How to Create Facebook Ads That Engage Your Audience

You're all set to start advertising on Facebook.

You have your budget in place. And you're ready to start attracting customers.

… There's just ONE thing holding you back. You don't know what to put in your Ads!

If you have hit this roadblock, have no fear…. Because today we're going to discuss how to create your Facebook ads.

More importantly, we're going to cover the three keys to creating engaging ad content.

Note: In this post, I'll be referencing data I collected while studying 10,103 Facebook Ads published by some of the world's top advertisers. Below, you can get access to a PDF report which shares some of the data and trends my study revealed.

The three keys to creating engaging Facebook Ads

One of the good and bad things about Facebook is they allow you to get highly creative with your ad content. There aren't as many constraints as Google Ads

You can write a super long headline or a short one. You can write five paragraphs of copy for your ad or just a few words. And you can choose from a variety of formats or placements.

So how do you know what the winning combination is?

Well, in over a decade of experience running paid media campaigns, I've found producing effective ads comes down to three things.

1. Your audience targeting
2. Your ad format
3. And testing!

3 Keys to creating engaging Facebook Ads

How your audience targeting impacts your ad creative

It's no secret that quality targeting (or retargeting) is critical to the performance of your Facebook Ads.

Yet there's a lot more to targeting than just focusing on interest categories.

In fact, the most significant factor in your audience targeting isn't addressed in Facebook's documentation at all.

That factor? Your audience's “state of awareness.”

Your audience's level of awareness is crucial to creating high-quality ads because it dictates what you need to communicate in your ad.

Data Driven - Audience state of awareness

So before you start developing your ad creative, you'll want to consider how you can position that creative to reach your intended audience.

Let's take a look at how you can use your ad to connect with two very different types of audiences; unaware and fully aware.

Engaging unaware audiences

Unaware audiences are made of people who have never heard of your product or brand before. You can reach these audiences on Facebook by using interest targeting or through lookalikes audiences.

Unaware audiences are almost always the challenging audience to convert into a customer through ads. Why? Because the people in these audiences likely don't know anything about your product or brand.

So they are LESS likely to trust the offers in your ads until you warm them up/take them down the path to full awareness.

How do you earn trust with unaware audiences?

Offer them a low commitment, zero friction opportunity to engage with your ad. You can use stories, quotes, videos, or even ask questions in your ads to inspire these people to engage with your ad.

Data Driven - Facebook Ads audience segements

Engaging aware audiences

Getting aware audiences to take action on your ads is much easier than unaware segments.

Why? Because aware audiences are familiar with you! This includes people who have visited your website or engaged with one of your ads previously. These people are much more likely to respond to your higher-risk offers, like limited-time deals, webinars, free consultations, and other offers that require time and/or money commitment.

Your audiences' awareness state, more than anything else, should guide how you position your ad creative.

Data Driven - Facebook Ads audience segements

Inspire your ad creative

Now, I don't know about you, but I am not much for staring at a blank slate and waiting for inspiration.

I prefer to start with a reference point when I am developing new ad creative.

The best reference point? Other successful ads.

You can track down ads to study and emulate by visiting your competitors' Facebook pages and checking out the ads they have running.

Facebook Ads Library

Or, if you're a member of my FB Ads Mastery Progam, you can use our FB Ads Library to look at ads by industry, ad format, and business size.

FB Ads Mastery Quick Access Library

You can also download our FB Ads study summary to help you research the tops trends in your market using the opt-in below.

FB Ads Trends Study

As you research other advertisers, make note of the offers they are using, and which audience segments those offers are attempting to convert. This analysis will help you figure out how you can position your ad creative to entice those same types of audiences.

Formatting your ads to connect with your audience

Facebook provides you many different formatting and placement options for your ads.

Sifting through all these choices can be a little overwhelming. But, if you know how to use them, these options can help you adjust your ad content to appeal to different audiences.

facebook ad types

For example, inside Facebook Ads, you can quickly duplicate your ads.

Duplicate your Facebook ads

Then you can tweak the format or copy on your ads to engage the audience segments you want to your target.

Writing ad copy to engage your audience

Facebook's ad copy guidelines are different for each of their ad formats.

Yet, how you use your copy for each format follows a similar pattern.

Let's look at the format of a standard feed ad to see how you can use your ad copy to support your advertising objective.

A feed ad has five main components.

  • Your image (or video)
  • The headline
  • Your ad text
  • Your CTA
  • And Your link

Facebook Ads example

Each of the components does a job that can be explained in the context of the most tried and true advertising formula – AIDA.

AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, action.

Here's how you can use the AIDA formula to help you structure your ad copy.

