Facebook doesn’t need any specific introduction, as literally everyone knows the platform and its capabilities. Facebook Ads is another story, though. This is a very powerful marketing tool if used correctly. There are numerous resources sharing ideas on how to use Facebook Ads to your advantage. We’ve posted several materials related to the platform itself and Facebook Ads, including the most useful tools and software for automation of Facebook advertising campaigns. Just think almost $300 million spent on Facebook Ads globally. All the world business giants use this platform, and they do not like wasting money.
Today let’s reveal some secrets hidden behind a very important part of any advertising campaign — ad creatives. Today, when people have a shorter span of attention than ever, it’s a challenging task to grab the attention of a person who is just scrolling the newsfeed. With more advertisers realizing the potential and joining the platform, the competition for users’ attention is getting tougher day by day.
To avoid wasting money, you need to realize that besides well-thought marketing strategy advertising on Facebook has two key factors: precise targeting and creatives. The latter one is in our focus for today. How to make your ads not only more visually appealing but piquing curiosity about the product or service and encouraging the necessity to get that product. Whatever your campaign is optimized for the target audience and automated, if you don’t succeed to grab attention, all your efforts will come to nothing.
Have you already run Facebook Ad campaigns?
Yes — 0%
No — 100%
When we talk about ad creatives we mean not just an image, but descriptions, tags, call-to-actions too. There are various aspects to take into consideration to make an ad creative high-powered and accented. Using the right tools and the deep knowledge of your target audience, you can create striking ads.
Every advertising campaign should match the niche, or sub-niche, of your target audience.
You should keep in mind that unfortunately, people don't read nowadays a lot. You may have a great offer expressed brilliantly, but the very first thing that people will notice — the image. The human brain can process an image for as little as 13 milliseconds. Several years ago Facebook had a 20% rule: the text should cover no more than 20% of the ad. Later, the platform lifted the restriction a little. But the biological rule is still here. The more you cover the image, the lower ad performance you will receive.
What Aspects Used in Creatives Make Your Ads Work
Advertising gurus have agreed on what aspects act as triggers for most campaigns.
- Focus on feelings. This may include how a customer feels before and/or after using a product (or service).
- Memorable tagline and slogan.
- Financial stimuli might work well.
- Color scheme. Primary colors are the best, no need to insert the entire color palette. When considering the color scheme, keep in mind the market and your target audience. For example, older people are more attracted to cooler colors (blue, purple, or green), while younger audiences would be more into brighter colors and shades, such as red and yellow. The least liked color is usually orange, followed by brown.
- Active verbs in tags and descriptions strengthen the ad.
- Short and easy-to-remember hashtags encourage social support and promotion of seasonal events (particularly effective for e-commerce (seasonal sales) and travel niches).
- Urgency. No one wants to miss a good deal, discount, a limited-time offer, or a unique opportunity. People feel bad about losing something, so urgent offers serve as triggers for potential clientele. Use expressions that highlight the urgency: ‘Limited time’, ‘Hurry’, ‘Rush’, ‘Only today’, ‘Last chance’, etc.
Top Secrets of the Facebook Ad Design
Actually, every marketing master has his/her own secrets, but there are several crucial points to keep in mind.
- Testing. We relentlessly repeat that testing is crucial. Ad design is not an exception. Never assume anything. Prepare several versions of ad design and test them. Always test everything. Even if you consider yourself an expert in digital marketing and have several hacks up your sleeves, keep in mind that consumer behavior changes continuously, as well as ad placements and formats. Thus, old tricks might be useless in the fast-changing digital world.
Every new campaign should start by testing at least 4 versions of the ad design (for instance, two images mixed up with two descriptions). For example, at certain times in some niches, photos of real people perform better than illustrations (for example, for app downloads). Sometimes, specific audience groups respond to different images, but you have to test first to figure that out. To make testing easier, you can use some automation tools that provide automated split-testing (we’ve written about the best Facebook Ads automation software earlier this year) — your campaign will be optimized automatically based on results.
- Social Proof. Unfortunately, psychology is often disregarded. In fact, we should cherish psychology as it provides us with insights into human nature. We all know pretty well that all kinds of free products are popular, whether it is shipping, service, or bonus. We bet, many of you didn’t know that this fact is not directly correlated to money. This is all about fear. The psychological term ‘loss aversion’ describes this phenomenon as a fear of losing something. So, when something is offered ‘Free’, you should read it as ‘Free —> No-Risk —> No Fear’.
