Swipe ideas from some of the best Facebook ads
You've been tasked with coming up with a successful advert for Facebook, and you are sat there, at your desk, tapping your fingers and scratching your head.
Anyone in the creative industries will tell you that plucking out winning ideas out of thin air ain't easy. And Facebook ads are no exception.
That's why many creative types will, ahem,
copy get inspiration from other successful campaigns. No, we're not talking plagiarism here. Just taking a concept and turning it into something that we can use. It happens all the time in marketing, so dry your eyes.
I've spent several weeks collecting all the Facebook ads that I would consider 'inspirational' or successful in some way.
I might consider them successful because they follow best practices in copywriting, design or persuasion. Or they may be completely original. Others may have just jumped out at me because they've caught my attention (those ones work very well).
Facebook's organic reach plummeted several years ago, which means that you've got to be more creative than ever with your ad campaigns. If you're stuck for ideas and inspiration, here are a whole bunch of Facebook ads that will get your creative juices flowing again.
There's a lot of psychology and persuasion in this ad, even though it's not immediately apparent.
The opening sentence of this 20i ad starts with the word 'experience', a power word that instantly gets you thinking of how you will be using the service.
The copy is designed so that it's all about 'you' and your experience with the product. There's a £1 incentive that acts as a low-risk incentive to try it out.
Personally, I'd change the image to include someone using the system, rather than a screenshot, but it's effective. So much so, that I now use 20i as my hosting provider.
It's quite obvious what this ad is attempting to do - catch your attention.
Disruptive techniques like these might seem a little annoying to some people, but when you're bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day, then you need to break convention once in a while to ensure that you get noticed.
Personally, I'm not keen on this technique - simply because it's a bit too obvious. But then again I'm looking at it from a marketer's perspective, rather than a normal reader.
Do I recommend it? Possibly, if you're struggling to get your message noticed using other means. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
This Adstream ad opens with the words 'Deadline looming', which gets you thinking of how much pressure you're under - a classic persuasion technique to build up desire and interest.
It also motivates you by showing you how quick and simple their service is (as little as 3 minutes), which paints a picture of simplifying your life.
The graphic also has a strong headline using a superlative to drive the message home.
Advertiser: Adventure in You
Lifestyle pictures of stunningly beautiful places is used extensively in advertising, simply because it creates an element of desire. Remember the AIDA principles - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action?
The ad opens with a question, which disrupts the normal behaviour of a reader and gets them thinking about the answer to the question.
And of course, real people are the focus of the advert, because they want it to feel real, genuine and personable.
Whilst these types of graphic (using illustrations of people rather than photos) are commonplace, they seem to be pretty effective.
The copy is short but effective, and cleverly opens with the word 'people'. After all, marketing and advertising IS all about people.
The ad also uses the classic 'how to' copy that is designed to get you thinking about answers, rather than treating it as an advertisement.
Advertiser: Alli AI
Find 150-200 niche backlinks in the next 90 minutes is the opening line to this ad, and it sums it up nicely what you're going to be getting for your money.
If you're in the digital marketing industry, as I am, then you'll know how valuable this is by default - there's not much more explaining that is needed. But the next sentence is clever, because it then asks a question.
This breaks the normal convention of opening with a question and then giving the reader the benefits.
Using screenshots of the product in action is also a tried-and-tested technique to give the reader an idea of what to expect.
However, from a digital marketing perspective I'm going to advise you not to use services like these, because they're against the terms of Google, and may land your website with a penalty that'll feel like you've gone to prison.
Advertiser: Angie Gensler
I like this ad, because the copy focuses on what others have said about the product, rather than what Angie says. This shows social proof and popularity, because it's actually an ad-turned-testimonial.
The use of a picture of Angie herself also adds social proof, and the inclusion of the product itself (a calendar of social media content) shows people what they will be getting, helping to manage her customer's expectations.
Advertiser: Annies Homegrown
An ad that is more than a passing resemblance to an M&S Food (this is more than...), this uses video to get your attention.
It's doubtful if this is a deliberate attempt, being a US brand.
Notice how the colours in the video also match the brand colours too, which is a great little tough.
I don't do much photography any more, but if I did then this ad would pique my curiosity, and I wouldn't be able to resist finding out more about this gadget.
And that's the key to successful advertising campaigns. When you're competing with so many other ads all trying to catch your attention, you need something that's going to make you think, "that looks cool. I want to find out more".
The ad copy suggests that it's already incredibly popular with photographers (social proof tactic).
Whilst it doesn't give much away in the copy, the landing page does the job of selling the product - and the benefits.
A no-nonsense ad which gets straight to the point. I like the words 'developed in the UK', because for some people, that really matters. It shows that they understand what their customers are looking for, and where their priorities lie.
Although this ad could do with a little more in terms of the benefits of using the product, it's clean (sorry) and simple, which is quite possibly the exact message they're trying to portray.
Another ad that relies solely on the visuals (in this case it's a video) to do all the talking.
I would be tempted to write a single-sentence to highlight the benefits of the laptop stand. Remember, you're selling solutions, not a product, so I would focus on such things as comfort, quality and health.
Advertiser: Awards Intelligence
Back in the earlier years of the internet, freebies were what it was all about. And with this ad by Awards Intelligence, they understand that this is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.
I don't think anyone will be under no illusions as to what's going on here... it's a classic magnet so that they can capture your details as a lead. As much as we know that, it's still a great tactic for getting people engaged with a brand.
Great use of visuals, although I would be tempted to include a photograph of a real person holding an award or a medal.
Notice the call-to-action button too ('Download Now'). Although it's not really a button (the whole ad is the button), it acts as a motivational trigger to get people to act now.
I'll be honest and admit that when I first saw this ad I thought the young lady was shaving!
That in itself caught my attention.
Now, I don't know how the ad got past the moderators at Facebook, and I suspect that it was pulled pretty damn quickly (read the last sentence). But once again it highlights the need to break some rules and do something different.
Note: if you're using tactics like this you can expect your ads to be pulled - or worse - your account banned. I've included it just to make a point of doing something different.
Cats. Dogs. Bunnies. People on social media just cannot get enough of them. If it's got a picture of a pet, the chances are that the ad will get eyeballs.
Once again I'm not keen on the capitalisation in the caption underneath the graphic, but the words are great - people LOVE lists!
Most ads focus on positives, which is why I like this ad - a lot.
Rather than using positive emotions, it goes for the jugular and uses some pretty powerful words to stimulate those negative emotions such as fear, disgust and anger.
Remember, an ad doesn't always have to focus on positive emotions to get attention and evoke a response. The negative emotions are just as potent.
Advertiser: Click Intelligence
This copy opens with a question, which is always an effective way of getting people thinking right out of the blocks.
Below that, there's another hypothetical question with just one answer: 'yes!'. This is a classic sales technique. Getting someone to say yes is a compliance technique that helps people to justify their actions.
Note the green icons too - which accomplish the same thing.
There's a little bit of tidying up of the grammar needed in the graphic, but overall this is a strong ad with some excellent copy.
Using a case study to highlight how a real person has benefited from a product is a powerful technique.
There's something else at work, here. Think of a typical ClickFunnels user and you generally will have a preconception of who they are. I'm not saying this is always the case, but my idea of a ClickFunnels customer doesn't look like the gentleman in this ad. Far from it.
By using what appears to be an older, skilled professional breaks from the norm, and demonstrates that it's a product for real, serious businesses.
So, if you're a real, serious business then this ad is going to change your perception of ClickFunnels. And as we know, changing people's perceptions can be very, very difficult.
Another ad which opens with a question right away. This ad is brought to you by ClickFunnels, which is owned by the copywriting expert Russell Brunson.
In this ad there's a lot of persuasion going on, from the use of the phrase 'Top Secret' to the use of 'YES' (see the ad above for an explanation).
