Are you ready to knock it out of the park and create your best Facebook ad campaign ever this year?
2019 just started and this is the perfect time to look back at what worked last year in the realm of Facebook ads, and how you can use those teachings to improve your results this year.
What are the tried and proven methods that drove success in 2018 to take with you to 2019? Which are the examples you can get inspiration from? How can you replicate your Top competitors’ success?
We selected 5 examples by brands that literally killed it with their Facebook ad campaigns this past year.
We investigated them word by word, and looked at the results number by number, evaluating every single detail, to understand what worked (and, in case, what didn’t).
We found winning formulas, strategic patterns, unusual storytelling ideas, and a ton of tips and tricks that you can use to boost YOUR results this year!
Having so many new features and advert types have given advertisers much more choice, together with the risk of being plagued by the shiny object syndrome, the entrepreneurial equivalent of a small child chasing after shiny objects,
Which means we’re presented with a challenge – it’s hard to choose what to use. Choosing the right ad type is hard. With this post, we want to bring clarity to this.
forces you to chase project after project, and change after change, never settling with one option
We’ll highlight you the Facebook ads campaigns that really work.
What do we have in-store? We’ve lined up 5 best Facebook ads from 2018, from the following companies:
To determine whether an ad really killed it or not we used a set of criteria.
We looked at the following:
- Did they utilize a unique messaging approach?
- Was the campaign creative done remarkably well?
- Did the brand meet their goals with the campaign?
- Did the brand had hard numbers to back up the success of the campaign?
Alright, buckle up. Let’s dive in!
Promo by Slidely – Get Your Creative Hat On
Get sign-ups for a trial
This Facebook Ads campaign is using a conversion campaign, meaning it’s a campaign whose goal is to convince users to perform an action on their business website, in this case, a sign-up for a trial.
Creative wise they chose to use a video. But not the usual formal, serious (and boring, at times) one, Promo took an unconventional approach to a B2B sales video, they used a cute and super funny kid. Brave and smart!
Click on play and give Promo’s video a spin, I bet you’ll want to watch it twice!
Now that we all agree this is a powerful video ad (c’mon, watch it one last time!), let’s give a look to the ad text because that’s spot on too. A textbook example.
Let’s dig deeper. What did they do right in the ad text? We can identify 4 parts.
- Have no fear. Promo is here!💪 – serves as an attention-grabber.
- Running your own business comes with a lot of challenges. Advertising doesn’t need to be one of them” – serves to introduce a problem. They also put out a hook, that there’s a solution to that problem. This keeps the reader attention.
- Professional videos will guarantee you stand out from the competition – serves to present the solution to the problem.
- Grab high-quality footage, add your message and logo and choose the perfect soundtrack. 🎥 It’s that easy – serves to address the potential objections.
“Professional videos” may sound like a lot of work, with this section they make it clear it’s reachable, for you, today. Thanks to them, of course!
You guessed it – yes, of course, the cute kid got a lot of engagement. How much?
2.2 million views, 4,2 thousand reactions, 594 comments, 509 shares. That’s a lot of engagement.
But did this just get engagement or did it get some tangible results too?
Well, their goal was to get sign-ups for a trial. They saw a 42% increase in CTR compared to other more general videos (you know, the classic B2B style videos).
Most importantly though, with this campaign Promo managed to significantly decrease CPA per/trials.
Compared to other campaigns with exact same targeting, but different creative they managed to decrease the CPA by 28%.
Takeaways & tips
Using the cute kid paid off. Why so? Well, it’s because this is what people go on Facebook for: avoiding making decisions. Social media is about being social. People open social media to disconnect and relax. And procrastinate just a tiny bit more, right? 😉.
This is an example of what we call being aligned with social media mindset.
Accounting for the social media mindset should be the starting point of any given advert you run on Facebook.
Doing this doesn’t just “happen”. One needs to intentionally design the ad to meet the social media mindset. Promo has nailed it. Plus, the creative is not just fun, it supports their messaging. Asking “Running a small business?” and using a kid as a visual – brilliant.
There is one more thing.
