Hacking Facebook – Structuring Your Ads for Profitable Campaigns!

7 Essential Creative Elements for Your Facebook Ads, Pt. 1

10 mins read

What makes a good ad? Laser-focused targeting and great metrics aside, there are a few – well, seven to be exact – elements that influence (and can elevate) your ads performance. Thanks to endless research, Facebook has now identified the seven key creative elements in a Facebook ad and rated the effectiveness of each in relation to your campaign goals.

Let’s take a step back. Different businesses have different goals for their campaigns. Brand advertising, or mass marketing, is geared towards exposure, letting people know you’re there and increasing brand recognition. This strategy tends to be favoured by big players in the game, like Coca-Cola, Apple, or Nike. But, if you’re trying to promote and drive in-store conversions, brand advertising is your best bet – having a strong brand identity and getting your brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible is a great tactic.

Looking at the power of brand advertising in the “real world”, think of the last time you had a sore throat. Thanks to brand identity and brand advertising, you’re more likely to grab a pack of Halls before you even glance at the other options.

This strategy, of course, is not for everyone. Thus, the second category of Advertising: Direct response.

Direct response advertising is… exactly that. There’s a direct purpose, which is to get you (the viewer) to do what the ad wants. Businesses that aim to increase online conversions (whether it be online purchases, building an email list, or getting leads) generally fall under this category.

To that end, unlike brand advertising, direct response marketers don’t want their ads seen by everyone and anyone – they’re meant to elicit a response… a response that will lead to a boatload of online conversions.

So, what does this have to do with the creative elements of an ad? Simple. Depending on your campaign objectives, and as your strategy develops, certain creative elements might do you more good than others. But, word to the wise, some elements are just best practice and should be integrated into your ads, regardless of your strategy.

Creative Elements your Facebook Ads Need to Have

We’re going to be taking a look at the 7 creative elements of an ad in detail, and how to get the most out of your ads based on your campaign strategy. In the first installment of this two-part series, we’ll be looking at the first three:

  • Brand Personality
  • Focal Point
  • Noticeability

In part two, we’ll go along to discuss:

  • Brand Link
  • Reward (Emotional and Informational)
  • Call to Action

Using brand personality to enhance the persuasive nature of your ad is a best practice that is often overlooked. Many business owners haven’t taken the time to actually ask themselves what their brand personality is. Though many would think a trades company, such as a plumber or contractor, wouldn’t find an established brand image a necessity, that’s simply not the case. In order to establish a sense of familiarity and trust with consumers, it’s imperative to attach human characteristics to your business.

Who is your Brand?

A good example of this in the works would be for an online fashion retailer or a real estate agent. When building a campaign, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, what do you want to tell your audience? You might say, “to buy my products” or “buy the house I’m selling.”

The thing is, there are thousands, if not millions, of businesses offering your audience the exact same thing – so why would they choose you?

Digging a little deeper, you might want to let them know that you have quality, fashionable clothing for a reasonable cost or that, thanks to your years of experience, you’re the right person to find them a new home. Yes – of course, you could just say that outright in your ad copy, but that’s not enough. Establishing a personality allows people to see themselves in you, to relate to you and trust you.

Looking at it from a bit of a philosophical perspective, people are often trying to identify themselves, and if they see a glimpse of who they are, or want to be, in your brand, they’re more likely to convert.

Lessons from the Big Dogs

The great thing about Nike is that, although you may not be able to put your finger on it, you know Nike is about perseverance, confidence, drive and the hunger for excellence. “Just Do It” is more than a slogan, it’s a statement that honours Nike’s personality.

Let’s take a look at Adidas – a direct competitor of Nike. What is their personality? It’s fun, fresh, spirited and sporty, yet wholesome. Although the two brands sell the same products to the same audience, there are two very distinct identities which are evident in every ad you see. Someone who identifies as diligent, aggressive and competitive, is more likely to purchase their next pair of running shoes from Nike than from Adidas.

It’s More than Just Ad Images

What does this mean for you? When creating your ad and developing your strategy, take a step back and think about what your brand personality is. Are you trustworthy, family-focused, wholesome and reliable? Or are you quirky, offbeat and friendly? When you determine how you define yourself, your buyer personas (or target customers) will come to light and you are able to communicate with them at a higher, unseen level.

If your brand personality is free-spirited, ethereal, down-to-earth and wholesome, pair images that convey that sentiment with ad copy that enhances it.