Notice the use of hyperbole in the bottom strapline too. No wonder this ad got a lot of engagement - and probably a huge amount of clicks, too.
Advertiser: Cooper Parry Wealth
Once again, the ad copy relies on an opening question to get the reader thinking about their own situation.
This ad by Cooper Parry Wealth also reinforces social proof by aligning themselves with Nobel Prize winning research. Of course, that statement doesn't mean that they've won a Nobel Prize themselves, but at first glance it suggests that there is a connection between the two.
Tagsquestionnobel prizeguidesdownloadslead magnet
Advertiser: Crazy Domains
OK, baseball isn't exactly a hugely popular sport in the UK, but Crazy Domains have done a great job in using it to push their .UK domain names.
Notice the use of a deadline which creates a sense of urgency surrounding the ad.
Oh, and FREE always going to attract your attention, too. We all love a freebie, don't we?
Advertiser: Create by Vidello
Now here's another ad that relies on a seemingly incredible (and irresistable) offer to get people to sign up for a service.
Chances are they're offering this discount as a way of getting early users onboard, which is a great tactic. Many startups use this technique in order to attract as many early adopters to the platform as possible, who in turn provide feedback, reviews and word-of-mouth advertising.
Advertiser: Currys PC World
Currys use of the pun don't lose your cool to advertise a fridge may only be mildly amusing (and perhaps a little predictable), but it's the video which really captures your attention in this ad.
I'm afraid that I couldn't show you the video itself, but it shows a close-up of the main features of the fridge. I'd have liked to have seen the use of real people involved in the video, though.
Advertiser: Daily Viral
Huh? is likely to be your first words after seeing this ad. It raises the big question of what on earth is that hole?
Do you see how powerful an image (even without words) can be?
Sure, the ad copy underneath the picture is a bit 'clickbait-y', and I'm sure that the landing page isn't completely what it seems (I didn't look), but I wanted to include this in my swipe-file ads simply to highlight the power of a WTF photo.
Advertiser: Dean Graziosi
First three words - Now Just £7. Each of those words has significance when it comes to persuasion. The first two are very persuasive words. And the number seven? Well, there's an idea that the number 7 can boost sales because many people consider it to be a lucky number. So much so, that everyone seems to include it in their pricing: £97, £99.97, £227. It's everywhere.
Of course, there is little research to back this up, but some marketers swear by it.
Looking past the first few words, the copy states that you can either buy an overpriced cup of coffee or join the mastermind. This is classic comparative marketing which forces you to think about how little you are risking by making the purchase.
I wouldn't have said that this is the strongest ad in this swipe file of ads, but I've left it in because it's an interesting one, if a little intriguing.
Advertiser: Design Pickle
I won't go into brand names too much here, but I love the name Design Pickle, because it says so much.
But let's focus on the ad itself. It starts by immediately highlighting the benefit of using Design Pickle (i.e. growing your business rather than spending all day designing).
Then it's down to selling those benefits with a special offer that's going to be difficult to resist - especially if you're someone who is spending too much time on design-related tasks.
It finishes off with a rather cheesy pun, but to be fair that's the type of humour that often comes from my head too!
Finally, there's a great call-to-action button Get Started, which is soooo much better than the standard Click Here or Learn More.
Adding in the picture of the (presumably) founders of the business laughing away, and this rounds up a really effective ad. If you're in a pickle then their service sounds too good to turn down (see what I mean?).
Right then, I'm not going to take a punt and attempt to translate this ad, but I just want to concentrate on the phenomenal use of imagery to convey desire.
This ad makes me want to pack my bags right now and head to the airport. That's what great visuals can achieve. Enough said.
Advertiser: Digital Agency Network
Putting aside the obvious stock photography to one side for a moment, this is a good ad simply because it follows the convention of asking a question and following it up with an answer.
Perhaps the use of a not-so-obvious stock photo would help a great deal with this ad.
Tagsstock photographyquestionbenefitsdownloadslead magnet
Advertiser: Digital Marketing by Udacity
Copy is scarce (actually it's pretty much non existent) on this ad, but I've included it because it pretty much does what it says on the tin.
You know exactly what you're getting, even if you are aware that it's a lead magnet.
Sometimes it's worth going for absolute simplicity.
Advertiser: Digital Rights Watch
We all know that the most effective Facebook ads are ones that feature some kind of personalisation. This ad goes to the extreme, by highlighting the demographic and geographic attributes of the reader.
This ad would be far too controversial for many other industries, but for the Digital Rights Watch organisation in Australia this is absolutely bang-on the money, because it demonstrates how much we advertisers are able to use Facebook targeting features.
I wouldn't recommend using this tactic for any other types of business (with the exception of cyber security firms, perhaps), but once again it highlights how far you can go with personalisation.
An excellent example of the use of a show-stopping picture that stops people scrolling and gets their attention, even before you read the copy.
The use of emojis also has the same effect, and while I'm not a huge fan of their overuse, the balance is just right.
Also note the use of that magic number - 7 - again, which seems to crop up regularly in ads.
The ad's primary strategy is to create urgency and scarcity, which it does very well by placing the emphasis on the fact that this us a limited offer.
Hold on, the introductory sentence sounds familiar with this Facebook ad. I'm sure I've seen it before.
Yep, it's an almost-identical copy of another ad on my list: 'Create by Vidello'. I won't go into who copied who, but the opening sentence obviously works well enough to inspire others.
I like this ad a lot, because it's so straightforward. It tells you exactly what you're getting, without having to rely on tactics such as scarcity, FOMO (fear of missing out) etc.
Notice the use of the number 14, too. It uses the tactic of avoiding rounded numbers (ie 15) simply because they work better at getting your attention.
The inclusion of a list rather than a paragraph helps comprehension and readability. Social media users scroll quickly, so the easier it is to read a message the more effective it's going to be.
There it is again - a testimonial that demonstrates social proof, rather than having to rely solely on marketing copy to sell a product (or in this case, a service).
Dropbox have given the testimonial a lot of surrounding space, which creates a lot of emphasis on it. Chances are you read the testimonial before the rest of the copy, which is just what they were trying to do.
The straight-to-the-point ad copy reinforces the testimonial. A simple but highly effective ad, even if I can't for the life of me work out what the fancy bag is trying to say.
Tagstestimonialsocial proofwhite spacesimpleeffective
This ad opens with two questions that are designed to highlight their customer's pain points, then offers a solution.
This is a tactic that always works well in marketing.
Oh, and I love the final sentence It's free. It's written in an almost blasé manner which alleviates friction and pressure.
Haha, this has just got to be a classic Facebook advertisement. It circulated at the same time as astronomers released the first ever picture of a black hole (see the BBC article).
Clearly (and rather obviously) their cheeky and risque ad is capitalising on the news. We call this 'newsjacking' in marketing, and it's a fantastic way of jumping on the bandwagon of a hot topic.
Oh, and that ad copy! :O
Dyson clearly understand that the judicious use of displaying products actually being used works well with consumers. It helps them to visualise what those products can be used for. Its the closest thing to actually having the product in your hands (a tactic that sales people have relied on for decades).
Let's be honest, their products are visually striking too, with strong bold (but simple) colours that grab your attention by the eyeballs.
The inclusion of the price is wise. People naturally think that a Dyson is going to cost a lot more money, so it breaks the myth.
A money-back guarantee is there to take away the risk and concern (it's still a big purchase) and to build trust and reassurance.
And because we consumers are an impatient lot, the next day delivery copy satisfies that nicely.
Advertiser: Education Finder
This Facebook ad got a lot of interaction, and unfortunately some of it wasn't exactly kind.
But regardless of the unkind things that some were saying about this baby, it's proof that photographs of real humans evokes some powerful emotions.
Notice how the ad copy has used geographical targeting to personalise the ad (Live in Indiana and...).
