Facebook Performance Ads Case Studies: Virgin America, Whole Foods, Get Covered California

The following is an excerpt of content available in the Facebook Marketing Bible, our comprehensive guide to marketing and advertising your brand, business or content on Facebook.

As Facebook reaches past its 550 millionth user, and grows its primarily ad-driven revenue to well past the $1.1 billion mark this year, a diverse range of advertisers are utilizing its performance ad platform to target and reach users around the world.

This article presents analysis of, and recommendations for, three recent self-serve advertising campaigns on Facebook.

Virgin America

About the Ad

This Virgin America ad unit invites users who “love travel” to “hop on the next flight and enjoy RED.” The ad unit relies on the message implicit in the image used — an unusual, futuristic-looking interior of a passenger airplane that communicates Virgin’s different and modern brand personality.

The ad also relies heavily on the brand recognition that many young people (and Facebook users) likely have for the Virgin America brand, using simply “VIRGIN AMERICA” as the unit’s headline. The ad creative is broadly focused around the unique Virgin America in-flight experience, characterized by a dark, purple-and-red interior, and entertainment offerings (including live television).

Implied or Explicit Offer

A unique, modern, and entertaining flight experience. (“Love TRAVEL?” Then hop on the next flight and enjoy RED”)


“Hop on the next flight and enjoy RED”

Destination Page Content

The destination page is at virginamerica.com, and displays an airfare promotion between two cities in California and Dallas, Texas, a new Virgin America service destination opening December 1, 2010. The landing page contains text that refers back to the original offer implied in the Facebook ad unit: “Flying without live TV, WiFi, leather seats, power outlets and food on-demand is just plain un-American.”


Virgin America geo-targeted this ad to Facebook users in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Although the main offer (a fare sale for flights between these two Californian cities and Virgin’s new hub in Texas) was not enunciated in the initial ad, Facebook’s geographic targeting persisted throughout the conversion funnel.


While it’s likely that Virgin America chose its entertainment-focused ad creative based on research findings for their audience, this ad campaign may also have benefited from a more direct expression of the offer at hand — an entertaining, and, even more important, inexpensive flight between the targeted user’s city of San Francisco to the newest urban destination in Virgin’s growing portfolio of American hubs.

Whole Foods Market Coddington

About the Ad

The Whole Foods Market Coddington ad unit displays an enticing image of a popular bakery item, a branded description of the item, and the news that the item is available at a discount through a time-limited sale. The ad was displayed to a San Francisco-based Facebook user profile that is a fan of the general Whole Foods Market Facebook fan Page.

Coddington is the name of a shopping center housing this Whole Foods Market brand, and it is located in Santa Rosa, California, a city that is approximately 55 miles north of San Francisco.

Implied or Explicit Offer

Sale-pricing for a bakery item (“Greenlee’s Bakery Cinnamon Bread — a sweet lover’s delight! ON SALE TODAY ONLY!”)


“LIKE us & come in for this sweet deal!”

Destination Page Content

This ad takes the user to a custom landing tab on the Facebook fan page of Whole Foods Market Coddington. The tab itself presents a seasonal promotion for Thanksgiving-related food items, and displays an appealing image that is actually an embedded YouTube video. The YouTube video is a Thanksgiving-oriented commercial for Whole Foods Market Coddington, featuring testimonials from local customers and staff, and had received 1,164 views at the time that this article was written. The destination page content contains no further mention of the bakery item highlighted in the ad.

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