illustration of a blog post: Five Ways to Create a Facebook Ad that Stands Out
white rounded rectangle masking image below

Paid Media 8 min read

Five Ways to Create a Facebook Ad that Stands Out

Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Published 17 Mar 2021

In a sea of ads, getting yours to stand out sounds like a game of Where’s Waldo. 

A bunch of colorful dinosaurs.

Source: Walmart

Users are bombarded with bright colors, eye-catching videos, and bold copy every day. How are you supposed to get your ads noticed anymore? 

So today, as part of our Paid Media series, we’re walking you through Galactic Fed’s top tips for making your ad stand out—so you can get the most mileage out of your budget. In this blog post, we’ll be focusing on Facebook Ads—the leading social ad platform. Go big or go home, right?

Ready to create a stellar ad? Buckle in!

1. Keep copy clear, concise and focused on value

Ad copywriting is an art. With so few characters to work with, you have to be clear and concise, and interesting and engaging. 

For ads on Facebook, here are the character limits you’re working with: 

  • Primary text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Description: 30 characters

It’s not a lot. So what can you do to make the most bang for your buck? 

  • Introduce your value prop right away in the primary text: Your window to catch your audiences’ attention is small. Plus, if you run over the character limit, your copy will get cut off. (Yep, think Oscar’s speech when the music comes on)
  • Keep the headline short and clear (under five words): Your headline should clearly express what you’re offering. If there’s added value, like a free trial or discount, this is the place to put it. You get 40 characters, but we encourage you to use less if you can.  
  • Support with the description: This copy plays a supporting role for your headline. Keep it relevant and benefits-focused. 

Tip: Don’t forget to include one strong call-to-action! If you’re advertising your new line of work-from-home attire (let’s call it what it—sweatpants), skip the “learn more” and go straight to “buy now!”

AdEspresso sample Facebook advertisement of Facebook Custom Audience Free E-book.

Source: AdEspresso

For more tips, check out the Facebook Ads copywriting cheat sheet

2. Incorporate color, people, and location in the image

When it comes to ads, users love images—it’s the first place their eyes go. But that doesn’t mean crafting one up becomes any easier. 

For ads on Facebook, here’s the design and technical specifications: 

  • File type: JPG or PNG
  • Ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1
  • Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Maximum file size: 30MB
  • Minimum width: 600 pixels
  • Minimum height: 600 pixels
  • Aspect ratio tolerance: 3%

How can we turn this mumbo jumbo into images that stand out? 

  • Use vivid colors: This is no surprise. Bright colors attract the gaze. But with that said, don’t make it too distracting with competing colors and designs. Settle on a vivid background to let your focal point—the product or model—pop. 
  • Feature your buyer persona: Humans love seeing other humans, especially if they can relate to them! If you haven’t already, build a buyer persona so you can create ads that intentionally speak to this audience. 
  • Use location-specific imagery: Similar to why we recommend using a buyer persona, people respond well to familiarity. Let’s say you run a franchised store. Instead of using generic branding, highlight your specific location. This will resonate better with your target audience. 
  • Avoid a ton of text: Facebook Ads finds that images with less than 20% text perform better. So it’s best to reserve this text for eye-catching information like discounts.

Trust us, putting some extra thought in your design could save you ad dollars! Read more about how to tighten up your Facebook Ad budget here

3. Use short videos optimized for mobile users

Want to take your visuals to the next level? Time to explore video ads! Did you know that there are more than 4 billion video watches on Facebook every day? Video marketing is on the rise. Here’s what you need to know:  

  • File type: MP4, MOV, or GIF
  • Ratio: 4:5
  • Video settings: H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+
  • Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels 
  • Video duration: 1 second to 241 minutes
  • Maximum file size: 4GB
  • Minimum width: 120 pixels
  • Minimum height 120 pixels 

Now to the fun stuff. Here are our tips to optimize your video for the most views: 

  • Try to keep videos under 30 seconds: When we say short, we mean it. Though Facebook allows longer videos, the best-performing videos are under 30 seconds. 

Facebook video retention by video length in seconds showing poor completion to best completion rate.

Source: Social Bakers

  • Assume viewers will watch on mute: 85% of all videos on Facebook are watched on mute. So don’t depend on a spoken script to get your point across. Use the ad copy, or incorporate subtitles in the video to speak to your message. 
  • Optimize it for a mobile audience: The majority of the views will be coming from mobile, so ensure you’re using vertical formats (16:9 aspect ratios) for your videos so they can take up the user’s full mobile screen.  

4. Add social proof

Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume others’ actions in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

How is social proof used in advertising? It brings authenticity and validity to your ad. With the right customer testimonial, review scores and rankings, or brand endorsements, your brand vibe can go from sketchy sales guy to wholesome mommy blogger. 

Using social proof is also an excellent strategy for capturing the right attention. Think about your target audience and what type of social proof would resonate best. 

Think about all those fad diets. Which ones are successful? The ones that can prove they work. And there’s no better way to do that than to highlight customer stories. 

Take the Jenny Craig diet. Sure, celebrity Kirstie Alley is the spokesperson. But our guess is that the success stories from real women have more influencing power. (If they can do it—while working jobs and raising kids—why can’t I do it?)

5. Leverage the power of “free” and FOMO

Whether it’s a discount, free shipping, a gift, sample, or trial—people love a bargain. To seal the deal, grab your audience’s attention with a special offer. 

Perceived value is incredibly important to consumers. With so many alternatives to your product (yes, you’re not the only one who sells banana slicers), you need to showcase your value front and center. And the best way people recognize it is through a discount, sale, or freebie.

Imagine the Naturebox ad below without the “free trial” stamped on the image. Would it still catch your attention?

NatureBox sample Facebook advertisement for free sample snacks.

Source: Fetchprofits 

You don’t need to go overboard with where you advertise it (there’s a character limit after all), but we recommend featuring it in the image and once in the copy as well. 

With that said, we still need to make money—and handing out free trials like Oprah isn’t always possible. So instead, create urgency. This could be through a sale, a limited-time offer, or an exclusive product release. Try some of these words in your next ad: 

  • Limited Time!
  • Only!
  • Today!
  • Act now!
  • Rush!
  • Last chance!

Don’t forget that exclamation mark. The goal is to create so much FOMO that they couldn’t not click your ad. 

But don’t forget to test, test, test

Every time you create a new campaign, take the time to come up with a few variations for your ads to see which one performs best. What should you test? Headlines, images, CTAs are just a few things you should be testing. (Get the full lowdown on A/B testing here.)

Sounds like a lot of work? Outsource to a team of experts, like our paid media team! That’s why we’re here. 

white rounded rectangle masking image below
Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Stay light years ahead

with monthly marketing updates