Facebook Ads 101 for Startups: How to Make People Tick & Click

Click! Click! Click!

You’ve built an awesome product. Great. Now how do you tell the world about it?

Facebook ads are a great way to get in front of potential customers:

  • You can start with a very low budget and expand from there,
  • You pay based on results,
  • You can test very rapidly value propositions, positioning, messages & pretty much anything,
  • The targeting options enable you to show your product to the people who’re most likely to be interested.

The big challenge is standing out. Competition for attention on the newsfeed is hard. Your ad will probably get stuck between a picture of friends at a wedding, an article from the New York Times and a funny cat video.

Out of all of this algorithmically-crafted content, what is going to make people click on YOUR ad?

This is where the creative comes in. You have a split-second window to convince your target that it’s worth spending time on your ad. That could be liking, reacting, commenting, or clicking on the link.

You’re not only trying to seduce the target here: Facebook algorithms are also judging your performance. The more attention you draw, the higher your relevance score (and the less you’ll need to pay to get in front of new eyeballs). The relevance score is a rating of 1 to 10 based on how your audience is responding to your ad. If you’re below 5, just drop it. 6 and 7 are acceptable. But you should really aim for 8+. With the right audience and a great creative, even a 10 is totally within your reach.

Don’t forget to also check the negative feedback on your ads (people who say they don’t want to see your ad). If it’s too high, this will really play against you & you should probably change your targeting.

Ready to step up your game and get a relevance score of 10?

In the creative battle, you have 3 main weapons:

  • The ad text
  • The headline
  • The image

You need to combine & test all of these weapons to find the most powerful combination. There’s no secret formula.

Text inside the image is generally powerful, although you should be careful not to take up more than 20% of the picture or the ad might be refused. You should also try adding/removing the logo and a call-to-action on the image itself.

Now what? Based on our experience, here are 5 killer-techniques you can use to help you build your copy & creative.

  • The Big-D*ck ad. When you’re a startup, nobody knows you. So you should try to provide legitimacy as much as you can. The “Big-D*ck ad” enables you to show off your best numbers: crowdfunding campaign, number of products sold, prizes, etc. Nobody wants to miss the next big thing: let them know that the next big thing is you, and that some very smart people have already acknowledged that… so they should quickly jump onboard!
The Big-D*d ad. Great Kickstarter number, nice teasing & elegant branding.
  • The Provoking Ad. Sometimes a good way to get people’s attention is to say something bold, initiating debate. Those ads generally get a lot of ‘Shares’, which is a great way to have people spread the message.
The Provoking Ad, casually boasting about the death of the Cloud.
  • The “Listen-to-the-Press” ad. Same legitimacy/credibility principle as the Big-D*ck ad: you’re bringing in a third-party to prove your value with a quote from renowned media. The trick is to link to your website and not to the press article itself (You don’t want to lose that traffic.)
The Listen-to-the-press ad. TIME Magazine, wow!
  • The “Listen-to-our-happy-users” ad. The more authentic an ad looks, the better. Having customer testimonials helps tremendously: it makes people identify with your product & it looks more real (ie: not marketing BS). You can use app store reviews, Amazon reviews, feedback received through your customer surveys, support messages, etc.
A “Listen-to-our-happy-users” ad.
  • The “This isn’t about me” ad. This one is a bit different. It doesn’t talk about the product at all, but in this case, it offers very enticing content (=win at SF life!) to a very targeted audience (=people that just moved to the city), who are very likely to need TransferWise’s services (=transfer money abroad).

To go further, check this great article on the Creative Loop by the Facebook Marketing Science team. So, which ads do you find the most effective? Share your best tips in the comments!

This is a series of articles for and by real startup marketers on how to win the Facebook game when you’re growing your business. Thanks to Brian, Julien, Marie & Maxime for helping me improve this first article.
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