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How to Create Facebook Ads that Convert

By Nora Inveiss on March 3rd, 2016 - Reading time: 6 minutes

You’ve probably already created a page for your business on Facebook – 40 million other small businesses have. But have you experimented with Facebook ads?

These ads are unique because Facebook is different from other platforms. People don’t go to Facebook to buy things or learn about products; they’re looking for entertainment and to socialize. The most successful ads don’t just scream “buy me.” They spark curiosity and interest.

However, creating a Facebook ad with a high conversion rate is no easy feat – it takes some planning and skill. In this blog post we’ll share some of Printful’s most successful Facebook ads and the three elements that made them perform so well. Then we’ll walk you through how to create your own campaign, and give you some extra tips along the way.

Printful Case Study: Increasing Registrations

The purpose of this Facebook ad was to encourage our targeted audience to register with Printful. We created a lookalike audience (more on that later) based on existing Printful clients, and narrowed down interests, location and age range. We excluded existing Printful clients who have previously visited the Printful dashboard because the’ve already registered. This campaign was run on desktop only, as registrations can’t be completed over mobile.

FB Ad

The result: Over 600 conversions with a cost per conversion of $1.23 and an ROI of 266%.

Printful Case Study: Driving Traffic

We created this campaign to drive traffic to Printful and increase integrations with Shopify. People dabbling in the ecommerce industry have likely already heard of Shopify, so we wanted to reach them and pique their interest. We also mention how much value Shopify users get with Printful, which further increases curiosity.

To create our audience, we targeted people who are interested in “Shopify” and “Shopping cart software” and filtered for age and location, targeting men and women over 20 years old that live in the US.

PF Facebook Ad 2

The result: 1,422 conversions with a cost per conversion of $.58

Startup Vitamins Case Study: Driving Sales

This was a campaign we ran for our sister company, Startup Vitamins. You’ll notice that it didn’t get as many conversion as the two examples above, but this is normal for campaigns directed at sales.

When you want to drive sales, keep in mind that people like free stuff. So you’ll get more conversions with campaigns that offer good deals. Think free shipping or a sale on a particular item – it gives customers more incentive to buy. Another factor to emphasize is urgency. People are more likely to respond when a product is in limited quantity or ready to ship.

Regardless, this campaign gave Startup Vitamins a big boost in traffic and resulted in some purchases. We looked at people who had already bought something on the Startup Vitamins site, and created a customer lookalike based on that info. Then we narrowed it down further to people with job titles like CEO and Managing Director, as they’re the decision-makers in their companies.

PF Facebook Ad 4

The result: 77 conversions with a cost per conversion of $.51.

The 3 must-have elements you need to create a successful Facebook ad

Based on what we’ve learned from our own Facebook ad campaigns, these are the three elements that are critical for a high-converting ad.

1. A stunning visual

Most real estate available on Facebook ads is dedicated to the image, so this is the most important creative element. You need to use a high-quality image that gets your audience’s attention and helps convey your brand. Think bright colors with whatever you want to emphasize at the forefront, and stray away from generic stock photos.

Can’t decide on just one image? Good – you should always test with at least two. Monitor how they’re performing. Keep the one that’s doing well, and turn off the one that isn’t.

Facebook recommends different dimensions based on the type of ad you’re creating. If you’re planning on including copy in your image, then remember that text can’t take up more than 20% of space.

Take a look here for Facebook’s recommended dimensions.

2. Clever copy

You don’t have much room for text, so choose your words wisely. If you go beyond the allowed character count, your copy will get truncated. This is what you have to work with:

Text: 90 characters (above the photo)
Headline: 25 characters (directly below the photo)
Link description: 30 characters (under the headline)

FB ad edit with text box

The headline is the most important copy – it’s the second thing people look at after the image. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t nail the text and link description, just remember that the headline is what most people respond to.

We found that using quantifiable numbers works. For example, “62K users can’t be wrong” in the ad above. It’s social proof – the targeted audience knows how many other people use and trust Printful’s services.

