7 Facebook Ads that are Secretly Amazing

Bad Facebook ads help you learn.

You can see, viscerally, what NOT to do (or which mistakes to repeat).

However, good ads help you emulate.

You can reverse engineer what they’re doing well, and apply the same underlying strategy to your own efforts.

It’s always difficult to critique ads without looking at the underlying data.

But…

There are many uniform principles (backed by studies) that, if used correctly, good results should follow suit.

Here are 7 great Facebook ads to model yours after.

1. Asana

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Let’s start strong as a model for the rest of these ads, with this nearly perfect one from Asana.

The first thing that grabs your attention is the bold green and blue hues.

The value proposition is front-and-center: “Say goodbye to email…” and all that other stuff that you’re forced to routinely cobble together haphazardly.

One of the best parts though, is the short headline under the image.

AdEspresso, a Facebook software company, analyzed 37,259 ads and found that the most popular headlines are only 5 words long (while the ad text is only 14 words and the ideal link description is around 18 words).

To sum it all up? On Facebook, keep things (1) visual, (2) straight-to-the-point, and (3) concise.

2. Club Travel

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Carousel ads, like this one from Club Travel, are perfect for ‘top of the funnel’ paid traffic where you’re trying to appeal to the most people possible.

But let’s be honest with each other for a second:

Nobody in their right mind likes to fly anymore. It’s an awful experience, so leading with that on a ‘fun’ ad designed to appeal to the masses would be disastrous.

Instead, Club Travel expertly focuses the attention on the solution or experience that someone’s going to get out of air travel. The images are popular travel destinations, featuring recognizable landmarks that grab your attention immediately.

That’s important, because in between mindlessly scanning content on Facebook, people don’t have to think or process anything. All that’s left is to see and click.

3. Japan Crate

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Speaking of good images, Japan Crate serves up their own version of a beautiful one that features vibrant colors.

90% of information is processed by our brains is visual. Which is why images on Facebook are arguably the most important piece of your ad creative. And why your stomach starts to ache a little bit when you gaze at this enticing food.

But Japan Crate also follows up on their strong image with another classic technique: urgency. (“Last day to get September’s crate.”)

Robert Cialdini’s classic, Influence, dives deep into why scarcity is so popular (and effective). And there are countless studies, like this example to review that shows how adding urgency and scarcity increased sales 332% (lifting conversion rates from 2.5%-10.8%) for one person.

4. L.Bentley Offensive Line Performance

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The typical Facebook user is hanging out or killing time; catching up with what family and friends are up to.

That means there’s no intent to purchase anything right off the bat in most cases.

Facebook ads commonly “fail” when you try to go direct for the purchase, like advertising a special promotion or deal to a cold audience who has no idea who you are. While that approach could work if you’re targeting custom audiences and remarketing to past visitors, you’re better off using content to appeal to new people instead.

That’s why this ad from L.Bentley works well. It’s focused on a specific training technique and combines that with another common problem for most athletes (in-season training when you’re already tired from games and trying to recover).

Today’s advertising trends (lead by young adults) also favor authenticity above all else.

Which is why this image ad works well. The realism is immediately apparent, while the quality and lighting is just good enough (i.e. not blurry, overly dark, etc.).

5. Fungus Fighter

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Gross.

That’s the first thought that hits you as your eyes land on this image of feet. (It also looks very real, which adds to the effect.)

And that’s why it’s so effective.

But if that’s all it did — use outlandish tactics to get attention — it wouldn’t work well.

Instead, Fungus Fighter follows it up with a strong headline and value proposition: killing foot fungus. That’s a HUGE problem for some people and this ad surfaces that pain point above all else.

The “7 Ways” listicle format is one of the most popular headline formulas for grabbing attention.

And the brackets at the end (“[Do this Before Bed]”) can provide “a drastic increase in post views” according to a study by HubSpot and Outbrain.

Clickbait-style headlines are only bad when the content fails to deliver. While it’s easy to write off BuzzFeed headlines, you should actually try to understand what they’re doing and adopt a similar (albeit, toned down) approach in your own headlines.

6. Handmade Seller Magazine

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The best value propositions — the ones that grab the most visibility and convert the highest — are concrete.

Here’s what I mean:

Imagine for a second that you’re handmaking items to sell.

You’re doing it for passion and interest, sure. But at the end of the day, you’re also putting in a lot of time, energy, and money. You’re not doing it to get rich per se, but you would like to earn a few bucks for the effort.

Not to stereotype, but the people who’re going to buy your homemade trinkets probably are NOT going to do so through LinkedIn or Twitter. You’re probably looking at millennial hipsters on Instagram or baby boomers on Facebook.

That’s why, “Earning $1,000/Week in Your Own Facebook Group” is the absolute perfect headline + value prop.

It’s specific, naming a dollar amount that sounds great (but isn’t too high to be unrealistic or impossible). And it’s telling you exactly how (or where) you’re going to be able to earn this amount.

That’s the hook that grabs your attention and interest, which leads you back to subscribing first to get access to that insight.

7. Decathlon Sports India

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At first blush, this last ad seems like an odd choice to end a ‘good’ list on. Especially after so many great ones above.

It looks… fine. But nothing special.

However, if you look closely at the first opening line, you’ll see that it references a “Trail Running Marathon”. And that’s where the magic lies.

An average ad with great audience targeting will outperform an excellent ad with poor targeting on Facebook.

Part of that is logical. Ads that are better targeted should perform better. But the other part comes down to how Facebook ads work (and therefore, what they cost).

For example, one test ran the same exact ad creative to two different audiences. One was generic and poor, receiving a Relevance Score of only 2.9 (resulting in a Cost Per Click of $0.142). The other was shown to a custom audience (with great targeting) and delivered a Relevance Score of 8.0 (resulting in a Cost Per Click of only $0.03).

The lesson? Great ads are important. But don’t spend so much time focusing on the ad creative that you overlook the most important piece: audience targeting.

Final Thoughts on The Best Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are difficult to get right.

There’s a ton of variables, including the ad image, headline, call-to-action, and description. That doesn’t even take into account the audience targeting either!

But if you can follow the 7 ads listed above, and adopt the same research-backed tips that work in other industries, you should be able to shortcut your learning curve, avoid wasted ad spend, and significantly increase results with just a few hours worth of work.

Brad Smith
 

Brad Smith the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. And creator of Grammar Gang, testing the best  grammar and plagiarism checkers on the market.

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