I did a detailed post for you with step by step guidelines for audience targeting with Facebook ads.
In which I covered everything from setting up your ad campaign to zooming-in to your perfect audience with advanced targeting features.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend reading it first before starting with this blog post.
This post, however, is about just one aspect of Facebook marketing – creating effective and high-conversion Facebook News Feed Ads.
What You'll Learn In This Post
- Why it's best to start Facebook advertising with news feed ads.
- How to create eye-catching ads that your target audience cannot ignore
- The simple formula to reduce the cost per click for your ads
- An easy way to test your ads and find the best performing ad
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)
What Exactly Are News Feed Ads?
If you're like me, and most other internet users, I'm sure you hate banner ads by Google and other advertisers that appear on different websites.
They disrupt user experience and are just plain annoying.
So it's no surprise that more than 54% users don't trust banner ads and a whopping 30% find them completely intolerable.
Facebook learned from this and came up with an innovative way to display ads without annoying its users.
As the name suggests, Desktop News Feed ads appear as normal posts in the news feed of a Facebook user.
And that is exactly why they're so effective - because they don't look like ads!
They can, however, be recognized by the ‘sponsor’ tag at the top and, in some cases, a call to action.
Mobile news feed ads appear the same way, with slight changes in size and style.
I know of several niche businesses that have grown exponentially over the last few years using news feed ads.
For example, Steve Voudouris, grew the Facebook page of his business ExtremeTerrain.com to almost 250,000 fans and built a thriving automotive parts & accessories business using Facebook news feed ads.
There are countless other examples of how using news feed ads the right way can help niche businesses thrive on Facebook.
The 4 Things All Successful Facebook News Feed Ads Have
Facebook news feed ads help you earn you a lot more eye-balls than right column or Instagram ads.
But that doesn’t mean your ad is automatically going to drive action as well.
An effective advertisement is not only eye-catching but is also persuasive enough to drive action from the user.
If you look closely, most high-conversion Facebook news feed ads have these 4 things in common.
Effective Facebook Ads Use Eye-Catching Visuals
What’s the best chance for your ad unit to stand out and get noticed by a Facebook user scrolling down his news feed?
An eye-catching image, of course!
90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual, and our brains process visual information almost 60,000 time faster than text.
Like all other social networks, Facebook also gives preference to visual content because it drives much greater user engagement.
As Chelsea shows in this post, you’d never find an effective Facebook news feed ad that’s bringing in lots of click and leads, with a bad or dull image.
But what kind of images work better when it comes to Facebook advertising?
Headshots with Strong Emotions
According to Search Engine Land, images that feature happy women and human headshots are most effective.
Contrasting Color Combinations
The colors used in your ad image is another key factor that has a huge impact on the effectiveness of your ad.
As a rule of thumb, always use colors that make your ad stand out from everything else on a user’s news feed.
Your objective is to get the user’s attention, so choose colors that do not easily blend with the surroundings.
The primary color scheme of Facebook is blue and white.
So any contrasting colors should work well, as long as you avoid dark blue.
For example, orange color is a direct contrast to dark blue, and should immediately catch the user’s eye.
Here’s a good example of using these contrasting color with a high-quality image, in a subtle way.
High-Quality Image with the Right Size
Your ad image is the first thing that the majority of users will notice. So make sure it’s the right size and quality. Here’s a detailed infographic on Facebook image guidelines.
Images are the most important part of your Facebook news feed ad unit.
You should spend the most time finding or creating the right image for your ad, even if it means hiring a designer and spending some money.
There’s no point spending thousands of dollars on advertising if your images aren’t making people take notice.
Find or create 3-4 high-quality images for your ads, and then split test to find the one that converts the best.
Successful Facebook Ads Are Relevant to the Target Audience
Can you imagine spending all that money on Facebook ads that are not relevant to your target audience?
It sounds bizarre, but many marketers create ads that do not connect with their target audience and end up appearing irrelevant.
When you’re creating an ad, think from your customer’s perspective.
What is the one thing about your ad that’ll immediately make them take notice?
Following one of the fundamental marketing principles, create your ad around the core benefits of your product, not the features.
Identify the pain point of your audience and create an ad that effectively communicates with them.
To help you with this, Facebook Ads manager shows an ad relevance score for every ad unit.
The ad relevance score is based on the data Facebook has about your target audience and their behavior towards other similar ads.
A high score means that your audience is likely to respond positively to your ad unit.
A low score, on the other hand, means there’s a good chance your target audience would ignore, close or even mark your ad as irrelevant.
A high relevance score also means a lower cost per click for your ad campaign (and vice versa).
So for example if you run a retargeting campaign for your niche website about weight loss for new moms, the relevance score would tell you how likely your target audience is to respond positively to your ad.
Winning Facebook Ads Show an Attractive Value Proposition
You can’t get people to click on your ad if they don’t see any value in it.
It’s that simple.
And all successful Facebook ads do a great job at highlighting their value proposition.
In plain words, a value proposition tells your target audience why they should click on your ad. It’s something persuasive enough to make them take action. It can be anything that makes you different.
For example, the value proposition for Stuart’s “Download 1781 Done for You Niche Reports” is simple:
It’s offering users to save hundreds of hours of niche research and providing them reliable and in-depth reports developed by niche marketing experts.
This news feed ad is also a good example of a clear value proposition.
What’s the first thing that caught your eye in this ad?
If you’re like the rest of us, it should be the words “free trial”.
Plus, the ad description also mentions that they use no artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors.
Every Effective Facebook Ad Includes a Clear Call-To-Action
You don’t create ads just to look good. You create them because you want people to take specific actions.
