Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to
steallearn from. 😉
Original Publication Date: February 15, 2017
You have two options when you create Facebook ads.
You can go with the flow and follow the crowd, or you can pave your own way and take full responsibility for the outcome.
In other words, should you follow the Facebook ad examples by other brands or come up with your own best practices?
The best Facebook advertisers understand Facebook’s new Power5 focus and know the value of the “Warchest of Ads” we always recommend for our clients.
If you’re curious to see what that looks like and what your specific competitors are doing, then get a free proposal request from us right now.
Back to the article…
Starting your Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising efforts by swimming upstream isn’t always the smartest choice. You could spend months and thousands of ad budget dollars before you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Instead, do some research and find out what’s working for other brands — both in your industry and outside of it.
To that end, take a look at these awesome Facebook ad examples we’ve gathered for you, and learn from dozens of key takeaways. This way, you’ll be equipped with first-rate Facebook ad tips and hacks before you create your first Facebook ad campaign.
1) CoSchedule – Facts That Nobody Can Ignore
CoSchedule’s ad gets so many things right that it has totally earned its place as our first Facebook ad example.
The ad’s colorful design pops into your eyes right from the News Feed, making CoSchedule’s logo memorable while increasing the brand awareness.
The Facebook ad reads: “20,000+ marketers and bloggers use the CoSchedule editorial calendar to plan ahead and save time.”
Et voila, in this one sentence, they’ve managed to establish trust, target a specific audience, and reveal the benefit of their product.
- Numbers and facts work: People are wired to like even numbers. Mentioning the number of people using your product builds instant trust. It’s your way to say, “We’re already the top product in this category, so you should try it too.”
- Lure in with the benefit: CoSchedule’s ad starts with a question — “Ready to get your marketing organized?” — that not only implies they will get your marketing organized, but that the only thing preventing that outcome is your hesitation. By promising a benefit relevant to your target audience, they might be interested to learn more about your offer.
- Explain the “how”: People who haven’t tried your product have no clue how it works. Simply saying, “It’ll save you time” may not be sufficient. You could improve your ad by explaining how your product helps to achieve the promised benefits. CoSchedule’s ad displays an image of the editorial calendar that’s going to deliver the benefits.
2) FreshBooks – Focused Niche Ads Steal the Show
FreshBooks’ Facebook ad starts by saying: “FreshBooks makes online accounting easy so you can stay focused on running your business.”
With this one sentence, the ad clearly states who the target audience is: people who spend too much time on accounting instead of being managing their business. Sounds like small business owners, doesn’t it?
The other great thing about this ad is the ad image: it presents a setup where people find themselves every day (in their workstation, accompanied by a large cup of coffee), which makes it relatable to the ad viewer.
- Speak to a niche audience: Decide who you want to target with your ad and be crystal clear about it. Not only does defining your market segment help you choose the right message, tone and language, you’ll also know whom to target with your Facebook ads.
- Dare to exclude people: You can’t be liked by everyone. And to earn a niche audience’s attention, you need to speak directly to them. FreshBooks’ ad headline says clearly: “Online Accounting Software for Non-Accountants”. That’s it. Everyone who relates to this title may feel as if the ad is speaking directly to them.
- Colors matter: Do you remember the last ad that caught your attention in the Facebook news feed? Chances are that it was brightly colored and highly contrasted. Research has found that people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90% of their assessment is based on colors alone. So yes, you should probably create more colorful Facebook ads if you haven’t done that already.
Here’s another location-specific ad example by WebSummit. It tells directly whom it’s targeting: Austrian startups.
3) SumoMe – Show the Results
What could be a better tactic than explaining your product’s benefit in your ads? Showing it.
Images tell stories, and studies have shown that stories work because our brains are primed to heed their advice.
This Facebook ad example by SumoMe displays a growth chart without any clear explanations. There isn’t any obvious information explaining what this chart signifies.
People looking at it might assume it symbolizes growth, however, and that’s exactly what SumoMe wants: to be associated with success.
Imagine this ad in your News Feed. There’s a good chance that seeing a growth chart would make you curious to find out what it’s about and click through to their website. Now that’s what we call smart marketing.
- Use symbols to your advantage: People are quick to associate your brand with positive or negative feelings. Studies show that people rely on emotions rather than information to make brand decisions. By mentioning or showing symbols in your Facebook ads, you’ll establish a link in the brain between the symbol and your brand.
- If this, then that: Nope, we’re not talking about the popular productivity tool, but you’re close. SumoMe’s ad text reads, “If you want viral growth you need this tool”. What happens is that people think, “Yes, I want viral growth,” and are immediately presented with SumoMe’s software as a solution. First, mention something that you think potential target audiences might need. Then present your product as the best possible solution.
