In our experience, and we have a fair bit, the image is almost always the most important element of any Facebook ad. Facebook is all about interruption marketing: you’re basically trying to catch your audience’s attention when they’re in the middle of something else. That means that you need to make that initial connection as quickly as possible – and nothing catches our attention as quickly as an image.
As the old cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s because our brains respond to images much more quickly than they do to text – 60,000 times more quickly, to be precise. When you think about it, we start to process visual data pretty much from the moment we open our eyes as infants, whereas most of us don’t start reading until the age of four or five; and being visual creatures, we can’t help but respond to an image.
One sure-fire way of capturing your audience’s attention is to use emotive images; generally, this means images of people, rather than objects. Human beings are also innately empathetic creatures (well, most of us anyway), so when we see an image of another person, we unconsciously make a connection to them – objects, not so much. Just remember, if your campaigns target lots of different territories, make sure that the people in your images look like the people in the area you’re targeting otherwise you run the risk of alienating your audience.
Make sure that the image you choose supports the message of your ad, paying special attention to the colours used. For instance, warm colours such as orange, red and yellow convey a sense of fun and energy, whereas cooler colours such as green and blue seem calmer and more trustworthy.
Another neat trick is to try changing the contrast on your image – you’ll be able to do this with pretty much any image processing program. Boosting the contrast by 15%-20% is an easy way to make your images stand out on your audience’s newsfeed.
Before creating your ads, always be sure to follow Facebook’s recommendations on the dimensions of your image. These change all the time, so check Facebook’s official specs whenever you create a new set of ads. After all, you want them to look their best.
Finally, always be sure to check the copyright of any image you intend to use, or you could find yourself in legal hot water. There are plenty of guides to this online, and remember: ignorance is no defence!
The next most important part of a Facebook ad is the headline. Once you’ve attracted your audience’s attention with a stand-out image, it’s time to start reeling them.
Should you ask a question?
Yes, you should. But you should always, always make sure that the answer is ‘yes’. By getting the audience to answer ‘yes’ in their minds means you’re tacitly building a rapport with them – and they don’t even know it yet.
It’s simple psychology: this initial ‘yes’ answer is the first in a series of what we like to call micro-commitments. Instead of diving straight in with your proposition (whatever that might be), you’re laying the groundwork and getting them to subconsciously associate your brand with a positive emotion. Clever, huh?
Remember what we said earlier about emotive images? Well, the same goes for headlines. At this stage in the customer journey you want to appeal to the heart, rather than the head. Let’s imagine that you’re running ads for accounting software. Instead of asking your prospect if they want to save time on their tax return (boring), try something like: ‘Want to spend more time with your family?’
A question like this tugs at the heartstrings and makes your audience think of the potential benefits of your product or service and how it can improve their lives. You can start appealing to their intellect on the landing page.
The body copy
The final element of your ad is the body copy – and yes, we have a psychological trick for that too: use an unfinished sentence. The human mind finds it almost impossible to read a sentence without…
…finishing it. See? This simple trick will have your audience dying to click on your ad so they can finish off that hanging sentence. Try it on your next ad campaign – you’ll be amazed at the results.
Testing, testing, one, two, three
One of the most important, yet all too often overlooked, aspects of a Facebook ad campaign, or any ad campaign for that matter, is split testing. This refers to the concept of running slight variations of each ad and comparing their performance. Then you can use your findings to inform subsequent campaigns.
For instance, you could try simultaneously running two sets of ads: one set that uses a normal image, and another that uses the same image with the contrast turned up 20% (as per our earlier tip). If you find you get more clicks and engagement with the high-contrast image, stick with that; and if the unaltered image performs better, go with that one.
Similarly, you can split test ad copy and headlines; ask a different question or change up the call-to-action to see which gets the most engagement. You can find inspiration by undertaking keyword research, in the same way that you would for Google PPC.
This approach can be applied to any aspect of your ad, from the headline to the call-to-action. It’s a great way of making informed decisions about your campaigns, rather than simply guessing at what your audience might respond to.
Ultimately, the main thing to bear in mind is that a Facebook advertiser’s work is never done; you need to keep a watchful eye on all your ads and make changes where appropriate, constantly tweaking until you get the results you want. Is it time-consuming? Yes. Can it be mind-numbingly boring? Absolutely. But a regime of continual improvements often makes the difference between a mediocre campaign and a great one that produces MASSIVE ROI for your business…hey, nobody said it was easy!
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We hope you enjoyed the article. If you did implement the above, you should see an increase in click throughs and leads!
All the best