Facebook Ad Creative Best Practices

By Liam Foy

If you want to seriously increase the likelihood of Facebook ad success and impact on viewers in a social space already cluttered with multimedia, look no further than the good old ad image. Facebook ad images serve two main purposes: to draw the eye of users and to reinforce or supplement the ad copy.

Facebook ad images are small (100 x 72 pixels), which means advertisers have to work extra hard to make them outstanding. Facebook advert and page posts creative is key for your brand to have success on the social platform. Many marketers wonder, “What creative drives people to interact with my social ads?” Well hopefully this post might help you figure that out a little bit better.

Source: http://ads.ak.facebook.com/ads/FacebookAds/Facebook_Product_Guide_041911.pdf

Driving success from a creative respective

What we find is that most marketers set themselves five different success elements when using Facebook ads:

  • Targeting
  • Frequency
  • Delivery
  • Ad Functionality
  • Creative

In fact, success of your ad campaign can be down to just one of these elements, creative. Creative executions are important in explaining in-market performance for other types of media. Digital ads and especially social media allows for better delivery and targeting options but sometimes creative is underestimated in importance. At this moment in time social media marketers are faced with the challenge of working out what works with social ads. This is because there is no real history of social ads so most marketers have to go with their ‘gut feeling’. There hasn’t been any real empirical research on Facebook ad creative best practices, until now.

If you solely believe that the amount of clicks your ads get provide some insight into the amount of return you’ll see then you’re thinking about the ads wrong. In a recent study by Nielsen they found that there is no correlation between Click Through Rate (CTR) and Return on Investment (ROI). Sorry people, look beyond the click.

As with many Facebook studies, they use a third party, in this case Nielsen and they se themselves two main objectives:

1. Assess whether traditional marketing / creative concepts are important in designing successful social ads

2. Identify which creative concepts matter for explaining in-market success

They tested 400 different Facebook ads from 51 brands over a 12 month period and had ads rated on their Creative Strength, which encompassed six areas, and Market Performance that took into consideration ad recall, noticeability and purchase intent. The Creative Strength points were:

  • Focal Point – Does the ad image have an obvious focal point?
  • Brand Link – How easy was it to identify who the advertiser was?
  • Tone – How well does the tone of this ad fit with the brand’s personality
  • Reward – Does this ad reward you for reading it? i.e. did you learn something by taking interest in the ad?
  • Noticeability – How noticeable was the ad on the page?
  • Point – How effectively did the ad get its point across?

The ads that predicted ad recall the best had a clear focal point, brand link and got the tone right. Focal Point ads are a more meaningful predictor because it captures both and image’s stopping power and its ability to communicate in the smaller social ad format. So if you want your ad to be remembered by people consider these three points. As would be expected they found that purchase consideration increased the higher the reward was on the ad. Reward captures the viewer’s intrinsic benefit of reading the ad, which has an informational payoff for the reader.

If you think about it logically traditional creative concepts are important in the designing of successful social ads. Facebook found that if you improve just one of the ad recall points (focal point, brand link or tone) this increases the ads success rate by 29%. Yet, if you increase all of the metrics you’re likely to have a 65% increase in ad success rate. Nice to know isn’t it!


Page Publishing Creative

Those simply 404 x 404 images you put on your Facebook page may be key to your success not just with Facebook ads (Page Post Stories) but also in the engagement that your page receives. Page Post Stories are one of Facebook’s most successful ads so you really need to consider them so that you can get your brand in front of more eyeballs.

When considering your page post you need to hone in your goal and think about what you want to achieve. If your goal is to generate more shares you need to be using photos, photo albums or videos. If your goal is to generate likes you need to post a clear call to action i.e. click like if you agree. If your goal is to generate comments you need to ask for your communities input, so end your post with a question. And of course make sure that all of your posts somehow relate to your brand.


What you now need to consider is…

  • Traditional marketing principles are important in designing both publishing message and ads on Facebook
  • Advertisers can increase their ads memorability by:
    • Using focused, easily recognisable images,
    • Linking the image, copy and concept of the ad strongly to the brand
    • Communicating in a tone that fits with the brand’s personality
  • Advertisers can increase their ads persuasive power by ensuring viewers feel rewarded when reading ads through the power of emotion, humour, beautiful images, and interesting information
  • Give Page publishing the same level of creative rigour as ads since many of your ads will come from page posts
We are a full service social media agency. Check us out on Twitter and hook up on Facebook. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below…


This post was written by Liam Foy

As Head of Client Services, Liam ensures that all of his clients’ strategies are on track, delivering ROI and coming up with new ideas to drive them forward. Beer makes him tick, reading, learning and drinking it.