How to Write an Effective Facebook Ad
Haiku is a highly structured form of Japanese poetry designed to communicate emotion and feeling in the fewest possible syllables. It is the ultimate form of efficient communication and can help guide the creation of an effective Facebook Ad.
What does this really have to do with Facebook? Particularly in Facebook Advertising, the number of allowable characters – like syllables – are pre-set. With only so many characters that can be displayed among all the Facebook advertising distribution channels, you only have so many characters to work with. Efficient wording and content structure requires planning and no small amount of creativity.
A Facebook Ads Haiku:
Facebook ads are easy
Provide a reason for action
And a good image
Facebook Ad Pitfall
Advertisers typically want to build an entire case for consumers to take an action and insert far too much information into the allotted Facebook ad space. This frequently leaves the reader confused about what he/she should do.
Clearly stating the reason for the message as well as detailing an easy-to-execute call to action can eliminate reader confusion and increase the opportunity for reader engagement. And of course, this must be done in a limited space.
Structural Elements to Facebook Ads
Making an ad or message interesting in just a few character spaces is a challenge! Facebook distributes its ads on desktop, mobile as well as in separate ad formats – all of which display quite differently. There are also only three areas of an and in which text may be displayed. In all, you have only four elements to the advertising message; text, image, headline and link description.
The desktop ad below shows placement for the messaging portion of the Facebook ad.
This same ad content displays quite differently when viewed in the “desktop right” format:
Note how the Text and Headlines are moved around and the Link Description drops altogether in the second illustration. A common error some advertisers make is to insert a meaningful part of the message into the Link Description – which then does not get displayed in many channels. Note also the absence of the “Book Now” button on the desktop right format. This means that the call to action should be included within the text.
Making it all Fit
To make all the content fit, Facebook recommends the following limitations on text:
• Text: 90-character limit
• Headline: 25-character limit
• Link Description: 30-character limit
There are instances where you might overrun the Link Description element as it won’t appear on most channels. However, it does display well on the desktop ad version. It is important to look at all formats when designing your message and then test the display before publishing.
Messaging in such a compact space of course needs to be efficient. It also needs to have a specific objective such as attracting website visits or page likes. An ad is designed to inspire the reader to take an action, but with such limited space, it is important to inspire the reader to simply engage or find out more.
Phrases such as “check out the….” Or “learn more” are common in an effective Call to Action (CTA). Getting a good idea of what you want to accomplish before you start stringing words together really helps.
The “What” and the “Why”
When putting together your test, consider two elements.
• What the issue is, and
• Why the reader should take the action requested
In total, you have 115 character-spaces to make your case. “Book now”, “call today” or “learn more” are all effective CTAs. The “learn more” admonition implies that the reader may get more information by clicking and visiting your website. And on your website, you have all the character space you need.
A good rule of thumb is that you use the Headline to make the value statement or the communicate the reason the reader should take notice. The Text portion should then explain why and how the reader should respond. This is of course easier said than done in 115 total characters.
Directing the reader to a landing page on your website has its own challenges. When you lead a reader to your site, Google sees this interaction. If readers quickly drop off your site, the search engines are likely to determine that your landing page doesn’t provide the information or value you promised. Accordingly, the page won’t be recognized as relevant or important. This would be a major opportunity missed to improve your page and website authority necessary for a strong search engine presence. Make sure the page to which you are directing readers provides valuable information and retains their interest!
Facebook Ad Images
The first thing readers notice about your Facebook ad is the image. After all, humans are primarily visual in what captures attention first. As an advertiser, you must capture reader attention before you have any hope of communicating a message.
Recommended size for a Facebook ad image is straightforward… 1,200 x 628 pixels. Finding or creating an image that will attract the attention to your message is another matter. Images used in FB advertising should be authentic, interesting, compelling, eye-catching and can even be humorous. Most stock photos are none of these things, so creating an effective Facebook ad frequently includes taking a few pictures yourself.
Getting the Shot
Fortunately, your phone doubles as a pretty good camera, so getting some great shots might not be as daunting as it sounds. Friends and associates may already have usable images that you can use. Even without a formal photography background, you can get some great images just by watching and observing. Taking pictures simply involves capturing an image of people being themselves and experiencing emotions that you want to convey in your ad.
Excitement, happiness, disappointment, dread are useful emotions for capturing attention. Thinking about the kind of emotions that you might use or try to inspire to give the reader cause to visit your website or get more information.
The real purpose of an ad image though is to separate the reader from where he/she “is” and introduce them to a new train of thought. An image that inspires emotion – such as something pleasant or something to be avoided, captures the reader’s attention.
Image strategies can include either an image of something pleasant – like walking on a beach,
or something to be avoided – like making a poor behavioral decision.
Using a real image as opposed to a stock photography shot, always works better. Images that you take yourself are almost always more authentic and ‘real.’ Readers can sense when something is overly staged. And if the ad image is too perfect or staged, credibility can be lost. If your image is realistic, authentic and interesting – as opposed to an obvious stock shot, viewers will be more likely to give you the attention you need and be receptive to your message.
Bringing it all Together
Even if you are not a great author or photographer, you can still create Facebook ads that get results. The key is in creating a succinct message, presenting an image that will inspire others to read your message and building it all within the Facebook guidelines.
Fortunately, Facebook provides all the test views you need to try different images and text configurations. Once you arrive at an ad you think will work, hit “submit!” If it doesn’t generate the results you want, it is very easy to try another image, another audience or another set of text. Facebook has some excellent tutorials if you run into trouble or have questions.
Check in with the Blizzard Blog often! Future articles will include Facebook audience creation, testing and creative messaging. With many years of experience in the online and digital space, Blizzard Internet Marketing helps clients achieve visibility in their target markets and drives sales and revenue growth. Have questions? Contact us today!