What the most successful Facebook Ads have in common: 5 Lessons every business can learn from.

What the most successful Facebook Ads have in common: 5 Lessons every business can learn from.

Charlie Pemberton
By Charlie Pemberton

When developing your own Facebook ads strategy, it's helpful to look at what the greats have done. It's also a good idea to look at poorly performing ads, and where they go wrong so you don't fall into the same pitfalls. But today, we're shooting for the stars and learning gold from the most successful Facebook ads.

Of course, success looks different for different businesses. What's the most successful Facebook ad for you depends on your specific goals and campaign objectives. To measure the success of your own Facebook ad campaigns, it's crucial that you know how to track and interpret the right metrics.

To help you on your journey to advertising success, we've compiled a list of Facebook ad examples and key takeaways so you can boost the performance of your own Facebook campaigns. Instead of copying the most successful Facebook ads out there to a T, we encourage you to dig deep into the lessons they teach, and pluck the strategies that make sense for your business.

Without further ado…

5 Lessons from the most successful Facebook Ads

What do the most successful Facebook ads have in common? They all know how to:

  1. Get into the psyche of the audience
  2. Meet the audience where they’re at
  3. Say less, show more
  4. Offer real value
  5. Grab attention, and keep it

Check out our Facebook ad examples list below to see these lessons in action.

1. Get into the psyche of your audience

The most successful Facebook ads know how to tap into the motivations, fears and desires of a particular audience. Of course, this takes an in depth understanding of who your audience actually is. You can use things like Facebook Pixel and customer surveys to better understand your audience, and craft your Facebook ad strategy accordingly. When you hit the nail on the head, your ads will speak directly to the right people, making an emotional connection that's hard to argue with.

Hello Fresh and the everyday mama

Successful Facebook Ads: Hello Fresh and The Everyday Mama

The ad image in this Facebook ad by Hello Fresh shows a mother with her two kids and a big Hello Fresh box, standing near the front door and smiling at the camera. The photo is well lit, bright and happy, but not professional or high glam in any way. This is a real mum, with real challenges and real joys. Something that the audience can relate to and empathise with. By making “Anna” a relatable figure, the audience is able to let down their guard and listen to what she has to say.

The ad copy speaks directly to pain points (spending time thinking about what to have for dinner). And it gives a clear solution, while packing in plenty of benefits. Everything arrives on the doorstep, delicious recipes, fresh ingredients, lots of variety, the whole family loves it.

One of the key takeaways of this ad is that every detail, down to the specific emojis used, sends emotional cues to the viewer. There's even a yoga pose emoji, which tells you something about the women Hello Fresh is targeting. Someone who wants a little more time in the evenings to spend with family or practice self care, rather than stressing over what to cook. It's subtle, but when you've got such a small word count to convey your message, the smallest details count.

Nike and the future-focused runner

Successful Facebook Ads: Nike and The Future Focused Runner

In this ad, Nike uses the pronoun "you" to speak directly to athletes, runners and fitness fanatics. Everything from the bright colours to the upbeat tone works to create excitement around the launch of this new shoe.

Notice the technical terms the ad uses to make it sound like the shoe is the latest technology: "carbon-fibre plate", "great energy return", "propulsive sensation". Nike is speaking the language of customers who value the latest tech, and who want to be ahead of the game.

The ad promises the shoe will improve your running, taking you to the next level. This focus on improvement appeals to the goal-setters and the ambitious customers who are always striving for better performance. The catchy slogan at the bottom of the ad "Find your fast" is a challenge to the viewer. A call to action that's crafted specifically for the psyche of runners and goal-setters.

Canva and the hustling freelancer

Successful Facebook Ads: Canva and The Hustling Freelancer

This video ad by Canva uses comedy and meme culture to appeal to a younger audience. The video itself is fast paced with quick transitions. It speaks the language of an audience who is steeped in social media culture.

The copy opens with, "You get a website! And you get a website! And you get a website!" matching the playful, youthful tone of the video and referencing the meme queen herself, Oprah Winfrey.

While on the surface the ad might seem like it's all fun and games, it actually has subtle messaging about hustle culture. The word "obsession" can be found on the opening frame of the video, appealing to the freelancer or creative professional who works hard to make their creative dreams a reality.

And while the video is meant to keep your attention through comedy, it's also showing off how the Canva web design software works. The video suggests that designing websites is easy – and even fun – when you use the Canva tool. Subtly challenging the objection that ‘making websites is hard’ and overcoming this pain point.

2. Meet your audience where they're at

The most successful Facebook ads speak to where a customer is in the buyer's journey. The way you speak to a new customer who has never heard of your brand is going to be different to the way you speak to a loyal customer who already loves your brand. Know who you're speaking to, and where they're at in the buyer's journey, and your ads will perform that much better.

