If you have ever tried Facebook campaigns, then you know how much testing and optimizing they require. But of course, creating a scalable, high-performing campaign is an achievable goal. In this article,
I will try to help you improve your campaigns, but we won’t talk about technical tips, like targeting, budgeting or bidding, etc.
We’re going to be talking about writing or, actually, about a small but crucial part of writing: how to find ideas for Facebook ads.
So, I won’t tell you how to write the best ad for your audience; I can’t because I don’t know your business or your audience. But I can help you find the answer on your own. Let’s begin.
1. Conversations With Customers
There’s a reason why this is the first point. Listen to your customers. Find out what their needs are, learn about their doubts, objections, and fears. You are writing for your customers. The more you talk to them, the more accurate the persona you’ll be able to create in your mind.
If you’re thinking now: ‘I’m not in the customer service department, I’m an ad guy’, that mindset is a trap.
If you can’t talk to your customers on a daily basis – ask the CS department for clues. Maybe they will allow you to look at some of their less private correspondence with customers. Maybe you can work with them for a few hours weekly. I’m sure there’s a way you can manage this.
2. Your Business Communication Standards
I’m sure Facebook ads are not your only promotional activity. If you have communication standards – look at them. Your ads affect your brand perception. They have to be coherent. Look at other channels, not only do you need to make your message consistent across all media, you can also find awesome ideas for ads on other channels.
Of course, every medium is different but if something is working well on your display ads or a landing page – it’s usually worth testing via Facebook ads too.
3. Facebook Audience Insights
An awesome tool which will show you who your audience really is. It will help you with both: finding the perfect target audience and preparing the right copy for them. Let’s say you want to display your ads to people who are interested in Power Editor. (I know it’s not a thing anymore but there is still a targeting option like this!).
What do you know about these people? They are probably marketers on Facebook like yourself. That’s good, but this is still a massive group of different types of people.
So, you start by choosing “Power Editor” from your interests, and then click on the tab “Page Likes”
Img.: It turns out they are often fans of HubSpot, Tim Ferriss or Gary Vaynerchuk.
It’s already something. Maybe you could mention HubSpot, Tim, or Gary in your message, or maybe you could learn from their style about how to write for these people. It might give you more ideas about what’s important for your audience.
Img.: The same goes for “Business Categories”, although you have to be more careful here since these categories are often too general to use.
4. Organic Facebook Posts
I mentioned looking at your other channels, but since every channel has its own characteristics – what’s better than looking at your own Facebook page? Whether you manage both organic and paid Facebook content, or if you do only the latter — find the most engaging and popular posts and learn from them.
And make sure you are familiar with the Facebook algorithm and how it works (it affects your FB ads too, not just your organic Facebook posts):
Of course, you have to remember that your ad will probably have a different purpose than a regular post, but you want it to be interesting. That’s why you should look back on the language, graphics, and topics of your best posts so that you can learn from them.
5. Facebook Ads From Your Competitors
For a while now, you’ve had the possibility to see ads from other successful companies in your sector. I mentioned looking at ads from your competitors, but you can also look at businesses that are targeting audiences similar to yours. Be careful though: duplicating their ads is hardly a good solution. Instead, look at the types of ads they run and consider which of these could be adjusted to your business.
And remember that you can also look at the comments and reactions that their audience leaves them. These can also be an awesome source of inspiration for Facebook ads.
Img: For example, here we’ve found an ad from Hotjar which not only looks interesting in itself, but the reactions and overall reception from the audience also seem to be really positive.
6. Other Ads From Your Competitors
Don’t stop there. Facebook is not the only place you can “spy” on other companies and their promotional materials. I suggest Moat (https://moat.com/) for checking out your competitors’ display ads, Semrush (https://www.semrush.com/) for their search ads, and SimilarWeb (http://similarweb.com) for a general overview.
Img.: Here’s what Moat showed me when I looked at ads from Heap Analytics.
7. Your Previous Campaigns
Let’s not forget about these. If you have worked on ads before – try to learn as much as possible from them. Try to read the indicators in Facebook Ad Manager to find out not only what kind of results your previous ad campaign obtained, but also why. Was the message not clear enough? Was the image confusing or boring? Was the ad too long or too short? Too similar to every other ad? This is a great source of ideas for Facebook ad testing.
Looking for the best strategical combination is like a treasure hunt. If you’re lost – don’t start over. Go back to the nearest point and try a different direction – this way, you’ll move closer and closer to success with each iteration.
Img: Example: these are some serious CTR differences. It would definitely be worth it to track down what the differences are between these ads.
8. Internet Monitoring
Ok, so you’ve analyzed your customers via Facebook Audience Insights – on Facebook as well as other channels. You looked at the way that your audience reacts to your ads (and at the reactions that your competitors receive from their own ads). But your customers are everywhere across the web.
If you want to learn more about them – try internet monitoring.
See what people are saying about your brand, your competitors, and your product online. You can find new important placements for your communication and observe your target audience in their “natural environment”. In social media or forums, people may even be willing to express their opinions more openly than if they were talking directly to you.
Img.: You can try Brand24 for free for 2 weeks to see how many mentions of your brand or your competitors you can find and see for yourself how useful this information is.
9. The Legacy Of Great Copywriters
“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” – Howard Gossage
There’s a lot more that’s been written about copywriting and advertising. Most rules are timeless – don’t underestimate them just because many years have passed and the world has changed. If you read some works by David Ogilvy, Claude Hopkins, Leo Burnett and others, I’m sure you’ll find some advice to help improve your own communication.
Since I mentioned Ogilvy, here’s my favorite quote from him:
“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.” – David Ogilvy””
10. Your Mom
Yes, yes. This is not a joke.
The more complex your service is, the more you have to try to make your message clear and understandable. My mom doesn’t know much about SaaS companies, internet monitoring, and all that stuff. That’s why I can ask her about one of my ads and see if the message is clear. It doesn’t have to be your mom of course, but you can always ask someone outside of your sector for their impressions.
Of course, if you’re asking someone outside your target group – don’t expect her/him to be interested in your product. The only thing you want to check on: is the message clear?
I’m afraid the longer you are in this business, the more you may suffer from the curse of knowledge. Your customers don’t know all of the things you know. This simple test will make sure you’re not expecting something from them that you shouldn’t.
11. Online Guides With Inspiration For Facebook Ads
You can find awesome examples of high-performing ads just by browsing through the internet. There are sources that can help you understand what function each element fulfils, and even more, sources that all of us can learn from. For now, I recommend ad guides and ebooks from AdEspresso but, as I mentioned, there are many other sources.
Img.: Some AdEspresso ebooks.
The truth is, you can find inspiration anywhere if you keep your eyes open. Even from a billboard on the street or in your favorite book. I just want to highlight that this list is open and I’m not pretending that it’s exhaustive. Just wanted to mention a few important tactics that I personally use in the hopes that they will help you too.
As always, wishing you high conversion rates!