How to Create a Successful Facebook Ad

The biggest social network in the world is a big draw for advertisers: in the past two years, two million advertisers started advertising on Facebook, and in the past 18 months the number of Facebook advertisers has doubled. Advertising revenue continues to go up, too: between 2015 and 2016, Facebook brought in $2.5 billion more advertising dollars, for a total of $6.8 billion in the third quarter of 2016. And the reason why is clear: in our social-media focused world, Facebook advertising has proven value—compared to normal web ads, desktop Facebook ads have 8.1 times higher click-through rates and mobile Facebook ads have 9.1 times higher click-through rates.

Spredfast understands the importance of finding the right audience for your content and advertisements and with Facebook, advertisers are able to do just that: Facebook has a trove of data on its 1.6 billion worldwide users. Advertisers can easily target specific groups using that data to reach 89% of their intended audience (compared with just 39% with other types of digital advertising).

But still, some brands succeed more than others with Facebook ads.

So what makes for a truly successful Facebook ad? Because advertisements on social media are not one-way conversations in the vein of television and print ads of yesterday, but are instead conversations, brands with successful social media ads don’t simply announce information to consumers, writes the Financial Times. Instead, successful brands on social connect directly with consumers on their path to purchase, moving them closer to a purchasing decision. That ability to connect with consumers is what makes social special—and brands that get it right earn lasting fan loyalty, bigger engagement numbers, and increased sales.

Brands with successful social media ads don’t simply announce information to customers.

 

Facebook ads are unique, not only to all types of advertising, but to social media, too, because Facebook ads benefit users in specific ways: click on a company’s Facebook page and you’ll see which people in your social network follow the company or like their page, and we know peer recommendations are incredibly powerful for millennials and Gen Z in particular. Facebook also provides brands the opportunity to offer their followers a little something extra in the form of discount codes and special offers not available to non-users.

Below, you’ll find three Facebook ads that were particularly successful at connecting with target audiences and moving consumers along the path to purchase—and why.

Target Love Notes

Target’s Love Notes Facebook ad—perfectly timed around Valentine’s Day 2017—garnered 20K views on Facebook and offered an impressive combination of factors proven to make Facebook ads successful:

 

Why it works:

  • The spot is silent, meaning that when it autoplays on Facebook users can get everything out of the messaging without having to turn on their sound.
  • The call to action is fun, light, easy to do, and not obviously about buying something.
  • The ad garners good will for Target by offering fans something of value: ready-made, fun Valentine’s Day GIFs for sharing and sending. The hashtag #TARGETLOVENOTES boosts reach across social media.

Airbnb: Re-energizing a Remote Village

Airbnb’s spot about Megumi, an Airbnb host in Japan, connects with fans by telling the story of a mother’s wish to expand her daughter’s world through Airbnb. The video, which runs just over one minute, was posted three months ago and has over 30K views.

 

In this video, a mother named Megumi describes how she became an Airbnb entrepreneur: she renovated her home in a remote Japanese village with the help of her neighbors. Becoming a host helped revitalize her village and also, it expanded the world of her young daughter, Akari, who now has “family everywhere.”

Why it works:

  • Subtitles mean you can view the video silently or listen to the audio if you choose, making it perfect for Facebook.
  • Again, this ad isn’t obviously selling Airbnb—instead, it helps viewers form an emotional connection to the subjects of the video in particular and to Airbnb in general.
  • Through indirect messaging, viewers can imagine themselves expanding their own world by traveling to places they have never before seen—and may never have, without Airbnb’s help.

Nike Air Max

Nike’s 19-second ad featuring their new Air Max shoes hits all the right Facebook ad notes:

 

  • The entire message is relayed without sound
  • The first few seconds draw in viewers
  • The dynamic ad tells the entire story through visuals of the evolution of Nike Air shoes
  • The ad creates excitement for the new Nike Air Vapormax launch and for Air Max Day

In two days, Nike’s ad captured 202K views, 11K reactions, and nearly 500 hundred comments.

Each of these three advertisements is tailored specifically for Facebook where ads autoplay without sound, user attention must be grabbed in the first few seconds, and branding must be understated and add value to users. Brands that can hit all these notes can capitalize on the proven value of advertising on Facebook.

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Ary Esfahani is a Digital Strategist at Spredfast. She is passionate about the evolving landscape of digital and writes to help marketers be ahead of that change.