Did you notice how in the very beginning of the video they kicked-off the video with a text overlay: “Running a small business?”. That might seems like a small detail, but it’s actually powerful.
What this did for Promo is that from the first second, they built relevance. Relevance with who Promo tired to reach – small businesses. They made it clear who this video is for. It ensured from the get-go that the person viewing feels this is for them. It’s for someone, not everyone.
Inspiring work Promo team, you definitely set the bar high. And you, readers, make a note to yourself: always put your creative hat on when prepping for your 2019 Facebook ad campaigns.
MobileMonkey The Power of Facebook Messenger Ads
2018 marked the year when Messenger marketing got a strong foothold. It must be said that the users have been there all along, but the advertising side significantly matured in 2018.
Today, there are billions of people using Facebook Messenger. In fact that numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone, since the use of messaging apps surpassed the use of social networks already in Q1 2015. It’s about time for us advertisers to engage with the conversation that our customers are already having. AND do it where they have it. To be present where people are present. That is why this TOP 10 here would have definitely been incomplete without a Facebook Messenger ad example.
And MobileMoney’s campaign definitely killed it!
Here is the campaign they ran with the goal to generate leads.
What they’ve used here is a Facebook to Messenger ad campaign type, which was optimized for messages. Once users clicked on the ad they were taken to a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Before earning the click they had to earn the attention. To do that, they’ve gone for an unusual imagery – when did you last see a unicorn with this much colour in your feed? One just can’t help not to notice this. It stands out from the mass, it’s unique. It’s what we’d call thumb-stopping content. Something that makes you stop even when your scrolling your Facebook feed at speed and go: “wait, what was that?”. It makes the viewer wonder, it draws them in.
Now, this campaigns cleverness doesn’t stop here. Notice the call to action they used “Type: Send me the secrets”. What does this do? Makes the viewer wonder even more. Now you just can’t resist to find out what are those secrets.
There’s even more. Did you notice the text overlay on the image: “tap to play”. This acts as a clear CTA, but not only.
Besides clarity, what it does is that it gamifies the whole process and hence makes the ad more engaging. If you want to dig deeper into what makes a great CTA, then you might want to take a look at the experiment we ran What’s the best CTA For Your Facebook Ads? (a $1,000 Experiment).
Let’s talk results. Did they meet their goal to generate leads effectively? Oh boy, yes they did. In the past with regular conversion campaigns they were experiencing a cost per lead (CPL) of $150. With this masterpiece they managed to cut the CPL down to $5. That’s an epic 30x reduction in CPL. Here are the stats:
Takeaways & tips
If you haven’t yet taken Facebook Messenger ads seriously, then you definitely should do so in 2019. As this campaign demonstrates Messenger ads are an extremely powerful way for lead generation. Messaging gets 15x more engagement than email. We suggest you diversify your lead list to be both in the form of a email list, but also a Messenger subscriber list.
If you create accounts for the social media mindset (like Promo did), plus is coated with an unusual look like MobileMonkey pulled off here then you will win the attention. Once attention is gained, it’s important to leave the viewer wondering. For that MobileMonkey used the call to action of “type: Send me the secrets”. It’s really about being creative with your incentives. The tip here is to make an incentive masterlist. An dynamically updated document where any of your team member could chip in ideas at any time, e.g. a Google Doc.
TOMS Funnel that rocks your socks
Get ready for a Facebook sales funnel mastermind. Excellence is about to unroll in front of you. We’re about to show you behind the curtain of an epic series of campaigns. It’s done by TOMS, the company known for their One for One mission.
TOMS goal was to show that they have great on-trend products for the Fall for both men and women with the ultimate goal of generating sales, within their EMEA region. Additionally, their goal was to include changemakers in process.
Instead of a direct response campaign, TOMS used a 4 stage funnel.
Approach-wise they chose to use stories of changemakers which they would seamlessly link back to their products. How did they do it?
Stage 1 – Video
They used videos featuring the story of various changemakers, knitting the videos together into a series of storytelling ad campaigns. Though the ads you see are in English it’s important to note that this was shown across EU. Specifically: the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and the ad was translated for each market.
