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9 World-Class Facebook Ads Examples (& Why They Work)

9 World-Class Facebook Ads Examples (& Why They Work) Blog Feature

Ali Parmelee

Facebook Ads Lead, Paid Media Specialist, Speaker, 15+ years of PPC and Facebook Ads expertise

April 10th, 2019 min read

We spend a lot of time on social media every day. We may not like to admit how much, but it’s the truth.

Over two hours. Every. Day.

Time-Spent-on-Social-Media-INFOGRAPHIC-1Source: Digital Information World

Considering that we’re all on social media for at least one hour per day -- and I’m not saying which age bracket from above that I fall in -- we’re pretty familiar with scrolling through the news feed and what catches our attention (and what makes us roll our eyes).

Facebook has been clear that they are focusing on creating positive user experiences and engagement. An interesting byproduct of this focus is that there has been a major trend over the last three years -- their revenue per user has doubled, according to Hootsuite.

Even more important to know as a digital marketer, that positive user experience is not only for organic posts, it’s critical for Facebook ads too. It can affect your overall optimizations and how much your ads actually cost you.

With budgeting for social media advertising expected to double by 2023 according to Hootsuite, it’s time to take control of the ads you’re creating and make sure they convert.

When it comes to putting your money where your digital mouth is, how confident are you that you’re saying the right thing, reaching the right audience, and spending your digital marketing dollars wisely with your Facebook and Instagram ads?

(If you’re not sure how to budget, I break down what you should be spending on ads here.)

While creating, managing and optimizing millions of dollars of Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns, I’ve seen a lot of mistakes and wasted ad spend. Not to mention, that Facebook continues to evolve at breakneck speed based on what their users like.

Let’s talk about what you need to start incorporating into your ads right now and then review nine examples of it these best practices in action.

Videos Are Taking Over the Feed

Plain and simple—video is where it’s at right now. Long-format, short-format, super short-format. You name it, viewers are consuming it.

In fact, using one of my favorite extensions (Turbo Ad Finder) I can toggle to only see ads in my feed (I know this may seem crazy, but this is, after all, my specialty) and my feed is flooded with video ads.

Notice in this recording of my ads-only feed, that of the 12 ads in a row, eight are videos. Another thing to notice is that of those eight videos, six of them are square.

Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 10.28.33 PM

It’s Hip to be Square

Square format is also performing best right now, whether photos or videos. The reason is because the 1:1 ratio takes up more screen real estate—especially on mobile.

According to Facebook, videos that are mobile optimized increase brand awareness by up to 67%. 

Not to mention the added benefit that square images and videos work on both Instagram and Facebook, so you don’t have to split out your placements and ad spend so that you can get the added value of joint optimization.

Be Dynamic

I love that Facebook keeps testing new formats and developing new format options. Dynamic Creative is an amazing format available now. I am loving this because, in essence, it lets you create rapid-fire tests to quickly see what headlines and copy convert, what size imagery works best, if the audience converts better when they see videos or images, and so much more.  

Here’s an example of a test we’re running right now for IMPACT Live, our digital sales and marketing event, coming up in April (hint, hint...you’re coming, right?!).

Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 10.53.17 PM

We’re testing:

  • Images
  • Sizes of images
  • Body copy
  • Headlines
  • Descriptions
  • Calls to Action

Best Practices

Now that we’ve talked about what’s working right now, let’s review some best practices that you should always keep in mind.

Over the course of writing, building, launching and managing thousands of Facebook and Instagram ads, I’ve learned that following these rules of thumb can make or break the success of your ads.

  • Be helpful: Don’t let your ad feel like an ad. Use explainer and how-to videos to answer questions and help people understand your products and how you can help them.

  • Be authentic: Don’t use overly staged images or videos. In fact, User Generated Content (UGC) is becoming a big trend to use in ads because the images and videos are real. The end users can more easily relate the ad to themselves when it’s authentic. And shooting your own images or video to feel like UGC is also on-point.

  • Avoid using call-to-action buttons (when you can): They make your ads look like ads! Keep in mind you are required to include a CTA button when using video or dynamic creative. That’s okay, just make sure to follow the other best practices!

  • Square: As I mentioned above, use square format—video, single image, slideshows. Just reminding you!

  • Little or no text: Try to avoid text on images (especially on Instagram). If you do need to use text on images, make sure it is truly necessary to tell the story and keep it to a minimum—definitely under 20% or you’ll get dinged for poor ad performance experience. Here’s a link to upload your image to see if it follows Facebook’s 20% rule.

  • Stay on brand: Maintain your brand look and feel. Remember, and this is crucial, your ads could and should look like they fit in on your page feed. Don’t create ads that look 180 degrees away from your brand feed and grid.

  • Engage with people: They will be asking questions and commenting if you do it right. If people see unanswered comments, they will start to think/know it’s an ad and also assume that your digital customer service is poor.

  • Politely brag: If you have press mentions and awards, use them. They help to give you instant credibility.

  • Be Colorful: Carefully select colors that are on brand and will stand out. It could be a bright color, it could be using a full-color background. If you’re lucky, your product is bright too!

  • 👉 We 😍 Emojis: Using emojis in your copy can be a double threat— they help to “thumbstop” and they help make your ads look more authentic. Make sure to test (we love to test copy with and without emojis in our Dynamic Creative ads) to see what will convert. 🔥 (Bonus tip: Emojipedia is my favorite emoji library.)

  • Use Captions: Always make sure you use captions. Even if your video ad is only 20 seconds. Many times people don’t have their sound on and you don’t want to waste your ad dollars not getting your message across.

Ads in the Wild

Let’s put it all together now and review some of my favorite ads that are currently crushing it...and why. Keep in mind all of the best practices we just reviewed, as we’re going to use those on a scorecard for each ad.

Scorecard:

☑️ Square

☑️ Video

☑️ Authentic

☑️ Little or no text

Glossier Example 2

Scorecard:

☑️ Colorful

☑️ Little or no text

☑️ On brand

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 10.35.04 AM

Scorecard:

☑️ Helpful

☑️ Colorful

☑️ Square

☑️ Video

☑️ Little or no text/ + Captions

Ritual Example

Scorecard:

☑️ Helpful

☑️ Colorful

☑️ Square

☑️ Video

☑️ Little or no text/ + Captions

☑️ Polite brag

☑️ Emoji

 

BeautyBio example

Scorecard:

☑️ Colorful

☑️ Square

☑️ Video

☑️ Little or no text/ + Captions

☑️ Polite brag

☑️ Emoji (+ stickers for more authenticity)

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 12.04.16 PM

Scorecard:

☑️ Emojis

☑️ Square

☑️ On brand

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 12.10.53 PM

Scorecard:

☑️ Authentic

☑️ Square

☑️ On brand

☑️ Helpful

 

Allbirds Example

Scorecard:

☑️ Colorful

☑️ Square

☑️ On brand

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 12.24.45 PM

Scorecard:

☑️ Colorful

☑️ Square

☑️ Polite brag

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 12.33.56 PM

"What's Next?"

Remember not to think of your ads like ads. Instead treat them as part of your full funnel approach with helpful bits of content to guide people along their buyer’s journey. Remember the best practices above.

But most importantly, never be afraid to test. Then test more. And then keep testing. Facebook and Instagram will continue to evolve—and so should your paid social advertising strategy.

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