The 4 Elements of a Facebook Ad (and How to Maximize Them!)

You’ve probably checked out a Facebook ad recently, if for no other reason than because it had “FREE” in the headline. 

Facebook advertising is booming, especially since organic reach for businesses has declined. According to Facebook, 3 million businesses are advertising on the platform. With the highest number of users in the world, it makes sense that you’d want to put some of your advertising dollars behind a Facebook ad to reach new and existing customers. 

Facebook has 6 types of Facebook ads, and you can read about them on their website here. You’re likely most familiar with Facebook ads that look like this:

These ads appear in your Facebook Feed and have 4 elements. Some or all of these elements are used across different types of Facebook ads, so understanding them is crucial to your digital marketing strategy. 

In today’s blog, we’re naming and explaining each element in a standard Facebook ad. Here’s a visual to refer back to so you know which element we’re referencing in your ad:

We’ll also give you some tips for maximizing them in your marketing efforts on Facebook.  

Let’s jump in! 

1. Post Text

Just like you write copy for a personal post, you’ll write copy for your Facebook ad. This is your post text. In your audience’s Facebook Feed, the post text will appear under your business’s name. 

The post text is important because it’s often the first copy your target audience sees from your business. Here are some tips for writing copy for your Facebook ad’s post text: 

  1. Know your target audience. Who is your ad speaking to? Facebook allows you to target even smaller groups within your target audience, so get specific.

    Imagine you’re a beauty supply company for salons. You want to run an ad that targets beauty professionals who’ve shopped on your website but haven’t purchased any products. This smaller group within your target audience is already familiar with your brand, so your post text doesn’t need to sound like it’s your first time meeting one another.

    Think about where your ad’s specific audience is on their customer journey. Then write your post text with that in mind.

  2. Identify your message. Once you know the target audience for your Facebook ad, think about your end goal. Do you want them to shop? Download your lead magnet? Learn more about your brand? You don’t have to include your call to action (CTA) in your post text, but you do want to keep the CTA in mind as you write.

    Once you’ve identified the action you want people to take, identify your message. What will persuade them to make that step?

    You can’t go wrong with clearly communicating your unique selling proposition (USP) or describing a specific problem and how your product or services solves it. You can also use a testimonial in your post text that demonstrates what someone’s life was like before and after using your product. If you’re advertising a sale, you’ll obviously describe the sale in your post text, highlighting the opportunity to save money and the urgency of shopping right away.

  3. Keep it short and sweet. You can test different lengths for your post text, but lean toward short and sweet when writing Facebook ad copy. People have a short attention span, especially when scrolling through their Facebook Feed.

    Pack a punch in a few words. Write several versions of your post text and ask others for their input about which one grabs their attention, or test different versions or lengths of your post text on Facebook.

    Lengthy post text can be beneficial, depending on where your target audience is on their customer journey. For example, if people have never heard of your brand, you can use longer post text to raise awareness about it by telling them more about it.

Now, let’s talk about the other element of your Facebook ad that receives the most attention. 

2. The Visual

The image or video in a Facebook ad is usually what makes you stop scrolling to check it out.

Your image or video should match your post text. That might seem obvious, but a lot of advertisers miss opportunities to convert prospective or current customers because the messaging between the post text and the image is inconsistent or unclear. 

If your post text is about the problem your product helps people solve, use an image of what someone’s life looks like after using it! Maybe use a video testimonial to share how your product or service has changed someone’s life. 

Don’t limit yourself to textless images. Sometimes, images or videos with text are beneficial or even necessary. If you’re promoting a lead magnet, your image will probably include the title of your lead magnet. If you’re having a sale, you can feature images of your products with a text overlay about the discount people will get when they shop. 

Let your imagination run wild, and don’t be afraid to try new things. You know we’re fans of funky, eye-catching illustrations—we use them every Monday! Take a look at this illustration for a wellness company running a 21-day challenge to relieve stress:

It’s not crystal clear in the image what this Facebook ad is about, but doesn’t it make you want to know? 

Brainstorm different ways to convey your message in image or video. Some might be very straightforward and others—like 2 wrecking balls headed towards a human brain—might be more abstract. Decide which ones are most likely to grab your target audience’s attention while scrolling, and let your designer get to work! 

3. Headline

In a typical Facebook ad, the headline is the bold, short copy underneath the photo or video and to the left of the CTA button. The headline will be shorter than your post text, so it’s a great opportunity to speak to your target audience or grab their attention with fewer words. 

Before brainstorming your headlines, come back to your goal. What step do you want people to take after they see your Facebook ad? Here are some headline types with examples we found in real Facebook ads:

The Deal or Steal 

Example: “Lock in $120/year”

This headline is from a subscription-based content creation company. The headline communicates a lot of information in a few words. The phrase “Lock in…” communicates to their target audience that this subscription price is only available for a limited time. It also tells them what it will cost. 

Deal-or-steal headlines will tell you upfront the discount you will get or the price you will pay. 

The Solution 

Example: “Build landing pages that convert” 

At Sigl Creative, we emphasize the importance of 1) communicating the problem your product or service solves and 2) painting a future picture of what life could be like with it. Solution headlines do one or both of these things. 

“Build landing pages that convert” implies a problem: not all landing pages convert. But this company communicates in the headline that they offer a solution for building landing pages that do. 

What short, quippy copy can convey to your target audience the happy future your product or service can give?

The Content 

Example: “How to use Instagram to get more customers”

Content headlines leave no room for confusion about what you’ll get if you click the CTA button. For example, this headline tells people they’ll learn how to use Instagram to get more customers. 

Marketers use content headlines most for Facebook ads promoting lead magnets, webinars, courses, etc. Some even include “FREE” in their headline like this: “[FREE GUIDE] Pricing Marketing Services by Time” or “Free Online Course.”  

Don’t over complicate your headline. Sometimes, just stating the content of your offer is the way to go! 

These are 3 general categories for headlines, but don’t be afraid to test something new. 

Take another look at the Facebook ad for the 21-day stress detox. The headline reads, “Stressed? Read this ad…” The ad leads with a question describing the current state of their target audience, and the post text tells them about the solution they offer to change their state by alleviating stress—that’s a great headline!

A headline is just another means to catch your target audience’s attention and invite them into your brand’s story.

4. Call to Action

Chances are you already know which element of a Facebook ad is the CTA. The CTA is the next step you want people to take after seeing your ad, and it’s indicated on your ad by a button for people to click. 

The text on the button is your CTA. “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” and “Download” are examples of CTAs you’ve probably seen on Facebook ads.

Unlike the other elements of your Facebook ads, you cannot fully customize your CTA buttons. Facebook offers a few dozen buttons for you to choose from—you can see a full list here. Make sure the CTA you choose aligns with the headline and post text of your ad. You wouldn’t use the “Contact Us” button if your ad is prompting your audience to make a purchase on your website. 

Communicate clearly the next step you want your target audience to take, even if it feels like “Shop Now!” is everywhere. After all, that’s what you want them to do if you’re selling a product. 

Make it easy for your target audience—tell them exactly what you want them to do, and leave no room for confusion or misinterpretation. 

We hope this breakdown of each element in a Facebook ad helps you get started sharing your product or service on the biggest social media platform to date. Our team at Sigl Creative can help if you want to run a Facebook ad but don’t have the time or expertise. Schedule a call today, and let our digital marketing experts create and execute a Facebook ad campaign that generates leads for your business! 

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