Here we have the French version:
The customization didn’t stop there. The targeting of each territory specific campaign customized targeting by territory. Next, they also differentiated between Facebook and Instagram. They used a customized approach for the Instagram stories placement:
While doing it they also broke down their ultimate goal sales, into subgoals. Here in with this stage 1 video their main goal was to just get views.
Stage 2 –Canvas ads
In this stage, the magic starts happening. Now they gave more content about their changemakers and linked the story to their product. Let’s see it in action:
Stage 2 also consisted of a clever giveaway. They retargeted video views with a product giveaway on FB and IG where the prize was the shoes of the campaign. What was the set up here? 🤔
To participate in the giveaway you had to have to visit a specific landing page (which was specifically built for this campaign – another customization!) to choose their favorite pair and comment telling TOMS. Hence, the 1.3 thousand comments on this ad (by the way, they got more comments than reactions!).
Let’s have a look:
The ad above is the UK one. What were the total numbers participants in the giveaways? Violaine Marty – Social Media Coordinator at TOMS says:
The total amount of participants for all markets, was a whopping 5600 people.
It’s a great number and we were very satisfied”.
Violaine Marty – Social Media Coordinator at TOMS
Here they retargeted people who view at least 25% of the videos, engaged with the canvas or engaged with the giveaway. This ‘engaged’ audience has was retargeted with products ads (dark posts, carousel, IG Stories).
Notice again the level of customization. TOMS is customizing per/placement.
Above the Facebook desktop newsfeed, below the Instagram Stories placement:
And this is the Instagram feed:
If you think that’s a lot of customization, then actually they took it even a step further.
This stage 3 campaign was also customized by gender. There were different creatives for male and female.
The cherry on top was the use of Dynamic Product Ad.
Besides building brand awareness on a new shoe category, TOMS ultimate goal of the campaign was to generate sales – that’s where the Dynamic Product Ad comes in.
This ad was shown to people who looked at the products on the website. Remember the giveaway in stage 2? This is where the giveaway mechanism is interesting, as these people visited the product page to participate.
Thanks to the patience in the campaign build up (using a funnel) as opposed to direct response. This campaign got a lot of reach. Exactly how much? – 35 million people, to be precise. Violaine Marty – Social Media Coordinator at TOMS reveals to AdEspresso.
What played a huge rule was the giveaway component.
This generated a lot of engagement. in turn, this engagement resulted in a lot of traffic.
During the month of October (the month where the campaign was running), we saw an increase of +10% of traffic on the website compared to last year.
+7% in the UK, +13% in Germany, +17% in the Netherlands and +18% in France”.
Violaine Marty – Social Media Coordinator at TOMS
Audience building well done!
They rocked it with the estimated ad recall lift rate:
The average 6.6.%, highest in UK 8.21%.
Plus a lot of people stuck along for the whole duration of the videos.
We hit a VCR of 19%”.
Violaine Marty – Social Media Coordinator at TOMS
This funnel really rocked.
Takeaway and tips
The biggest takeaway from this campaign is that it’s more powerful to play for the long term as opposed seeking immediate gains. This was one of the most successful DPA campaigns that TOMS has ever done.
What made this DPA crush it was the way they used the funnel. They put a lot of effort into mapping the customer journey and it paid off.
It’s remarkable how much effort was put into customization in this campaign. Customizing per/market, per/placements, per/gender. If you thought your campaigns are as relevant, as they can be then this might inspire you for new heights.
What’s also noteworthy is the consistency throughout this funnel. From stage 1 to stage 4 the creative directions remained constant from start to finish. They introduced Joshua Coombes in stage 1 and stuck with it all the way until the DPA ad.
This is what built the resonance in all touch points and made this funnel effective.
Grammarly – Branding without spamming.
What you’re about to witness is native advertising at its best. Grammarly has used a story of their user (a fascinating story) and elegantly stitched in a product plug for their product. It’s done in such a natural way, that the product plug even feels complementary to telling the story.
