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Adnatomy 101

Adnatomy 101: What makes the perfect social media ad?

The image bone’s connected to the, text bone. The text bone’s connected to the

If you don’t recognise this little jingle, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re laying the perfect social media ad out on to an operating table and having a look inside. In this anatomy lesson, we’ll find out what makes a social media ad appealing to users, how they generates leads, and how you can adjust your ads for best performance.

social media ad in this article

The skin: First impressions

It only takes a tenth of a second to form a first impression, says Princeton University research. And in that brief window of time, your audience judges your words and pictures..

Make sure both are as perfect as possible. The ideal social media image is at least 1,200 x 600 pixels – thumbnails aren’t nearly as attention-grabbing, and low-res images look pixelated and unprofessional when enlarged.

Ad copy should be short and snappy, but conversational. Spurring conversation with questions is a good way to engage people. Make sure you check your spelling and grammar!

Three other important rules:

  1. Invest in good photography, or use an image creation tool to create unique images. Avoid stock photos!
  2. Try to avoid text on your images. The general rule of thumb is that no more than 20 per cent of an ad should be text.
  3. Specific numbers work well in ad copy. If X number of people have already downloaded your whitepaper or signed up for your newsletter, boast about it!

How big should social images be

The muscles: Your call to action

Sometimes customers need a push in the right direction, and we’ll need muscles in the form of a good call to action to do this.

The best social media ads bulge like Arnie. They have a relevant and commanding call to action in the copy and sometimes on the image. Use strong words like “learn”, “discover”, and “find” to entice people.

  • Bonus tip: Testing from AdEspresso showed that Facebook’s “Learn more” button has a higher click-through rate than other CTA button types, but for newsletter sign-ups “Sign Up” converted more frequently.

The skeleton: What platform should you use?

Just as humans need their frame, so too do ads. And in this case, the frames of social media are either desktop or mobile devices.

You need to get the framework right to convert with social ads. For example, anecdotal evidence suggests that mobile ads typically convert at a lower rate than desktop ads. Indeed, some experts even warn new Facebook ad users away from displaying to mobile at all.

Why? Two reasons: It takes 40 per cent longer to fill out a form using a mobile device compared to desktop (according to Adstage) – mobile users just aren’t willing to spend that time. Also, it may be a mobile optimisation factor; if your website isn’t properly optimised for mobile, it could contribute to a high bounce rate.

  • What’s the key takeaway here? Consider prioritising desktop advertising, as you’ll likely generate more leads than on mobile. Use mobile advertising for your best content marketing instead.

mobile vs desktop social media ads

The lungs: Converting an audience into leads

These red, squishy bags are designed for one thing: transferring oxygen into the bloodstream. The lungs of a perfect social media ad are where your audience ends up after they’re breathed in – where they convert.

In this case, we’re talking about setting up a dedicated landing page that exists purely for this one audience. Right after you make your ad, design a web page specifically for users to land on. That means:

  1. Keeping the branding consistent across the ad and the landing page.
  2. Removing web page clutter that might distract a user from their purpose (e.g. excessive buttons or menus).
  3. Having a clear goal that can be understood immediately (in a tenth of a second), with clear steps to achieve that goal.
  • Bonus tip: A dedicated landing page can help you track conversions. If the only way to arrive at this page is through your ads, then you know that all traffic and lead sign-ups here are from your campaign. That said, a tracking code may prove more insightful, which we discuss next.

The eyes: Tracking performance

Visibility makes the difference between a perfect social media ad and one that you think did alright.

Take the time to implement an appropriate tracking code for your social ad. For example, Facebook Pixel or Twitter conversion tracking – your IT people can help with both of these. What do they do? Without layering on the jargon, tracking codes let you know which actions viewers took after clicking on your ad. Did they convert into leads, or did they bounce?

This will help you calculate campaign effectiveness.

In conclusion

Now that we’ve reached the end of our anatomy lesson, you might be wondering – where was the heart in all of this? What pumps blood into our ad?

Well … your audience! The audience are the heart and soul of a good lead-gen campaign, and you must always be targeting their specific demographics and interests.

When you have a heart, it’s just a matter of pumping the blood to the relevant organs and watching the leads roll in.


How to use social ads for lead generation - Castleford

Duncan Pacey
Duncan Pacey About the author

Duncan has hands-on experience developing and rolling out many of our bespoke search-optimised writing products, making him the perfect Castleford blogger. When he’s not writing about SEO, lead gen, and the art of entertaining people and Google simultaneously, he crafts prose for clients in hospitality, construction and building, and the software as a service field. Current clients include SAS, Altus, Epson - and of course the Castleford website.

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