While we all focus on images (and for good reason – they do a lot for your ad), you need to bring your message home with solid, on-brand ad copy. Emphasize that tone and personality with your text and speak to your audience on an honest level.

Focal Point

No pressure or anything, but your image can make or break you. According to Hootsuite, 75 to 90% of an ad’s performance is a result of the ad image. And, if there’s anything tenth-grade art class taught me, it was that there are actual rules to aesthetics. Harmony, balance, fluidity, and, most importantly, focal point. By nature, our eyes are directed to one point of an image and wander from there. You should keep this in mind – and not just for the sake of aesthetics. Due to the importance of this single creative element, it helps to be mindful of what image you use when you’re creating an ad. Ask yourself, when your ads are scrolling through a newsfeed and catch the eye of your audience, what are their eyes drawn to?

Sending the Right Message through your Ads

The focal point of your image should be what you’re trying to sell, or, if you’re offering a service, what you’re trying to convey. The last thing you want is your audience to have to search your image for what you’re trying to convey. Clear focal points allow for a direct message to your audience before they even get to the text.

Take a look at this Frito-Lay ad. The first place your eyes are drawn to is the purple variety bag of chips and, regardless of the text in the red banner and the video game console, the product is the star of the show.

A lot of the time, you won’t even realize the focal point of an ad by searching for it. Try to think of it this way – do you know what the ad image is selling? Sometimes it’s a product (because of product placement), but other times it’s a feeling. As Facebook reported, for healthcare professionals, ads with active people did better. Why do you think that is? Focusing on one element visually isn’t all there is to it. By focusing on an abstract element (ie. health and activity) do wonders.


So, you found a great image for your ad. Loaded with your brand personality and a clear focal point – it has pizzazz, shazam, that certain… je ne sais quoi. Now, ask yourself, if your ad was on someone’s newsfeed while they were scrolling, would they stop?

If your ad is correctly targeted, when it shows up on Jane’s newsfeed… boom! You’ve got her attention! Right? Err, yes and no. Remember, it’s you against hundreds and thousands of other ads, status updates, photos of newborn babies, sparkling new engagement rings, and those wonderful recipe videos. The competition is fierce out there, folks.

Ad noticeability is essential because, let’s face it – you want your ad to get you great results, and you can’t get great results if no one is even stopping to look at it.

Increasing your Ad’s Noticeability on Social Media

Video ads blow image ads right out of the water and drive some serious engagement. Mediakix reported the success of video on Facebook, noting that videos have an average of 13% organic reach. Not to be unnoted, the per-video engagement rate sits at 6.3% – a whopping 3 – 4.9% increase than Instagram branded videos.

Now, I’m not saying to get your iPhone out and start filming. There’s something to be said for quality. Of course, not everyone has the budget to hire a videographer to film, direct and create a video, but there are tons of tools and resources out there that allow you to get the benefit of using videos for your ads, without the hassle. Use Stock Videos

Use Stock Videos and Images

High-quality video clips are at your disposal with the literal click of a button. Websites like Pexels and Videvo have thousands of short clips that are perfect for just about everyone. Combined with free online video editors, like kizoa or Animoto, you can create high quality, professional video ads for little to no cost.

Choosing the right stock video clip, (something as specific as a blurry video of people working in an office, or a zoom-in of a cup of coffee being poured) combined with a text overlay or even a voice over, can make your video stand out, look professional, and get you the noticeability you want.

Keep in mind, 85% of videos are watched on Facebook without sound – that’s a hefty amount! Be sure your text overlays are informative without sound or you have subtitles that caption your voiceover.

On that note, the internet also has a massive catalog of stock images for you to use, free of charge! Check out our blog post on choosing the right stock image for more tips!

Get a Little Creative with Flixel

One of our favorite new apps is Flixel – it allows you to create amazing cinemagraphs for your ads. What’s a cinemagraph? It’s like a hybrid of video and image; a still photo with a small portion of it moving. According to a Flixel case study, their cinemagraphs see 3.9x the conversion rate of still image ads on Facebook. Just as well, their cinemegraphs see an increased click through rate (CTR) and 65% decrease in cost per install. Take a look at their gallery for more inspiration!

Stay Tuned for Part Two!

Brand personality, the focal point of your images, and the noticeability of your ad on a newsfeed are three of the seven crucial elements of your Facebook ads need to have. Next time we’ll dive deeper into the remaining four:

  • Brand Link
  • Emotional Reward
  • Informational Reward
  • Call to Action

Be sure to stay tuned!


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