See by yourself:
Grammarly goal with this campaign was to do branding.
To meet their goal of branding, they’ve had to design the campaign in a way that it would appeal to a large audience. They chose to use the storytelling approach.
Creative wise they’ve gone for using a video, while keeping it to an optimal 2-minute length (1:53 to be precise 🤓)
The video finishes off with an empowering message “write the future”. A very bold message isn’t it? It certainly inspires one to take action. What a nice closure to an anyway inspiration packed video.
Next, if you look at the link description of the ad, you’ll see that they’ve also fitted in an element of social proof – a review from Forbes. It goes a long way in building trust. Which is essential, since this ad was shown to people who never heard about Grammarly before.
How did this branding go for them? This campaign reached more than 5+ million people. That’s a lot of people. 👫👫👫👫👫👫
Comparing to campaigns where the objective is sales this campaign being after brand awareness was aimed at a wider audience. To reach a wider audience it was important to tame their CPM – essentially cost for ad delivery… and so they did.
The CPM was decreased by 76% when compared to direct response campaigns. A part of that is that the audience was bigger making the CPM more affordable, but most importantly the good engagement rate played into the decrease in CPM.
So how good was the engagement? – pretty darn good. The video-view rate increased by 33% when compared to sales campaigns. Cost wise, they landed on $0.02 video views and $0.59 video completes. Though the main goal was the video view they also landed on a reasonable CPC of $1.87.
Full metrics for you below:
Takeaways & tips
In the “implementation” I broke down the CTA that they used “write the future”.
The take-home message from this is that your video has to end with a CTA on the video. Ideally a bold one. But most importantly what I want to get across is that don’t just rely on the Facebook automated CTA.
Add your own CTA in the end of the video as text overlay. You might as well watch the ad video again, if you missed it. Do it. And also do a CTA ending for YOUR video 😉.
Storytelling is a superweapon. Not many use it well.
Here Grammarly made a textbook example of how to turn a story into a branding superweapon.
Storytelling allows you to enter the mind of your ideal customer in a natural way. As opposed to shoving down the throat your product, being intrusive – which most ads out there are (let’s be real), there’s another way.
We advise you to master the art of storytelling, by which you can show a better world with your product. This ad showed a better world with Grammarly. Now the question is, how is the world better with your product?
Jon Loomer Digital – Thinking outside the box.
Facebook Lead Ads, what a powerful ad type. A seamless experience for your client to express interest in whatever you might be offering. All thanks to automatically populating contact information. However, what if a Lead Ad would be used for something else than: “Hi! Here’s my lead magnet, but you’ll have to give me your contact info to get it” type of angle. We’re about to find out!
The goal of this campaign (yes, guessed it) – was to generate leads. Just in a different way. Let’s see the campaign first:
Jon Loomer Digital took an out-of-the-box approach to Facebook Lead Ads campaign type. They dared to ask the questions “what if?”.
What if we run a quiz using the Facebook Lead Ads? Turning what would otherwise be a lead form into a quiz it’s a brilliant example of Creative thinking!
There’s one more thing that this approach achieved. Something that a regular Facebook Lead Ad would never achieve. By using a quiz they gamified the process.
They flipped it from “Hi! Here’s my lead magnet, but you’ll have to give me your contact info to get it” to “Hi! How would you do in my 9-question quiz?”. This makes all of this fun, I’m thinking about how well I’ll do at the quiz I’m excited.
Therefore by the part of collecting the lead info, I’m off-guard. Of course, I’ll say “yes” to: “Provide your email address at the end and I will send you the answers”.
I’ll say “yes” because I can’t wait to get my results, know how I did. S
o it’s the gamification that pulls the user in (just like MobileMonkey did with the Facebook Messenger Ad too).
Later once I’m already filling the quiz the consistency bias has kicked-in and converting one as a lead is so much easier.
The “thank you” screen after completing the quiz and submitting your info looked like this:
We must give our credit, this has been one slick set up by Jon Loomer Digital:
Thinking outside the box? Yes, that was achieved without a doubt. How about the hard numbers though? Let the numbers speak for themselves:
We only have the early results from this campaign (from November) at our disposal for the analysis.