- Add a pinch of social proof: Just like numbers work magic, so does data-driven social proof. “Over 175,000 websites grow their traffic with SumoMe” – that may be just enough proof the reader needs to check out the product.
4) 17hats – Make It Personal
As weird as it might sound, people like looking at other people’s faces on the web. When they feel like someone’s gazing at them, they can’t resist finding out more.
17hats’ Facebook ad uses a hero shot with a happy young lady, creating positive emotions and helping their target audience relate to their offer.
- Start with a question: An open-ended question that resonates with your target audience is a good place to start your ad copy. Research by Outbrain showed that article titles ending with a question mark tend to have higher click-through rates than those ending with an exclamation mark or full stop.
- Cut right to the problem: 17hats’ ad headline says, “Tame the Chaos of Running Your Business.” Showing that they understand their audience’s pain points gives 17hats the chance to offer a solution while people are still listening.
- Hero shots work: According to research by Psychological Science, seeing a smiling person makes us feel happy, comfortable and safe. Our brains have developed the Picture Superiority Effect, meaning that concepts are much more likely to be remembered if they are presented as pictures rather than words.
When choosing an image for your Facebook ad, however, avoid overused stock photos as people are growing immune to them. It might be worth organizing a photoshoot to collect authentic photos for all future marketing tactics.
5) Safari – Start Doing
Safari’s Facebook ad reads: “Start your free trial today.” … “Read comfortably right on your phone” … “Get personalized recommendations.”
This is one of the most actionable ad examples we’ve seen. Safari’s ad includes a total of six action verbs:
Calls to action are often placed to drive people to starting engaging or completing an action immediately.
- Action verbs in ad copy: By adding action verbs to your ad copy, you could make it more actionable and energizing for the reader. The decision-making part of our brain also happens to be the most primitive, making it act on simple and actionable words.
- Make them remember your logo: People might not remember your brand by name, but they’re a lot more likely to recall the visual image of your logo. A study by the University of Iowa compared hearing memory to visual memory and found that we’re hardwired to remember things we see many times longer than what we hear.
- Make it about them: Did you notice how Safari’s ad addresses the reader as “You”? Everything they suggest is targeted at the reader, declaring that the maximum benefit of the product is for the person reading the ad, not the brand.
Need more action verbs? Buffer has put together a massive list of 189 magnetic words that make your copywriting almost impossible to resist.
6) Try The World – Let Them Almost Feel it
Try The World’s ad depicts the moment when someone receives their subscription box full of exotic foods.
You can almost feel the excitement of receiving this mystical box of goodies and opening it as it were a treasure chest or a gift from a secret admirer. People seeing the ad might want to experience similar excitement and joy.
An article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that it takes up to 20 minutes for that feeling of excitement to pass. That’s more than enough time to lead a happy prospect through your sales funnel.
The products look attractive and desirable, contributing to the decision to get one of these subscription boxes ASAP.
- Make it almost graspable: Showcase your product at the most exciting moment of its lifecycle. If Try The World’s ad pictured the subscription box in the post office or unopened on the dinner table, they’d be missing out on a great opportunity to engage emotionally and reach beyond rational thinking.
- Free extra: The promise made in the Facebook ad’s headline says, “Free Paris Box with your Thailand Box!” If you were unsure about ordering the subscription before, now you’re almost convinced you’re getting a great bargain. When the online store 2BigFeet introduced free shipping for orders over $100, their conversions went up 50%. Free extras can be the right nudge to help people make the final decision to purchase the product.
- Exclamation marks FTW: Did you notice the exclamation mark at the end of the ad headline? That’s no coincidence. Exclamation marks make us more alert and attentive to messages. That being said, don’t abuse exclamation marks either. As New York Magazine’s The Science of Us writer Melissa Dahl pointed out, “The exclamation mark, once reserved for expressing joy or excitement, now simply marks baseline politeness.” In other words, hacks only work if you don’t overexploit them.
7) Nike – Don’t Be Afraid of Contrast
Nike’s Facebook ad is so colorful that it looks like an oasis in a desert of dull Facebook posts.
A UsabilityTools study showed that using highly contrasting landing page call-to-actions resulted in a 75% higher click-through rate, compared to a low-contrast CTA.
High-contrast websites, ads, and other marketing materials help to draw people’s attention to your offer. However, you need to support your colorful image with a worthy ad copy; otherwise, all your effort has gone to waste.
- Use contrasting color combinations: Higher contrast can help draw more attention to your ad. It’s not only the red and pink contributing to Nike’s ad success; the white font and background forms a perfect harmony of colors. A Science Direct study examining consumer preferences found that while a large majority of consumers prefer color patterns with similar hues, they favor palettes with a highly contrasting accent color. Use a color wheel to determine which colors match the best.