Whilst the Facebook policies don't allow ads that highlight personal attributes, it's perfectly valid, because it does not contain direct or indirect assertions of implications about the reader, which include:
a person's race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record or name. Source: Facebook Ad Policies
Advertiser: Elderby Pharma
I wasn't sure whether to include this ad, because it's in breach of Facebook's terms, who don't allow ads in, erm, this category.
However, I did end up including it, simply because it shows the power and efficacy of using an image that grabs your attention.
Remember, folks, these types of ads are forbidden. You'll get banned!
Oh, and is that Taylor Swift?
For this ad, Engadget teamed up with StockUnlimited (that's a great idea) to promote their stock graphics service.
Whilst vector illustrations aren't the most exciting things in the world, this ad does a great job of highlighting the main benefits - zero hidden fees, red tape or complex licences - something that's a big selling point for many graphic designers.
Chances are that as a business owner you'll be using one of the services advertised by their logos in this ad for your marketing actuvities, whether it's Mailchimp, WordPress, Amazon, Facebook etc.
These instantly-recognisable icons have been used in order to create familiarity right out of the blocks, which automatically reduce friction. When you already use something, it's far easier to sell a related product if some familiarity already exists.
The advert's premise is simple and straight-to-the-point, giving users the opportunity to download a comprehensive guide to the most popular marketing channels.
Note the use of the word Super in the title. This simple but highly effective word has the ability to turn bland into bling.
If I'd have created this ad, I would have made the words SUPER BUNDLE stand out more using a contrasting colour such as red or yellow to give it more emphasis.
Advertiser: Eric Thayne
This ad from Eric Thayne does a great job of creating an emotional connection between the reader and the ad, thanks to its exceptional video, which brings a human element to it.
In his copy, he first identifies the target audience, calling them out specifically. If you're a videographer or film maker then there's a good chance that this will stop you in your tracks.
He then goes on to highlight the reader's pain points (struggling to get that cinematic look), a classic technique to get the reader to visualise their own situation.
And finally, he tells his story. As you're probably already aware, storytelling in ads is a powerful way to (again) create an emotional connection, to reduce friction, and to gain trust.
There's that lucky number again - 7!
This ad taps right into the core motivation of the reader (assuming they've targeted their audience) by using that little word need. This changes the reader's preconceptions from a 'want' into a 'need', which is a clever idea.
Note also the inclusion of the phrase written by email experts at Mailchimp. Including this phrase gives credibility and reassurance that it's going to be an authorative download by people with first hand expertise and knowledge of the subject.
A short, but highly effective ad that addresses the reader's primary concerns, whilst also getting the message across what the benefits are, ie selling out your next event.
Tagssevenlead magnetlistssimplewant vs needdownloads
Eventbrite have used the classic technique of using an odd number (51 Social Media Ad Copy Templates) to disrupt the patterns of normal behaviour. This subtle technique is well-known to get attention.
Once again, they've also used 'material design' in their visual, to produce a modern, clean advertisement.
Tagsmaterial designodd numberlead magnetdownloads
Advertiser: Facebook for Business
Given that Facebook are experts at psychological marketing techniques, I'm a little underwhelmed by their ad, which is advertising Facebook ads themselves.
Sure, it covers the basics (it's simple, and gets the message across), but I feel that it can be much better by:
1. Explaining the benefits (eg grow your brand)
2. Using stronger, and higher-contrast colours
3. Being clearer about ad placements
4. Adding a strong call-to-action
5. Including an offer/incentive, such as £15 free credit
Advertiser: Filippo Loretti
This Facebook ad From Filippo Loreti has class written all over it. The striking use of blue makes the watch appear desirable from the outset.
Notice how the ad opens with Thinking of buying...? That's a technique used extensively to get you to start thinking of your own situation. It's common because it works well. It frames the reader and gets them ready for the message or call-to-action.
The next sentence is particularly clever. It is designed to punctuate your thought processes.
At first glance it looks as if they've got something bad to say about the Filippo Loreti watch. But in effect, it's getting you to read an independent review on a well-respected publication, Business Insider.
That third-party review on BI does the job of removing all the objections you may have formed, prior to visiting the retailer and buying a product.
Whoah! This ad has it all.
It may resemble something you see on shopping TV ads, but let's be honest, the strategy works.
Let's have a closer look. It's got:
1. Social proof (30 people got this offer)
2. Urgency/FOMO (Expires June 30)
3. Authority (Award-winning wine)
4. Incentives (Promo code and Save $60)
5. Interaction (Take the quiz)
6. Power words (Love, Save, Free)
7. Visuals that show the product, the unwrapping experience, and a real person
It's clear that there's been a lot of thought gone into this ad, and the great thing is that the style and method can be plagiarised (in the ethical sense) for your own ad quickly and simply.
Advertiser: Future Man
I am told by reliable sources that the rather uninspiring copy on this ad is deliberate. And you only really 'get it' if you've seen the Future Man series.
The choice of copy creates an emotional bond with the reader, thanks to familiarity of the character (if you've watched the show),
Advertiser: Game of Thrones
Erm, because it's Game of Thrones, and because it's a hot topic.
Notice how the copy opens with a question? That's designed to get you thinking and imagining right from the outset, which is a good tactic to use.
I also like the embedded poll option too. Any type of interaction on an ad is going to see a larger amount of clicks.
VIsuals are great, too.
Advertiser: Gardiner Dental
Smiles. They work well in ads because whenever we see someone smile we feel the same. We can't help but see smiles in a positive light.
The copy in this ad by Gardiner Dental is also effective, if a little busy. I'd have broken it up slightly into two paragraphs to make comprehension a little easier.
The wording is a little fragmented (e.g. Our promise to you: over 15 years experience). That's not a promise, that's a statement of how long they've been operating. A better idea would have been to say, Our promise to you: full satisfaction or your money back.
I notice from this ad that the landing page ([xxx].lpages) is from LeadPages. Originally they used xxx.leadpages.net which was a dead giveaway that this was a lead magnet and sales funnel.
Tagssmilescomprehensionlead magnetsales funnel
Gillette may have faced a consumer backlash earlier on this year over their involvement in the #MeToo campaign, but this ad shows that they're moving on and making all the right noise.
Notice the similarities to other razor ads - they knew they had to innovate to stay abreast of their competition (especially by providing a subscription option), and they've nailed it here - at least with their visuals.
I can't help but think they could have gone much further with their copy, though. Sure, it's short, sweet and succinct, and they've let the visuals done the talking, but I would consider offering some type of incentive too, such as a one-month trial, or 'sign up and get two months for the price of one'.
Good effort though, Gillette.
Advertiser: Google Ads
Who doesn't like a bit of free ad credit? In order to win over new customers to their advertising platform, Google have gone straight into a cash incentive with their ad.
The video is accompanied by a short but effective sentence which highlights the main benefit of joining their platform: potential new customers.
The sentence Just write your ad, decide who to reach, and go live is good, too. It makes the whole signup and getting started process a breeze.
Not so long ago we marketers would laugh at Google's attempts in advertising. They were often clumsy and badly-worded. It looks like they've finally hired a better team to take care of their ad campaigns.
Google have used a simple approach with this advert, keeping it easy-to-understand, and highlighting the benefits of getting some free training under your belt.
They've made sure they include the word 'official' in their copy, which is good. There are far too many so-called experts peddling their digital marketing courses (am I one of those?), so this tactic gives a lot of credibility to the ad.
Advertiser: Greater Birmingham Chamber
This isn't an ad, but it could well be turned into a highly-effective ad easily, because of the way it immediately catches you off-guard with the picture.
Using smiling people has the effect of creating a warm and positive association with the ad. And it makes it very human.
Advertiser: Guardian Labs
At first glance this seems like a news article. And that's the whole point, I believe.
By turning it into something that looks like a piece of news, consumers will feel less reluctance to click on it. Anything you can do to make an advert look less like an advert is a good thing.
