Tips for Creating Effective Facebook Ads for Stories and Feeds
By now, just about everyone knows how effective Facebook advertising can be. The social media network generated close to $27 billion in ad revenue in 2016, and that number will almost certainly grow over the next few years. And yet, it can be difficult to understand what makes a Facebook ad truly effective, especially since Facebook Stories launched in 2017 to compete with Snapchat Stories. Facebook Stories allows users to share a series of photos, videos, and animation that disappear in 24 hours. Any responses to Facebook Stories show up in Facebook Messenger. There are no likes or comments like there are with posts that appear in feeds, but Stories are yet another great advertising avenue that you will need to understand to make the most out of your next campaign.
Creating a Great Facebook Ad
For the most part, creating an ad with Facebook Stories isn’t that different from creating an ad that goes on a user’s feed. A Facebook feed and a Facebook Story are just different enough from each other to have slightly different rules, but the basic principles of advertising on social media still apply. Let’s go over the basics about what makes a good Facebook ad before we get into how you should be using Facebook Stories.
First of all, a good ad needs to have a clear and simple call to action. A user should be able to look at the ad and know exactly what they’re supposed to do, whether that involves calling a phone number, following a link, or installing an app. Too many advertisers focus on brand awareness and forget that a simple CTA is just as important.
Second of all, you need to know your target audience. If you’re selling a product, you should have a product, you should have a good idea of who that product is for and come up with an ad that caters to them. This means knowing the age, gender, socioeconomic status, and other statistics of your most likely clients. This will take some refining before you get it right, so you might want to create a lookalike audience to see how effective your ads will be before they go live. Keep in mind that this refinement is an ongoing process; your advertising campaign is never set in stone, so be prepared to make changes as you go.
Finally, know what images you should be using with your ad’s headlines. This will be very important when you start using Facebook Stories for your advertisements. Any images you choose for your advertisements should be relevant to what you’re selling, but if you really want your ads to be effective, try coming up with an image that has creative tension with your headline. If you have a literal headline that clearly states what your ad is about, a more playful, comedic, or even abstract image is best. If you have a more playful and jokey headline, a straightforward image that shows what you’re advertising is better. This kind of tension is great for grabbing a user’s attention as they scroll through their Facebook feed.
Using Facebook Stories for Your Ads
Once you have a good handle on what makes a strong Facebook ad, you can apply what you know to your ads on Facebook Stories. The biggest difference between Facebook stories and regular images or ads on a Facebook feed is that Stories disappear in 24 hours, so they need to have an even clearer call to action and more striking visuals to make an impact. You should be making good use of automatic full-screen support so that your Stories show up clearly on a device’s screen, use some lightweight editing options to transition from one image to the next, and create bespoke assets for your images to add some interactivity. The speed at which your story moves should be consistent, and any scenes that you have should be short and concise.
Remember that you are telling a story, and even if there isn’t a clear narrative, there should be a clear theme to the images that you choose. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats. Advertising is all about creativity, so adding the occasional sticker will be great for grabbing someone’s attention as long as it doesn’t clash too much with the rest of your story. Stories with sound have also been found to make an impact with users. Just remember that this can get distracting if someone is watching a Facebook Story in a public place on their phone, so don’t include anything too annoying that will turn users away.
Finally, remember that your brand should be front and center in all of your Stories. Stories that begin by displaying the advertiser’s brand are far more effective than those who close with it. Think of it as having a clear call-to-action; users should know right away what your story is about, not be kept in suspense for so long that they just get bored and click away to look at something else.
It’s important to remember that Facebook Stories are still relatively new. They may appear to be everywhere, and you will almost always see some at the top of your feed, but Facebook and its millions of users are still working on ironing everything out about them. New tools and formats are being introduced all the time that should hopefully make it easier to create a good Facebook Story, so keep an eye out for them as they roll out. There is no telling if this new feature will change the way we see Facebook advertising and marketing for the better or if it will simply be a fad that goes away, but for now you can think of it as one more advertising medium. Keep experimenting with what makes your advertisements and your Stories effective, and keep watching other stories for inspiration. If all goes well, you will be able to work your next Facebook Story seamlessly into your next ad campaign.