20 social media pros & advertising experts share their favorite creative Facebook ad examples
While it’s possible to build a massive Facebook tribe using organic methods alone, the ever-changing Facebook algorithm has made it increasingly challenging for brands to achieve widespread organic reach. That’s just one of the reasons why many brands are turning to Facebook ads to boost their content and build brand recognition.
Facebook remains a tremendously popular platform for businesses, and that means the ad competition can be tough. To stand out from the pack, you’ll need to get creative with your Facebook ads. To learn more about the most creative, impactful Facebook ads that make a big impression, we reached out to a panel of social media pros and Facebook advertising experts and asked them to answer this question:
“What are you favorite, creative Facebook ad examples (and how can advertisers learn from them)?”
Meet Our Panel of Social Media Pros & Facebook Advertising Experts:
Keep reading to discover the creative Facebook ads that knocked our pros’ socks off.
Arron Richmond is a Digital Marketing Executive for High Speed Training, one of the UK’s leading online training providers.
“One of the areas most big companies fall short is their work on social media, but this is not true for the people running McDonald’s UK social strategy.
“This example sums up everything McDonald’s are doing so well at the moment.
“They’re capitalizing on seasonal events, in this case Mother’s Day, by entering the sorts of conversations social media was designed for: those that happen organically between friends. They’re keeping their products front and center, which can come across as a tenuous sales effort for most brands, but McDonald’s pull it off seamlessly. The reason they do this is because they are owning their brand.
“McDonald’s social strategy is designed to target the primary users of social media – younger people – and it targets them by reflecting their perception of what the McDonald’s brand is – not necessarily what McDonald’s thinks it is. It is vital for you to understand how customers actually perceive your brand and to not just focus on what you believe your brand stands for. Sometimes your and your customers’ views will align, but sometimes they might think something negative about your brand or something that you’d rather they didn’t think.
“In situations like this you have two options: you start to own their perception of your brand or you try and change your brand to move away from it. McDonald’s have had enormous success on social media by owning their brand. This Mother’s Day example sees McDonald’s having fun with their own version of Afternoon Tea, something seen as much higher-end than McDonald’s product offering. McDonald’s know this, so they aren’t offering a serious Mother’s Day discount or free Big Mac giveaway. They know this isn’t an event they can capitalize on commercially, but they can use it as an opportunity on social media to show their personality and to engage with their core audience.
“Social media can be a powerful tool in crafting your brand identity. When you’re as big as McDonald’s, it’s easy for control of your brand to fall out of your own hands as people’s experiences with it differ over time from the message you’re putting out. If people are saying the wrong things about your brand, you can learn from McDonald’s approach and seize the opportunities this creates. If you’re losing your brand to your customers, remember that it takes creativity and a genuine understanding of your audience to take it back.
Brandon Webb is Founder of Hypluxe, a company specializing in the aftermarket footwear industry.
“A fundamental law of any kind of sale is that as soon as people know you’re selling something, they become more resistant. I’ve found that the best advertisements, primarily on Facebook, put entertainment value at the forefront. It’s important to give the ad positive associations that draw in a larger audience.
“This allows them to be seen as not just another ad to swipe or click past but something interesting enough to engage with.”
Nate Masterson is the CEO of Maple Holistics.
“My favorite creative Facebook ad is Kay Jewelers’ video Facebook ad. This video ad tells a short yet moving story which falls right in line with Kay Jewelers branding. It’s visual and engaging, but I don’t have to plug my headphones in to know what’s going on. This is an important feature of video ads because most of the videos watched on Facebook are viewed without the sound. If you’re trying to sell something based on its sentimental value then video ads are often the way to go but you need to make sure you’re catering to the platform, which Kay Jewelers manage to do. It’s relevant to its target audience and has a clear call to action which every ad should have.”
Cristian Rennella is the VP of Marketing and CoFounder of elMejorTrato.com.pe.
