Tips on Writing Facebook Ads for Business

Published October 26, 2017
Facebook has proven itself a cost-effective, efficient and powerful advertising platform for many businesses. The right ad can drive website visitors, increase event attendance and even lead to direct sales. For others, Facebook Advertising can feel like shouting into an echo chamber. You post, you boost and then you wait. Sure, the ad reaches people and maybe there is engagement but when you look to see how those interactions translated to website traffic, downloads or revenue the actual impact can be, well, disappointing.
What makes the difference?
There are a lot of factors and variables at play and while there isn’t a single definitive answer as to what makes a great Facebook ad, there is the composition of the ad that serves as the foundation of what you’re putting out into the world. In today’s article, we’ll cover some of the important guidelines to help you create more effective Facebook ads.


The Parts of a Facebook Ad


Make Them Visual

The elephant in the room with Facebook ads is that the visual appeal is critical. We can’t talk about writing effective ads until we first address the fact that the words themselves are only about half of the equation. Consider these statistics:

Facebook ads with images can get 2.3x the engagement (Source)

The images in Facebook ads can account for 75-90% of their performance efficacy (Source)

Carousel ads can have a 10x better CTR than single image ads (Source)

While it’s clear that an image is essential, having the right image is even more important.

Word Counts

Along with the actual image, there is a visual component to the words you use as well. Just the number of words used, and where, can make a difference.

Research indicates that most popular headline length is only four to five words. While the most common word count for a link description is around 15 to 18 words. This still represents only one-third of the word limit for a link description.

Facebook is a little more general noting that headlines with the most engagement are 25-40 characters in length.

Remember that these numbers say nothing of the nature of the words used or the message, but only that concise word counts tend to be the most impactful.

Finally, the image and the words should work together. They shouldn’t be considered as two separate parts of an ad, but one collective call to action. If your image has details related to what you're promoting (dates, locations, etc.) save space by not repeating these in the copy. Remember a four-word headline and a 15-word link description are the goals, so eliminate redundancies where you can. It’s also essential to use images that have the best possible connection with, or visual representation of, the copy being used.

Target Your Message Properly

There’s a lot to think about when evaluating how to target your ad.

By Interests - Less than 45% of Facebook ads use interest-based targeting. But interest targeting is an effective way to introduce your brand to an audience who might not know you. With interest targeting, it’s important to ensure your ad matches the interests you are honing in on. For example, a sports memorabilia site could target interests based on Sports or even Football. But it would likely have the most relevant ad, and capture the most interest, by targeting users with team -specific preferences and matching the copy and imagery accordingly.


NY Giants Audience


Geographically - Ad targeting can be focused on specific geographic areas and yet ~85% of ads are targeted by country, not a specific geographical location. But like interest targeting, the more specific you get, the more appropriately you can tailor your ad. For example, an ad targeted to a population in a large city like New York can be better focused when narrowing by neighborhood like Chelsea or SoHo and using messaging or iconography that will resonate with those who live there.

Demographically – Demographic targeting is especially effective when you have already established best buyer personas. Knowing the lifetime value of customers as it applies to age, income, and family status, and so on, can help you focus precisely on customers who fit those criteria. With this you can use visuals and create ads that speak directly to each audience.

Remarketing – Facebook ads can also be used for remarketing purposes either based on website visits or emails acquired. These users are a little different because they have already been exposed to your brand and the ad is less likely to be a “cold call.” However, that only raises the bar on your challenge to be relevant. By using email addresses that are segmented based on how the email was acquired, you can match your ads to that pre-established interest. Using ads that are created and targeted based on which page or category of pages a user has visited on your website will ensure you don’t show blender ads to visitors who had previously viewed luggage and travel accessories.

Ad to Landing Page – Ad to landing page matching is an important “targeting” element which doesn’t necessarily fall into Facebook’s targeting options drop down. The more relevant your landing page is to the ad you’re running, the better a response you’re likely to get. For example, a clothing store using images of shoes but sending users to the homepage may find themselves with frustrated or disappointed users who now have to search for the high heels that originally caught their eye. Of course, they may just leave. Either way, this negative user experience could have been avoided by matching the landing page to the ad.

As you create your ads, Facebook will provide you with a “Relevance Score,” a figure based on their projections of user responses. While this is not necessarily a definitive grade, as ads with middling scores may still drive results, it can be a useful baseline gauge for the potential of your creative and targeting.

Offers and Calls to Action (CTA)

Another major component of a successful, or not-so-successful, Facebook ad is the CTA and the offer.

In a whitepaper outlining a test of 100k Facebook ads, determined that calls-to-action represent between 10-25% of an ad’s efficiency.

But keep in mind that, the manner of your CTA may vary based on your ad objective. But in Ad Manager, you’ll have the option to choose a button from preset options that include, actions like “Book Now”, “Learn More”, “Shop Now”, “Download” and “Sign Up”.

These preset buttons are a clear and distinct use of a CTA. But in other types, like sponsored sidebar ads, the CTA is less obvious. In those cases the blue text atop the ad or even a portion of the image can serve the same function.

With the button choices, the “Shop Now” CTA is by far the most popular CTA, chosen by advertisers 74% of the time. Others studies show a bit more diversity of CTA use but it’s clear that some are clearly favored by most businesses. Make sure you consider the most appropriate CTA for your offer and choose accordingly.

With the more subtle CTAs that must be built into the headline, copy or imagery of an ad the most effective uses are those which clearly outline an action like click, buy, get or convert. It’s also useful to present a benefit rather than a product.

A quality Facebook ad presents a viable, immediate offer to users. From the headline to the CTA, each ad should clearly outline what a user will be able to learn, buy or engage with through both imagery and copy.

Finally, as with targeting, use a link description that accurately describes what the visitor can expect on the landing page and, if possible, an attractive URL that features your brand.


Creating outstanding Facebook ads is its own micro artform. Though in spite of the rapid growth and proliferation of advertising on this platform, it remains an evolving process. Becoming truly adept at making successful Facebook ads requires ongoing education, testing, measurement, and refinement. But focusing on imagery, targeting and calls to action combined with continued study you can help you grow Facebook into a successful and profitable marketing channel.


When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:



It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.


Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.