Your Step-By-Step Guide to Creating the Perfect Facebook Ads

If you’re reading this, you’re a designer looking for help creating the perfect Facebook Ad. Luckily for you, we’ve put together this guide to make it easy.

Just follow the process below, and you’ll be a whiz in no time. Refer back to this guide if you ever need a refresher.

 

First, Why Did You Create This?

Think about this for a minute.

The year is 1950.

You see ads everywhere. On your brick-ass TV, in magazines, in newspapers, etc.

What’s one thing those ads all have in common with ads today?

Creative.

Despite all the bells and whistles of today’s technology in social media, creative is still responsible for 70% of an ad’s performance (Google, 2018).

A paid social specialist can sit and tinker with campaigns, ad sets, placements, schedules, and bidding strategies until they become one with their chair, but the fact of the matter is…

They rely on you. Heavily.

They’re responsible for performance. They’re responsible for explaining to the client why a campaign is going poorly. And they’re the ones whose head is on the chopping block when things go wrong.

So help them out. They’re nice people.

You have the power to put a campaign in motion and rock it from top to bottom. You’ll be the one they’re ranting and raving about when you deliver a killer ad set on their behalf. And you’ll be the hero everyone wants to work on their campaigns. If you can be that person, you’re gonna go far, kid.

 

Step 1: Look at the Creative Brief

This is the big mama.

It’s crucial that you know from the beginning who will be seeing the ad (the audience), the benefits of the product/service in relation to that audience, and what we want them to do (the call to action).

If at any point you lose sight of these things while creating the ad, the rest will fail.

Take this all in, and make sure you understand the goal of the ad. This framework will be the basis on which we build everything else. I know this sounds basic, but nailing the fundamentals is the key to a successful campaign.

 

Step 2: Understand the Context

Luckily for you, the ball isn’t entirely in your court here. The paid social specialist has identified the target audience, the benefits, and the call to action for you already. You just have to bring it to life through your imagery.

In the creative brief, you’ll be able to find the ad copy being used alongside your ads.

Use this to your advantage.

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The ad copy will paint a picture. It will look something like this:

  1. This is you.
  2. You are in your current state (an undesirable spot)
  3. You could be in Place A instead (a better state) OR You could avoid going to Place B (a worse state)
  4. By using this product/service, you will either get to Place A and be happy, or you will avoid going to Place B and be happy.

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If you understand this structure, you are going to rock this.

Re-read that last sentence. It’s important.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Identify the type of person you are targeting with this ad. Look for imagery that has this person in it. This will help the potential customer identify with them. Are they a parent? A motorcycle owner? A fitness freak?
  2. Look at the ad copy. Are they pushing people to the happy state, or are they steering people away from the bad state?
  3. Show that person in the state the ad copy is referencing.

This very simple 3-step process will put you well on your way. What else can you do?

Look at competitors’ ads, of course.

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Here’s a Chrome extension for looking up competitor ads: Link

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With alignment between the ad copy and the imagery, the person seeing your ad will have a very clear picture of where they can be if they do/do not use the service/product. This is what will compel them. Speaking of alignment…

 

Step 3: Ad-Landing Page Alignment is Key

Think through the process here.

You’re on Facebook, you see an ad, and it looks enticing. You click, and the landing page copy/design looks nothing like the ad you clicked on. I’m not talking about different colors or things that are off-brand. Of course, those should be similar. That’s basic. Beyond that though, you clicked for a reason.

The ad copy, the image, the CTA—it lured you in. You were expecting more of the same when you clicked. Keep that in mind. It’s okay to use the same image in an ad and resize it for a hero image at the top. Use the same mentality as #2, and keep it consistent.

 

Step 4: Understand the Funnel

The first time you see a company’s ad, you probably have no idea who they are. With that in mind, some ads will be shown to what we call a “cold” audience. Some ads will be shown to a “warm” audience.

It works like this:

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Awareness – These people have a problem, but may or may not be aware of it. It’s our job to highlight that problem, our brand, and our solution to that problem.

Think of this as The Hook.

You want to hook them in with this ad. Catch their attention. Show them the problem.

People are selfish. They don’t care about you or your brand. They care about themselves and how you can help them.

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Consideration – These people know they have a problem, and they’re in the process of seeking out a solution. They may go the route of our business, but they also might go a completely different route too.

For example, maybe they want their dog to be healthy. They could take the dog on more walks, invest in more dog toys, buy healthier dog food, buy healthier treats, get another dog for them to play with, etc.

All of the above are potential solutions, but we want them to look at our category of solutions rather than the other options. We don’t make any money if they decide to walk their dog more.

Think of this as The Proof.

You want to prove that your solution is better than others. Testimonials, social proof, quotes, or videos of the service/product in action can all help here.

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Conversion/Retargeting – These people have determined that your product is in line with the solution they’re looking for. For these ads, it’s okay to use a box of the product or more specific imagery.