We're bombarded with advertising messages every moment of our lives, so it's good to see someone bucking the trend with these types of ad.
Advertiser: Guardian Labs
Advertiser: Hendricks Gin
Perhaps it's because I'm an old-fashioned, patriotic Brit, but I really like this video ad from Hendrick's Gin. Perhaps it's down to me liking gin.
Whatever the reason, this ad is unashamedly British in every aspect, even though none of us dress like this (any more).
Yet the ad evokes a lot of emotion, patriotism and aspiration, thanks to its attempt at recreating a 40s-type era.
Sure, it's aiming for a particular demographic, but it makes no apologies for doing it.
And look at that copy. It's soooo well written. I'd be tempted to throw in jolly marvelous, old bean' too. Yeah, I know that's corny.
Advertiser: Horse & Hound
If you're a horse-lover (as my wife is), then this ad is going to shift some free copies of Horse & Hound, that's for sure.
It's primary focus is to get new customers by giving them a free copy of their magazine (or 6 issues for £6).
In order to reinforce the deal, they've also included a paragraph which tells people what they can expect from the magazine, which in itself is managing their expectations and removing doubt as to whether to sign up or not.
Advertiser: Horse & Rider
Yes, I know this isn't a real ad, because it hasn't got 'Sponsored' underneath the title.
But it really could be. This would make a good engagement ad for brand awareness (and lead generation), because it's highly interactive.
This popped up on my timeline and it already had more than 100 comments in the first ten minutes. That's good social media!
Oh, and it's a bit fun too.
I tried using predictive text just for a laugh, and it came up with...
My horse is a great example of effective copywriting and marketing persuasion. Just goes to show how obsessed I am with digital marketing, eh?
I don't know about you, but whenever I hear or read the brand name 'Huel', I always associate it with 'Hurl'.
Not that it puts me off. I love the branding on their packaging, and the visuals on their ads are always absolutely bang on the money.
The ad copy works very well, with short testimonials from their customers used to create social proof.
Great job, Huel
Pictures of food ALWAYS grabs eyeballs. That much is guaranteed. Chuck in some pills and you've got a winning combination. Probably.
Notice the way that iHerb have not gone for a typical 20% off or 50% off. They've used a non-conforming 22% off instead, which breaks the pattern, which all good advertising should do.
If you've ever had to produce presentations then you'll know that creating infographics takes time, effort, and a huge amount of creativity.
As I've said in another example on this list of inspirational Facebook ads, I've never been a big fan of capitalising all the words in a sentence, because it slows down reading and comprehension.
But the well-produced visual works well to do most of the hard work of selling the product to the reader.
Although Infograpia have used a discount code, it doesn't state on the ad what this discount is, which is a missed opportunity.
I know Facebook won't allow before-and-after photos containing human bodies, but what about houses?
Well, I don't see why not.
The great thing about this ad is that it demonstrates the transformation after the work has been done. Seeing is believing, after all.
The copy could be stronger, but this ad is all about the visuals.
Advertiser: Jade Yoga
Here's Jade again, with her yoga mats.
Once again, the company use a strong photograph that captures a serene, peaceful moment.
The inclusion of free shipping in the ad helps to persuade the reader to take action.
This ad is also another example of using emojis, but not overdoing it.
Advertiser: Jade Yoga
I don't know about you, but little things like the omission of full stops (periods, for you American folk) at the end of a sentence is slightly irritating.
But perhaps that's the idea. It's a well-known fact in marketing circles that a typo or grammatical mistake can result in a higher clickthrough rate, so perhaps that was the intention with this ad.
The visuals are really good, and the obligatory pet has been added for extra effect.
My only gripe is that you don't really know what the actual product is until you read the last line. Turns out it's all about the mats. Well, who'da thought?
Advertiser: JD Sports
JD Sports have done a great job of creating an emotion that we're not really used to seeing in Facebook ads - anticipation.
The copy is written exclusively for their target audience too. It's clear that they know who their audience is, and how they speak. The copy emulates their reader's language, which is a primary goal for any ad.
The only thing I'd change about this ad is the photograph. You're given a shot of the bottom of the 'sneak', but not the upper.
This may be a deliberate move, creating more anticipation. But I'd have had the same model in the same pose, but alongside would be another model standing up, so you can see the shoe from another angle.
Advertiser: Jeff & Jessica Samis
I'm not sure if this ad accidentally got through the moderators at Facebook, or if naughty puns are allowed.
But it's a bit of cheeky fun which grabs your attention and raises interest through its use of risque language.
Good, if you can get these types of ad approved. If you're not sure, don't try it because you might end up being banned.
Sometimes, the most effective ads are the ones that just come out and say what it is you're offering your customers.
And this ad from Join Papa does just that.
There's no messing around. No deals, incentives or lead magnets. Just a list of things that you can use Papa for (groceries, airport trips etc.). That's all is needed to put ideas into your head.
Book your safe, affordable ride today is a good call-to-action, not just because it's strong, but also because they've included the word 'safe' in the sentence. They obviously know that safety is a motivating factor for those wanting to book a taxi.
Advertiser: Kendal Calling
Thanks to the widely publicised environmental movements that are all the rage at the moment (and so they should, too), Kendal Calling has jumped on the newsjacking bandwagon.
It's a newsworthy cause, of course, and it's not in the slightest bit controversial, unlike others that ride the tailcoats of hot topics in the media.
These types of collaboration are what make marketing such an interesting area to work in.
With a photo that oozes desire, relaxation and no stress, Later have gone in with a benefits-led approach to their ad in this example.
And it works well, too.
It forces you to conjure up images of you, taking time off, not worrying about being tied up to your laptop.
I could just jump in that pool right now. Or at least if my wife (and job) would let me.
Someone knows something YOU don't. In this case, it's Leadfeeder, and they know something about LinkedIn which you are probably not aware of - until at least you click on their advert (and go through a sales funnel).
That's the primary tactic on this ad. When we feel we're not part of some knowledge, we actively seek out the answers to satisfy our curiosity.
Is there something you are aware of in your industry that you can capitalise on by creating a curiosity-based ad?
Before I move on to the copy on this ad, I just want to spend a moment on the visual. Sorry, Leadpages, but I'm not a fan of the graphic. It doesn't really tell me what's going on. Sure, you can see the mouse click icon, but that's about it. I'd have created something that looks more like a screenshot of a web page/title.
But anyway, the copy is good because it uses the tactic of highlighting something unexpected; something that causes the reader to sit up and think about the implications of the statement.
And of course it uses numbering - not once but twice - in the copy, which always catch your attention.
Advertiser: LinkedIn Learning
I can't quite make the connection between warmer weather and wanting to learn something new, but that's exactly what LinkedIn are saying in this ad.
Perhaps it's those lazy days on the beach, laptop or book in hand and a glass of Sangria on the table next to you. I tend to spend much of my holiday time tending to young twins, so there's not much time to relax.
But anyway, this ad had a lot of engagement, and I guess by putting the image of sun, sand, sea and screen in an ad, it resonated with a lot of people. Understanding your target market and creating a message that resonates with them is the most important thing to remember.
Having studied more than a hundred ads in this guide at this point, one thing is becoming clear: the big companies tend to go for very short, simple but powerful sentences in their copy.
Smaller businesses tend to use two or more paragraphs, making their copy much longer, and using several different techniques.
I believe there's a reason for this. The large brands have already established several things: trust, brand recall and social proof, so there's no need for them to use these techniques.
That allows them to create short, punchy statements, as LinkedIn have done with this excellent Facebook ad.
Tinder minus poor people. Is this offensive to some? Perhaps, but that's not my point by including this ad in my list of inspirational Facebook ads.
There's little doubt that it's going to be a divisive advert, but the words and visuals speak volumes, and that makes it a good ad, even though the ethics are dubious.
