Facebook ads have come a long way in a few short years. The days of a brand posting a blurry photo from an event with a caption “Like Us Now!” are (thankfully) coming to an end. Through numerous algorithm changes, Facebook has made it clear to marketers that it wants – and its users expect – a compelling, visually appealing reason to engage with a brand’s ad.
This means that marketers need to jettison generic ad creative and text-heavy wall posts in favor of high-quality, engaging ad creative with smart imagery and limited text. Facebook will reward them for doing so with greater exposure in users’ News Feeds.
Here are five creative best practices marketers can use to generate higher performance from their Facebook ads:
1. Use the News Feed how it’s really meant to be used
No, it’s not just a giant scrolling RSS feed for BuzzFeed articles. Facebook’s News Feed has evolved into one of marketers’ best digital advertising channels. Here’s why: Recent algorithm changes have placed much higher value on the images brands uses within their wall posts, not just the content. Those images need to represent the type of experience a user will have once they click on your ad.
For example: Instead of showing three to four images within a News Feed ad of what a character arc looks like inside of a mobile game you are advertising, show a screenshot of the user’s experience within the game. Your conversions will be higher if both the ad and landing page it links to give an accurate representation of what the user can expect from your product or service.
2. Research first, create ad second
Remember how back in the old days of advertising (for sake of argument, let’s say five years ago), you had to actually research your audience, their likes and dislikes, challenges, needs, etc., before you created an ad? And then along came that ridiculous Oreo Super Bowl tweet and all of a sudden the concept of properly understanding your audience went out the window and “real-time” everything was in. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way if you want great performance from Facebook advertising.
Success in the new realm of Facebook advertising (remember: it is now a hybrid engagement plus performance-based direct-response ad platform) means that marketers need to put more research and focus into the images they use in Facebook ads because the ad size is so large (especially in the News Feed). The relatively short lifespan of a Facebook ad means that brands must have a vast quantity of unique, constantly refreshed images at the ready to keep their ads and content near the top of users’ News Feeds. This is especially true for direct-response advertisers, who must rely on engaging, creative ads to entice a consumer into making a purchasing decision.
Below is an example of the type of text-heavy, image-deficient wall post that Facebook wants marketers to move away from:
Here’s an example of the type of image-based wall post that Facebook wants marketers to use and that will deliver better results for direct-response advertisers:
3. Stop. Using. Logos.
Seriously, no one wants to see your brand’s logo splashed all over their News Feed. Logos are boring and take the user’s focus off of the action you want someone to take from viewing your ad. The only people that care about a brand’s logo are the brand.
4. Understand Your Audience’s Demographics
Facebook offers some great ad targeting tools that can help you tailor your ad creative specifically for the demographic segment you want to target. Its Custom Audience tool gives marketers the ability to target specific users across any device. Lookalike Audiences, a cousin of Custom Audiences, enables advertisers to target new users who are likely interested in the business because they are similar to customers on a list already cultivated. By effectively using (and combining) these tools, you can ensure your ad creative is tailored in such a way that it speaks directly to your specific target audiences. This will increase the performance and user engagement of your Facebook ads, ensuring they remain higher up in users’ News Feeds.
5. Don’t Get Too Cute
The concept of your Facebook ad creative needs to have a singular focus. Your ads shouldn’t have to be studied by silent monks in order to figure out what action you wish a user to take. A Facebook user should be able to glance at the ad and immediately know what it means, what action they are supposed to take and what value they are going to derive from that action.
David Serfaty is Director of Social Advertising at Matomy Media Group, a global performance marketing company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.