How to Write Facebook Ads That Work

Facebook advertising provides an opportunity for businesses with small marketing budgets to reach targeted customers. Facebook ads can be aimed at users with specific declared interests. If you’re selling walking tours of San Francisco, you can target the ad only for people who list “travel” as their interest. Your ad will then display on the pages of those people who are most likely to take action.

In this post, we will focus on creating effective ads – ads that are most likely to get clicks and conversions!

First of all, try not to sound like a salesman…

People go to Facebook to have fun, not to read ads. The more you can sound like a friend, the more effective your ads will be.

The Title

You’ve got limited space in the title – usually only about four or five words. Here’s what’s important:

  • Get their listed interest in there. If you’re designing an ad for people on Facebook who like travel, put the word “travel” in the title.
  • Be funny. At the very least, try to write in conversational tone. Remember, people are on Facebook for social reasons.
  • If you can, ask the reader a question.

Pro Tip – People take action to solve problems. Create a problem for the reader that your product or service will solve. For example –“Need an SF Travel Itinerary?”

The Body

Again, you have limited space, so get creative! Tell them what they’ll get or how you’ll solve their problem. Try NOT to sound corporate, marketing-ish, or stiff.

Use a call to action: “Click to find out” or “Check this out…”

Choosing the Picture

The picture is what captures the reader’s attention. Hence, it should be relevant and interesting.

  • Go for pictures that seem “fun”.
  • Avoid photos that are very “stock photo” looking.
  • Pictures with attractive people (or puppies or babies or…) looking right at the camera earn more clicks.

Check out the two pictures for a Golden Gate Bridge Tour company. Do you see how the one on the left is more likely to grab your attention?

Whether you like the young couple in the picture or not is irrelevant – they made the picture more visually stimulating, and subsequently resulted in more clicks than an identical ad without them.

Start with Three Ads.

Facebook allows you to track your ad’s performance. You can then use this data to “drill down” to the most effective ad.

  1. Begin by writing and posting three different ads publicizing the same thing to the exact same target audience.
  2. After one day, take the best performing ad and copy it twice. Delete the other two ads.
  3. Rewrite either the Title or the Body (but not both) in each of the copied ads, keeping everything else the same.
  4. Repost all three ads.

After one day, take the new “best performer”, copy it twice, and repeat Step 3 for a new variable (picture, title, body).

Continue this process until all variables have been changed at least once.

Congratulations! You’ve now isolated your most effective ad!

You can use this ad until your click-through-rate (CTR) falls below 50% of the original score. When that happens, you’ve reached your saturation point and it’s time to begin the process again. As a reference, a good CTR is anything above .05%, though yours may be higher or lower depending on a number of variables (product, market, etc.).

For more information about using Facebook for business promotion, check out our full day workshop – Facebook Marketing for Business. Also, be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for more social media insights.


As Learn iT!'s VP of E-Learning, David Lieberman teaches, designs, and customizes curriculum to fit the needs of experienced and beginning users alike. He has taught design, marketing, and theory to some of the largest players in the industry, including Apple, Adobe, Zynga, and others.  He enjoys the figuring out “the way things work”, explaining said concepts to others, and feeding dogs yummy treats even when he’s not supposed to.