Gain your audience's attention with your video or image

Attention – Your image or video has one primary goal…

Stop the scroll and grab your audiences' attention!

Facebook ads example

Building interest using your ad headline

Interest – The next most prominent component of your feed ad is your headline. Your headline should build your audience's interest in your ad.

Facebook ads example

Think about your headline in terms of your audience's state of awareness and the primary benefit you can offer to that audience. Is it a freebie, a limited time offer, or discovering something new?

Note: My study of over 10,000 Facebook Ads, published by some of the top advertisers, revealed that the majority of headlines are under six words.

Facebook ads Headline - Number of words

Use your ad text to grow your audience's desire

Desire – Your ad text is where you build your audience's desire. You can use this space to reinforce a benefit or tell a short, relatable story.

Facebook Ads copy

Long or short copy in your Facebook Ad text?

The big question people usually ask about ad text is, should they use short or long copy?

Note: My Facebook Ads Study found that most advertisers use under 30 words of text in their ads.

Facebook ads text length

Even though short ad copy is more prevalent than long ad copy, there are a couple of ways you can use lengthy texts in your ads.

The most common use case for long copy is to qualify the click, meaning you don't want everyone who sees your ad to click through. Instead, you only want the most qualified people, the ones who read your full ad, to click through to your landing page.

The other way to use long copy is to shock and awe and your audience… meaning you think long copy will impress them, and therefore be more likely to build their desire.

Facebook ads long copy example

With that aside out of the way, let's look at the last two components of a feed ad.

Use the right CTA to win the click

Action – Facebook offers you a handful of choices for your CTA. The most important thing about your CTA is to make sure it fits your audience's awareness state and the objective of your ad.

Facebook Ads CTA

Ad URL – Your URL helps you build trust with your audience. They want to know where they'll land when they click through. So, make sure your URL appears clean and easy to understand.

Facebook Ads URL

Ad Testing is optimizing

The winning combination of targeting, creative, copy, and formats will be different for every advertiser.

The only way to find out what works best for you is to start testing. One of the advantages Facebook Ads offers advertisers is fast results. You'll typically know within 24-48 hours if your ad is effective or not.

There a few things to keep in mind when testing your ad.

• Facebook loves to claim responsibility for all your conversions. Yet, their data is not always accurate. When you run a new, unproven campaign, double-check Facebook's data. You can use Google Analytics as a way to verify Facebook's attribution.

facebook ads tracking in google analytics

• Be realistic with your objectives and expectations. If you are targeting unaware audiences, don't expect an immediate positive ROAS. Instead, optimize for an attainable goal and try to build up your aware audiences.

• Tracking is important. Ultimately, online advertising is a numbers game. So, the better you track the engagement your ads produce, the quicker you can make the optimizations you need to produce ROI positive results.

Maximize the return on your ad creative using this Facebook video ad strategy

Before we wrap this up, I want to take just a minute to share a video ad strategy that can help you maximize the versatility of your ad creative.

I call this strategy the Supercut.

A supercut is like a Hollywood movie trailer for your business or product. Essentially, it's a montage of your highlights or greatest hits.

Here's how to develop the creative for a Supercut. You take one or more long pieces of video content, possibly a YouTube video, a video of an event, or a product demo.

Then, you pull the highlights out of that longer video and turn into a short 30-60 second mashup.

You'll use that mashup as your Facebook video ad.

Add in a hook or pattern interrupt at the beginning of your Supercut. The pattern interrupt will not only help gain your audience's attention; it also helps them remember your ad.

Why is the Supercut strategy so effective?

There are a couple of reasons this strategy works well.

1) Your Supercut can appeal to a wide range of audiences. Just like a movie trailer, you don't have to know anything about the movie to enjoy the preview. So unaware audiences can engage with this content just as easily as fully aware audiences.

2) Video views are cheap. If you're using your Supercut to reach unaware audiences, you can optimize your ad for video views. Then you can move anyone who watches your video to a retargeting audience. Promoting video ads on Facebook is a low friction way to increase awareness and make your retargeting more profitable.

facebook ads video views campaign

Note: If you're not sure how to come up with video content for your ads, check our FB Ads Playbook. You'll find multiple strategies inside our Playbook (like the Influencer and the View-Master) that detail how to produce and maximize the value of your ad content.

FB Ads Playbook

What's your next move?

We covered a lot of ground in this guide. And now, I would love to hear from you.

What's your next move when it comes to advertising on Facebook?

Is it adjusting your audience targeting strategy?

Experimenting with video ads?

Using more ad formats?

Or upgrading your tracking?

Share your plans for advertising on Facebook in the comments below.

And as always, if you have questions, please share them too.

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