6 Rules For The Elusive Facebook Ad

We don’t want to scare you or anything, but as far as rules go, these aren’t guaranteed. Such is the beast of the Facebook Ad. It is a topic of much discussion and strong opinion, and while we have had our fair share of success with the little digital monsters, we also have seen a campaign totally plummet into the proverbial ground. The social media graveyard that is advertising platforms, Facebook has made a lot of tweaks to their services. From restructuring the upload interface, splicing out campaigns, and targeting – there is never too much knowledge when it comes to advertising on Facebook. Here are our quick and dirty (well, not that kind of dirty) tricks to keep in mind and a couple important tenants that can apply across the board:

·      Know Your Meme: Early on in my social media game, when Facebook first made a strong push to brands on putting money down for sidebar ads, I thought I had the ultimate recipe. And that concoctions’ main ingredient was a straightforward knowledge of Internet humor. There were hits and misses for sure, but the ones that “missed” were because of a simple advertising reality: I wasn’t selling anything – I was making a joke. Take it for what you will, but unless that joke is revolutionary, it’s not going to sell anything in a Facebook Ad. Depending on what you “sell”, the conversion rates might not matter anyway, branding can carry further in the long tail. Regardless, if you’re going for the joke, it had better be funny.

·      Use Your People: One of the best tools that Facebook introduced was the “Power Editor” with the feature to import email addresses or name targets. Basically, you can utilize your email newsletter to do a highly targeted ad to those who already have an interest. I know, a lil creepy, but not the worst thing – especially on the marketing end. You can even export from MailChimp directly. The best is when you can speak to those who, say, didn’t open last month’s newsletter and missed a discount, so you can use it in the copy to really trigger a click-through.

·      Show, Don’t Tell:  Well… you should Tell too but no one likes bad art. Creative is totally important to any advertising campaign – with Facebook, specifically, I was surprised to find that the creative I thought would work, usually didn’t. In fact, in a recent campaign, I was happily shocked to notice that the brand logo was actually more appealing than an action-packed interesting photograph. Goes to show you that simple works. And also goes to show that you should ALWAYS use the six image options Facebook offers you in a single ad.

·      UseYourSpace: This is the worst part of Facebook Ads – word count. Actually, most “marketing gurus” (whatever that means) would probably say it’s a blessing; less is more kinda thing. There is definitely an art to crafting a message down to its’ core, and it becomes a cringe-worthy endeavor when you have the added pressure of a 25 character headline and 90 character text body… that’s including spaces! It took some practice, but my character elimination skills are top-notch. Knowing when a word needs to be sacrificed for the greater good of the message is a vital talent. If you use Twitter then you know what I mean.

 ·      Stay Relevant: Some of the best campaigns I’ve ever managed piggybacked off a very packed editorial calendar. One that had an exciting or relevant event / holiday / ceremony / etc which we could create a compelling concept around. The numbers don’t lie. For example, in the recent excitement of the World Cup, we rocked a pretty great campaign – and then – the U.S. Team lost (weeping silently at those words) and our numbers, along with our chances of winning that beautiful gold trophy, dropped out. Goes to show you that when your audience is genuinely excited, and you tap into it, you’ll always be winner.

·      Try Everything: There is no formula. Certain ads work better than others and it’s based on a litany of variables: time displayed, set budget, placement on page, bidding style, and the mood or filter of your audience. The best part is you can run simultaneous campaigns that are basically identical EXCEPT for each variable that you’re not 100% sure won’t kill your conversions. This process sets you up for victory no matter the outcome, because even if you didn’t make product sales that translate into major $$$, you’ve got killer data in your corner for the next attempt or the evidence to suggest that it’s a loosing game entirely and spend that money elsewhere. Knowledge is power, people.


Let me know if you have any tricks of your own or questions about Facebook ads on (duh) our Facebook Page or, if 140 characters is just enough for you, find us on Twitter.