Lots of people are still on the fence about Facebook ads.

"Do they actually work?" "Will all of my interaction come from spam accounts?"

These are the questions we hear most often in relation to advertising on this platform.

But managing the social media outlets for several clients in various industries, we've seen Facebook ads produce powerful results (on a relatively small budget.) In fact, one client saw a 66% increase in monthly website visits from one Facebook ad campaign.

There is, however, a "secret sauce" to creating effective Facebook ads. You really need to have a game plan going in so yo don't waste your precious time or financial resources.

Lucky for you, we're sharing the strategies we've learned from trial and error today so that you can feel more confident about testing out this advertising medium.

Part One: Choose a Strong Image

Sure, it's easy to grab a stock image or snap a quick smartphone picture on the go. But when you're creating an ad, pretend you're a magazine photography editor. Find (or create) an image that's well composed, colorful, and makes the scrolling reader pause. In general, you should:

  • Feature a product or person from your business (It's proven that people like pretty things and human faces in images on social media)
  • Use high-quality images (Good lighting, solid composure)
  • Relate to the copy you'll include (More on that below)
  • Evoke an emotional response (Do puppy photos make you smile?)
  • Align with your other images (Stick to one filter to create a sense of cohesiveness)
  • Don't get stale (Don't be afraid to change your ad image if you see interaction begin to drop off)

Think of it like this: The image is the attention grabber, and the copy is what seals the deal. So, let's talk copy...

Part Two: Craft Great Copy

The words that you'll include in your Facebook ad are limited, so you need to make them count. Here's the process l typically follow when building Facebook ad copy:

  1. Define your objective. Pick one objective that you want your ad to accomplish. That might be website clicks, app downloads, etc. Facebook will have you select your goal as step one in the process. Your copy should cleverly convince the reader to do just what you want them to.
  2. Decide who you're writing for. Don't try to be everything to everyone. Think about your ideal customer and the pain points he or she faces. Write copy that speaks directly to that person.
  3. Remove the hard sell. Typically, the flashy sales strategy employed by car dealerships won't fly on Facebook. Instead, keep a conversational tone. Make your reader laugh, or cry, or stop and think.
  4. Be direct. Include a price when you can! It eliminates uncertainty and gives the reader a reason to act.
  5. Put a time frame on it. Urgency is a powerful motivator...and so is exclusivity. Encourage your reader to act right now rather than thinking it over (and maybe talking him or herself out if it.)

Part Three: Define, Target, and Place Ads

This last part relates to the ins and outs of how you'll target your ad and where it will display to Facebook users.

First, you need to define a few important things: One being your budget. I suggest starting small with a budget of $100-$500. Then, as you get the hang of things and find out what works well for your audience, you can increase the amount slowly.

You also need to put a time frame on your campaign. Will it run for a week? A day? Shorter campaigns (less than two weeks) help keep your ads fresh.

When targeting, you can customize your audience based on location, gender, behaviors, interests, and more. Your main objective here is to define that ideal customer and then fill out those sections based on that persona.

Ask yourself, "What age range does my ideal customer fall in? What are his/her interests and hobbies? What's important to him/her?" These questions will help dictate how you target.

Then, think about placement. In my experience, Facebook ads placed only on the Desktop feed and in the mobile feed are most effective. Right-side bar placement and placement within Facebook's extended network (outside sites) have not produced great results, so I always stick with desktop/mobile display.

Bombs away!

Now it's go time. Launch your campaign, and carefully monitor the results each day. If you're into testing your ads, try running three ads at the same time, but with a different take on each one. This will help you more quickly understand what resonates with your audience.

The bottom line

Are you still going to get some junk interactions? Most likely. But that happens with any kind of ad. If you've done your targeting correctly, that shouldn't be as much of a concern.

Before writing Facebook ads off completely, do some research of your own. Test them. Tweak them. You might be pleasantly surprised at how effective they can be.