In April 2017 more than 5 million businesses were advertising on Facebook each month. That is way up from the 3 million monthly advertisers it had in March 2016.
If you want your business to survive in 2018, you have to pull in customers.
Creating an eye-catching, interesting advertisement is the easiest way to do this, but not all Facebook ads are the same.
Every advertisement has to have certain key aspects that make it shine. If it lacks these traits, it won’t grab the attention of the potential viewer.
As a result, fewer people check out (and end up not purchasing) your product.
Here’s the good news: creating the ultimate Facebook ad is much easier than you think.
We’re going to reveal the four key pillars your Facebook advertising strategy needs to bear the load of your huge success.
When it comes to creating a successful Facebook advertising strategy, experience makes the difference.
I spoke recently with Phil MacNevin, founder, and president of Lift Media, a web design & marketing agency dedicated to delivering beautiful and impactful marketing tools for increasing growth to digital marketers around the world.
Phil has driven the technology behind dozens of product launches, most of them reaching $1 million + in revenue. Over the last few years, he has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs all over the world on how to create products that people want to buy, how to grow their businesses to 6 figures and beyond, and how to create lifestyles that they truly enjoy.
Phil employs what he calls The 4 Pillars of Successful Advertisements and Landing Pages when developing a Facebook advertising strategy for his clients.
Lucky for you, it’s unlikely that your competition has mastered the 4 pillars of advertising.
By following these 4 simple pillars, you should be able to outperform your competition, boost your ad game and see future success.
#1 – Simplicity
A lot of people drive ads to a page that’s way too visually busy. There’s too much effort put into the design, too much animation or too many ways to navigate throughout the website. These days, simple is in. Take advantage of it.
How does simplicity work? Here are three fundamental tips:
- Have ONE call to action. This action call should tell customers to do something, but it should also look visually simple and clear-cut. White space is usually frowned upon, but not here. Make sure it’s easy to read and stands out on the page.
- Minimize page elements. If a potential customer is looking at a web page and there are too many elements, they may feel overwhelmed and completely skip over an ad. Some things to look out for include text that is too wide and overly fancy backgrounds. Make sure that clickable links look different than other text on the page to reduce distractions.
- Keep your text columns narrow. Don’t have your text carry over the entire page. This will also force the potential consumer to put in more effort into reading your advertisement, making them less likely to read it to the end.
#2 – Drawing The Eye
Once you have simplicity nailed down for your advertisement and landing page, you’ll have the power to direct your reader’s eyes to where you want them to go. However, you’ll have to figure out what works best for your product, your viewers, and your brand.
There are four main rules to follow:
- Break up long sections with different patterns or colors. This can be done by using different-colored fonts, color blocks or patterns. A good time to change up colors is to separate ideas, tones or chunks of content.
- Great design should amplify, not distract. A strong design does not have to be large. It can be subtle and deliver a message much more efficiently. In the era of simplicity, this is very often the case.
- Use images when appropriate. It can be easy to overuse photos (or not use them enough). Place them where the subject of the image will draw the eye of the potential consumer. With landscapes or pictures of office spaces, pay close attention to where the lines are. There’s usually a perspective that will draw the eye in the right direction, such as a road or river.
- Use subtle animations that draw your eyes in the direction you want to lead your visitor.
#3 – Copywriting
Once people are hooked into your advertisement or landing page, they will have to read the text. How the text reads is critical for maintaining a consumer’s attention throughout the rest of the advertisement. Spelling errors and jargon should be minimal. It should be as easy to read as it is to view.
The two best practices for a perfect copy:
- Showcase transformation. Transformation sells to people. Show off the before and after state of your product. Seventy-five percent of the people that land on your page may not scroll below the fold, so your headline has to speak to a transformation of their main point. Even if no one saw the rest of the page, you should be able to communicate what you do on the top of the page.
- Have your call to action button in plain sight to the viewer. Don’t hold it until the bottom of the landing page. This will delay and reduce engagement.
#4 – Message Match
It is essential for the content of your advertisement to be related to the landing page in some way. Not only does this make more people likely to engage with your product, but it legitimizes your product, making you more consistent.
