How To Create Successful Social Media Ads

As good and important as it is to have an active organic social media presence, ads will be necessary to reach a new and highly targeted audience.

Our best practice guide will keep your social media ad strategy focused so you maximise ROI, as well as give you some top tips to implement across your Instagram and Facebook ads…

Refine Your Social Media Ad Strategy

Much like any social media marketing strategy, you need to outline a detailed plan for your social media ads before diving into the content.

It helps to go right back to the beginning when thinking about this:

  1. Begin with the business objective 📊
    What do you want the ad to achieve? Clicks to your website, profile views, increase in followers, sales through Instagram etc. Defining this objective will give you a clear idea of what the call to action on the ad will be.
  2. Then outline the audience 👥
    Who is the target demographic? Develop customer personas so you have a really clear idea of the person you’re creating the ad for.
  3. So you can decide on the social platform 📱
    Based on your intended audience, which platform is best to meet your objective? You can use Facebook Audience Insights to see how audience behaviour differs on each platform. For example, if users are more likely to go on to shop from Facebook ads, campaigns with purchases as your objective will be best suited there.
  4. And then the ad format 🎥
    Facebook and Instagram both have a range of ad formats, including video, photo, carousel, and story. Based on audience and competitor research, product type and industry, you will have a clear idea of which format is best for your objective.
The different campaign objectives for Facebook and Instagram ads.

From here you should be in a confident position to start creating your social media ads! Check out our top tips for Instagram and Facebook below to level up your ads and see fast results 🙌

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Instagram Ads: Top Tips 💡

Guess what? 83% of Instagram users say they discover new products and services on the app.

So it comes as no surprise to hear that Instagram currently have over 2 million monthly advertisers on the platform, because what business wouldn’t want a slice of that action?

With a plethora of Instagram ad formats to choose from, you’re guaranteed to reach your target audience in the right way by following these top tips…

#1 Use 4:5 ratio

This is a super simple but highly effective Instagram ad tip! In order to dominate the most real estate on your audience’s feed, create photo and video ads using 4:5 ratio (1080 x 1350).

Not only will it occupy the whole phone screen, it will take longer for people to scroll past, giving you more time to grab their attention.

instagram ads
See how this ad dominates your entire Instagram feed

#2 Consistent visual branding

By this we mean, make your ads look native to your feed and your audience’s feed. In 2020, ad blindness is a bigger thing than ever, with social media users becoming more and more immune to adverts.

This means that if your ad is highly recognisable as an advert – i.e a big red square containing 50% SALE in bold letters – people are more likely to scroll straight past.

The trick is therefore to make your ads look natural to both:

  • Your Instagram feed
    By maintaining your brand colours or feed aesthetic.
  • Your audience’s feeds
    By keeping inline with content they are likely to see normally from accounts they follow.
instagram ads
This ad (for a travel diary app) would blend perfectly into their target audience’s feeds.

#3 Use music on Story ads

Did you know that 60% of Instagram Story ads are watched with sound on? Ensure any video Story ads you create have a catchy and standout soundtrack.

#4 Create video ads

According to a number of marketing studies, videos perform better and are preferable to consumers. They are also preferable to businesses, as they give brands more of an opportunity to grab attention (thanks autoplay) and convey their message.

Video ads can be landscape, portrait or square, and have a limit of 60 seconds, however it’s very rare that anyone would watch a video ad to the end, so the first few seconds are key.

instagram ads
Video ads can naturally fit a lot more information into a few seconds than a photo

#5 Use stickers, GIFs and text in Story ads

Following on from our point about ‘ad blindness’, due to the ephemeral and informal nature of Stories, anything overly polished and high quality will instantly stand out as an ad.

Many brands use the native features of Instagram Stories – such as stickers, GIFs and font – on their ads to make them fit naturally into their audience’s scrolling patterns.

A great benefit of this strategy is that you can draw attention to the ‘Swipe Up’ link using GIFs or stickers.

instagram ads
Using Instagram Story text features make the ads look more natural content

Similarly, you could work with influencers on your Instagram Story ads to make them even more authentic, as users are less likely to instantly notice it as an ad and scroll past. Check out how have implemented this strategy:

instagram ads
Work with influencers to create authentic Story ads
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Facebook Ads: Top Tips 💡

Facebook naturally dominate the ads space on social media. Their ads platforms are extensive and yield great results, but it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily they have heaps on information on their business site, and courses to help you get the most out of advertising on the platform.

Once you’re familiar with Facebook ad formats, you can decide which will work best for your business objectives. Then you can try and implement some of these tips…

#1 Think mobile-first

A simple but important tip is that all your Facebook ads should be optimised for mobile, as that is where the majority of your audience will be viewing them.

That means vertical content, emojis and high-resolution images!

Not only do vertical videos and photos mean that users don’t have to rotate their phone screens, they also dominate the most real estate on the mobile news feed.

facebook ads
Vertical video is a great way to produce Facebook ads mobile-first

#2 Utilise carousel ads

Carousel ads allow up to 10 photos and videos in 1 post – and the best part is they each have their own link and call to action. This is great for brands wanting to display multiple e-commerce products.

Time on the ad is likely to increase, as there’s more for users to look at. It also increases likelihood of someone clicking through, as the chance of seeing something that sparks interest is higher than on a single image post.

facebook ads
Carousel posts allow users to scroll through multiple images and are more likely to convert

#3 Create video ads

As with our Instagram video ad tip, video ads also perform better on Facebook!

Facebook Blueprint’s advice is to shoot your video ad vertically (coming back to our mobile-first point). They also recommend keeping it to 15 seconds max, but aiming to grab attention within 3 seconds.

Also bear in mind when creating your Facebook video ad that 85% of them are watched without sound, so text and subtitles are necessary!

facebook ads
Video ads instantly grab attention due to autoplay when scrolling

#4 Test and iterate

The advanced set up of Facebook ads manager means you can run tests to see what performs best with your audience. Then you can do more of what is working and stop ads that are not performing.

Test everything from images, copy, ad format and placement to narrow down the most effective ad for your objective.

Check out this guide on Facebook ad testing for optimal results.

#5 Make your call to action stand out

Regardless of ad format or content, the key of a good Facebook ad is a clear call to action. You want the viewer to instantly know what to do when they see your ad: whether it’s to ‘Shop Now’, ‘Sign Up’ or even ‘tag a friend’ in the comments.

You can feature your CTA in many places on a Facebook ad:

  • Copy
    The news feed description that will appear above the ad
  • Headline
    The headline on the URL of the ad
  • Content
    The text on the image or video within the ad
  • Button
    The CTA button on the ad

Without repeating yourself, you can utilise each of these features to convey the desired action of the person viewing the ad. A clear understanding of your target audience will help with this, as you can write in the tone or style that would appeal most to them. You can also get creative with the CTA and add a dynamic QR code within the ad image; All Sure steps to maximise ROI.

facebook ads
Make your call to action explicitly clear on your ads
Plan & schedule social media ahead of time.

> Video, gallery & image posts
> Calendar, feed & grid preview
> Instagram, Facebook & Twitter

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Visually plan your social content. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn + Pinterest.