- Include a link: While your entire Facebook ad is clickable, there might be people who are unaware of it. Nike has included a website URL in the ad copy as a clickable call-to-action, and people will remember the link longer after seeing it.
- Create carousel ads: A Kinetic Social report revealed that carousel ads have up to 10 times higher click-through rates compared to static sponsored posts on Facebook. Carousel ads can display up to 10 products/offers instead of a single one, so there is a better chance at least one image will resonate with the viewer.
8) AdStage – Use the Glory of Influencers
AdStage’s Facebook ad for an upcoming webinar includes the titles and photos of two marketing experts as a form of social proof — proving that they actually exist.
According to KISSmetrics, people are more likely to be persuaded by others similar to them.
AdStage’s main audience seems to be marketing professionals, so it makes a lot of sense to use industry experts for building trust and brand recognition.
When you include influencers in your marketing campaigns, make win-win deals for both parties.
For AdStage, organizing a webinar means higher brand awareness among marketers. For the two experts, it’s a chance to establish themselves as authorities in a given field.
- Strike a deal with influencers: Including influencers in your marketing campaigns gives your brand a touch of their glory and fame. According to some resources, sharing branded content via influencers results in 3x-10x higher conversion rates.
- Bring hashtags to Facebook: Twitter is the undisputed master, but Facebook also supports the use of hashtags. Did you know that searching for a hashtag on Facebook leads to a feed with related images and posts?
- Start with low-threat offers: Every time you ask people to sign up for a subscription or buy something from you, you’re asking them to take a chance on you. Before you can ask people to spend money on your products, you need to earn their trust. Not all offers match with your target audience’s familiarity with your brand and the PPC channel temperature.
When advertising to cold audiences, keep your offers helpful and non-binding. Asking people to join a webinar is by far less binding than asking them to use your product. Other opportunities can include sharing blog articles, offering free eBooks, or giving away free monthly subscriptions.
9) Soylent – Eliminate Doubts
You may have heard of Soylent. You also might have heard stories about its horrible taste. But do you know what it actually tastes like?
Soylent’s ad starts by proclaiming the most popular question asked from them: “But what does it taste like?”
That’s a smart move — it shows their marketing team’s genuine interest in what customers are thinking about.
Right after grabbing people’s attention, the Facebook ad offers a solution: Order Soylent and find out what it really tastes like.
- Address doubts and possible counterfacts: Soylent addresses the relevant pain point — “I’ve heard that Soylent tastes bad” — by hinting that it might taste like cereal milk, almonds, or Graham crackers. Moreover, it offers a solution to the question.
- Talk to a friend: The ad addresses the reader –- you — in a friendly and familiar tone. Instead of relying on the power of the masses, this ad personalizes the message with a singular focus on the person reading it.
- Play with people’s curiosity: By framing your product like an unsolved mystery, you’ll make people anxious to find out the answer to the puzzle.
A Caltech study showed that curiosity increases to a point as knowledge increases, but then it drops off. You want people to know part of the story, but leave them some mystery to investigate.
10) Shopify – Offer Something Worthwhile
Shopify’s ad asks: “What kind of person do you say you are to the world?”
People have an innate wish to be praised and valued for the traits they consider the most important. Shopify suggests that with their help, you can be the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Helping someone shape their life is a strong (and bold) selling point.
- Ask a personal question: If you can get people to think about the course of their lives, you’re onto something big. As someone thinks about your question, they might give more thought to the benefits of your product.
- Remind people of what is possible: Shopify’s ad motivates people to reconsider their chosen life path by asking, “What’s your next move?” It suggests that there is always an opportunity to change and offers the means to do it (Build Your Store on FB!).
- “Sign Up” call-to-action: While most Facebook ad examples use the “Learn More” CTA, Shopify is straightforward and asks people to sign up at once.
While A/B testing Facebook ads, Scoro discovered that the ad with the “Sign Up” CTA outperformed the ad with the “Learn More” CTA by 14.5%. When creating Facebook ads, don’t lose sight of your final goal – conversions.
While people are more likely to click on the “Learn More” call-to-action, they’ll convert at a higher rate after having clicked the “Sign Up” CTA.
11) Surface – Compare Yourself to Competitors
Surface’s Facebook ad example includes the text, “Surface Book comes with Pen, touch and nearly 2 million more pixels than a MacBook Pro 13.”
This is why adding the statement could be considered a smart move for the brand.
For once, Surface says that it has considerably more pixels than its main competitor: MacBook Pro 13.
By mentioning the MacBook in their ad, they take advantage of their competitor’s fame.
Simply describing the number of pixels in their PC wouldn’t tell most ad viewers a thing — but comparing the number to the well-known MacBook Pro establishes a strong anchor point for the comparison.
