Companies have been flocking to Facebook and Instagram because of the unparalleled targeting, engaged audiences and the goal of highly profitable ads. I get asked frequently me what the “best” type of ad is on Facebook. The truth is, they are all capable of driving incredible ROAS (return on ad spend) when you know how to best utilize them.
I want to outline some tips & best practices that we have found to work the best.
Tips for all ads
Stand out. Remember that Facebook has a cool color scheme (blues, grays), so use bright colors like oranges, reds and yellows. I like the high contrast images and what we call pattern interrupt images. With all of the noise on the platform right now – you want to stand out (in a good way) with your ad image. With the majority of Facebook traffic being mobile, you’ll want to create “thumb-stopping” visuals and do it yesterday…
80/20 rule. I like to apply the 80/20 rule to text, assuming that the image/video will generally drive about 80 percent of performance and the copy around 20 percent. To maximize the impact of A/B testing, prioritize the visual over the copy.
Keep it concise. For copy, shorter is almost always better (notice I didn’t say always); within 90 – 120 characters is recommended. With most of our split testing – shorter wins 9 times out of 10.
I have found a great high-contrast image works incredibly well. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to put any text or logos in the image (aka – split testing). I’d also recommend placing a CTA (call to action) “button” on the image to increase perceived clickable space and better quality clicks. While keeping within 20 percent text/logo on images is no longer required, Facebook will still limit delivery when you go over this percentage or not show them at all.
Ensure you test several macro iterations: lifestyle, product/dashboard shots, illustrated and more. When you determine which performs best, move on to a series of micro-iterations.
Carousel ads are perfect for telling a visual “story” and can captivate a user’s attention by doing so. They’re also perfect for highlighting product variety.
No products? No problem. Use the carousel ad unit to explain your services, value props and brand differentiators.
If the order of the images and videos is not important to you, try uploading up to 10 and letting Facebook’s algorithm sort based on engagement with each card.
Dynamic ad tips
An obvious fit for retail and e-commerce, dynamic ads have become a retargeting powerhouse for many businesses. Broad audiences are also rolling out to all advertisers, which essentially turns this into a prospecting ad type.
Aside from retail and e-com, I encourage brands in travel, auto, real estate and food delivery to use dynamic ads — as they can all create product feeds.
In my experience, the carousel ad template generally performs best for dynamic ads. Ensure you are taking advantage of upsell and cross-sell capabilities to increase margins and revenue.
Also, take a segmented approach in ad set audiences based on recency, depth, and duration of visit while managing bids and budgets autonomously.
Video ad tips
A question I receive frequently from clients is, “Have you seen video outperform images?” The answer is yes, and while some verticals are better suited for video, it is a formidable tool for any brand.
The best tip I have is to keep video short — under 30 seconds, ideally. You should also optimize the thumbnail of your video ads and choose it with the same diligence you would a single-image ad.
While Facebook recently announced that videos will auto-play sound, I’d still recommend the use of text overlays in videos (think TV commercials and their use of sound and text).
Build audiences based off engagement with your video ads. Choose quality-defining metrics like users who have viewed 50 percent or more of your videos and use them for sequential messaging or look-a-like audiences for prospecting.
Canvas ad tips
Canvas ads allow you to take the user through a visually immersive experience contained within Facebook and Instagram. While I would not consider this the most direct response ad product on Facebook, it has its use cases.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the types of visual elements you can mix and match with Canvas. To drive action, ensure you are sprinkling multiple CTAs throughout the ad unit. Give the user multiple opportunities to continue through to your site and take action.
As with video, you can create audiences based off engagement metrics with this ad product.
Slideshow ad tips
Slideshow ads were originally intended to be used when advertising in areas with poor internet connectivity and to users with older mobile operating systems. We have been using this a lot lately for clients that don’t have a video (yet)
For creative, try testing your top-performing carousel ads as a start since slideshows are a looping video of up to 10 images. You can also treat these as lightweight “storyboarding” ads to gauge user engagement before you make a heavier investment in video or canvas ads.
So now that you have some ideas bouncing around – go out and get some new ads up!