Be sure to always keep your audience in mind. What speaks to them? What would make them want to click on your ad? Use the same language and tone they would use. Keep copy consistent on your ads and landing page. It’s jarring for your customers if the language drastically changes from the ad to your store.

Here are tips from Facebook on how to write copy that converts.

3. A hyper-targeted audience

This is the biggest reason why our Facebook ads were so effective – we knew who would be most receptive and created a very specific audience. There’s no point in reaching everyone – you’ll be spending money on people that have no interest in your company or what you have to offer.

Thanks to the data Facebook collects about its users, you have myriad options to what you can filter. Target your audience based on location, demographics, interest, age, etc.

If there are various groups you want to target, don’t do it with one ad. Create separate ads and campaigns for specific audiences you want to reach. For example, we created a campaign for people in California and used visuals with elements that locals find familiar.

Facebook Ad 4

Creating a custom audience for your campaigns lets reach existing customers. You can do this by uploading customer contact information, using Facebook Pixel to track who has visited your store, or using App Events to track events on your app.

FB Custom Audience

Once you have a custom audience of current customers, you can create a lookalike audience to target new people. Essentially, it’s creating a new group that’s similar to the people in your custom audience. This helps you target a whole new segment of people that are similar to your existing fans and likely to be interested in your company.

You can read more tips from Facebook here.

How to create your own Facebook ad campaign

Now that you know what works, it’s time to learn the basics on how to do it.

1. Decide on your objective

This is the first step. What do you want to accomplish with your Facebook ad campaign? Do you want to drive traffic, promote an event, get more likes for your page? Facebook gives you a list of 10 objectives to choose from and it suggests the ad placements that are best suited for what you need (ads in the newsfeed, sidebar, mobile, etc.).

FB Objective

2. Create your audience

At this point, you can create the audience you want to target. Target your custom audience, create a lookalike audience, and filter for geographic location, age, gender, interests, etc.

FB Targeted Audience

Facebook will let you know whether your audience is too broad or specific, and how many people you’ll target with your set parameters. We noticed that for Printful’s ads, the optimal audience size was about 1 million people.

3. Decide your budget

What makes Facebook ads affordable is that you set your budget and how long you want your ad to run for. So, for example, you can set your budget to $5 a day, and when the budget is used up, your ad will stop running until your budget resets the next day. And you can schedule your ad to run as many days as you like.

FB Budget

You also decide what action you get charged for. So, you could pay for every click you get, or for the amount of impressions, etc. It depends on your objective and what makes the most sense for your goals.

Experiment with CPM (paying per one thousand impressions) in the beginning of your campaign, then switching to pay-per-click towards the end, when “ad fatigue” hits and people don’t click as often.

The last step: create a landing page

Your Facebook ads will click potential customers through to your store, which is where the action happens (registration, purchase, etc.). Make sure that you have a landing page set up where they can complete the action. Copy should be consistent, and if you featured a product image in your ad, make sure it’s also on the landing page. There won’t be any point in creating an ad campaign if customers get to your store and don’t understand what to do next.

Your Facebook ad campaign goes beyond Facebook. Create ads with stunning visuals, clever copy, and a targeted audience to drive people to your store. But prepare your website so customers know what to do when they arrive and your efforts don’t go to waste.

It takes testing to figure out what resonates with your customers, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Try out different copy, images, audiences, budget. You won’t always get it perfect, but with time you’ll find what makes your ads convert.

Which tactics worked for your Facebook ads? Share in the comments!

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  1. Obie

    This is really insightful. Thanks for sharing. Stay awesome! I use STARTUPVITAMINS products. I love them and also promote them on my website. Thanks again.

  2. Make Love With Food

    Thank you for these excellent case studies! Facebook ads are one of the most reliable ways to directly target customers online. Our favorite part was where you discussed integrations such as “Facebook Pixels”. Integrations and syncing are important!

  3. Portia Iversen

    This is a great article, very thorough, concise and helpful. I plan to study it in depth and try the suggested actions out. So far I’ve really gotten a lot out of these Printful Blog entries, thanks! – Portia (Portiaelizabeth.com)

  4. Pingback: 5 Things You Can Do for the Back to School Shopping Season | Blog - Printful

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