- Outshine your competitors: Studies show that our brains prefer recognizable brands. If your product is better than those famous competitors, don’t be afraid to say so. (Just so you know, this hack only works if your products truly are better than those of your biggest competitors, which is subjective.)
- Show your product: If you aren’t sure what to showcase on your Facebook ad image, including your product might be a good idea. People will get a glimpse of how it looks and, if they like what they see, are more likely to try it out.
- Offer savings: Price savings could be the final nudge that people need to complete your desired action. Even better, if you add a time limit to your offer, the sense of urgency makes it more tempting to capitalize on the offer.
12) KlientBoost – Get A Black Belt In Emojis
At KlientBoost, we’re a complete fan club of emojis. I mean, who could resist a Santa emoji winking from the Facebook news feed?
SaaS startup Scoro ran a small A/B test to see how emojis affect Facebook ads’ click-through rate. They discovered that the ad with a red flag emoji in the headline had the CTR of 0.846%, while the ad with no emoji had the CTR of 0.351%.
- Use more emojis: Emojis are a great way to spice up your ad copy, and can increase your Facebook ads’ CTR. Use Emojipedia to find copies of the emojis you need.
- Text on the image: If you’re careful not to cross Facebook’s rule against text-heavy ad images, this can work to your advantage. Advertising legend David Ogilvy commissioned research that discovered people typically look at the image first, even before scanning the headline. Using text on an image could help to make more people notice your message.
- Test fun ideas: It’s safe to say that our holiday calendar of marketing gifographics was the first of its kind. People love novelty, and you can use this knowledge to your advantage by putting your effort into creating high-quality content to share on Facebook. Testing new ideas might be a good way to earn people’s attention and drive more traffic to your website.
13) Asana – Product = Benefit
Asana’s message — “Get Asana. Get Results.” — cuts straight to the point.
In four words, the ad boldly states that the product will provide a great outcome.
- Use a clear slogan: A good slogan should deliver a clear message, not just pretty words. When you’re writing copy for your Facebook ad campaigns, only make promises that you can keep.
- Keep it short: Asana’s ads link description only has five words: “Free for teams of 15.” The message doesn’t overshadow the ad’s headline, delivers actionable information, and defines the target market – teams looking for product management systems. (Not bad for five words!)
- Improve the current situation: Show your audience that you know where they stand and their main pain points. Then, offer to improve their current situation. If you look at the ad copy of Asana’s Facebook ad example, that’s the exact tactic they’ve applied.
14) Mailchimp – Provide Specific Details
Here’s another example from MailChimp that shows how their product works:
- Create visual interest: Describing the functionality of your email automation system doesn’t scream “interesting”. But when you build your ad around a hat-wearing purple monkey figurine, users are more likely to investigate.
- Use negative space: Because the ad’s image is so strong, MailChimp is content to leave most of the ad space empty, drawing your eye even more intently to the image.
15) AdEspresso – Explain Your Product with Video Ads
AdEspresso’s Facebook ad shows a one-minute video describing their product’s benefits and features.
Instead of clicking on the ad to go to the product’s landing page, people can get an overview of AdEspresso’s features without leaving Facebook.
According to Adobe, shoppers that watch videos are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase, in comparison to non-video viewers.
When analyzing the ROI of video ads, Kinetic Social found that video ads have the lowest effective cost per click (eCPC), with an average eCPC of $0.18.
If you have an introductory video of your product, create an A/B test where it’s used in place of your Facebook ad image. The results might surprise you…
- Replace images with videos: Video ads are just as easy to create as the regular image ads. Simply go to Facebook Ads Manager, create a new campaign, and upload a video instead of the image.
- Keep the videos short: After analyzing millions of videos, Wistia discovered that people typically watch more than 80% of a video shorter than 30 seconds. As the video length increases, however, the engagement drops. Get to your strongest selling point in the first 20 seconds so that people won’t pause your ad too soon.
- Always add captions: Each video in the Facebook news feed is soundless by default. To get your message to the people, add captions to all the videos shared on the social media platform.
According to Facebook, captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%. In one study of Facebook video ads, 41% of videos were almost meaningless without sound.
16) Neil Patel – Build on Your Personal Brand
Neil Patel is one of the top marketing influencers on the internet. He’s built four multimillion-dollar businesses and advised tons of startups.
His Facebook post says: “Not only have I helped grow companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP, and Viacom, I’ve…”
Here’s a guy who knows what he’s talking about. And he makes it clear that everybody values his experience.
- Use your personal brand: According to Fast Company, creating a strong personal brand establishes you as a natural leader and opens doors. If your company’s CEO is a publicly known expert, reflect their halo onto your product. Build on your CEO’s personal brand until your product takes off on its own.