And no matter how subtle your message is, you’d ALWAYS want to add a clear call to action with every ad.
Just tell them in clear words what you want them to do.
For news feed ads, Facebook has different call to action buttons depending on your objective.
So instead of using the plain old “submit” button, use action based text like “Click Here”, “Download”, “Learn More” etc.
AdRoll experimented with different call to action buttons in their Facebook advertising campaigns, and came up with some really interesting results.
But calls to action are not limited to just the ad buttons.
You also need to add CTA’s to your ad headline and description text by using action words.
For example, look how this Starbucks ad uses action words both in the link description and link meta.
Plus, it clearly highlights the time and date of the event to help users take action.
Creating an Effective Facebook News Ad
So, now that we’ve taken a good look at some of the best practices to follow when creating Facebook news feed ads, let’s quickly go through the step by step process of actually creating an ad unit.
I won’t go into the details of setting up an ad campaign, configuring an ad set and fine tuning your audience targeting.
Because I’ve already covered that in detail in my previous post (Click Here to read it).
But I’ll give you a quick recap of Facebook’s Ad hierarchy.
Facebook ads have 3 layers.
- Ad Campaign: This is where you choose the objective of your ad.
- Ad Set: This is where you choose your target audience, ad schedule and budget.
- Ad Unit: This is where you create the actual ad design (the things that we’ve talked about in this post)
So we’ll jump straight to the third layer, Ad.
Start this step by naming your ad unit.
This is important because each Ad Set can contain multiple Ads, so you need to name them to allow tracking.
When creating an Ad unit, you need to configure two things
- Ad Format
- Ad Creatives (images/videos and text content)
There are primarily two types of ad formats.
- A single image or video in your ads
- Multiple image or carousel ads.
The latter, carousel ads, is a growing trend especially among eCommerce businesses.
It gives advertisers additional flexibility by allowing them to display multiple images, videos, links and calls to action in the same ad unit.
According to Search Engine Watch, carousel ads are driving 10 times more traffic as compared to other types of Facebook ads.
However, it’s still an evolving ad type that is more suitable once you’re familiar with Facebook advertising and have run a few campaigns.
Keep it simple at the start and stick to the single image news feed ad which is also a great way to drive traffic to your landing page (which is the primary marketing objective of most niche marketers).
In the single image/video news feed ad, you need to configure five things
- Text description of the post
- Ad images
- Ad headline
- Ad link description under the headline
- A Call to Action
Start by choosing the images for your ad unit.
You have the option to upload your own images or choose from Facebook’s free stock images.
However, make sure that the images you choose have minimal to no text content.
Previously, Facebook did not allow any ad images with more than 20% of text content.
While that rule has now been relaxed slightly, Facebook still does not encourage using too much text content in images and may not give your ad any exposure if it has too much text.
You can use Facebook’s text overlay tool to see if your image is acceptable.
Keep the image guidelines that I mentioned earlier in this post.
Once you find the right image, upload it to your ad unit.
You can add up to 6 images per ad, but don’t do it in your first few campaigns.
Also, make sure your you’re creating the ad for desktop news feed only. Disable all other placement types (mobile news feed, Instagram etc.)
Why? I’ll explain this in a moment.
For now just choose your image and move to the next step, which is setting up your headline and description text.
Facebook will automatically connect your Facebook page with this ad campaign (unless you have multiple pages).
Next, add the URL of your landing page.
Your headline is the second most important component of your Facebook ad unit.
As I mentioned earlier, you need to use words that drive action and generate interest in your ad.
You can create headlines up to 25 characters, but according to AdEspresso, the best and most effective Facebook Ad headlines are 5 words or less.
They also found that headlines that included words like Free, New, You and Instantly had a much higher click through rate.
The same trend was found in the text and link descriptions (although they allow more characters; up to 90 to be exact).
Post text and News Feed Link Description (found under advanced options) are both crucial for your ads conversion rates. Here’s some really good advice on getting them right.
Finally, you’re required to add a call to action to your ad unit. It’s not compulsory, but as I explained earlier in the post, you should always add a CTA to your advertisements.
Once you’re done with this step, click “Place Order” and wait for Facebook’s approval (doesn’t take long).
Test Multiple Ads for Best Results
I asked you to choose just one image and limit your ad to desktop news feed only.
Because if you choose multiple images for the same ad and run it mobile and desktop at the same time, you won’t be able to test different ads because you won’t know which factors are causing the change.
But now that your ad is limited to just one image and desktop news feed only, you can create 2-3 other similar ads and test them against the first ad.
To do that, go to Ads Manager and click on the Ad Campaign you’ve just created.
Here, choose “Ads in this campaign” from the drop down menu
This will take you to the ad unit that you’ve just created. Click on the ad unit to go to its dashboard where you’ll be able to create a similar ad.
Now create a new ad, with exactly the same text content, but with a different image, and click on “Place Order” to submit your ad. Repeat this process one more time and create a third ad unit with a new image.
Remember, all three of these ads are placed on desktop news feed only.
Once they’re approved and start running, monitor them for 24 hours and review the performance of each ad. Keep the best performing ad and get rid of the other two.
You can use this same process to test other elements of your ad like headlines, placement platform, link text etc.
But always one factor at a time for accurate testing.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)
Are You Ready to Create Your First Ad?
This is it as far as creating an image based news feed ad is concerned.
There can be dozens of other variations of this ad but, as I said earlier, it’s better to start with a simple ad that helps you get familiar with Facebook’s advertising tools and options.
So, what are you waiting for? Start playing with Facebook news feed ads and let me know how it goes.