Xero and the great business idea

Successful Facebook Ads: Xero and The Great Business Idea

This ad by Xero is a good example of how to target an audience that isn't too familiar with your brand, or may have never even heard of you before.

The ad uses a big, bold question to hook the right audience in: "Starting a business?" Immediately viewers know if the ad is for them or not. Then they're given a clear call to action: "Download the free guide."

The ad copy is limited, which means the audience knows exactly what steps to take. There's no hard work or confusion here. Xero leads the reader simply and easily on a journey, making it natural to engage with the ad.

Plus, Xero is onto something by offering a free guide (see lesson number 4). Facebook users who are unfamiliar with the Xero brand aren't going to trust them from the get go. But if they get something of value from Xero first, they're more likely to convert later on. By meeting the audience where they're at, Xero is able to warm up cold customers and boost brand awareness.

ASOS and the return customer

Successful Facebook Ads: ASOS and The Return Customer

This Facebook ad by ASOS is a good example of a retargeting ad, aimed at getting repeat purchases from past customers. Since past customers already know what to expect with ASOS, it's smart to keep the ad copy simple. The details ASOS does include in the ad all help jog the customer's memory, reminding them of how good it felt to shop on their online store last time.

With a simple question and statement, "Been missing us? The feeling's mutual...", ASOS positions themselves like a friend. The tone is casual and inviting. The final push comes in the link description, where they offer free shipping.

Canon and the photographer who is umm-ing and ah-ing

Successful Facebook Ads: Canon and The Photographer

In this ad for RF lenses, Canon is speaking directly to photographers who already shoot with a Canon camera. The ad anticipates the customer's thoughts: "Trying to work out if you should make the switch?" and then gives them a tool to help them make the decision. It's a great way to meet potential customers who are on the fence, and need a little more nudging down the sales funnel.

The ad links out to an article on "7 Reasons to Switch to RF Lenses", which breaks down the benefits of the product in a digestible way. It's a good example of how content marketing can help you connect with audiences at different points on the buyer's journey.

3. Say less, show more

The Facebook advertising platform is highly visual, and that's what makes it so advantageous. While Facebook ad copy does matter, it's important to remember that simplicity is often the best way to go. Zone in on the specific message you want to send, then cut out all the fluff and get to the point. The most successful Facebook ads know how to say what they need to and then stop.

Slack and the influencer's testimonial

Facebook Ads Success: Slack and The Influencers Testimonial

This story ad from Slack has no copy at all, apart from a few lines on the video itself so that viewers can get some context at a glance. By cutting out wordy copy, the audience can focus on the message. It’s kind of like Slack saying, "don't take it from us, listen to this guy....."

Having an influencer talking to the camera makes the ad feel real and honest, and a whole lot less like an ad. Viewers are more likely to keep watching, since it feels like they're getting insider tips from someone in the industry who has made it.

Plus, the testimonial from this influencer is more powerful in video form. If you were to read what he said vs watch him say it, what would be more convincing? Hands down the video is able to create an emotional connection in a way that written text would never be able to achieve.

Mazda Australia seduces its audience

Mazda Australia Seduces-its Audience

Carousel ads are a great way to show off different details of your product, and Mazda Australia certainly knows how to work the carousel ad format. Yes, they've got a few sexy lines of ad copy, but the real seduction lies in the visual content. Facebook users get to scroll through highly professional detail shots of the Mazda CX-30, visualising themselves behind the wheel.

The ad copy that is included is brief and to the point. The text under each photo highlights the unique selling points of the car. The body of the ad copy uses keywords like "style", "stunning design" and "surprisingly spacious" to continue the story of seduction that the photos started. The whole ad is sleek, shiny and highly visual.

Qantas and another wanderlust video

Qantas and Another Wanderlust Video

Qantas does Facebook video ads really well. The brand has recognised that nothing makes people want to fly more than the thought of travelling to incredible places. Inspiring wanderlust through ad copy isn't an easy job. It’s much more effective to push high quality video content edited together with a banging soundtrack.

What this ad does so well is push people towards dreaming up their own adventure. For those of us who love travelling, the question, "where will you go?" is always an exciting one to answer. And this type of ad allows Qantas to attach their name to that excitement.

4. Offer real value

Most new customers make a decision to purchase your product or sign up to your services based on trust. One of the best ways to build trust and credibility is by offering real value to your audience. The most successful Facebook ads have all considered things from the point of view of the potential customer. Put yourself in their shoes and ask the question: "What's in it for me?" Your Facebook ad campaigns should offer real value so that potential customers feel like they're the winners.

