower internet connections (Slideshow Ads use five times less data than video ads on Facebook).
Format 7: Collection Ad
A Collection Ad allows advertisers to bring the buying process directly into Facebook, so potential customers can move from “discovery” to “purchase” more easily. These ad sets are formatted to feature a single image or video promoting a product. With a collection of four smaller images below it that viewers can click on to learn more about the product. There are four types of Collection Ads you can invest in:
Storefront: This ad is ideal for displaying multiple products as part of the same ad campaign, and driving traffic to each product’s respective product page.
Lookbook: This ad is ideal for demonstrating or modelling a product in various contexts for your audience.
Customer Acquisition: This ad is ideal for driving traffic to, and prompting them to take a specific action on, a product’s landing page.
Storytelling: This ad is ideal for telling a story about your brand or helping your audience learn more about the business.
Get Friendly With These 6 Facebook Ad Templates
Different Facebook ad types can be used to accomplish a number of different goals for your business. Here are a few real ads that you can use as templates of inspiration when creating an ad that targets your custom audience.
Template 1: Video Product Demo Ad
These types of Facebook ads take up a lot of a person’s screen – which is never a bad thing! And yes, we know that ad is amazing, we made it ourselves for Paddy and Scott’s. With 8 billion video views being watched using Facebook ads everyday – it’s worth it. Trust me.
But how do you create your new ad video? First, you’ll need to understand Facebook’s video ad requirements. We’ve found that keeping your videos short works better. Your long video might be amazing, but research shows that users will watch, on average, for ten seconds. The information in your video should be a need-to-know basis only – keep it short, keep it relevant.
Template 2: Multi-product Ad
Wow, look at that, another amazing looking ad set from us. Who put that there? Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company sells 100% natural skincare products and we wanted to show as many of those beautiful looking products off as possible in one single ad. These ad types give the user the option to scroll through and click the images sending the users to different products on site. It doesn’t necessarily have to be garnering website traffic, it can be promoting blog posts, ebooks, webinars and more.
Template 3: Reach Ad
Or as we like to call them, a “brand awareness” campaign. These ad types are designed to grow your local awareness, depending on area, age, gender and interests. When you set your budget for this, it’s best to keep it running continuously – it doesn’t have to be a huge amount at first. The aim here is to get people to your organic pages and become a loyal follower. If you’re doing a pop up store for example, this is the ad set campaign for you. As you can hyper-target your audience on Facebook down to the mile.
Template 4: Special Offer Ad
This ad from Facebook offers a form of advertising where you can promote a discount, product or service that can be redeemed on Facebook’s platform. This process entirely eliminates the need to get to site and takes out a step for the user – which always garners better results!
As well as only being able to show the amount of people who have yet to claim it, all the Facebook targeting options are available also. So, once the exact amount of offers has ended, it will stop running. This then cuts out any unqualified costs per click, which saves you some of those all important dolla dolla bills y’all.
Template 5: Boosted Ads
These are our Content Team’s true heroes. They’re cheap and do the job. Plus, they work on the organic front and the paid front too. It’s better than a win win. It’s a win win win, we’d say. A Boosted Post is different to regular Facebook ads because of the way they’re made. They start their life as an organic post from Facebook.
Your first step is putting some advertising money behind the post – we’d recommend doing this natively instead of through FB Ads Manager. Not only is it one of the cheaper Facebook ads but you can do more with it too. For example, you can include more in the description, as there is no limit to word count on organic posts like there is in ads.
When we said it works on an organic and paid front – we weren’t kidding. It’s truly the miracle worker of the Facebook advertising world. On the organic side: it brings in more engagement and pushes your content out to an audience who have similar interests, and then… get this – the people working on the FB Ads Manager side can then retarget those engaged people.
Sadly, like with all things, there are some cons – Boosted Posts leave you with fewer options for bidding, less specific targeting and pricing. Plus, you can’t run any A/B testing.
Template 6: Retargeting Ad
This ad format is gonna seriously rake in some dollar when you do it correctly. Have you ever been cyber-stalked by an ad on various platforms after being on site once? Then congratulations, you’ve come in contact with a retargeting ad! To achieve this wizardry, a marketer has to upload a list of leads/email addresses into FB Ads Manager – creating a custom audience.
Think of it like the second date. The first date; you get to know each other – or they’re on site. The second date; you’re going for dinner. You know the basics. But you need just a little bit more information to make it back to their house with them – by giving them a 10% discount code.
Got Any More Questions?
Want to see how we can help your brand? Get in touch via our contact page and find out more about our paid social, PPC, design and content services. Also, don’t forget to check out our socials over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Or if you just want a little natter, get at us with firstname.lastname@example.org 💌