If you pointedly address customers’ fears, you might hit the target, be it services or products. Social proof helps to fight fears as it ensures the safety of the offered product. ‘People used this product and they are happier, healthier, etc.’ Social proof might be expressed by mentioning brands, celebrities, reliable scientific resources, or via likes, shares, and comments. Customer testimonials also make your ad compelling to the audience. Recommendations always add trust to any business.
- Personalized ads. For the wide-ranged audience, we recommend creating several types of designs. Draw an imaginary portrait for every audience group. Who are the people you target? How old are they? What is their profession or field of interest? What problem or question do you offer to solve? Answering these questions is the solid base for designing your ads.
- Call-to-action. Tell people what you want them to do: ‘Download’, ‘Sign Up’, ‘Learn More’, ‘Shop Now’, ‘Book Now’, ‘Discover More’, etc. Actually, ‘Learn More’ and ‘Discover More’ are the top performers. To make more impact, you can include a call-to-action in the description and use it with a relevant CTA button.
- Unique, eye-catching images. You need people to click on your ad, so the ad creative should stand out of the crowded newsfeed. Avoid cluttered and complex images, usually, they look spammy. People won’t study the details of an image searching for the advertised product; instead, the product should hit the eye. Graphic design tools, for example, Canva or Snappa, might help with ad design. These platforms are based on the ‘drag-and-drop’ method that simplifies the ad creation process; besides, they provide tons of ready-to-use patterns.
- Emotions vs Logic. These are two very strong features that drive our behavior. Emotionally driven we are more prone to shopping, but our rational (aka pragmatic) side may put the wish on hold. Use this knowledge in your campaigns appealing to both features at once: make the product/service appealing and highlight the practical benefits of using the product.
- Credibility. To convince a Facebook user to make an action, you should appear credible and trustworthy. The nightmare of any marketer is when users click ‘Hide Ad’ as ‘Irrelevant’ or ‘Repetitive’ (= Spammy). Hence, designing creatives for the campaign make your ad look credible, with no false promises.
- Various ad formats. The Facebook Ads platform doesn’t stand still; it develops offering new advanced tools to advertisers. There are many more ad formats available now: Story Ads, Carousel Ads, Canvas Ads, and Collection Ads. The diversity of formats if used well can help to grab attention.
Apps and Software
Below you will find several examples of creatives used for Facebook campaigns. Well, probably you’ve seen better ones, but these are just some that deserve attention.
- Slack. The slogan “Make Work Better” and the description that promises to have fewer meetings are very catchy as we all hate numerous tiresome meetings. A relaxed, meme-style image adds value and illustrates how it feels to have fewer meetings. This is a great example of a well-advertised communication tool: a technical and practical app is promoted as fun.
- ZipCar. The eye-catching image lets you stop scrolling. The ad highlights the key advantage of ZipCar — ‘affordable wheels upon request’. ‘Use App’ button takes directly to the installation process.
- Google. It is an open secret, that Google ‘knows it all’, particularly when it comes to advertising. The ad is very smart-designed – it promotes the brand along with the specific offer. Besides, it contains a very cool description, how else you can say about the compelling lines describing a cloud computing platform. The hook ‘Build what’s next’ is very captivating. And one more aspect to highlight — the vivid blue color reinforces stability and trust. Well, maybe that is why the blue color is very popular among tech companies.
- AdEspresso. The company used the same cartoon character for two target groups: agencies and startups. Wisely enough, these two groups have different problems that AdEspresso offers to solve. If agencies are more concerned about managing multiple clients, startups just need to expand a customer base. The choice of colors, apprehensible description, and call-to-action — the ad has it all.
- Monday.com. Below you see the promotion of the task management tool. Well, the tool is compatible with different systems, but the ad associates with Mac computers through the unique remix with the Apple logo. The ad worked well for the growing brand.
- Calm. ‘The most relaxing app in the world’ used an authentic approach to the Facebook ad campaign. No images, just simple text instruction in the white background. It works. Just 4 simple steps; one of them includes a call-to-action. Sometimes we indeed should go simple to reach the objective.
- Grammarly. A very popular application intends to attract more users. The advertising campaign is based on simple images and videos with a focus on the text. The platform offers to make your writing clean, so all ad creatives are clear and transparent, in other words, — flawless.
Yet another ad variant within the same campaign:
And finally, the best variant is based on the same principles: clear and flawless, straight to the point. This is one of the best ad campaigns in the industry.
Health & Fitness
As we all care about our health, the newsfeed of any Facebook user will contain some ads related to this niche.