- Use facts to build trust: As previously mentioned, the best way to establish your brand or yourself as an influencer is to support the statement with facts. Patel lists all his achievements to prove to readers he knows what he’s talking about.
- Deliver the expertise: Noticed how Neil lists his achievements before he asks you to join his webinar? By doing so, he’s offering to share information that by now you believe to be invaluable expertise. On top of that, it’s completely free.
According to a behavioral scientist Robert Cialdini, we prefer to say “yes” to those we know and like. Building on an influencers’ personal brand makes people more ready to accept your offer.
17) Unbounce – Simplify the Process
Unbounce’s Facebook ad hints that they can deliver conversions in five simple steps.
The simplicity of the process is there before you, loud and clear, marked by five colorful icons.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify: If your ads are too complicated to understand in a few seconds, people give up as quickly as they started reading in the first place. Sometimes it makes sense to leave some ideas unmentioned in the ad and explain everything in depth on your landing page. A study showed that 59% of people actually never read more than the headline of a Facebook share, so yes, you want to be brief.
- Icons give more structure: The five icons in Unbounce’s ad draw attention and help structure the ad’s message. As KISSmetrics puts it: “Icons help give users a point of reference – particularly when navigating a site or when scrolling and scanning over a page.”
- Promise a quick win: If there was an easy five-step method to double your leads, every marketer would jump on it. We all know that there are no such shortcuts, but we’re still intrigued by the promise of an effortless achievement.
18) Wrike – Get the Benefit Without the Problem
Wrike’s Facebook ad asks: “Getting dozens of new work requests without the details you need?” Then it offers a simple solution: “Simplify the way you manage and prioritize work requests.”
This ad’s text implies that they can deliver the benefit — without the problem.
- Describe the problem: Find your target audience’s greatest pain points and offer the medicine to their problems. Wrike’s Facebook ad shows that they understand the struggle of getting too many work requests, which makes them more qualified to offer a solution to this problem.
- Pop in some uncommon words: Wrike’s ad asks, “Is your team bombarded with new requests?” People aren’t used to seeing peculiar words like bombarded in Facebook ads, so they look like a novelty and help catch people’s attention.
- Find a compelling UVP: Your Unique Value Offer is your strongest selling point, the one you’d recite during a 30-second elevator pitch. Your UVP should convince people that they need your product and its benefit.
According to ConversionXL, a good value proposition:
- explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy),
- delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
- tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).
19) Marketo – Enter New Leads into Your Sales Funnel
Marketo’s ad isn’t a regular Facebook ad; it’s a Facebook Lead Ad.
Lead Ads give people a quick way to opt into things like newsletters, quotes, and offers without leaving the Facebook news feed.
All you need to do is enter your contact details in exchange for the goods.
As someone clicks anywhere but the Download button, they’ll land on Marketo’s lead generation landing page. In a way, Facebook Lead Ads could potentially let you double down on the chances of getting new prospects.
Do Lead Ads work? AdEspresso ran an experiment and discovered that compared to regular eBook promotion campaigns, lead ads had a slightly higher cost-per-lead ($0.93 vs. $0.95).
- Collect emails with Lead Ads: If your goal is to get more leads to your sales funnel, start a Facebook Lead Ads campaign. You can either promote a free guide, email course, webinar or other helpful materials.
- Share timely content: The ad’s headline starts with the year 2016. This assures people that the guide is relevant and timely, including the latest trends and hacks.
- Repeat your call-to-action: Marketo’s Facebook ad says Download three times — in the ad image, on the call-to-action button, and in the link description.
The Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least seven times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service. While seven repetitions are clearly too much for a Facebook ad, three could be the golden formula.
20) SurveyMonkey – Everybody Loves Prizes
SurveyMonkey wants you to take their surveys. In return, they’re offering a chance to win a $300 Playstation Gift Card or other high-value prizes.
Giving away rewards works in multiple ways. First, they’ll get people to answer surveys uploaded by others in need.
But there’s another hidden goal: whenever someone takes a survey, they’ll remember SurveyMonkey as a go-to tool for creating online polls.
- Offer a good prize: When dealing with cold audiences, offering a prize with significant value may be the key to their attention. Also, test prize offers in remarketing and low-commitment campaigns.
- Don’t set the bar too high: It’s natural that if you’re giving something away for free, you expect to get something in return. But if you ask people for too big of a commitment, they just won’t do it. If SurveyMonkey asked people to take 30 surveys for a chance to win a prize, few would do it — but as they keep the number of surveys low, people will look at it as a fair bargain.
- Display the prize: If you want to nudge people in the direction of your wished goal, let them see the prize in your Facebook ad image. Visual cues stay on top of mind longer than any messages. What’s more, contests may help to get people excited and more ready to share the Facebook post with their friends.
21) Ahrefs – Gamble with Curiosity
Do you know how long it takes for a new page to rank in Google Top10?