There are three basic rules to follow:
- Make sure your ads and landing page are consistent with their message. This is especially important on Facebook, where your ad will fail if its message is not consistent with the landing page. On the contrary, there will be higher quality leads and conversion rates if the messages match.
- Message match does not have to mean the exact same phrases or wording. However, both the advertisement and the landing page need to make the same value proposition.
- Visuals and color should match on the ad. Having the same artistic style or same characters in the ads makes your advertisements more consistent. They don’t have to be exactly the same, but it helps further establish the identity of your product and your brand.
7 Examples of this Facebook Advertising Strategy In Action
It can be helpful to see the four pillars in action – as well as situations in which they aren’t being employed to their fullest.
We looked at some ads and landing pages from some of the top digital marketing influencers and innovative startups, to see how well they used this Facebook advertising strategy in their work. While they all provide some great examples of how to apply MacNevin’s four pillars strategy, they also have some weaknesses that we can learn from.
Let’s take a look at several of them!
#1 Traffic and Conversion Summit
The traffic and conversion summit is a premier digital marketing event hosted by Digital Marketer.
This ad has the same logo on both the advertisement and the landing page, which is important. The advertisement and the landing page also share the same background image.
However, there is a key difference between the advertisement and the landing page: the percent discount offered on the advertisement is different than that mentioned on the landing page. Notice that it’s 75% on the ad and 65% on the page. This breaks the “message match” rule and may be hurting the ad’s performance.
Overall, the page is strongly designed and leads people into the product. It’s also worth noting that the coupon code is also a good copywriting effort. Instead of just a bland code, it makes the person feel good about themselves in a subtle way by essentially calling them “smarter.” The video on this page autoplays. This can sometimes be effective. However, if there are a lot of elements for people to look at, like a homepage or blog post, don’t autoplay your videos. If it’s a landing page with a primary call to action, then feel free to employ the autoplay feature.
The design elements of the landing page are strong. The text is narrow and vertical, and there’s a healthy amount of white space. The text isn’t cluttered, and separate segments of the page are separated.
#2 Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield is known for coauthoring the book Chicken Soup For The Soul and The Success Principles. He hosts events around the world with live exercises and workshops to help his readers apply the ideas in his books to their lives.
This example strongly shows off the definition of “message match.” Jack wears the same suit in his landing page as he does in the ad, and the image is similar. However, the color overlay is different on the ad than on the landing page. Even subtle differences like this color overlay can have an impact on the “fast thinking” mind that makes decisions about trust before we’re even aware of them.
There’s a bigger fault with this ad than the color overlay, however. Interestingly enough, there’s no “buy one ticket, get one free” above the fold on the landing page as was suggested. We needed to scroll down about 35% of the page before it was visible as a banner. If people are clicking the ad because they’re excited about the ticket discount, then they may become disappointed or confused when clicking through and looking for more information on the “limited time offer.”
Finally, if someone did scroll to find information on the offer, they would find this banner first. The banner looks clickable (It’s the same color as the “register now” button displayed above), but it’s not clickable. An easy fix would be to have the banner link to the same registration page that their other call to action buttons point to.
Magic is a personal assistant agency that provides on-demand assistants and template gigs to help busy entrepreneurs.
What stands out in this ad is the copy “the easiest way to finish your to-do list” and the mention of a “magic” phone number.
This ad sends people to a homepage, which violates the principle of simplicity. Typically homepages give way too many options for a visitor to consider, especially when they come from ad traffic. When people click on an ad, they want to continue down the same line of thought that got them to click in the first place. Landing on a home page and having to search again for what you really wanted interrupts that process and hurts your conversions.
Its design elements could also use some work. There isn’t a narrow reading column, and the flow of the landing page does not draw the eye. While the above-the-fold messaging is designed okay (good negative space above the fold, and a clear call to action), it is not super compelling. The biggest problem is we could not find any mention of the magic phone number on the home page or even when we clicked further to a signup page. Though the magic number they mentioned in the ad was likely referring to the service, it appears to be a call to action. This goes against pillars 3 & 4, by not providing clear copywriting and a call to action as well as consistent messaging.
#4 Growth Geeks
Growth Geeks is another on-demand virtual assistant service that focuses on providing marketing support to entrepreneurs and businesses.