Notice how they've included the number of people who are already using the app. This is a tactic called 'social proof', which sets out to demonstrate how popular it is with their users (the crowd mentality).
Well, I wasn't expecting that from Mailchimp. But I guess it makes perfect sense. When you're involved in direct mail (DM), looking at alternative ways of engaging prospective customers (such as postcards) makes perfect sense.
I didn't really expect a company the size of Mailchimp to make use of emojis in their copy, and to be fair I'm not sure how effective their use is in B2B campaigns.
But the clever use of the illustration of the bird delivering the postcards meant that this ad sneaked into my list of inspirational Facebook ads.
Tagsemojisillustrationmaterial designdirect mail
The striking illustration of a colourful lion is really effective in this ad. Chances are you looked at it before you read the copy.
If I'd have designed it, I would have had the lion looking upwards towards the introductory text (or downwards towards the deal). Making contact between eyes is effective, but even more so when the eyes are drawn to key elements, such as titles and headings.
With the exception of a couple of superlatives dotted around in the copy, the words don't 'sparkle' as much as I think they could.
Advertiser: Max Lonsdale
There it is again - the copy opens up with a direct question to the reader which challenges them to think about their own situation. That's a great technique.
This ad from Max Lonsdale then heads off into a story (another classic technique) which aims to reinforce his expertise and experience.
Max obviously knows how effective How To... features are in copywriting, and although this ad is a little 'wordy', it's clear he (or his team) know how to put together a winning strategy for his ad campaign.
Tagsquestionstorytellinghow tolead magnet
Advertiser: Melonie Dodaro
Stories sell. Any marketer or copywriter will tell you this.
And Melonie Dodaro obviously knows this. As well as telling her story, she's also cleverly weaving in her expertise and knowledge in this ad.
I'm not sure why she went with the black and white visuals. Perhaps she found because it was different, it got a higher clickthrough rate than the colour version. That's a split test waiting to be tried out!
Tagsblack and whitestoryemotionlead magnet
Advertiser: Microsoft Advertising
More proof that the bigger the business, the shorter the ad copy.
Microsoft Advertising have kept things deliberately short and punchy with their ad, focusing solely on the main benefits of signing up on their ad platform.
An offer or discount would have helped those who may be sitting on the fence deciding whether to choose Microsoft or Google Adwords.
Unless I'm very much mistaken there's something very wrong with this ad (which is why I included it here).
The copy suggests that the product on offer are flowers, but the picture shows trainers (sneakers).
One of the big rules of advertising is to ensure that your copy and your visuals complement each other. This one doesn't, so it's a massive thumbs down for me. I'll put it down to a mistake, rather than bad judgement.
Advertiser: Modernist Look
There are few better ways to demonstrate a product than by seeing it in action.
This ad by Modernist Look does that, and what a great attempt they've done, too.
Personally, I think the emojis have been overused, and detract from the copy rather than complement it, but I guess for the audience they're targeting it may be spot on.
Just look at that engagement! Great job, Modernist Look.
Advertiser: Must Have Ideas
Wondering what on earth that contraption is? So did I, so I felt compelled to watch it all.
Turns out that device goes down the plug to remove blockages (mainly hair), so when it's pulled to out reveal a gooey mass of congealed gunk it can make you feel a bit queasy.
But, we've all been there. Clearing blockages can be a real pain in the bath, so the product is good.
What about the copy? Yeah, that's all good too. Just admit it... we all need one of these is a great way to get people to agree with your opening statement.
Add to that the fact that you're going to get it delivered quickly and it's a winning combo.
I suspect that this ad will go viral. It's the type of thing that's shared widely on social media.
Advertiser: My Web Audit
Another clever little ad from My Web Audit, this one goes straight in with a big benefit - "just got easier". Any way you can tell the reader that their lives are just about to get easier is a good tactic. After all, we are ALL busy.
Note how the ad provides a screenshot of the actual product itself, along with a cleverly-placed call-to-action ("preview template"). It doesn't look like a standard call-to-action button; it appears more like a subtle and non-intrusive action. This method is so good that I'm going to trial it on my ads too.
Advertiser: My Web Audit
The more I pull apart this ad, the more impressed I am with it.
It begins by giving you a snippet of knowledge (To close a sale... etc), which really gets you thinking about your own situation. This has the effect of drawing you further into the message to find out more.
That already makes a great advert. It then draws you in further by telling you that this is the opportunity you need to discover how it applies to your own business.
It follows on by saying that there are free templates ready and waiting for you to download at your leisure.
Sure, it's a blatent lead magnet, but when the value is as apparent as it is in this ad, it's a worthwhile compromise.
The visuals are very well done too. By including teaser screenshots of the product you already know what it is you're signing up for.
A business isn't a business with its most important asset - people.
And don't Nationwide Building Society just know it! That's why they've gone for a deeply human perspective with their Facebook ad.
When your focus is on real people leading real lives (as opposed to stock photos and models), instant rapport is gained. Forget aspiration. Forget beauty. Forget wealth. For many of us, it's the gritty routines of everyday life that we are faced with once we stumble out of bed in the mornings.
By focusing on everyday life, Nationwide's ad feels familiar, so it's portraying a sense of this is us. Once you're on the customer's side, your business will appear like it's part of people's lives.
And that makes it so much easier to create a bond between your business and your customers.
Advertiser: Neil Patel
As one of the world's pre-eminent digital marketers, Neil Patel knows his stuff.
He opens with the word you, which makes the ad all about the reader (a classic technique that stands the test of time), and then asks a question to get your brain thinking about your own situation.
It follows on by offering a solution to the problem.
Is it the perfect copy? Yes, I believe it is.
Neil adds a screenshot of Twitter - which I believe is the only thing that lets this ad down, simply because he talks about Facebook in the copy. But I guess this is a minor issue when you look at the ad as a whole.
A great ad, with top-notch copy.
As I'm using screenshots to build this swipe file of Facebook ads, I can't show you the video here.
But you'll have to take my word for it - this obviously professionally-made video is a masterclass in how to create visually-stunning clips that grab your attention.
Sure, it's only advertising mobile phone contracts, but there is a sense of magic in the video, and it evokes a tonne of emotion that warms your heart.
Cue the beautiful woman in full-on model pose, with her laptop and the obligatory cup of coffee.
Yes, this screams 'stock photography', but at least this ad from Open Money tries hard to fuse it with brand colours.
Of course, stock photography alone isn't going to break your campaign. Many do it successfully. But it just feels a little too similar to many others that are pumped out day after day.
Originally, this ad caught my attention. Perhaps it was the colours. But looking at it with fresh eyes I wouldn't really say that this ad is particularly well concieved. I've left it in this list because there are some lessons to be learned.
First, the opening sentence starts with 'We'. I don't recommend that, simply because if you talk about your business, viewers are likely to think 'so what?
Sure, it then goes on to tell you that you can get personalised financial advice, but the main benefits are lost, and it all feels a little negative.
Now, I know that they are obliged to state that 'capital at risk', but I'd have added that to the description at the bottom of the ad. I'm not going to go off running to see if that's permissable, but you get the idea - you're throwing up objections and obstacles in the are that should be concentrating on benefits.
The inclusion of the link (with all its tracking tags) is a distraction too.
Not a great ad from OpenMoney. Missed opportunities galore.
This ad kicks off by using a customer review, which is a great way of showing social proof.
To be fair, the image is a little uninspiring, and I'd have been tempted to show more of what the end user will be paying for.
The blue call-to-action button is good, and really draws your focus to it.
Advertiser: Outdoor Voices
If in doubt, use pictures of ladies wearing shorts.
Only kidding, of course, but it's a tactic that's been used over and over again, simply because it, erm, gets your attention.
As for the copy, it starts off well by saying hello (three times), but ends up being too focused on the business itself, rather than the reader.
If i'd have written it, there would be much more emphasis on you.