“Go back to basics. After 28 A/B testing we were able to reach the conclusion that if we want to develop a call to action that stands out from our competitors, we MUST go back in time and use the most basic things we can find.
“Otherwise, we would continue trying to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by using the latest design tools that, in reality, all our competitors were also using!
“For example, our call to action is: Let us help you find your next car, it will be as easy as making this drawing written with our OWN hands. Replacing any spectacular image that our designers can create.
“Thanks to this tactic of going back to the basics we were able to increase our conversions by 33.5%. Compared to the best results we obtained with the other 28 A/B tests we tried, it was truly amazing!”
Faizan Ali has been working in the digital marketing field and running a few online stores for over 7 years. He has generated a lot of leads and sales through Facebook ads and is currently working with WPbeginner, which is a very popular WordPress Resource Site.
“Bluehost’s Facebook ad got my attention. This ad was used to reduce cart abandonment. This ad was of the middle sales funnel and it worked really well.
“What makes it effective?
“1. Compelling copy: It starts with a question that reminds the viewer that they were in the middle of making a decision. Then it highlights the price and it tells them its a low cost of entry. Then they end the copy with a solid social proof of being trusted by millions of customers.
“2. Eye Catching visuals: First, it’s a video, and according to Facebook, that is the most popular content with over 100 million hours being watched every day! Secondly, it’s shot very well, and the message is clear and concise.
“3. Clarity in link title, description, and CTA: The message isn’t beating around the bush. It’s calling the user to act; the link title ‘Launch your website today’ signifies that. And the overall description and CTA place are perfectly aligned.”
R.J. Weiss is a CFP® and founder of the personal finance site The Ways to Wealth.
“My go-to place for inspiration has been ironically an over-50 makeup company, Boom by Cindy Joseph.
“The ads are run by host of The Digital Marketer Podcast, Molly Pittman. The campaign that most represents what I try to follow is the series of ads that go to an article about 5 Quick Tips for Women Over 50. The ad is targeted, but not overly. Typically, text is included in the image. But most importantly, there is very little selling going on. This means the article gets shared, which drives down costs. As someone who follows a similar strategy, I’m always closely monitoring what Boom is doing with their Facebook page.”
Courtney Johnson is the Senior Digital Specialist of a performance marketing agency called Metric Digital.
“Here are a series of several top performing ads, why the ads work, and a challenging question for brands to think about in regards to their own ads.
“Policy Genius, America’s #1 independent online insurance marketplace.
“This ad is visually unique and eye-catching. The combination of digital and real life elements is appealing because it’s different than the ads we typically see on social media. The ad also clearly explains what’s being advertised. PolicyGenius: Compare life insurance online. Boom. No confusion or guesswork necessary. Does your copywriting have clarity, brevity, and differentiation?
“Lola, 100% organic cotton tampons delivered directly to your door.
“This is a creative concept I love and recommend to clients who don’t have a huge creative budget. Showing a product across changing backgrounds is an easy, fast, and affordable way to create movement without using video. LOLA uses static images and still manages to create a creative, eye-catching ad. The changing background also sends a clear message: women can go anywhere with this item. Do your product shots experiment with interesting angles, backgrounds, and environments?
“Outdoor Voices, Recreational active wear for doing things daily.
“Outdoor Voices uses short clips of only three seconds, but still gets the point across. What is a customer looking for in active wear? They’re probably looking to be able to move freely and comfortably. These three videos effectively demonstrate the value of their comfortable, moisture-wicking active wear. The videos are fun and keep users entertained while clearly showing the versatility of the product. A striking landscape and background adds texture to an otherwise basic product video. Do you have mixed carousels that allow viewers to browse through your product list?
“Allbirds, The world’s most comfortable shoes, made naturally.
“It’s conceptual. It’s bizarre. It’s striking. It’s artistic. You don’t know why the tree is coming out of the shoe, but you don’t care. You almost have to watch this ad five or ten times to really appreciate. And that’s the beauty. Since it’s only a few seconds, it’s compelling to watch over and over. Wouldn’t work for every product at every stage of the funnel, but, well, there’s just something about this one.
