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Optimize creatives in a multi-layered Facebook world

Published: July 1, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Dayna Moon, head of marketing at AdParlor.
As Facebook recently announced, the company is making efforts to simplify its ad products and provide a more objective-focused advertising model. Trimming the complexities of onboarding and optimization, Facebook is positioning itself to appeal to large and small businesses alike – providing a truly interactive environment for these brands to build creative that promotes engagement with their personal communities.
The creative options available on Facebook have multiplied recently with new ad types, newsfeed placement, and a growing focus on mobile-targeted ads.
So have the rules changed? How do we optimize creative on Facebook going forward?
Remember this: creative best practices should always focus on the importance of producing ads and copy that pique the interest of a brand’s target audience and encourage them to interact and complete an action.
Creativity clearly matters, regardless of whether a brand is targeting a desktop or mobile audience – so we’ve put together this list of tips and guidelines.
1. Take advantage of Facebook’s large ad formats
The standard size of ads in Facebook’s right-hand column is only 110x80px and while these ads can be effective, the size constraints are far from ideal in a creative workspace. Fortunately, Facebook offers a couple of different large ad formats available for desktop and mobile newsfeed delivery. For example, photo page posts are displayed at a resolution of 400×300 px on a desktop, which is considerably larger than the ads in the right-hand side. Additionally, the newsfeed is considered the primary focus for most users on Facebook; by placing your ads here (like the photo page post ads below), you are more likely to garner the attention of your targeted demographic.
photo page post newsfeed
2. Express context through consumer devices
Expressing context is incredibly important with mobile app install ads, which allow marketers to direct users to interstitial app installation pages on their smartphone.
While these ad formats support “install now” buttons, it may not be clear to some users that these ads are actually directing them to install applications on their device. By showing the device in the advertisement, the clarity of the intended action becomes instantly recognizable and leads to a higher-quality app installation and user.

mobile Facebook ad
Phone device showing the game, adding context

3. Test varying creative approaches within each campaign
A methodology we have had success with in the past focuses on testing varying creative approaches within individual campaigns. We’ve seen different degrees of success and a few surprises in some cases when testing creative components. While all of the best practices included in this piece are designed to provide insight into the creation of a successful ad, there’s no way to absolutely guarantee that certain techniques work all the time. If we note that one approach works over another, we can redirect design resources to producing more content based on successful images.
creative testing
Screenshot of app/device vs. simple product shots

4. Try to avoid obvious stock photos
In certain situations, adding an amateur element to ad creative can help to make it seem more authentic, especially in campaigns for social products. Stock photos have become so prevalent that even users who doesn’t necessarily know what a stock photo is understand that what they are seeing is artificially constructed and may negatively impact user perception.
photo comparison
Amateur-looking photo vs. obvious stock photo

5. Be explicit with your call-to-actions
Make it easy for users to understand what exactly is being promoted in the ad through visual call-to-actions that explicitly convey your message. Citing that something is free or alluding to a bonus of some sort are simple ways of grabbing user attention and increasing click-through-rates.
Granted, not all “best practices” will work every time. The key component of any successful campaign is to test, optimize, and then test again to exceed your (or your clients’) objectives.
dayna moon ad parlor– Dayna Moon brings over 10 years of digital marketing experience to Adknowledge, where she serves as the Head of Marketing for its social division, AdParlor – an industry-leading social media platform and Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer.AdParlor provides a full-service solution – managing and optimizing large and complex social ad campaigns for its world-class client base. 

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