Advertiser: Outdoor Voices
Another excellent ad from Outdoor Voices, who open up with a great testimonial with lots of personality and storytelling.
I'm assuming that the picture is of Lex herself, which is a great way to reinforce the message and sprinkle in a little bit of social proof too.
A classy ad that's not too forceful in its approach, delivering a frictionless appeal.
Once again, this ad starts with an opening question which immediately puts the emphasis on the reader and their situation.
I like the opening sentence, because it combines a question with a statement of fact, which works doubly well.
It then uses a classic FOMO (fear of missing out) tactic by asking are you?.
I'd have done more with the graphic, and included real screenshots of a calculator or quiz in a real web page, but overall this is an effective ad.
Advertiser: Overthink Group
I absolutely love this ad from Overthink Group.
Not only does it completely stop you in your tracks, but it also puts you in a slightly fearful and uneasy state of mind.
The visuals use two instantly-recognisable themes: Star Wars and the Guy Fawkes mask (widely adopted by the online hacktivist group Anonymous).
The ad itself suggests that there are 'secret dealings' taking place that you're unaware of, and that if you want to get ahead, you need to know what they are.
This is a classic AIDA technique: get the reader's attention, build up suspense, add an emotion and tell people what they need to do.
Very well conceived, Overthink Group.
Right then, what on earth do I make of this advert?
I had to do a bit of poking around to find out what this was all about. The 0x90 page turns out to be a government official who created the ad - probably because he/she was fed up with being bombarded with ads (as many people are).
The ad itself attracted thousands of likes and shares as you can see. This is because the ad itself disrupted the normal marketing patterns.
Now, the problem is that if you attempt to replicate this style for commercial purposes, you will be sorely disappointed.
But it does get you thinking about how to use disruption for attention. Thinking caps on!
Ever since Apple started shipping their products in packaging that's on a par with their products themselves, there's been a trend for innovative and eye-catching packaging.
In fact, packaging has become such a 'thing', that there are countless YouTube channels dedicated to unboxing products.
Packhelp have used this to their advantage, and have conceived a well-produced Facebook ad that demonstrates how packaging has become part of the whole customer experience.
The copy suggests that it's incredibly easy to set up and get going, and the stylish visuals reinforce their message.
Very classy, Packhelp.
Advertiser: Pier 1
Have you noticed a pattern with many ads (ok, this wasn't a 'proper' ad) where they begin by asking a question?
Posting a question (in this case, a rhetorical one) to your readers is a great way of beginning your copy, there's no doubt.
Questions generate thought processes within our minds that force us to use our imagination.
There's one caveat with using questions. You need to ask a question that doesn't invite a reply of who cares!.
If you're going to use a question as an opening sentence, then make sure it's relevant to your reader, and always ensure that it's followed by a strong value proposition.
Advertiser: Pilot Magazine
This ad from Pilot Magazine (no surprises why this popped up on my timeline) isn't really an official ad, but I wanted to include it in this list because it demonstrates perfectly how a lifestyle-type ad can generate more interest and interaction.
The theme is very seasonal (we're all getting in a summer spirit here in the UK as I write this), so it's very topical right now. Us pilots are beginning to think of the long, warm summer days and where we can fly to.
A cracking offer and free delivery is a real puller on this well-designed ad, and they've cleverly chosen three historic (and much loved by pilots) aircraft on the front cover.
It's a great example of understanding your target market and delivering an ad that hits home. BAM!
Most of the people I know absolutely love gadgets, especially ones that make our lives a little bit less complex.
Here's a punchy little ad that has got the balance just right. The copy is simple and straight to the point (no convoluted and irritating sales tactics here), but backs it up with a powerful image that shows the product in use.
Add a beautiful woman (don't blame me*) in a quirky pose and it leaves a strong and lasting impression in the mind.
*Women may disagree!
Advertiser: Financial Conduct Authority
No doubt you've all seen the FCA's reruns of the TV ad featuring a dummy version of Arnie's head scooting around telling you to claim for PPI.
In a last-ditch attempt to get people to act before the PPI claims are shut down forever, the Financial Conduct Authority ran this ad to back up their TV campaign.
They probably spent a huge amount of money running their online campaign, but it certainly got the job done - just look at all the interaction it attracted.
If you've ever visited the Promo website you'll have seen this ad pop up on your timeline often. That's because they use remarketing techniques to deliver ads to people who have shown an interest in their product.
What's so good about the Promo ads is that on EVERY campaign they choose a video that grabs your attention, as if a hand is reaching out of the screen and forcing you to watch.
When you're producing any type of content that contains video you'll know that original and innovative video is an absolute must.
As for the ad copy, it uses the tried-and-tested technique of highlighting customer's pain points, and deliverying a solution that resolves them.
Advertiser: Renault Sport
Another one where I can't show you the full video (it was screenshotted from my phone), this excellent ad from Renault Sport really makes you salivate with desire, simply because it's visually stunning, and incredibly well produced.
As for the copy, it's good. It starts with the word You'll which immediately places the emphasis on the reader. It follows by challenging them (are you radical enough), which is a powerful way to get people to act - or react.
And of course, it also contains the word 'Discover'. You may not know this, but this word is one of the most powerful in the English language. If you get the chance to replace the word Learn (which suggests effort), try to replace it with Discover, because it suggests that it's easy to find something out.
You've gotta chuckle at first glance of the ad, because we all do it. Don't we? Of course we do.
Using an interesting and unique statistic in this way shouts "GIVE ME YOUR ATTENTION A MOMENT", which is what advertising is all about.
The ad copy explains in a short sentence what the ad is all about, and follows up by summarising the main benefits of the platform (speed, price, quality).
The only thing I'd do differently is to ensure that any UK-targeted ads have the correct price format. We don't use commas in our currency (£0,77?), and while we know exactly what it means, it may make people think twice about using a linguistic tool that may not understand the quirks of the English language and formats.
Other than that, a cracking ad that gets the job done.
Advertiser: Rob Moore
I'm busy. You're busy. We are all busy.
That's the tactic with Rob Moore's ad in this example. By telling us that Rob has one minute to explain about the Business Breakthrough Summit, it's showing that he cares about your time.
We are often reluctant to watch (or read) adverts simply because there is a time commitment involved. By reinforcing the 60-second rule friction is reduced, and viewers will be more inclined to watch it, because they know it won't take much time.
I'd have added a benefit at the end of the second, just to give it a little boost, such as:
Click 'Learn More' to register your ticket today and discover the breakthrough your business needs
But hey ho.
Advertiser: Royal Mail
When traditional marketing and advertising campaigns are being threatened with modern digital techniques, then you've got to do everything you can to compete.
And Royal Mail are doing just that with their ad campaign, which is encouraging businesses to consider direct mail (door drops) as an effective alternative.
The visual graphic is very well designed, and manages your expectations by showing you what you're about to get. Sure, it's obviously a lead magnet (and the lead form on the landing page isn't quite GDPR-compliant), but the combination of a powerful image and well-produced copy has resulted in an excellent ad.
Advertiser: Royal Mail
Just as I've previously mentioned with the word 'Discover', Royal Mail have avoided using the word 'learn', and replaced it with 'Find out how...', because it suggests that effort is involved (hey, no one likes to put in 'effort', do they?)
The copy is a bit 'buzz-wordy' for me (Maximise your audience reach), but considering it's target audience are marketers then I'll give them a pass on that one.
However, there's a lesson to be learned here. Not every person who may be interested in the Royal Mail's product is going to be a marketer. Some might be small business owners who are unfamiliar with marketing phrases.
To avoid this, I'd suggest that the words Reach more potential customers for less... are used.
The graphic is just an extension of the ad copy (which it should be anyway), but it is rather text-heavy. I'm not sure how they managed to get past the 20% text rule on graphics on this one. I normally get my ads disapproved by using so much text. Oh well.
