Top 5 Facebook creative design pitfalls to avoid

Design for an action-based aim to increase clicks, calls or conversions because your ad dollars should convert to quantitative results.

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Facebook ads have many unique advantages making them one of the best advertising options currently available for businesses of all sizes – if you know how to use them. Facebook’s massive reach and unprecedented custom audience targeting allow you to reach your exact target market, but you must first get their attention. The average person only reads 20 percent of the text on a webpage, but content with visuals gets 94 percent more total views. Creative will make or break your campaign. Below are the five biggest Facebook creative strategy pitfalls to avoid if you want to run a successful Facebook promotion.

#1: Not having a specific, testable goal

Unless you have a virtually unlimited advertising budget, your Facebook ad dollars shouldn’t be spent on qualitative goals like brand awareness or vanity metrics such as Facebook likes. Instead, your primary aim should be conversions. Ideally, your Facebook ad would catch the attention of just the right person, ready to buy, who immediately clicks through to your site and purchases your product. The next best thing – a qualified lead.

#2: A lack of ad design variation

Your target audience scrolls through their Facebook feed rapidly. You must capture their attention, and you only have a fraction of a second to do so. Disrupt their feed with eye-catching creative so you can share your message. Keep a pulse on what ad styles are trending on Facebook and monitor competitor ads as well as ads outside of your industry for inspiration. However, beware, saturation is real. Fashion trends fade, and so do creative styles, so continue to try new things. You might be surprised by what turns into a success. Here are some examples of creative variations to get you started:

  • Less is more. A minimalist design creates a calm space where the eye can rest in the busy environment of Facebook.
  • Eye contact. Images with a person(s) making eye-contact with the viewer will grab attention and make the ad feel personal.
  • Limit text. Use as little text as possible, never more than 20 percent. Images with too much text will yield low engagement, and Facebook will reject your text-heavy ad submission. Utilize Facebook’s Image Text Check tool to verify if your creative passes the test.
  • Motion. Vary the degree of movement used in different ads. Try slow, fast and cinemographs. 3D photos are currently trending on Facebook.
  • Be funny. Facebook users are on the platform to relax and be entertained, after all. However, don’t ever try to be tricky like the infamous sneaker Instagram story ad with a fake hair. The “do anything for the click” mentality will skew your data and make you pay for unqualified leads.
  • Interactive. The best ad is one that users choose to interact with. Thus, it must be compelling in its setting – a mobile, on-the-go environment is most common for Facebook users. Facebook or Instagram story ads are exceptional for this as they prompt the user to “swipe” for more.

It is important to vary your ad design and attract highly engaged customers.

#3: Failing to design for your audience

The genius of Facebook advertising is the ability to be highly targeted in reaching your ideal customer. Don’t miss the mark when it comes to the design of your ad creative. Target too broad of an audience and your message may fall flat. If you have multiple markets you’re targeting, consider segmenting your audience and creating separate creative for each.

Design with just one person in mind. What would resonate most and give the impression that you’re talking specifically to them? If you haven’t well-defined your customer avatar, test your audience. Educated guesses are good, but it’s best to test our assumptions. Try appealing to other potential audiences to see if you can successfully expand your target market. A digital marketing agency can help with this. Sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to reach the next breakthrough.

Also keep in mind that what works best on Instagram, for instance, likely won’t be what’s best for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google. Your audience uses each of these platforms in very different ways and you cannot approach them, in the same way, expecting to get the same results.

#4: Having ‘rules’ about what works

Avoid making any hardline decisions about what design styles work and don’t work. Customer behavior changes over time and so should your creative. Thus, avoid making “rules” that could keep you from finding success in the future. While often hinged by budget constraints, you should ideally have three to five creative design options in every ad set. Try implementing some of the design variations discussed in pitfall #2 to see what’s currently performing best.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of the norm. Your body of creative work can vary wildly without diluting your brand identity. You can maintain certain constants between ads such as your brand color or logo while still experimenting with tone, motion and design. Just remember to tie everything back to your testable, quantifiable goal and optimize for conversions. The only rule: never run a Facebook ads campaign without an active test, if at all possible. While tracking these variations can quickly become overwhelming, working with an agency or utilizing marketing automation software can simplify the process and achieve accurate results more efficiently than any one person.

#5: Using vanity metrics

When it comes time to measure your results, which you should regularly be doing, don’t get distracted in Facebook Analytics by vanity metrics such as likes, follows or impressions. The thing that truly matters when spending your hard-earned dollars is ROI, and this comes from sales and qualified leads. Whatever you decide to test, be sure to measure ad spend versus the sales or leads generated. To be successful, the lifetime value (LTV) per customer acquired must outweigh the cost per acquisition (CPA).

You’re now equipped to ace your performance creative and increase your ROI from Facebook ads. You have a clear goal in mind, three to five different ad designs in your ad set and a well-defined customer avatar. You’re well on your way.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Kevin Goodwin
Kevin Goodwin is a director of performance marketing at New Engen, a marketing technology company based in Seattle, Washington. Kevin specializes in paid social marketing with extensive experience across a breadth of industries including retail, food & beverage, beauty, fitness and more.

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