Facebook’s algorithm changes may be limiting organic reach for business owners, but what they offer in terms of targeted, audience-friendly ads almost makes up for it. The social network has been developing dozens more advertising capabilities to make reaching specific audiences easier for business owners.

But, this isn’t advertising as you know it.

Facebook’s platform and review process requires a thorough understanding of their “house rules” in order to get those high conversions.

Here’s the quick guide to what you most need to know.

Images matter more than words

“Let me start with the bad news: with Facebook, images matter more than copy,” says Joanna Wiebe, conversion copywriter and founder of CopyHackers and Airstory. As a copywriter, it’s a painful admission to make, but it’s true.

Consumer Acquisition found that images are responsible for some 75 to 90% of an ad’s performance.

“In print ads, copy and art work together. . . . In Facebook ads, the rule of thumb is for marketers to focus on the image,” Joanna writes.

Image text checker of Facebook
Facebook's image text checker.

This means passing Facebook’s ad requirements. Headlines are limited to 25 characters; link descriptions to 30 characters; and the image resolution is high: at least 1200x628px.

Get your ratio right with Canva Facebook templates, like this Glamour Summer Collection Facebook ad.

Glamour Summer Collection Facebook Ad

If you include copy within your image, as Joanna Wiebe suggests, there is also a specific guideline: Images that are more than 20% text can reduce delivery rates. Facebook actually reviews every ad and shows ads with high text-to-image ratios to fewer people. In other words: You get penalized for too much copy. Fortunately, they give you a tool to pre-check your ad and warn you if you’re over the limit.

That means your image has to do most of the talking.

Know Your Lemons FB ad example
Know Your Lemons Facebook ad

This “KnowYourLemons.com” Facebook ad took Facebook by storm in 2017 - and you can see why. Those lemons have a lot to say.

How can you find an image that ‘says’ a lot?

Choose images that:

  • Evoke an emotion you want people to have around your product/service
  • Speak to your primary benefits/value proposition

This Canva template tells a whole story.

Spa Direct Mail Postcard

Make those few words count

You get very few words to make your point - so that point had better be why people should buy from you. Yes, your Value Proposition! This is what makes you different/better/best, and what your customers will get when they purchase. Hint: That’s not just your product. What does the customer who buys this really want?

one two cosmetics ad facebook
One Two Cosmetics Facebook ad

In very few words, this video ad nails it: Their audience wants gorgeous long lashes without the sticky mess of glue. They lead with the differentiator part of their value proposition: “The World’s First Magnetic Lash!”

Moving pictures are hot right now

Facebook carousel ads and video ads are gaining ground—mobile audiences in particular pay attention to videos (videos on Facebook get 135% more organic reach than photos).

Logan Herzog, social media and content marketing specialist and cofounder of Sidekicks Group says he recommends carousel ads especially for products that require a little explanation. Through a series of images, you can walk potential buyers through how to use the product or service and what they’ll love about it when they do. Logan says a good carousel ad can “help prepare them for the call-to-action.” Learn more about using carousel ads here.

Videos can work much in the same way traditional commercials do, but to get even more engagement, try:

  • Video ads that show users how to get their desired outcome with your product, like this Thrive Cosmetics ad that shows their eyebrow liner in action (along with a fabulous value proposition: “Better Brows in 30 Seconds.”
Thrive cosmetics fb ad video
Thrive Causemetics Facebook ad
  • Facebook Live events that allow you to talk, directly, to your audience (and have them respond). To get the most engagement out of Facebook Live videos, be sure to ask your live audience questions that you can answer right then and there.
Makeup Tutorial YT Thumbnail

Take advantage of Facebook’s latest ad innovations

Facebook has been seriously stepping up its ad game, diversifying their ad inventory with slideshow ads, collection ads (allows users to browse multiple products) and lead ads.

Follow Me iPhone Facebook Post

Lead ads are particularly interesting because they make it so easy to capture leads. When a user taps onto your ad, lead ads pull up a lead capture form that is pre-filled with the user’s Facebook profile information, making it easier for them to opt in to receiving your messages, emails and notifications. The simplified process is meant to reduce friction and increase conversions.

Tip: You can customize your lead form, but the more questions you include, the more each lead will cost.

Retarget

Retargeting ads - when users see the same ad they’ve shown interest in multiple times - improves conversions using sheer familiarity. And it’s really easy to do, but you have to put the Facebook Ads Pixel on your website so you can retarget leads who have visited your website, and track what happens when they’re there.

Retargeting can work with video ads too, but it’s done a little differently. If you get high engagement with a video ad, you can save that audience - so the next time you post a video, you can target the audience who liked the last one. This all happens in the Facebook ads menu under “Audiences” → “custom audiences,” and then select “Engagement on Facebook” under “Create a Custom Audience.”

Avoid the most common, conversion-killing mistake people make

Black and White Modern Sandwich Food Facebook Post

Business owners, and even professional marketers, sometimes get a little over-excited about creating their Facebook ads and go wild with images and graphics and fonts. So much so, that the images, graphics and fonts on the ad don’t match the landing page they lead to. This is the most common, conversion-killing mistake people make. The issue? It confuses people.

“Am I in the right place? This doesn’t look like the ad! Better click back!”

If your bounce rates to the landing page are high, that could be the issue.

Your images should be the same.
Your copy should be the same.
Your value proposition should be the same.

Making matching ads and landing pages is easy when you have the same graphics at your fingertips for both.

Community Growth at Zest.is. Moderator at Product Hunt and Growth Hackers. Previously: Growth at Inbound.org. I teach SaaS Founders how to build, engage, and grow communities for their SaaS products. Check out my book: The SaaS Growth Playbook.