Shopify and "never-before-seen data"

Most Successful Facebook Ads: Shopify and Never Before Seen Data

This Shopify ad encourages viewers to download the Shopify annual trend report. It promises small business owners and marketers exclusive insights and expert advice that can't be found anywhere else.

The audience knows right away what value they'll be getting from clicking on the "Learn More" button. In fact, the ad creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity, so that viewers feel like they have no choice but to click through if they want to keep up with the industry.

This ad is also really good at tapping into the psyche of the audience (see Lesson number 1). Being a small business owner means making a lot of crucial decisions, which can be a huge source of stress. Shopify promises to "take the guesswork out of 2022" and help you stay ahead of the game.

Mailchimp and personalised recommendations

Most Successful Facebook Ads: Mailchimp and Personalised Recommendations

In this Facebook ad example, Mailchimp offers its audience "personalized content recommendations to make your emails more engaging." It's a clear value proposition that puts the customer first.

This ad does a great job of communicating the benefits of the software through the ad image alone. Facebook users scrolling through their news feed can pick up on the value being offered to them at a glance. The use of numbers "Up to 4x More Orders" is a nice touch, giving viewers some data to base their decision on.

Who Gives A Crap and the green dream

Who Gives A Crap and The Green Dream

This ad by Who Gives A Crap is a great example of how listing out your product's benefits can help you get straight to the point. By including three bullet points of three crucial benefits, the audience knows straight away what's in it for them. Plus, the link description at the bottom throws in a few more benefits, including “free shipping”.

This ad is also really good at tapping into the psyche of the audience (Lesson 1, again). If you're concerned about the environment and overwhelmed by how much you can't do, Who Gives A Crap offers you a chance to "save the world" simply by buying the right toilet paper.

Keep in mind the target audience is concerned with making decisions that are good for the world, not just themselves. The ad does a good job of proving that the product has benefits for others, not just the buyer.

5. Grab attention, and keep it

All successful Facebook ads start with a hook. Grabbing your audience's attention is getting increasingly harder on social media, so it's crucial to focus on how you'll hook them in. That being said, it's not enough to grab their attention, you've also got to keep it. The best Facebook ads know how to do both.

Noom and the psychology hook

Noom and The Psycholog Hook

In big, bold font, Noom makes a strong statement to entice readers: "Changing the way you eat starts with psychology." By deliberately leaving the statement a little open-ended, viewers are left wanting more information. Hook complete.

Now they see an offer to take a quiz, with an arrow pointing down. This guides their eyes to the headline of the ad: "Noom's secret? Brain power not willpower." The offer of secret knowledge makes the ad seem exclusive and promising. But the trick is, Noom only gives a slice of their secret away, to whet the appetite. Viewers want to know what brain power is, and how they can tap into it themselves.

Using the term "will power" cleverly taps into the audience's pain points. If they've tried before and failed to eat healthily, they'll know how unreliable will power can be. They need a solution that's not going to fail them. Noom offers it: brain power.

The great thing about Noom's call to action (to take a quiz) is that it doesn't require any commitment. A viewer can take the quiz and learn more, without signing up to any programs or making a decision immediately. The ad meets them where they're at, and makes the next steps easy.

Calm and the road to better mental health

Calm and The Road to Better Mental Health

The most successful Facebook Ads can hook people within seconds. This ad image of brains during a trauma response is a great way to stop Facebook users in their tracks. Particularly those who are interested in mental health and psychology. 

The descriptions underneath the brain images act like a kind of personality quiz, keeping the audience engaged with the ad for longer. 

The descriptions get you thinking about all the negative patterns you can spiral into when stressed. Then the ad offers a solution: the Calm app. By first priming you to be aware of your own stress, the ad is able to promote how positive the Calm app is using juxtaposition. 

Note the list of different awards the app has won in the link description. This is a good use of social proof to convince potential customers.

Adobe and trending design topics

Adobe and Trending Design Topics

This ad by Adobe is simple, but effective. Just like good design. It hooks the audience in by hinting at the future of 3D design. Then it offers a satisfying read in the Adobe 3D Trends Report. The next steps are simple and easy to take– sign up and read the report.

Shout out to the way this ad pairs the visuals with the ad copy. The 3D flower design flows, bounces and bursts, just as the ad copy describes. Although most ads benefit from sticking to everyday language, the touch of poetic language works well here. It appeals to the creativity and innovation that the target audience values.

Develop your own successful Facebook ad strategy

Learning lessons from the most successful Facebook Ads is a great place to start. Next, check out our other guides to improving your Facebook advertising game:

Dilate Digital is a leading digital marketing agency in Perth, specialising in Facebook Ads, Google Ads, SEO and more. Ready to get better performance from your marketing strategies? Call us today and book in a discovery session.

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