As the co-founder of a company that's spent the past 15 years developing and promoting a variety of products, I've seen social media marketing become an increasingly vibrant way to get the word out. I've also seen many businesses struggle to adapt their marketing strategies to take advantage of it.
Even people like us who specialize in digital marketing can struggle to communicate what makes an ad successful. But in my experience, while social media advertising can seem rather opaque at first, creating an effective social media ad isn't as mysterious as it seems. Like pretty much all advertising, it really comes down to how you present yourself.
An Effective Social Media Ad Needs All the Right Pieces
Social media advertising truly clicked for me when I began to look at how each element of an ad plays into a bigger marketing strategy. From the headline to the metadata to the image to the copy, each part can add value or diminish the effect of the whole. It only takes one lengthy block of text or one lackluster headline to sink an entire campaign.
It only takes one lengthy block of text or one lackluster headline to sink an entire campaign.
According to eye-tracking studies, consumers tend to scan text in an F shape. Audiences aren't reading every ad they see; they're scanning a page for content that looks interesting to them. For a social media ad to be effective, it needs to stand out as something worth really diving into.
How to Get More Out of Your Social Media Ad Buys
In my experience, I've discovered that there tend to be three major areas where many companies fall short. Improvements in these areas can help transform a social media marketing campaign into something truly worth spending your ad dollars on.
1. Narrow your target audience, and refine your content to match.
When people browse the web, they're looking for content that's relevant to their interests, regardless of whether it's a paid advertisement. Readers will spend more time looking at a native ad than a typical banner ad, and choosing a smaller audience that's interested is better than a larger audience that couldn't care less.
When it comes to your ad's content, focus on specific calls to action or ways in which your target audience could benefit from your service. Choose words that are relevant to your brand in order to enhance a consumer's association between particular services and your company.
2. Edit your ad's structure.
According to data by digital advertising AdEspresso by Hootsuite, which analyzed 752,626 ads in their Facebook ad examples gallery, between 2015 and 2018, the average number of words used in the main text of a Facebook ad increased from 14 to 19, while other sections of an ad remained the same or even became shorter. That's not a coincidence. The structure of an ad itself is vital to its overall marketing strategy.
Break up your text to make room for the reader to breathe and spend more time absorbing the content. Don't be afraid to use emojis to vary the appearance of the ad as well. It's all about capturing and keeping the attention of your potential audience.
3. Choose your colors wisely.
I've seen far too many companies that undervalue the importance of visual media. Part of this, of course, has to do with a small business's limited budget and staff, but distinctive graphics can have a huge impact on ads. Not only does Facebook tend to prefer ads with graphics, but eye-catching ads can be more effective.
Craft ads that pop by using images with bright colors such as red or yellow. These eye-catching tactics will help get readers to truly notice your ad and can make them more likely to engage with it.
I've seen firsthand how social media advertising done right can be a huge boon to a company. By striving to create engaging, specific and distinct advertisements, it really is possible for any business to spend advertising dollars on social media and see real returns on its investment.