5 Effective Facebook Ads Your Small Business Should Model

Digital marketing experts say these ads demonstrate the success principles your ads should follow.
Achieve success with Facebook advertisements by focusing on visuals and creating a clear call to action. (Photo: IB Photography/Shutterstock)

It’s not hyperbole to say that for many people, Facebook has become the internet. Increasingly, the internet is transforming into a mobile experience, and by 2015, Facebook had become the most commonly used app.

So for most businesses, if you want to engage with your customers in their native habitat, you need to advertise on Facebook. Which may prompt you to ask: How do you create a successful Facebook ad? What ads work, and why? NCR Silver talked to a few digital marketing experts and had them deconstruct five Facebook advertisements they liked and explain the factors that make an ad successful.

The ad should clearly reflect your marketing goal


(Photo: REI/Facebook)

Behind every successful ad is a clear goal. The intent of an ad can get muddled if you don’t articulate the campaign’s goal at the outset and if you have several cooks in the kitchen adding ingredients or editing the copy.

Consider this REI ad, for example. “This is a video ad, which is great because it’s very visual. But you can’t put a link in a video ad, so it requires an extra step for the customer to engage. That means video ads are best for awareness, and REI does that great here,” said Sara Johnson, digital marketing associate at the Blue Compass agency.

“The video is short and stands alone without sound. It’s a quick and consumable ad that showcases the brand. REI does a great job with all that, which shows in the engagement.”

Had the goal been something other than engagement, added Johnson, the ad would have been a failure.

The ad should be relevant


(Photo: Elm City Social/Facebook)

“Relevancy is not only important, it’s really easy to do on Facebook,” said Joel Kalinowski, e-commerce, marketing and growth strategist at Blatant Expressions, a digital marketing agency.

This ad is relevant because it targets users in a certain geographic radius of the restaurant. You can also target a specific demographic, people who have made a similar search or purchase or those who have expressed an interest in your product category. Said Kalinowski, ”Facebook’s targeting capabilities means it makes no sense to blast a message to demographics that aren’t interested in your product.”

The ad should be visual


(Photo: Buzzfeed/Facebook)

Facebook is a visual medium, so your ad must be visual as well. Indeed, Facebook is unique in that the site’s algorithms reward highly visual content and actively punish content that is not visual enough. (Ads, for example, can’t contain more than about 20 percent text within an image.)

Johnson favors this example. “This is a great visual ad. It has minimal copy and your eyes are drawn to the photo. BuzzFeed is always unique in advertising and they are really good at this kind of ad, which features an eye-catching image and a relatable title.”

While few small businesses have the budget for professional photography, Kalinowski noted, “There are inexpensive and even free stock photo sites that have an organic feel that might be in line with your company’s brand. It’s more about being relevant in context than being professional. As long as you pay attention to the lighting, you can even take great photos with your phone.”

The ad should have a compelling value proposition


(Photo: Blue Compass/Facebook)

The value proposition tells the customer why they should care about your ad. Namely, what value are you delivering with your product or service? Johnson liked the way the value prop is articulated in this boosted ad.

“The text in the image itself is doing a lot of the work for you. This is targeted to people who are already interested in podcasting, and the value that you’re going to get something valuable is conveyed right there.”

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Is she concerned there’s too much text in this ad? “Usually, you want to be brief and use as few words as possible. But this ad is a little more business oriented, and so incorporating a little more text is OK.”

The ad should have a clear call to action


(Photo: Boston Sports Clubs/Facebook)

Most effective advertisements have a clear call to action (CTA). The CTA should work together with the value proposition to move the consumer to act (click, watch, sign up, make a reservation or buy).

Said Alicia Terry, digital marketing coordinator at Sparxoo in Tampa, Florida, “Take this Boston Sports Club’s ad, for example. It works because of the ‘show and tell’ aspect. It has a bold photo, the content includes an urgent, compelling value proposition, and it features a specific call to action that entices viewers to get started.”

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