Effective Ads for Social Media Marketing

Effective ads in social media target clear buyer personas with a defined goal and offer solutions, not pain points.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

This article will walk through the three essential features of effective social media ads and ad campaigns you might use on Facebook and Instagram. (See our guide on getting started with advertising through Facebook.) Then we'll look at the three major mistakes where many social media marketing ad campaigns fail.

1. Target the appropriate buyer with your ads

The key to all effective ads and marketing communication, especially where persuasion is involved is to know your audience. Every ad and your overall ad campaign strategy should be based on a detailed idea of the kind of person you are aiming it at. Apart from their demographic details, what is their pain point that should make them interested in what you have to sell? What problem do they have that you can solve?

🔖 Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Alexa all have useful templates, guides and worksheets for creating buyer personas if you need to start from scratch and create some for your store.

2. Have a clear campaign goal for social media ads and marketing

Your ad campaign should have one clear goal. Maybe you just want to introduce potential customers in your market to your brand. That's an awareness-building campaign. Maybe you want to educate them about a particular product or service that may meet a need they have. Maybe you are driving them to make a purchase during a special promotion or sale. You can do only one, so focus your efforts. Within a single campaign, different ads could serve each of these goals. However, the most effective advertising will focus each individual ad on one message and goal — what you want prospective customers to think and/or do.

3. Effective ads offer solutions, not worry

Just because you know your target customer's pain point doesn't mean it's a good thing to focus your ads on. Fear and concern are not good things to drive conversions. Yes, you want to make an emotional appeal, but try to focus it on the positives: the solutions your product or service offers. Your Calls to Action (CTAs) should zero in on solutions. Explain the benefits you offer up front. Effective advertising offers credible solutions to real problems and concerns your target audience has.

Missteps to Avoid in Your Advertising

1. Your ad budget is too small

After going through the trouble of creating a good series of ads and a targeted campaign, don't be cheap. Don't hold yourself back by underfunding your campaign. Make sure your ads stay active throughout a promotion period. If they're not active long enough for customers to respond, you've wasted your efforts.

How long should your ad campaigns run? Effective Facebook ads need at least 3 to 4 days to start while you initially observe and test their effectiveness. For a test phase, a small budget as low ad $5/day for a single ad may be sufficient. Once you know an ad is getting a high click rate you can extend its budget — and you should. With a higher budget, your ads will appear in front of more people even if the campaign lasts only a few days.

2. You don't pay attention to your ads while they are active

An ad campaign is not fire-and-forget. Keep a close eye on your ads while they're active. Monitor your campaign's effectiveness and adapt to the unexpected and unknowns as clarity emerges. Try A/B testing, and if one ad converts more than another, boost it. Cut off underperforming ads. Listen closely on social media and your customer support and inquiry channels. If people have questions, complaints, and comments relating to your promotions, be ready for them.

3. Your ad text is poor — or stale

Effective ad text gets right to the point. It should be all about your advertising goals for a particular campaign. If it's not clear, it won't communicate. Again, A/B testing is helpful. Learn from what works and what doesn't. Effective ads are well-written, and the customer response rate will tell you what words work to engage potential customers.

Research shows it takes an average of 45 days for customers to learn and remember what they have seen in ads. After that point the messaging becomes stale. Ad blindness sets in. Your ads become too familiar to keep using, so it's time to end that campaign or deploy a new ad within it.

Write Winning Ad Headlines for Social Media Marketing

Ad headlines are the most important ad copy you have. They are especially valuable to driving sales. What makes a winning and effect ad headline, especially on Facebook?

Tips for Effective Facebook Ads — and all social media ad campaigns:

  • Use relevant keywords and the proper tone.
  • Stay on-brand with the voice in your ads.
  • Sometimes humour works. Try it!
  • Offering solutions related to your customers' pain points is always a winning approach. Think about your ad copy in terms of problem-solving.
  • The hard data of statistics can be convincing if you share them. What numbers will impress customers about your product or services?
  • Most of all, keep your headlines simple, brief, clear and to the point.

Consider Video Ads

In addition to Stories, product Carousels, and Slideshows, Facebook offers Video ads Video advertising — on Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels — has become a popular and effective way to reach customers. They have the highest engagement rate of any kind of online advertising and social media marketing — much more than traditional banners and even rich media ads. Research has shown people who watch video ads are much more likely to remember the messaging. If their experience of your video ad is a good one, customers have a much higher brand recall and are much more likely to make a purchase.

On Facebook, use short video ads to demonstrate a product or service you offer. You need compelling content to go longer than a quick take, so less is more for people who are skimming through their feed. They'll hit your short, looping clip on autoplay. You can buy original, promoted, long video ads, or ads within other people's videos. Facebook's 360 degree video ads are great for showcasing a space in an immersive experience

Always Be Testing Your Ads

The most important thing to do when you begin an ad campaign is to watch how it performs. Learn from missteps and the reactions you get. Experiment! Through trial and error, you'll learn what engages your target audiences and how to reach them best.

🎯 Did you have a good result with your first digital ad campaign? Have Facebook and Instagram ads helped your eCommerce store? How has advertising worked for your business? Tell us what you've learned! 💬

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By Dan Knauss

Dan Knauss is a writer, editor, speaker, and teacher. He's a long-time WordPress freelancer who enjoys helping people use digital publishing effectively. Dan also blogs about disability, neuropathy, neuromuscular disease, and medical research at