At that point, it had generated 61 leads at a CPL of $0.66. This is an impressive CPL!
Total disclosure: after applying all the optimization we could think of to a classical Facebook Lead Ad, here at AdEspresso we could get the CPL as low as $0.95. With this campaign, Jon Loomer Digital has beaten us.
However, it must be mentioned that this CPL is far from scientific validity. One would need about 4x more conversions, about 250 conversions to claim bare minimum scientific validity of the CPL. So why are we highlighting this ad nonetheless?
First, due to the out of the box approach. Secondly, this ad is still running, we presume it would be deactivated if it would be unsuccessful. I was just targeted with this ad roundabout 2 weeks ago from now. We’re confident it’s bringing good results due to the aforementioned gamification and consistency bias!
Takeaways & tips
What can you do differently now, seeing this slick & creative use of Facebook Lead Ads?
Think outside the box. The fact that Facebook designed this ad type for being a lead form, doesn’t mean it can’t be used for anything else. It can. Be courageous and you’ll get an edge on your competitors.
A lot of this analysis as talked about the creative use of the ad type. However, this campaign was great throughout.
There’s also a take-home message for us from the ad image.
The ad image leaves the viewer wondering. It’s just one-word “Quiz”, nothing else. It’s so blunt. The person reading is left thinking “A quiz? What type of quiz?”. It creates curiosity provoking the person to take the time to read the ad text. Since the just can’t wait to figure out “What quiz is this?”
This is another parallel with the MobileMonkey campaign. There they achieve the same effect by using a unicorn as the ad image (a special unicorn).
Think how could you leave the viewer wondering. Have a brainstorm session with your team.
Can You do Better Than These?
We’ve given you a taste from all flavors.
We’ve gone through ads for getting sign-ups, ads driving people to Messenger, ads for generating brand awareness, quiz ads and of course ads for generating sales.
This wide range should serve as an injection of inspiration for you.
Hopefully resulting in taking your business into new heights in 2019 using Facebook ads. So that we could have YOUR ad in the TOP ads for this year, 2019 🏆
TL;DR? Ok, let’s boil it down to the 5 key takeaway messages then:
- Be aligned with the Social Media mindset
Every single campaign we went through did it. Never forget that social media is about being social. You can make it fun: do a quiz (Jon Loomer Digital), use a unicorn (MobileMonkey) as the ad image. Sprinkle in some storytelling like Grammarly did instead of only direct response campaign, which are too intrusive and not aligned with social media mindset.
- Map the customer journey
It is worth it. TOMS gave us a textbook example.
- Be specific
Your ad has to build relevance from the first second. If not, people will just keep on scrolling. Instead, you want to be like Promo: “Running a small business?”. Have specificity in mind, always. Who is your ad for?
- Embrace the new
Be open to use new ad types like Messenger ads. If you didn’t jump on the wagon in 2018, then let 2019 be the year you do. Moreover, also be open to try out old thing in a new way, just like using Facebook Lead Ad as a quiz instead (Jon Loomer Digital).
- Use Gamification
Actually, this ties back to social media mindset. Make it fun, make it conversational – gamification achieves both. You should incorporate it into your campaigns.
And now go and create your best Facebook and Instagram campaigns ever this year. We can’t wait to include you in our BestFacebookk Ads of the Year – 2019 edition!
What do you think of the above-mentioned campaigns? If you had stellar results in 2018 from any of your Facebook ad campaigns, we’d love to hear about! Drop us a line in the comments below.
Madis Birk is a Facebook Ads Consultant for Hootsuite and a Facebook Marketing Consultant for AdEspresso. He introduces himself as “A lean, mean, growth-focused Facebook advertising plug-in to your existing A-team. A digital marketing expert integrable into your winning strategy. Basically a One-Man-Growth-Team that will help business of any size to achieve the best Facebook advertising results without paying the premium agency fees”. If you want to get in touch with Madis, you can find him contacting AdEspresso Marketing Experts Team or going to www.madisbirk.com.