These people have likely been to the website and landed on a product or service page, so they’ll recognize you.

Think of this as The Offer.

You’ve hooked them, and you’ve proved that your solution works. Sweeten the deal, and get them to buy.

 

Step 5: Nail the Specifics

Frustratingly, there are a ton of little nuances to be aware of. In fact, there are so many of these nuances that’ll likely never master them all.

Be aware of all these:

(Don’t freak out if you don’t master these, just refer to this guide and do your best)

  1. Ad Specs, know them – View Ad Specs & Sizes
  2. Use images of real people using the product/service looking happy when possible. When not possible, stock imagery is okay, but definitely not preferred.
  3. Ads targeting men typically perform best when you use darker colors/shades. Ads targeting women usually perform best when you use brighter colors/shades.
  4. Include a mix of static and video assets in campaigns when possible. Campaigns with mixed format assets have an 86% chance of driving better performance metrics and drive 17% better conversion lift than image-only campaigns. – (Facebook, 2021)
  5. Always have the brand/logo visible throughout the entirety of an ad—Facebook research found the most success when using branding throughout a whole video ad versus just having the brand/logo at the beginning or end of the ad (Facebook Webinar 2021)
  6. Keep branding consistent per client (brand kit): same colors and type (font) throughout all of a specific brands’ ads—we want that brand recognition! (This ties in with ad-landing page alignment as well)
  7. Make sure audio matches the ad (the people in the ad, the actions they’re taking, the emotions obvious in the ad)
  8. Use animated text and logos to enhance a static image or video.
  9. Videos should be 10-15 seconds maximum
  • 85% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off
    • Create videos that have words on the screen or closed-captions.
  • People are 5x more likely to watch videos on a phone than on a desktop computer.
    • Make sure the ad is optimized for mobile viewing.
  • People click because they see something they like, piques their interest, or sparks curiosity.
    • Make sure the thumbnail image elicits some kind of emotion. Whether it’s funny, powerful, or shocking, it should make people click. (Lyfe Marketing)
    • “Facebook Video Ads Convert more than other types of ads” AdEspresso 2020
  • Facebook is aligned to become the biggest ad-supported video platform so using a video aligns you with FB goals. 
  • The first 3 seconds of your video should deliver 47% of its value to the brand, and the first 10 seconds the brand gets 74% of the value of the ad. We must make sure to make the most of these critical first seconds 
  • Include CTAs on the ads, use pointer animations to direct the users to click on the ad or the CTA button that is on the bottom right corner. 

 

Bonus: Examples

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar shave club ad

This ad is extremely clever in that it doesn’t try to appeal to the heavily gender-normative ad creative favored by some other shaving companies but rather attempts to highlight its products to an entirely different audience – namely, women.

What You Can Learn/Steal From This Facebook Ad

  • Leveraging inclusive brand values can be a major selling point and key differentiator
  • Examine your targeting settings and primary audiences – is there a way to promote an existing product line to an entirely new audience?
  • Following this research, take a look at your buyer personas – are they truly representative of your ideal customer, or are you inadvertently overlooking potentially valuable audiences?

Shopify

Shopify adShopify ad

Shopify understands that many of its prospective users have never considered monetizing their hobby or craft products, or opening their own eCommerce store. However, that’s precisely what makes this ad so compelling. Shopify knows its audience, and so goes after first-time eCommerce craft retailers with this tempting positioning.

What You Can Learn/Steal From This Facebook Ad

  • Use aspirational messaging to appeal to users’ hopes and ambitions – how can your product or service help them become who they want to be?
  • Ask questions in your copy using the voice of the customer
  • Consider the aesthetic you want your ads to have – clean and minimal? Colorful and vibrant?

Athos

athos ad

The ad copy is solid, but it’s the hero image that really sells the Athos app and “smart” clothing. Almost immediately, it’s reasonably obvious what Athos does, even if you’re only casually familiar with similar apps. A screenshot of the app on its own probably wouldn’t have the same effect on the viewer, whereas the juxtaposition of the two elements of the image together results in a strongly intuitive image.

What You Can Learn/Steal From This Facebook Ad

  • Examine wider consumer trends to see whether you can align your ads with existing successful products on the market – even those in other verticals
  • Look at the imagery of your ads on its own, with no copy – could the average user tell what your product or service does without any explanatory copy?
  • Consider investing in professional product/studio photography, especially if you’re in a “lifestyle” business

Slack

slack ad

This ad popped up in my News Feed a few days ago and immediately caught my eye. It’s a universally acknowledged truth that virtually everyone hates pointless meetings, and the simple – yet highly effective – visual illustrating what it feels like to sit in 25% fewer meetings is a powerful draw to Slack as a communications platform.

What You Can Learn/Steal From This Facebook Ad

  • Focus on how users or customers will feel after using your product
  • Be imaginative with your ad creative/imagery
  • Consider whether a snappy, memorable tagline (i.e. “Make Work Better”) will work for your ad

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