Alright, we’ll tell you: Only 5.7% of all newly published pages will get to Google’s Top 10 within a year.
Ahrefs’ Facebook ad presents an original case study that tells a story, which people love. Check the likes counter below the post.
- Share blog content: Facebook ads can be used for many purposes, from gathering leads to earning your prospects’ attention. Blog promotions are low-threat campaigns that tell people who you are, and convince them that you’re the expert in whatever you’re doing.
- Create fascinating articles: Not every 800-word copycat article will make it through the noise. Consumers are smart enough to tell a gem from a pile of junk. When you share noteworthy stuff on Facebook, it’ll distribute organically via the likes and shares of your target audience. And according to a Nielsen study, 83% of people say they trust the recommendations of friends and family.
- Use a cliffhanger: A cliffhanger is an information gap that people can’t help but explore. The recipe to an effective cliffhanger is simple: Tell a compelling story, but leave it unresolved. That’s exactly what Ahrefs does by leaving their study’s answer hidden until you click and find out.
Gerard Zaltman, the author of How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, found that 95% of cognition happens outside of our conscious brain and inside our subconscious, emotional brain.
Thinking of a story lights up our emotional brains, which is where we make our buying decisions.
22) Blue Apron – Before and After
Blue Apron’s Facebook ad presents two versions of their product – the before and after.
The image on the left displays one of their subscription boxes. The image on the right shows the result of cooking the box’s ingredients.
Your mind will put together the rest of the story, adding the perceived joy of cooking and spending time with friends.
Blue Apron has put some real effort into the images, as they know that delicious-looking fresh food is a crucial selling point.
- Show the before and after: If your product needs to be unpacked or prepared in some way or another, it makes a lot of sense to let people see both of these phases. Showcasing a closed subscription box or a pile of Legos could potentially arise a lot less powerful feelings than displaying the final result – a delicious meal, or a Star Wars Lego spaceship.
- Make the first order free: Blue Apron offers $30 off the first delivery. This eliminates of one of the biggest objections: “I don’t know if I like the product and I’m unsure whether to spend money on it.” By offering the first product/order for free, you’ll cross the barrier and start a conversation with your audience.
- Get them to say Yes: Once a person says “Yes” to you once, they’re more likely to continue doing so. The first “Yes” will start a sequence that’s harder to break than continue.
Getting people accept your free offer is a powerful first step to converting them to paying customers. As explained by CopyBlogger:
“We are driven to remain consistent in our attitudes, words, and actions. So, when we are led to make a commitment of some kind, to go on record or take a stand or make a decision, there is an urge to remain consistent with that original commitment later on.“
23) 99designs – Money-Back Guarantee
99designs removes a huge possible threat when they mention the money-back guarantee in their ad copy.
If the customer doesn’t like the result, they’re free to turn it down and get their money back.
99designs demonstrates a high level of confidence with this offer, essentially saying that “We’re sure that our product is great and you’ll like the results. Because we’re so sure, we’re okay with taking on the risk.”
99designs’ Facebook ad is also a great example of including the product’s full price in the ad. $499 for a logo + working website seems like a bargain.
- Promise a money-back guarantee: According to ConversionXL, “Guarantees eliminate or reduce the perceived risks your prospects might have.” 99designs’ money-back guarantee assures people that they’re in good company. Be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot with this offer, however – if you can’t afford it, don’t do it.
- No link description: If you want to emphasize your ad headline, leave the link description unfilled. There’s another good reason for that – people may not be willing to commit to reading your ad, so it makes sense to shout out the core message loudly and clearly.
- Reveal the price: As you already know, people love to see the numbers. Adding pricing information to your Facebook ad makes your offer more straightforward and tells people exactly what to expect. When someone clicks on 99designs’ ad, they’re probably happy to pay $499 for the deal.
Startup entrepreneur Ash Maurya’s article on VentureHacks included a few pricing experiments with a photo-sharing service. He tested a single, straightforward $49/yr offer vs. two plans ($49/yr and $24/yr) vs. three plans (added a freemium plan).
The result? The single price offer won.
People prefer hassle-free and simple pricing to complex formulas.
24) Dollar Shave Club – Join Our Club
“Our genius members figured out the smarter way to shave. They get Dollar Shave Club razors delivered for just a few dollars.”
This Dollar Shave Club ad tells a story about an exclusive set of members who enjoy the benefits of using the service — and this story makes you want to belong.
According to an article in Psychology Today, the need to belong comes from a fundamental human need to form and maintain a minimum amount of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships.
We all want to belong, and Dollar Shave Club knows it.
- Make them want to belong: Create a sense of a community around your product and make all the members feel like they’re part of something bigger. This has worked for Apple with iPhone users, and it works in this Facebook ad by Dollar Shave Club. People want to be part of an exclusive community.