The advertisement took us to the homepage instead of a specific landing page, so it loses points on specificity. However, the homepage comes with a less cluttered design.
The ad and the homepage have a similar coloring and feel, except the ad uses a light green while the homepage uses a light blue. The green color used in the “tactics” text on the ad does not even appear on the home page.
The “Buy tactics. Not hours” tagline in the ad is very engaging and enticing. It feels like you’re getting solutions instead of more problems from hiring someone. The tagline on the homepage that says “an exclusive network of digital marketing experts” is a little less specific. Without the context of the “browse growth gigs” button below, it’s not even clear whether it is a marketplace or a place where a marketer might go to network.
The home page does have some subtle interactive elements, as you scroll the graphics slide out from the side of the screen which keeps the page engaging and interesting as the reader scrolls down.
Frontapp is an email management system that helps big teams keep organized with multi-person email addresses like (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
The headline of this ad is a great example of a value proposition. “Make your team love email again” hits on the main pain point that someone looking for an email management tool would want.
The landing page is solid above the fold. There isn’t much match from the ad as far as the visuals or copy are concerned, but the page is simple and explains all of the benefits early on. The lack of visual matching is a little shocking from the ad to the page, going from the dark color and simple icon of the ad graphic to a light page with pink calls to action and branding.
Unfortunately, one line of copy is a bit confusing and appears to be a typo with the use of @ symbols. Perhaps this will immediately make sense to someone managing team emails, but it requires a bit of abstract thinking to for it to make sense. There may be a better way to communicate that benefit. Avoiding language that is too jargony will help widen your potential customer base.
Huel is a meal company that provides total nutrition in a single shake for people on the go.
Huel uses a short video with images strung together to quickly communicate the quality and ease of the shakes they’re selling. The propositions of this advertisement are strong. You can’t get “healthy food in under 1 minute” in many other places. It’s establishing its product as different than the rest.
The ad points to a home page that has different text and visuals than the ad, but the same core message of “easy, healthy and fast” is still there. The copy of the homepage does a good job at providing some social proof by claiming it’s sold enough shakes to feed L.A. and Manhattan combined. But the call to action on the homepage is “experience Huel,” which is not aligned with the ad’s call to action about getting the Huel “starter set.”
The supporting text as you scroll down is well-designed. It is a narrow central column that’s easy to read and reinforces the value propositions in the ad and the top of the page.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell from the ad that the “Experience Huel” button serves as the call to action button. That button leads people to the starter kit order page, but it’s not clear that if I click that button, I’ll get more info on the starter kit, which is what the ad uses to entice you to this page.
Using simpler language would make this easier for consumers to identify the purpose of the button, and thus lead to a higher conversion rate.
Adext is a SaaS company that uses artificial intelligence to create automated online marketing campaigns.
The ad is visually interesting and eye-catching while visually hinting at “leads and sales” which is what any company looking for ads would want.
Somehow, the ad accidentally took us to a website in Spanish. This clearly violates the message match rule. While we were able to switch the site to its English version, this may not be easy for those who aren’t familiar with Spanish, French or another Romance language.
Also, the visuals from the ad don’t match the branding and design on the site. The copy of the ad does hint at artificial intelligence, which is the main value proposition of the site. Yet having a different look doesn’t help strengthen the brand or the product.
The sales page is designed well, but it’s a bit busy. On the plus side, it keeps to one thought at a time as you scroll down the page. There is a small arrow pointing down to keep you scrolling.
We were also interrupted by a pop-up advertisement that does not really offer any value to the product. All the ad asks is for additional social network engagement, without providing any incentive to the reader.
Put A Facebook Ad Strategy Into Practice
As you can see, adherence to Lift Media’s four pillars varies from one advertisement to the next – and there’s a good chance the effectiveness varies accordingly.
By focusing your Facebook advertising strategy on the four pillars – simplicity, drawing the eye, copywriting and message match – you will be better positioned to get the most out of your advertising and your landing pages.
You’re also more likely to target the right audience and boost conversions as a result.
Kyle Gray is the author of The Story Engine An entrepreneur’s guide to content strategy and brand storytelling without spending all day writing.
His agency, Conversion Cake, helps startups and small businesses grow by telling their story and helping their audience through content marketing.
Follow him on Twitter @kylethegray“