The below includes:
- my basic theory of how to win on Facebook Ads
- inspiration from the all-time great advertisers
- summary of why those ads work
- examples of how we're doing this
Media-buying tactics are no longer the major differentiator on FB Ad performance. Advertisers win now by relying on algorithmic decision-making, which analyzes past data and projects future outcomes far better than a human can.
This is not news. Almost every true FB Ad expert I come across not only recognizes this, but trumpets it. "Creative is the difference." This is refreshing because it removes the often slimy, salesy black box of guru tactics from brand operators' concerns.
But here's the question I've been thinking about a ton: if creative is the difference, what kind of creative is the difference?
For awhile at @CommnThreadCo and 4x400, we thought of pure volume as an answer: create enough options so that at some point, you find a winner.
There is truth in this, but increasingly we're all looking to a different place: thoughtfully crafted ads, inspired by Ogilvy, Bernbach, and the other old school GOAT advertisers.
FB and IG are not magical. If it worked in print, why couldn't it on social?
Look at these two ads and ask yourself:
Why did they work?
What is happening for the consumer here?
What can you learn from them?
Here's what I'm learning from them
1. The product is the hero in the images. Each leads with an image that displays the product clearly and beautifully. It looks great and you know what it is immediately.
2. The headline does a ton of work. For the Rolls ad, the headline communicates so much in so few words.
For the VW ad, the headline is incredibly intriguing and attention-grabbing. Why would an advertiser call their own car a lemon? Now I have to keep reading.
At this point, I'm not saying, "The answer on FB is to be a world class copywriter." That's neither true nor helpful.
But there is a lesson here right away: great advertising starts with the product as the hero and an attention-grabbing headline. When advertisers are producing assets, designing, and writing ads, it starts there: show me the product clearly and give me an enticing headline.
In an FB/IG context, this is pretty straightforward, but I find smart people (often because they are smart and trying to be clever) easily miss this.
But there is another reason these ads work:
The long copy sells the product.
Let me stop you before you ask: no, I'm not saying "long copy sells, so make your copy longer." What I'm saying is: after the hero product image and the attention-grabbing headline, the advertiser has to sell the product. And here is where social ad formats create options.
"Selling" can be done a lot of ways, as long as it's persuasive. Analogies, info, arguments– these all can potentially work.
But more fascinating to me is "where" and "how" the modern social advertiser does this. What is the social equivalent of print ad long copy?
I can think of a few options:
- A longform sales lander
- The PDP
- The copy on the post itself
- Video in the ad
There are probably more, but those come to mind immediately. The point is: it's not about short or long, lots of copy or little copy, lander or PDP.
What it's about is moving the customer through the necessary steps to clearly demonstrate, explain, and sell the product.
To summarize the framework:
1. Hero product image
2. Attention-grabbing headline
3. Sell with more details/info/etc
On to the examples...
Both of the ads I'm about to show you are Prospecting ads that we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on at or above our target ROAS for the brand. Plus, continuing tweaks of all 3 components I've outlined can surely improve both. We're actively testing those.
For @bambuearth, we had a huge unlock with this ad:
Clicking through the ad takes you to a PDP, which we've loaded up with info.
This ad has changed Bambu Earth, and it's the exact format I outlined: product image --> enticing headline --> info.
Now check out this one from @FCGOODS:
In this case, the image/headline combo goes into an explainer video, which is functioning the same way as the long copy in the Rolls/VW ads.
(You'll have to click through to see the video)
The fascinating thing about this FC Goods ad is that we've also run variations with just the image/headline (no explainer) and just the explainer (no image/headline intro). Neither works. Combining them has created an ad that so far, we haven't been able to beat.
Before I go any further: I personally didn't create either of these ads. They were created by talented team members who were thinking carefully about this, and they get the credit.
OK, let's finish...
The point is that there is no magic and no secret guru sauce to winning on Facebook. The key is thoughtful execution within an intentional framework, while erring on the side of clarity above everything else.
The next variations of these that we'll create will all actively test those 3 components I outlined above. And here the algorithm is your greatest friend: leveraging FB's automated decision-making means you can test variations easily and statistically-significantly.
My hope is that this gives you a place to start with your own creative, whether you're a big brand or just starting out. Don't worry about secrets and tricks. Follow the experts. Their stuff still works.