Facebook campaigns are often thrown together as a last resort to boost bookings or sales. This is because they are easy to set up and have a relatively low cost per conversion. However, they require more thorough planning if they are to be successful.
Facebook campaigns need building, ensuring each step is carefully crafted to ensure you’re able to get what you want out of the campaign and, preferably, for the lowest cost.
With users typically scrolling passively through newsfeeds, you only have a few seconds (maximum!) to grab their attention so, as content creators and advertisers, we don’t have it easy.
Once you’ve set your objective and targeting, all that remains is your creative – don’t fall down at the last hurdle.
Format and placement
Facebook supports a variety of advertising types, enabling your ads to appear on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and/or Audience Network. Each ad is made up of two components: the format and the placement.
Format defines what your ads look like. Choose from single image, single video, slideshow, carousel, collection and instant experience (aka canvas).
Placement defines where you want your ads to be displayed within Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and/or Audience Network:
- Facebook (feeds, instant articles, in-stream videos, right column, suggested videos, marketplace, stories)
- Instagram (feed, stories)
- Messenger (inbox, stories, sponsored messages)
- Audience Network (native, banner and interstitial, in-stream videos, rewarded videos)
It’s worth bearing in mind that the advertising objective selected at the start of the campaign impacts the formats and placements available to you at the creative stage.
Good copy writing is key to get your message across effectively and, ultimately, for a user to act on your advert.
- Keep the message clear and concise
Use simple language so users can easily and quickly understand your message when scrolling through their feeds. However, make the most of space! Don’t be afraid to use the fields available to you.
Which takes us nicely onto the next point …
- Keep in mind which formats and placements you are using
Some will display more copy than others (ie Facebook feed will display more copy than a right column ad) so ensure key information is included in the fields that are displayed consistently across all (or most) of the placements being used.
- If the ad is for an event or product, add detail
Add dates, costs etc. People want to know this information up front! Avoid leaving the user disappointed by encouraging them to click through to your ad only for them to realise they cannot afford the product or are unavailable on that date.
- Have one clear call to action
The audience should be able to easily and quickly understand what action they’re meant to take next.
Within Facebook, your audience can be highly targeted, based on age, gender, location, interests, behaviours or connections. You can even create custom audiences, for example users who have already visited a specific webpage. With the ability to target more effectively, don’t settle for a one-size-fits-all approach.
Try splitting out audiences and tailoring copy for each. This may involve more work at first as you have to create multiple ad sets within your campaign but you may see better campaign results in the long term.
- Use visuals that match your copy
You’ve spent the time writing the copy, so keep your imagery relevant to your message.
- Try to avoid copy on images or keep minimal at least
Consider the placements being used. Always ask yourself “will I be able to read the copy on mobile or in the right column?”
Ask yourself whether the imagery is accessible to everyone. Is key information displayed on the image? Will this be missed by users with impaired vision or those using a screen reader?
Facebook also has a review process that identifies the amount of image text used in an ad. Images with more than 20% text may be penalised, experiencing reduced delivery. So, if user experience isn’t a good enough reason, do it for yourself.
Where possible, steer clear of stock imagery. The audience will be able to relate better to imagery that’s more authentic.
- Consider different dimensions for different placements
If shown on Instagram feed, would you prefer a square version of the image? Maybe you’d prefer to use a square image for Facebook also, to stand out in the feed? Do you have vertical imagery to use on Instagram stories ads?
- Use the highest-quality source video available
Keep resolution high and try to avoid using video with black space around the edges (pillar boxing).
- Choose attention-grabbing video thumbnails
From a user perspective, if the thumbnail is boring it’s likely the video is boring.
- Consider video orientation
Today, 96% of online video consumption is on mobile (Social Chain, 2018) and people are using their phones vertically 98% of the time (Ogilvy, 2017). In a world centred on convenience, forcing users to turn their phone horizontally to watch video in widescreen is increasingly considered an inconvenience. If we want our video ads to be seen and, more importantly, watched, we need to be creating content that is optimised for mobile and building ads that match how users are consuming content. This means using square or vertical ratios.
- Integrate captions into your video
85% of Facebook users now watch videos with the sound off (Sprout Social, 2018) and this trend can also be seen across other platforms. It’s therefore important to make sure your video can be understood effectively both with and without sound. Use of captions, and closed captions, ensure the content can be accessed by everyone, including those with hearing impairments or cognitive and learning disabilities.
- Consider the length of your video
Ads under 15 seconds work best in feed and the top-performing Stories ads are under 10 seconds in length (Facebook and Oracle, Sept 2017). Notice that says ‘under’, so don’t use 10/15 seconds as a target length every time you produce a video. Trial using different video lengths and see what works best for you – shorter could, in fact, be better.
Test, test and test again
Facebook provides a split testing feature that allows you to test different variations of an advert to see which works best and improve future campaigns.
When setting up your next campaign, trial two different ads, varying the imagery or copy, to see which gets the best results.
This also helps to remove personal opinion when building the creative. Only the audience knows what it wants and the results may surprise you!
In need of inspiration?
Facebook has created an Ad Library to provide advertising transparency. What this also means is that we can search and browse all ads currently running across Facebook platforms. Just search for a name, topic or organisation and voila, ads for days!
Happy peeking and, most importantly, …