- Turn your service into a story: Did you notice that the Dollar Shave Club’s ad copy sounded just like a customer testimonial? What it really did was to masterfully describe how their subscription service works through the eyes of a customer.
- Word Choice: When writing your Facebook ad copy, use strong words with the personality that you want to be associated with your brand. This example uses words like “genius” and “delightful”, creating positive feelings around the product.
25) Google – It’s All About YOU
Google’s Facebook ad emphasizes that their offer is about you – not them, not your potential clients, but you.
The ad looks at every benefit through the prism of “you”:
- New domains that tell your story
- Get your domain today
- Find a domain name for your story
Google’s ad leaves no doubt that it’s here to serve you as best as it can.
- Use the word you: Performance coach Tony Robbins calls feeling significant one of the six basic human needs. Make your customer feel important by letting them know you actually care about them — and talk directly to them, not everyone at once.
- Offer a riddle. Google’s ad starts with words: “The perfect ending to every beginning.” This makes the readers hit a mental pause button to stop and think about what that means. People hate unsolved riddles, so they’re compelled to spend more time figuring out your message.
- Make the choice simple: Google talks about their product without mentioning any benefits or features. They simply state that the customer can get a domain to tell their story. By leaving out all the specifics, Google’s ad sidesteps any technical-based client objections. Without mentioning any features, they’re basically saying, “It’s good and you don’t need to worry about the specifics.”
26) Intercom – Let’s Be Friends
Intercom’s Facebook ad takes a similar approach to Google’s. They address their customer like they’re talking with an old friend, making suggestions to improve their results. The words “you” and “your” appear four times in the first two sentences alone.
- The land of “should”: This ad aligns with the reader’s interests immediately by saying that “You shouldn’t need to” do extra work to send out emails. This appeals to the reader’s pride — “You’re right, my time is more valuable than that!” — and creates a strong foundation to build on.
- Check your ad copy on all platforms: The text beneath the image — “Marketing automation is broken. We fixed it. Introducing Sma…” — cuts off before the name of the featured offer appears. In situations like this, we’d recommend adjusting the ad copy to fit Facebook’s parameters so the entire message is visible.
27) Adobe — Let The Image Speak For Itself
We’ve already mentioned that you should use real photos of your products or team, not stock photos, to make your Facebook ads more authentic. But what if your product is stock photos?
Adobe manages to take the most common complaint about stock photography — they’re boring — and turn it into a strength with a gorgeous landscape photo. Combined with a pink logo and overlay that almost leaps off the screen, Adobe implies that with their library, you can avoid the lifeless hell of standard stock photo image choices.
- Don’t ignore the details: Adobe includes the ID number of the stock photo in the ad to emphasize that this is just one of myriad images you’ll be able to choose from if you join their service.
- Short and sweet: Unlike the text in the Intercom ad above that runs beyond the limits of the space, the copy in Adobe’s ad totals just 13 words. And while we applaud their brevity, there’s one missed opportunity that we can’t overlook — the “Learn More” call to action. Something like “Try For Free” or “See More Images” might have lead to more engagement.
28) GetResponse – Do it NOW
When appearing in the messy Facebook news feed, GetResponse’s sky-blue ad draws all sorts of attention to itself.
It’s so colorful that it’s almost impossible to ignore.
Another reason we like this ad is the headline: “Start Your Free Trial Now!”
As we’ll expand on below, clear commands that leave no room for doubt are always better than a generic “Learn More” or “Submit” button.
- Ask them to do it NOW: Now, today, right away… all these words contribute to a sense of urgency and nudge people to take action without thinking it over too much. Applying urgency on a landing page helped one entrepreneur increase sales by 332%.
- Simple design: The clearer and simpler your ad design, the more eyes it will potentially draw. Facebook news feeds are full of amateur photography and stock photos. A simple and colorful animation that you personalize with basic Photoshop skills can work wonders.
- CTA and motivation match: Why would anybody click on your call-to-action? What will they get by doing so? Your call-to-actions should match with the prospect’s motivation and expectations. GetResponse’s ad doesn’t say “Learn More” because people may not be interested in simply learning more. They might want to test the product and see it work for themselves.
Creating CTA Button Copy
- What is my prospect’s motivation for clicking this button?
- What is my prospect going to get when (s)he clicks this button?
Answering those two questions will give you a much more specific and effective direction for your CTA — and hopefully lead to more conversions.
29) Groupon – Time Is Running Out
When confronted with scarcity and urgency, people start to make irrational decisions.
People just can’t seem to resist a good offer when the time’s running out.
Groupon’s 4-hour flash sale leaves literally no time for second guessing, making people claim the bargain right away.