“MeUndies, It’s feel good underwear, loungewear, and apparel with free shipping and satisfaction guarantee.
“This slideshow is playful and attractive, and it’s hard to look away. MeUndies has definitely been killing the creative testing game. This ad is purely a creative and aesthetic ad, which doesn’t focus on the value proposition. And that’s okay. It’s common to run more educational ads at the top of the funnel, where brands introduce themselves to customers and let them know what they’re all about. Once customers are more familiar, brands can retarget them with this kind of aesthetic and eye catching ad to remind them of the brand they love (and push them down the funnel). Do your lifestyle shots show the product front and center?”
Steve Pritchard is a Digital Marketing Consultant for Healing Holidays, a bespoke travel brand with over 3,600 followers on Twitter that specializes in wellness holidays and retreats worldwide.
“One of the most creative Facebook ads has got to be Slack’s advertisement. ‘Slack: Make Work Better’ of a woman riding a unicorn. This ad is fun, creative and colorful, standing out from many of the stuffy, boring ads you usually see on Facebook.
“It doesn’t even have a call to action, making this advertisement appear seamless, and a world away from the kind of marketing tactics that consumers have become desensitized to. The best kinds of Facebook ads are those that attract your attention by being entertaining and fit in with the fun tone of the site, which is exactly why people are scrolling through their feed in the first place.
“An ad works by simply being present on Facebook and catching people’s eye, without having loads of over-promotional marketing language attached to it. Although you want people to purchase your product, the best way to do this is to not be forceful in your marketing techniques, but fun and entertaining.”
James Robinson is the Executive Creative Director at Iconic Genius.
“One of my favorite examples is a video ad campaign that I ran for a trade school. We took a video clip that a student shot on their phone and used it as the creative.
“This worked wonders because the ad looks native. Nothing fancy, no 4k quality. Just a cool video showing students having fun!
“Another great campaign that I ran was a 360 salsa video. This got amazing traction online! One because most people have never seen a 360 salsa class. The second thing is we were offering a free class. And everyone loves free.”
Beverly Friedmann works as a Content Manager for the consumer website ReviewingThis and has prior experience in Business Development, Marketing, and Social Media Management roles.
“I’ve always considered the most creative and engaging Facebook advertising to have a few several themes in common.
“Extremely creative visuals that become engaging and immersive user experiences, direct and concise calls to actions, multi-product ads, launched or themed campaigns, and a deep understanding of user insights based on your specific audience target are a few.
“As for a few examples of favorite creative ad campaigns?
“1. Airbnb. Airrbnb does an excellent job of using incredibly stimulating images and videos of travel experiences across the globe that quite literally put their audience in different locations from the comfort of their own homes using Facebook ads. They go far beyond the usual use of simple videos and create ads that are almost akin to an immersive VR type of UE. They even integrate social action causes and celebrities using their services, but all done in a seemingly perfectly crafted and (positively formulaic) way that communicates with their audience and creates a need to fulfill a service (travel), even when there may not have been previous demand for one
“2. Abobe. Adobe uses and shares unique images and graphics from personal designers that exceed the norm and scope of art and talent in their targeted Facebook ads, and in doing so they not only create an immersive user experience, they use their audience insights in the most creative (pun intended) way possible by directly communicating to an audience of artists. Along with subtle but powerful calls to actions and invites to join in and participate in upcoming events, Adobe is an excellent example of the creative use of Facebook ad examples.
“How can we learn from these companies and ad examples? To utilize all of the resources we have to the best of our capabilities, such as audience insights, in conjunction visual creativity and stimulation. Considering our competition, simply high quality content and aesthetically pleasing images are not enough to gain significant returns, feedback, and likes. It’s about using every tool you have at your disposal and taking visuals to a truly immersive immersive user experience, where you’re able to communicate with your audience using imagery and text alone.”
