The use of social media ads is crucial to many companies. However, to succeed in this endeavour and achieve the desired results, it's important to create the right ads.
– If your ads aren't relevant, it doesn't matter how skilled you are at setting them up. They still won't convert, explains Josefine Billström, Creative Strategist at Facebook.
We know that the competition online is extreme, but we still seem to think that we can be successful as long as we spend enough money on our content or ads. The truth, however, is brutal; it doesn't matter how much money you throw at a project if your content isn't spot on. Your ad will still drown in the ocean of happy babies and fun videos.
There are three fundamental building blocks to pay attention to, according to Josefine.
– The first step is to understand your target group, what you want to create, and what's best for the brand.
You may use the ad tools on the platforms to hit these targets.
– A very common mistake people make is that they think they already know the answer instead of casting a wider net and learn from the results. Your job as an advertiser is to understand your target group, while it's the platform's task to reach that target group, says Josefine Billström.
– Take into account that it's difficult to predict what will work. I notice this as well, although I have worked with this for quite a few years now. At times I am surprised by how effective certain ads are or vice versa. It's healthy for the ego to be reminded that you can, indeed, make mistakes.
Create more ads!
The best way to learn is to keep on testing new things, even if you are a seasoned Facebook advertiser.
– It's easy to get stuck in old ways. You may have a message that works well in one instance, and then you just copy it across the board. After a while, it won't have the same effects. A way to tackle this is to create different ads for different target groups. We usually recommend that you have 3-4 ads with different messages for different target groups. Test them on your regular target group, invest in a wider span, and look at the data to see who you've reached. Don't try to create a "one size fits all".
So, you shouldn't be afraid of using a variety of ads?
– No, absolutely not. We clearly see that advertisers who use more ads get better results.
How many ads do you recommend that people use?
– It certainly depends on the nature of your work. If you create branding ads, you can try 3-4 different ads, but from a performance standpoint... Then you can put out as many ads as you like.
– It's essentially a matter of allowing the system to tell you when it's time. You'll notice when an ad has been "exhausted", and it's time for a change. But when you do make a change, it's essential to keep the old one to check whether the new ad actually performs better.
So, I don't need to feel bad about using an old ad as long as it's still delivering?
– No, but you should, of course, create a new ad and see if it can deliver even better results. Don't remove something that's working, but what if you could create an ad that converts twice as well!
"Relevant" trumps "pretty"
As an advertiser, it can be nice to know that your success rarely depends on whether you have made a "pretty" ad or spent a lot of money on it.
– No, the main thing on our channels is the creative content. We have seen that 56% of a brand's sales boost can be attributed to the look of the ads, and not in terms of how we tend to think of "quality". There is no need to use an advanced camera or a super expensive director, but the focus is rather on relevance.
Should I use a different approach when promoting editorial content in comparison to ads?
– You should always start with the user perspective. All ads are delivered in the same flow, and from the users' point of view, it's often difficult to notice the difference. You simply need to have equally high demands on everything you produce because the competition in the feed is so extreme.
– It's also important to get these parts to work in harmony. Sometimes I meet companies with a performance team, a content marketing team, a branding team, and an influencer marketing team, and at times they don't even adhere to a concise visual identity. It will end up being quite expensive, and you won't get the same value from your investment.
But is visual identity really that important?
– Absolutely! We did a large meta-study that showed that advertisers with a clear visual identity got a 67% boost in optimized conversions and advertising recall. 71% had a higher return on ad spend. Those who also incorporated their branding in the entire had got an even bigger boost.
– I think this comes down to the fact that we are bombarded with so many messages on a daily basis. Your ad shows up between posts from friends or groups, and for it to be effective, the receiver needs to know who's behind the ad.
How can we sufficiently incorporate our branding?
- We usually talk about four parameters in particular:
1) The logo. Make sure that it's clearly visible. Maybe you can animate it?
2) Colors. It's imperative to work with distinct branding colors.
3) Your fonts. Especially if they are a branding characteristic.
4) The last parameter is what we call mnemonic. It relates to other things associated with your brand; a jingle, a character, or a slogan.
– You can work with this in different ways, either with all four or place more focus on one or a couple of them.
Video is important
Is it essential to work with video?
– Yes, it is. On social platforms, you want to engage as many senses as possible, and video is perfect for that. But "video" doesn't need to be a perfect, highly produced video. I also see many good examples of using motion graphic design with still images to create video content.
– We have also seen that you get the best results when you use a mix of both still image ads and video ads, so create both!
What should I do if I get stuck creatively?
– There are many ways to deal with that; for example, you can start by asking three questions: Why do people need this product? What IS this product? Perhaps it isn't apparent to everyone. It's easy to lose perspective and expect everyone to understand the product as well as you do. You can also take the emotional route: what feeling do we want to evoke with this product?
What does a beginner need to consider?
– Just get started! It's very easy to set up an ad account and start testing. I think that's a great way to get started. Create an ad or boost something you have published already and see how it performs and ask yourself why.
– We also offer a vast number of guides, courses, and other free resources that you can use to become really good at advertising, but I really think that it's best to get started in a simple way and learn along the way. Nobody gets it all right from day one.
4 creative best practices from Facebook
- Mix still images and moving content.
- Clarify the brand and the main message during the first three seconds.
- Make sure to show them the product or service. Don't try to be a bit mystical or obscure. Instead, be direct and very distinct.
- Use short copy. It's better to stay under 280 characters for optimal user experience, although it isn't a requirement.
5 thumb-stopping techniques
- Place your product against contrasting colors to make it pop. Preferably one of your brand colors.
- Start with the thing that stands out to draw people in.
- Feel free to work with animated text to make it easier for people to read. The usual subtitles can be difficult for people to read.
- Use engaging questions.
- Be quick and use fast clips and movements.