- Heal. Another great example of an app promotion on Facebook is the ad creative for the Heal app. An image of a friendly smiling doctor with the reference to the well-known brand (CNN) is clearly an eye-catcher. This is a proposition (‘discover’ — active verb) to provide a better experience for low money.
- Beachbody. Beachbody shared its campaign with a broad audience of US and UK adults 18-54. The company created a lookalike audience based on the Beachbody customer list. The focus was on potential subscribers. The team ran ads in Facebook News Feed, Instagram feed, Messenger, and Audience Network (automatic placement was selected). Video ads are more dynamic compared to images. Additionally, the video shows real people along with fitness coaches during workouts — so the offer and the potential result seem more real.
- Boston Sports Club. The offer is perfectly clear in the ad. By the way, the woman in the photo is shot in a way that you automatically shift your attention to the promo-offer. The CTA is also transparent. The ad works because it’s visual (bold colors, image of a real person, and clear text), relevant (the ad was shown to people residing in the Boston area), and valuable (well, $5 as a monthly gym fee is a pretty good deal).
- BBG. Kayla Itsines, a popular fitness coach, promoted her BBG app. The ad has it all: Kayla on the photo and a detailed description of the offer. Targeting ladies, Kayla used bright pink color to highlight the text on the contrasting background.
- Nike. This recognizable giant uses all the above-mentioned recommendations in its ad creatives.
Below there is one more masterpiece of the ad creative from Nike. All features of the product are presented in a single image.
- Puma. Yet another beast of a sports retailer ran the ad campaign featuring a leading product from a new collection. A bright image of the product with the slogan ‘Born to provoke’ and a company’s logo targets the 18-45 age category.
Yes, giant sports retailers compete not only for customers but for the best ad design too. Give a look at the ad creative from the soccer gear campaign. Featuring two world-known footballers wearing Puma, the image speaks out loudly.
Restaurants, cafes, food delivery, food blogs with recipes — advertisers compete not only for customers, but they can also compete in photography as well.
- Foodpanda. The food delivery app market is very competitive. Some companies emphasize fast delivery, some go with the range of restaurants/cafes, some use mouthwatering food photos. You scroll through colorful images and feel starving. Well, the ad works.
In fact, traveling ads are the most comforting and exciting as they carry the spirit of relaxation.
- AirAsia. The company proves that Facebook ads shouldn’t be complicated. A campaign based on single-image creatives went viral. Despite the simplicity, these ads match all the parameters of successful ads. See here, short-spoken with a powerful term ‘Free’ and a bright image as a background, this ad is certainly a scroll-stopper.
AirAsia continued running campaigns before the holidays, using contrasting bright images and takeaways.
- Virgin America. The airline company selected the right creative to run the holiday campaign. But the brand uses a different principle — a friendly attitude. There are real people on the image (well, they might not be flight attendants at Virgin America) that give more trust to the ad. Don’t forget that Facebook has been developed as a communication platform, it allows people to stay in touch with their friends and family (in other words, with real people). So, the ad shows real people and a favorable offer.
- Expedia. The most distinguishing feature of Expedia’s ad campaign is the variety of real photos from the advertised destinations.
Engines, power, drive, style, and technology are all mixed up in automobile ads.
- Porsche. This brand makes its best from Facebook Ads: videos, carousel ads, canvas, and so on. Let’s assume, Porsche can afford the best ads. Several times the company built the campaign utilizing both carousel ads and videos seasoning it with a messenger bot.
This niche doesn't tolerate amateurs. This might be the reason behind indeed professional ads.
- The Motley Fool, a private financial and investing advice company, ran a fantastic Facebook campaign. The company demonstrated how well-known brands and logos can be used for generating traffic. When you see the image, you notice the world-famous logo, but the ad is actually from The Motley Fool. Completed with a strong headline, the ad grabs attention, which is the required result.
- Ladder. A great example of insurance promotion. Simple, emotional, black-and-white creative brings upfront the most valuable things — a family and kids. Additionally, using a black-and-white color scheme reminds me of classics, and classics last forever. Reliability is the spirit of the creative.
- Koho. The promotion of the Koho banking app is another example of a very effective ad within the financial niche. Contrasting warm colors attract attention and keep it focused on the basketball scoring through the video with the bank card in the background. The description is brief and very precise bringing a key feature (no bank fees) to the focus.
- Questrade. Questrade, an investment company, selected a great creative for its advertising campaign. All of us think about retirement and want to get wealthier. Grey color provides a trustworthy background with green and white highlights that match the company’s logo. Data in the ad points to the research conducted in this field; hence, the ad evokes trust.