Shawn Lim is the Digital Marketing Manager at Fixwerks, one of the most highly rated appliance repair companies in Singapore.
“The Game of Thrones ad from iContact is one of the best ads that I have seen on Facebook.
“By combining two totally unrelated interest groups (Game of Thrones and email marketing), they were able to create an amazingly creative ad that was sure to draw some attention. Instead of targeting what everyone else is targeting, advertisers can learn to think way out of the box and try to find a common interest between the groups. The higher engagement rate will definitely help to reduce your overall ad cost.”
Kenzi Wood is a marketer turned writer. She specializes in all things content and marketing and bakes a mean batch of cupcakes.
“The best Facebook ad I’ve ever seen was from the Thursday Boot Company, of all things. The headline read, ‘I need to sell a lot of boots with this ad.’ It was so honest and disarming that I actually laughed and visited their website. For advertisers, there’s a lot of value in being honest, cheeky, and breaking the fourth wall. Don’t take your ad too seriously; people know you’re selling to them, so embrace it.”
Matthew Ross is the Co-owner and COO of The Slumber Yard, a leading sleep and mattress reviews website dedicated to helping consumers improve their sleep.
“One creative campaign that we found inspiration in was an ad from a company called Promo. Essentially, they used a funny dressed kid as their spokesperson in order to entice customers to sign up for a free trial. We learned several lessons from this ad. First, the ad used a very attractive, enticing thumbnail. As you’re scrolling down, you see the image and you want to click on it. Given this, we’ve put more of an emphasis on creating super appealing thumbnails.
“Second, the ad used a video rather than an image. We’ve found ourselves that videos are much more engaging than general text or images. In fact, in our A/B testing using similar ads and a similar demographic, we found that the video ads received 14% more clicks than general image ads. It just seems like the general population would rather watch a video than read text on an image. People naturally want to see what the video includes.
“Next, the example ad used a funny dressed kid to draw people in. We thought that was very smart. There’s certain types of people, objects, and situations that consumers are naturally drawn to. That’s why we see a lot of super bowl commercials use models and puppies as spokespeople. By using a funny dressed kid, the example company was able to draw a lot more eyeballs to the ad and pique the interest of consumers.”
Megan Zaleski is a social media coordinator for NYC-based boutique PR firm HeraldPR and works as a digital marketer for bridge company Emerald Digital. Day-to-day she works to optimize social content for clients across all platforms, while implementing new branding strategies.
“Facebook is becoming an increasingly pay-to-play social platform for businesses and advertisers alike, therefore, creating an eye-catching social ad is key – especially when you’re putting money on the line.
“Currently, I think video advertisements are the best way to illicit engagement for a business. Right now, video is still under utilized on all social media platforms, so when companies take the time to curate a high-quality video that tells a story, it’s going to stand out. The most important factor I stress when curating social content is authenticity and emotion. Social users want to engage with content that they connect to on a personal level, and advertisers can use this sentiment to their advantage. Instead of approaching a social ad to solely showcase the brand or business, advertisers should always think about how the content will resonate with the user as the primary factor.”
André Oliveira is a Customer Success Manager at Rock Content, the biggest Content Marketing company in Brazil.
“The most interesting ads for Facebook and Instagram are the subtitled nugget videos, like this one from Hubspot.
“This kind of ad presents relevant content (like a native ad piece), thinks about the user experience (even without sound, it´s possible to assimilate the information), and doesn’t require a lot of work (you can take an already produced content and cut it off in diverse fragments, so you have many interesting ads).
“Besides, it´s not necessary to elaborate a pretty large copy, but a powerful call to action, what favors and increases the view rate, the CTR, and engagement.”
Matt Erickson is the Marketing Director at National Positions.