Advertiser: Sabri Suby
If I'm honest, this superlative-laden ad is a little bit too heavy on the 'power words', to the point that it feels a bit hype-y to me.
But regardless of how you feel about using hyperbole to sell products, Sabri Suby uses some good techniques.
He starts off with lots of social proof (90,000 books on the first day of release and "best-seller within 10 minutes flat". This technique is good - as long as you're willing to prove that they're verifiable facts, because there's always someone out there who is skeptical enough to go looking for that proof.
Once again, we see a picture of the actual book itself, which gives a visual representation of what you're getting for your money.
Personally, I'd have opened up the copy highlighting the target market, as it's not immediately clear who the book is aimed at.
Tagspower wordssuperlativeshyperbolesocial prooflead magnet
Why do many marketers often use Top 10 lists in their ads?
That's because lists work so well, simply because they tell you exactly what you're going to get, and you also know the scope of what you're about to read.
It also uses the tactic of focusing on pain points. Everyone in the SEO industry knows that getting to the top of the search engines is difficult, but it's an end goal for many.
After highlighting the pain points, the copy goes on to give you information how you can overcome them. A classic problem > solution based marketing tactic.
Here's a Facebook ad that gets right down to the point in its single paragraph.
It steers clear of hype and superlatives unline many other ads in this list, but what it does do is go straight in with the benefits ("Let us help you" and "Take a load off").
I like this approach. People don't like hard sales. And they're becoming wise to copy-heavy techniques - consumers are beginning to get more savvy to the tricks of the trade.
Simple, effective, and on-target. Just like they're meant to be.
There's a growing trend for using strong and simple illustrations (material design) in adverts, and this is no exception.
It uses classic principles of good design that don't detract from the message, but rather they reinforce it.
It's a shame that the copy reads more like a marketing manual than an advert. My advice is to steer well clear of any buzzwords that some of your audience won't understand - even if it's a small percentage.
Advertiser: Shopify Plus
Over the last year or so, I've seen some excellent marketing campaigns coming out of the Shopify HQ, and this one is no exception.
Firstly, I love the simple colour scheme (there isn't really one!), because it's striking and is begging for your eyeball's attention.
Secondly the language used is clever, because it makes a series of statements that makes you ask What? What? What?. Naturally, you want to keep reading until you find out what the hell they're going on about.
It's a difficult tactic to get just right. And for Shopify Plus, they've nailed it.
Advertiser: Shrewsbury Flower Show
OK, OK, I know this isn't an ad as such, but I wanted to include it because it appeared on my timeline and I thought it would make a really effective Facebook ad.
Notice how the opening copy instantly creates FOMO (fear of missing out) by saying "there's still time..."
It also tells the reader to ensure that need to "allow push notifications". When you get to the landing page there's a better chance that readers will click "Yes" to receiving further notifications. I like this technique.
The graphic is quite text-heavy, and while this is completely appropriate for a normal timeline post, it probably wouldn't pass Facebook's 20% text rule.
To me, this post goes even further than a call-to-action because it's telling the reader what they need to do next, so when they get to the landing page they know what to expect. Nice!
Another ad that uses a testimonial review in place of standard marketing copy.
Not only does this advert cleverly build up social proof from the get-go, it also reinforces the message with a real photo of someone using the product (always a winning combo).
Add to that a picture of the product itself and you're left with an ad that works really well.
As a digital marketer, Sleeknote appears on my timeline regularly, and they often very well produced ads that catch my attention, simply because they understand their target market, and what they are looking to resolve.
In this advert, the copy builds interest and curiosity, and delivers an effective call-to-action with a powerful last sentence and graphic.
If I could change one thing on this ad, I would replace the word "Learn" with "Discover". The word 'learn' always makes people think that they have to invest time and effort, whereas 'discover' makes you think that the information is going to be easily understood and digested.
Advertiser: Status Cake
StatusCake have done a great job in highlighting people's fears with this Facebook ad.
When you're running a server (or several as I do) the biggest fear is that it's going to go offline and lose money. And StatusCake absolutely understand how much of a pain-point this is for server administrators, webmasters and business owners.
I think that they could have used a few less emojis (perhaps just one pointed finger per item) as it slows down comprehension, and I would have added a sentence highlighting how easy it is to get up and running (they do make the whole process of setting up website monitors easy).
The graphic is also bang on the money too, and complement the copy.
This benefit-laden advert from StreamYard goes straight for the jugular - BAM! BAM! BAM!
Why mess around explaining all the different features when you can just tell people what they'll gain by using a product?
The use of real people with smiles is a good tactic, and reinforces the copy. This ad is very good at catching your attention, which is a primary goal of advertising. Listing the features can come later after the click!
I'm not a great fan of using marketing buzzwords in ads, simply because they have the ability to alienate people. Many business owners are so busy running their business that they're too busy to go looking for what a "content discovery platform" means.
But that's a minor observation in this ad by Taboola. Otherwise, the copy does a great job in selling the benefits of the product, and uses a great visual to reinforce the message.
The only thing I'd do is to make the revenue amount a little more realistic. I'm sure that there are a handful of websites that make this sort of money from Taboola ads, but for the majority of us (i.e. their core market), we'll get nowhere near this type of revenue. Managing expectations is oh-so-important in advertising, so be realistic with your claims or face disappointment from your users.
There's that word again - Discover. If you haven't read my other explanations I'll briefly explain that this word is a powerful replacement for the alternative word Learn.
That's because Learn suggests a time commitment (i.e. 'effort').
The copy drives home the benefits of using Taboola - more leads, sales and conversions, and by doing so it avoids highlighting any pain points prior to listing the benefits. I'm not sure if this is the most effective method, but they're a clever bunch at Taboola who know marketing copy inside out.
How many times can someone squeeze in the words Template Management?
Turns out it's quite a lot, as you can see in this ad from Templafy. To be honest, the ad copy feels a little confrontational (Get with the program) for me, but that may just be my own sensitivity coming out.
On the flip-side, this approach may indeed work very well. It's pretty instructional, which is a good call-to-action method because it's telling you what you need in order to stay ahead.
Advertiser: The Fashion Anchor
This ad from The Fashion Anchor got a lot of engagement, but unfortunately not all of it was complimentary. People were saying that it's too expensive for what it actually is (double-sided sticky tabs), which is a fair point.
But the whole point of this page is to highlight engaging ads, and it certainly worked on this example.
The best type of ad for products such as these is a video - as they have done. Video acts as both a "how-to" guide as well as a selling tool too.
The ad copy uses the technique of using unconventional numbers (0.31 seconds) to catch your attention, and then moves on to both features and benefits - in one list, which is slightly unconventional. But it works!
Rather than using the over-used 'finger emojis' to accompany each item on the list of benefits, they've opted to use simple circle bullets. You don't see this very often in Facebook ads, so it does a great job of getting your attention.
Well done, Fashion Anchor.
Offering one-off massive time-limited discounts is all the rage, thanks to the success of AppSumo, who kickstarted the trend.
The idea is simple. When you first launch you need to 'onboard' lots of users initially, primarily to act as evangelists, as well as providing testimonials and feedback for early improvements.
This ad feels busy, but not in a bad way. Because the goal is to create excitement and action, there are a lot of things all vying for attention (even a little Santa).
Advertiser: Traffic and Funnels
Traffic and Funnels are another business that appear regularly on my timeline, thanks to my job as digital marketer.
One thing they always do is to post videos of them mucking around and having fun whilst working. That's a great tactic because it shows them as regular, trustworthy and playful people behind the scenes. And as we all know, those are attributes that help to win us consumers over.
As for the ad copy, it's very conversational, which complements the video perfectly. The opening couple of paragraphs concentrate on their customer's pain points in a relaxed but factual manner.
Finally, at the bottom of the ad the sentence "Don't waste $997 on that course... listen up!" is a great way to catch your attention just as you're about to scroll on by.
