Does Your Facebook Ad Campaign Tell a Story?

Don’t lead with “Buy now,” tell a story. Facebook marketing science ads research manager Neha Bhargava spoke with Facebook IQ about how brands can create digital marketing narratives.

Don’t lead with “Buy now,” tell a story. Facebook marketing science ads research manager Neha Bhargava spoke with Facebook IQ about how brands can create digital marketing narratives.

The full question-and-answer post is available here, and highlights of Bhargava’s responses follow:

We wanted to accomplish two things. First, we wanted to see how marketing strategies, like storytelling, were being used on other channels (TV, print, email, search, etc.) and understand more broadly how they applied to digital and Facebook specifically. Second, we wanted to drill down on two types of storytelling approaches, funnel-based and priming-and-reminding storytelling, and determine what, if any, impact each had in comparison to traditional direct-response marketing.

It was important that a cross-section of industries was represented in this analysis. We worked with six advertisers from the consumer-packaged-goods, nonprofit, publishing and retail verticals. Each advertiser identified the business objectives they wanted to test—spanning from driving brand resonance to conversion.

We defined a funnel-based approach as a campaign that guides a person down the purchase funnel in three phases. For example, the first phase, called “Meet the Brand,” would be a brand’s introduction to the market. This phase occurs no matter if the brand is new to the market or an established brand. The next phase, “The Teaser,” would feature a product-focused ad. The third and final phase, “The Hook,” would feature a call-to-action ad.


We defined a priming-and-reminding campaign as using multiple ad formats, like display or video ads, to help educate people of the brand’s relevance to their lifestyle in two phases. For example, the advertiser would use creative that showcased the brand’s value proposition to “Set the Stage” in the first phase. In the second phase, “The Synopsis,” the advertiser would use their creative to “remind” people of the main brand storyline found in phase one.


No marketing approach is one-size-fits-all, but based on the cases in this research, we have seen that most of the time, there is a positive lift when a campaign is designed using the storytelling framework. However, to really understand what is most effective for your brand specifically, I would encourage advertisers to think about their performance metrics, like brand awareness and email registrations, or about driving conversions on or offline and test how their marketing approaches perform against those objectives.

Readers: What did you think of Bhargava’s comments? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.