“Some of my favorite ads on Facebook or Instagram are from subscription boxes. One I saw this morning was for Stich Fix (for men) – a men’s monthly fashion subscription service. Their ad was fairly simple, different outfits, shown one at a time in a 7-second video with captions like, laid back, street style, and modern office above each outfit. What was smart about their presentation (as opposed to others I have seen) is the backgrounds for each outfit was a boring grey color. Why? Because against this background every outfit popped. Even pastel colors looked vibrant and welcoming. Simple yet very effective. The point is that no matter what your ad is – make sure the visuals are designed to make the user focus on what matters the most.“
Stacy Caprio is a Blogger at Conversiono.
“My favorite creative ads start with a story or curiosity inducing line that draws you in so you feel compelled to click to read the rest of the ad to satisfy your curiosity. I love reading these types of ads myself and have seen them outperform other types of ads.”
Yuval Ben Itzhak is the CEO of Socialbakers. Yuval brings over 20 years of business and technology experience. He is a frequent commentator in the media, speaking on topics such as the future of mobile, security, privacy, consumer dynamics, and disruptive innovation.
“My favorite Facebook ad creative is the one that gets my target audience engaged the most. Creative designers should leverage data to learn what ad formats and visual elements their audience engage with the most over each of the Facebook channels. In the Facebook news feed, it might be an image, while on Instagram it might be a story. Guessing the format, spending time and effort to create an ad, and then learning that it just does not perform is not a good practice. More marketers are changing toward data-driven ad creation.
“For Socialbakers, we are seeing on Facebook’s news feed that image ads with a single human face and vivid colors are performing the best. However, on Instagram, it’s the Story format that get the best results.”
Charlene Walters is a Higher Education executive who developed and leads a Digital Entrepreneurship MBA program. She enjoys combining her knowledge and love of Marketing/Branding with her passion for innovation and desire to help others succeed.
“There are many rousing ads on Facebook lately. I’m going to focus on three brands that excel at getting consumers to feel a certain way and to be
inspired by their ads. The first is North Face. Their recent video flashes the words ‘It’s Time to Log Off, Turn Off, Sign Off.’ Don’t we all just want a break from being tied to our devices? What’s wonderful about the NorthFace ads is the way they change our mindset. ‘Out of the Office. Take your mind off of the grind in our comfortable hiking gear.’ They are attracting us because the change of pace is so attractive. We long to follow the brand and embrace this freer lifestyle. As we get busier and busier, mindfulness and work-life balance become more alluring and ads that highlight those concepts pull us in. By appealing to these same notions, other brands can attract more followers and customers too.
“Along that same line, Blue Apron Facebook ads also make us long to get away from the mundane, the everyday. One brightly colored ad proclaims, ‘It’s Tasty Food that makes me feel just a bit fancy.’ We all want to feel a bit fancy and free. Blue Apron is calling upon our desire to ditch the macaroni and cheese and frozen dinners, the ordinary. If Blue Apron can find a way to translate these desires into their customer retention strategy, they may have a winning recipe.
“Lastly, Porsche is another master of appealing to consumers’ desire for lifestyle change. One catchy ad states ‘Sometimes, the road is the highlight of the trip. The Porsche Cayenne.’ Again, there’s a focus on time off and getting away. Brands that are able to transport customers and potential customers away from their stress-filled, ordinary lives seem to be the most attractive to today’s balance seeking customers.”
Brian R. Prescott
Brian R. Prescott is the Media Director at The Karma Group in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He has almost 20 years of experience with media planning, placement, and analysis and has worked for various ad agencies and served in similar roles on the client side.
“What if an ad is so perfectly targeted that when a consumer sees it, they don’t consider it an advertisement – but instead a helpful or uplifting message that was meant only for them?
“When advertisers get it right, it is successful because it works for the consumer. With the targeting abilities available on social media, intrusive creative is just plain lazy. We must think beyond what is unique and compelling to serve up what is most relevant.
“This can allow metrics up to 100 times higher than average. And those types of ads are not only our favorite, but also the favorites of our clients and their customers.”
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