- Fundrise. Once again about investments, but Fundrise plays it differently. Shades of orange that appeal mainly to younger people, take eyes. The amount of $500 is reasonable to make the targeted audience interested.
- The Economist. The ad campaign ran during the Christmas and New Year hype, so the ad creative matches well with the holiday mood (red color) and the slogan “New Year. New view.”
A crowded and subdivided niche sometimes presents true masterpieces in terms of advertising.
- Kay Jewelers. Ok, I just couldn’t skip this video ad. It’s awesome. As many people watch videos without sound, this ad tells a story with no need for sound. It is self-explanatory and emotional. It works.
- Allbirds. A cartoon character is a part of the brand’s image. It makes all ads brand-specific.
As you see below, the cartoon character makes this brand recognizable even during the holiday season when the newsfeed is flooded with ads.
Professional marketing services also need promotion.
- ClickFunnels. This ad sample might be used as an ideal example for marketing. The image itself, the offer, the text description with a reference — all elements are seamlessly combined.
Russell Brunson, the founder of ClickFunnels and one of the most reputable marketers globally, promotes his Dotcom Secrets. A double reference (Russell is on the photo), a real-deal offer, and a casual style of the image should work well:
- AdStage. The ad for the upcoming webinar seems perfect: balanced colors, photos of marketing experts, and a precise description of the webinar topic.
- ClickBank. Yes, affiliate networks also run Facebook campaigns. The platform intended to get more brand awareness (image 1) and promoted the free e-book (image 2). Below you see examples of the creatives used for the campaign.
And the next ad was used to increase brand awareness using the free e-book.
- Rakuten. Probably, you are familiar with Rakuten as an affiliate network, but besides that Rakuten is a great cashback retailer network.
- DesignPickles. The guys from DesignPickle are awesome (see one more ad example towards the end of the article). All ads are unique and catchy with subtle humor.
- CodeFights. A very interesting ad targeted at software engineers who can reveal the hidden message. If most people consider the image text as a true code, the targeted audience will read “Try CodeFights, have fun, and then you’ll get the job.”
Let’s see a couple of ads from the dating niche.
- Love Found. The dating niche is very competitive. Besides that, Facebook is not very friendly to dating ads as they should comply with the very strict platform’s policy. Yet, some companies succeed to get tons of Facebook traffic. Carousel ads show the happy-end story of a real person who used the service. Offering a two-week free trial, the company definitely got many new clients.
- Lovoo. The chat and date app highlights the location feature. A map, a real person, and a location icon show how easy it is to meet and chat using the app.
Gambling platforms go around bans for ads on Facebook.
- 888 Dino Slot. As you know well, Facebook doesn’t allow gambling ads. Hence, gambling platforms promote applications. The ad is built on the color contrast: the bonus offer is highlighted in bright green to match the casino’s brand color.
And one more example of an app promotion. A similar idea is implemented: a real person pointing at the bonus for new players. During stay-at-home times the ad performed really well: people can enjoy ‘real poker’ on their smartphones.
- Vegas Slots Party. This is an example of a more ‘classic’ promotion of the gambling app. Actually, players are people who lack bright and strong emotions, so they will be attracted to a bright image of slot screens. The headline and the text body arouse curiosity – the required result.
Gaming is fun, so ads should be entertaining and captivating.
- Intel. Ok, the ad isn’t exactly about gaming. Actually, it’s about gaming gear. Intel plays smart using a very popular game Call of Duty as a reference.
- Arcane Legends. The image displays characters used in the game, the ad shows popularity (100 000 people play this), and brings a reference “Best MMO…”
- Homescapes. A video ad of a puzzle game challenges potential players. 95% of people can’t solve it! Add here a call-to-action (Play Now) – well done! They’ve got many people wishing to take a dare.
- Seal: New World. Another example of an ad that targets arcade and adventure games lovers. Challenge is an efficient tool to make people enter the lists. Add here the trigger ‘Free’ – the job is done.
And there is one more interesting and quite risky ad design from the design company mentioned above. Well, some people will appreciate an emoji-based image, while others will hate it. The ad won’t be skipped, in either case. Anyway, this controversial and thorny ad creative from DesignPickles was used for one of the campaigns (the image is from the Facebook Ad Library):
Would you use such an image for your campaign?
As you see, there are many aspects to consider while creating ads. It’s not as complicated as it might sound. Once you master the basic principles and perform thorough testing, your advertising campaigns would reach a new, higher level. Inspired by some ad designs above you can enhance the strategy in creating ads, making them strong and appealing.