- Use urgency to your advantage: Promote limited-time offers, flash sales, limited-stock items, etc. If you’ve ever missed a flight by 5 minutes, you’ll know the horrible feeling of losing. When confronted with a limited-time offer, people won’t think of the possible objections they’d consider otherwise.
- Set an exact time frame: If your Facebook ad says, “Sale ends in 24 hours”, you’re giving visitors an open-ended timespan that doesn’t inspire immediate action. But if your ad says “The sale ends at 5 PM EDT”, people will know both how much time they have, and that time is running out.
- Add a promo code: The main difference between a discount-for-all and discount-for-promo-code-owners is the sense of exclusivity. It says to readers that not everyone applies to the discount, only the exclusive club who knows the secret code, making the deal even more lucrative.
30) Infolinks – Convince with Testimonials
Infolinks’ Facebook ad image displays a quote by one of their customers: “I made an extra $500 this month from my site with Infolinks.”
What makes this ad extremely powerful is the real photo of the client.
Marketing Experiments shows that using a real person associated with your product instead of a stock photo increases conversion by 35%.
As I explained in my social proof post:
“When you use a stock photo of ‘gorgeous people laughing in pantsuits,’ we wonder why you don’t want to show us the real people who work for you — and that doesn’t make you look good.”
- Convince with testimonials: People like to hear others’ opinions — especially when those opinions affirm their own. If you can show that regular customers are happy with your product and enjoying the benefits, it’s a sign that you’re worthy of trust.
- Real images instead of stock photos: As I’ve explained before: “Your About Us page’s job is to show me who you truly are. But that multi-cultural stock photo you have of gorgeous people laughing in pant suits makes everything look fake.”
- Only use effective social proof: Using weak testimonials with no compelling stats or benefits can do you an anti-favor. As KlientBoost blogger Jacob McMillen explains: “If you have negative social proof, the best thing you can do is eliminate the metrics being displayed.” Unimpressive testimonials can work against you, leaving a negative impression of your brand.
A Bit More On Testimonials
In fact, there’s no need to limit yourself to customer testimonials. You can also get a boost from these sources:
- Testimonials from your employees: Many employees do this without asking -— especially if your company is a great place to work —- but it doesn’t hurt to ask them to share their positive experiences with the world.
- Industry experts: If a busy influencer takes the time to give you a review, they must think you’re worth talking to. There’s also the halo effect – when an influencer praises your brand, people will associate you with the famous person’s glory and fame.
- Third-party reviews: Visit niche review sites in your industry such as Yelp, TrustRadius or G2Crowd — and llok at the existing reviews for your product or service. These could serve as social proof for your next Facebook ads campaign.
31) Buffer – Marketing + GIFs = ????
Yes, you can now use GIFs in Facebook ads.
On February 2, 2017, AdWeek announced that Facebook quietly added the ability for brands to include animated GIFs in their video ads.
- Use GIFs instead of videos: This feature is fresh out of the oven, and you’ll have the chance to be among the first to test it out.
- The mystery of blue images: You might have noticed that the majority of the Facebook ad examples in this article have a blue-ish image. Why is that? We’re not 100% sure, but it might have to do with the fact that blue is the color linked to creativity and confidence, two traits you’d like people to associate with your brand.
- Promise the complete answer: When sharing content on Facebook, make it sound like the best resource on the given topic. For example, Buffer’s ad is for an ultimate guide that promises to provide everything there is to know on the topic.
Here’s another gif shared in Buffer’s Facebook news feed:
32) VW – Take Advantage Of Advanced Functionality
Facebook’s selection of ads has made slow but steady advances over the years. Like the addition of gifs mentioned above, these changes incorporate modern functionality that can support more advanced ads and improve user experience.
Facebook Canvas ads, introduced in 2016, are a good example of this underused versatility. As an expandable format, Canvas ads go beyond static text-and-image ads with videos, images, carousels, and slides.
Volkswagen put the Canvas format to good use in this ad:
- Focus on user experience: This Canvas construction offers touchable zoom and tilt-to-pan functionality that makes the ad more fun to engage with.
- Maintain perspective regardless of budget: Even though it’s clear that a lot of time, money, and energy went into this VW ad, the enhanced functions are all put in place to highlight the product on offer. If your team or agency doesn’t have the bandwidth to create something this elaborate, you can still produce something customer-centric that provides solutions for your users’ pain points.
Wrap-Up of Our Facebook Ad Examples
By now, you might have the impression that Facebook’s full of awesome ad examples. That’s not 100% true.
The ads picked for this article represent the top of the top with what we have seen over time. Yet, there might be more amazing ad examples waiting to be discovered.
If you’re looking to create amazing Facebook ads, start with this massive guide’s 47 Facebook Ad Tips to make Facebook’s campaigns work for you.