Advertiser: True North Mortgage
It's clear right from the outset that this ad from True North Mortgage is trying really hard to catch your attention. And yes, it does work too (because it's here in this list of inspirational ads).
Once it's got your attention it asks a direct question: "Are you saving with True North Mortgage". That's a well-used technique to get you thinking. However, it's not really an open-ended question, and the answer - at least for most people - is going to be "No".
Oops! Any good sales expert will tell you that when you get your audience saying "No" then it's much more difficult to sell.
Rather than asking that particular question, I'd change it to something along the lines of "Are your mortgage payments leaving you broke at the end of the month?". There's a much greater chance of the reader saying "Yes", which makes it easier to move to the next level of the sales funnel.
Great visuals though, especially the strong use of the colour orange that will be hard to miss as you're scrolling through your Facebook posts.
Advertiser: Turbo Heat Welding Tools
What better way of selling a product than to actually show a video of it in action?
Without spending a fortune buying all their competitor's products, we are forced to believe that this Turbo Heat Welding Tool is the best way....
Using superlatives such as 'best' is a great strategy, but you've got to ensure that it really is the best, or you're going to face some backlash from your customers (as well as refund requests).
Not something you want to have to deal with.
Advertiser: Vanilla Forums
The busy, vibrant colours of this ad from Vanilla Forums is designed to get you stop scrolling through your newsfeed just to find out what it's all about.
It's a great advert, but they've missed one trick - and that is to explain what gamification is. It's a minor point, because their target audience should already be familiar with this word. However, that won't apply to everyone, so in order to maximise the potential for this ad I'd have just explained briefly about gamification in the ad copy.
The ad itself is a lead magnet that's designed to capture prospective customer's details, but that's OK. As long as the (perceived) value outweighs the friction of providing a few personal details, then that's a perfectly fine technique.
Value is everything.
One of the best ways to sell a product is to confront any issues or objections that the reader may have.
Vistaprint do this well in this ad.
Whilst many business owners are turning their noses up at business cards, there's still a place for them in business (and by the way, you really should get some if you haven't already).
Handling objections is something that should be done everywhere, not just in your ads. It's particularly important on your landing (or product) pages.
If you're scrolling through your Facebook feed then this is an image that's likely to halt your busy fingers, just to find out what's going on.
But unfortunately, that's where the interest stops. The copy reads like a first attempt by an intern from marketing college.
It's marketing mumbo jumbo, I'm afraid. Sure, it's targeted to people like me (ie. marketers) who are familiar with these buzzwords, but not every potential customer is going to be familiar with them.
Avoid marketing-speak like the plague.
Tagsbuzzwordsmumbo jumbomarketing speak
I've dabbled a bit in video ad marketing, and this is one ad that keeps appearing on my timeline over and over again. To be honest I always stop and watch a moment or two of the video, simply because it still fascinates me, which helps with brand recall.
Yes, I did sign up with Wave because of this video, thanks to its striking - and very human - visual appeal.
There's some great benefits listed in the ad copy, too that addresses the main concerns that marketers are burdened with when we consider video marketing: exporting to social media, variety and additional tools at our disposal.
It's got it all in this ad.
Who doesn't love a deal? Waze may have started life as one of my competitors (for one of my road traffic reporting websites), but they've gone from strength to strength, thanks to the ridiculously deep pockets of their investors.
Today, they're big business, and they're offering to sell 'digital billboards' on their app, which is a fantastic idea.
As for the ad itself, it starts by outlining the overall benefit - getting more customers - which is something that every business owner wants, right?
The ad credit is a great way of incentivising new users to their platform, reducing the risk of 'giving it a go'.
Advertiser: WDA Automotive Marketing
Considering I love performance cars, I don't really get many automotive-related ads on my Facebook timeline, but when I do I'm always impressed with the work that's gone into them.
Step forward, WDA Automotive Marketing. This ad is clearly designed for marketers who are in the car industry, and its approach is to convey benefits in a transparent, no-fuss manner.
The colour scheme is perfect. Red is associated with energy, action and passion, which is an ideal colour for the automotive sector, and it certainly grabs your attention as you're scrolling through your timeline.
I'm also a great fan of using transparency when it comes to pricing, and WDA aren't shy to tell people how much it's going to cost. That's a great strategy, because people are more open to marketing when they know what something is likely to cost.
Advertiser: Web Summit
As entrepreneurs, we're naturally ambitious. You could say that ambition runs through our veins.
And that's what Web Summit have capitalised on in their ad.
Their well-targeted audience are typically start-up companies who are trying to get on the first rung of the ladder and gain awareness of their products.
If you're a start-up business, you'll agree that this is a tempting ad.
Advertiser: Wiltshire Chilli Farm
My closest friends and family all know that I am a massive chilli fan. I can't get enough of the stuff. No Christmas (or birthday) has gone by where I haven't been bought a bottle of THE HOTTEST CHILLI SAUCE IN THE WORLD.
So it's no surprise that this ad ended up on my Facebook news feed.
The ad copy is simple but effective. If you've won an award for your product, then you must state that in your copy, because it's a technique that helps to increase your social proof.
The only thing I'd do differently in this ad is to add some kind of challenging statement, such as Is it too hot to handle?
This ad from WordStream gets straight to the point - "5 Keys to Getting a High Quality Score".
To most marketers, the benefits of this knowledge is obvious, and whilst I may be tempted to expand slightly on that introductory sentence, it's still very effective in getting their target audience's attention. After all, who isn't chasing a perfect quality score?
This technique is designed to build an element of trust around the brand. By giving away free information that is likely to help their target market, WordStream are playing on the 'reciprocity rule' of persuasion. This is one of the most powerful persuasion techniques, and as psychology expert "Brian Tracy" states, "If you do something nece for me, I'll do something nice for you". In effect, the person who gained the free knowledge now feels a sense of obligation to reciprocate.
Tagsto the pointlistsnumbersreciprocitylearning
Advertiser: Workplace by Facebook
Are Facebook the undisputed champions at writing Facebook ads?
Well, you would have thought so, but this ad from the social media giant has left me scratching my head.
I can't work out whether this is an effective ad - or not. It just feels a little bit bland. Sure, I understand they've gone for simplicity, but it doesn't exactly sizzle.
Personally, I'd have used a photo of their team collaborating on a product in a busy workplace environment to make it more human. But they've opted for a rather flat logo on a pink background.
They could have done so much more.
Advertiser: WP Engine
This Facebook ad from WP Engine understands that managing a WordPress website can be difficult. Things go wrong.
By opening their copy with "Everyone makes mistakes" they're immediately saying that they understand the major concerns of WordPress users.
They then encourage you to read a list of common mistakes that people normally make, so that you can avoid them. Forewarned = forearmed.
There's a small discrepancy in this ad in that the logo in the graphic doesn't match the logo on the top left, but there's no doubt that this lead magnet ad is effective.
Clearly designed for business people who are familiar with GMV (that's 'gross merchandise volume' to you and I), this effective Facebook ad from Zaius uses visuals to get the message across.
The strong call-to-action button is persuasive, and whilst the landing page will be a lead-magnet, you can't help but feel intrigued at what you might be missing out on if you don't download the guide.
Guilt and worry are powerful emotions. Couple those emotions with one of the hottest topics around the world - the natural environment - and you've already got yourself a compelling ad.
You could say that this advert from ZSL is jumping on a very emotive bandwagon, but in this instance it's both understandable and justified.
Putting aside personal feelings (I'm ex-Royal Navy so oceanic environmental issues are close to my heart), this ad uses a shocking statistic to highlight the issue. If I was in charge of producing the ad I would have included a picture of a snorkeller or diver in the picture to highlight how humans are responsible for the rising sea temperatures. Any time you can include real people in photos you should, as it creates an emotional attachment we have with fellow humans.