4 Tips to Improve Your Social Media Advertising in 2018

Updated Jan. 12, 2022 Published Jan. 9, 2018 9 Min. Read

November Question of the Month:
Digital Marketing in 2018

Every month, Design Pickle emails their community a question about marketing, technology, or business trends using the one-click survey tool YesInsights. The November Question of the Month wanted to know:
image of our Question of the Month survey question: what is the main focus of your digital marketing efforts going into 2018?


results from our November Question of the Month report: digital marketing in 2018

Yowza! Over 60% of the Design Pickle community is kicking off the New Year with the same focus: social media advertising.

Let’s take a look at the best practices for creating advertisements for social media that stand out from the crowd and marketing tactics that will help you convert a social post into serious profit.

What is the main focus of your digital marketing efforts going into 2018?

Notable comments from the Design Pickle community

image of notable comments from the Design Pickle respondents
another image of notable comments from the Design Pickle respondents

From Posting To Profiting

Advertising on social media can be a smart move for any marketer, being that there are over two billion active Facebook users. That means that 2/7th of the world population has their eyes on advertisements from businesses just like yours every single day.

One of the best ways to stay top-of-mind in the eyes of your audience is to keep your advertisement creative just that – creative. By creating new graphics on a regular basis, you can start to see trends in engagement and optimize your creative according to what your audience prefers (i.e. what makes them purchase your product or service).
Here are four tips to improve your social media advertising in 2018:

Constantly vary creative

Keep in mind that content on social media is consumed quickly and frequently. How many times per day do you find yourself checking Facebook? Instagram?

Now think of how annoying it is when you see the same ad all the time (how many times did that same lady really fall down and get saved by Life Alert?).

Social media advertising is different from traditional marketing because the user is constantly consuming – and if you’re not careful, you could spam your way to losing a potential sale.

By keeping your creative constantly varied, your audience will appreciate the new ads they see – especially if they are targeted towards a specific pain point, or challenge, that person is currently facing.

Let’s discuss how to create relevant ads that address pain points your customers will resonate with.

Resonate with your customers

The best way to resonate with your customers is to show other people actually using your products, or to show them the positive reality of life after purchasing your product.

For example, let’s say you sell hair care and want to run a promotion on a new shampoo. Instead of running ads to an image with your product on a plain background and a simple description of the features, try highlighting only one of the features with a use-case scenario.
image of two shampoo ads used as an example to resonate with your customers as a tip to improve your social media advertising

In the first graphic, your audience has to read the features of your product and come to their own conclusions on how those features might improve their life. Knowing that there are “five fruity scents” the shampoo comes in doesn’t change the emotional state of the customer (since they can’t smell over the internet …YET).

The second graphic, however, does change the emotional state of the customer; although they still can’t actually smell the shampoo, they see that the scent of the shampoo caused total strangers to stop what they’re doing and do a “double-whiff” because they noticed the good scent. It’s human nature to want to feel noticed, especially in a positive way. So tying this emotion to your product might make someone who wants to feel noticed highly motivated to buy the shampoo – and change their current reality.

Make your customers crave life after using your product or service. Once you expand their mind to the lifestyle possible after purchasing, they will never want anything less.

Simplify your message

When designing ads for social media, less is more. Your ad design should be message intensive, not copy intensive.
image of two ads for a shampoo product used as an example for simplifying your message as a tip to improve your social media advertising

The best marketing tactic to get your message across quickly, and in as few words as possible, is to use graphics to support your storytelling.

Let’s take a look at the example above. The message of the first ad is loud and clear at first glance; you do not need to repeat your wash. It takes a fraction of a second to understand that by using this product, you will only need to wash and rinse one time. The message was communicated in three words. The message was also supported with graphics reinforcing the message that it only takes one wash to get great hair.

The message of the second ad, on the other hand, is not captured at first-glance. The human eye might actually glance over the copy because there are so many tiny words to read (remember, most people scroll through social media on their smartphone). Worse still, the clarity of the message decreases as the word count increases; the message is now more complicated than simply “it only takes one wash to get great hair.”

The message on the creative should capture attention and relay the most fundamental message. Facebook actually has a rule that paid advertisement copy (i.e. text) cannot take up more than 20% of the entire image. That includes headlines, subheadings, features, logo text – everything. Check our our tips for designing effective Facebook ads to learn more.

Remember that the point of paid advertising on social media is to get people who might need your product or service to take one specific action, typically to go to a landing page where they can read more information about the product or service advertised.

Before they are willing to learn more about your business, though, they need to first recognize that there is a pain point in their life that your product might solve. The initial advertisement on social media doesn’t necessarily need to tell somebody how they can solve their pain point but simply to point out that they have a problem – and that you have a solution to fix it.

Keep your message simple and specific; save the selling for the landing page.

Test and optimize

Testing content can be as simple, or as complicated, as you make it. There are many different ways you can test content to see which ads perform the best. You can boost a post, or pay to have your content shown to people who follow your page and their friends or to people you choose through targeting. Paid Ads can be created on Facebook’s Ad Manager using custom targeting, retargeting based on engagement, or a lookalike audience based off of a CSV file of your current clients and their lifetime value.

The tricky part of social media advertising isn’t necessarily knowing how to implement paid advertising, but rather how to measure performance – more specifically, how to interpret results of your campaign and compare those results against your most important business goals. The measures that truly “move the needle,” or get you closer to achieving those important goals, are not always the most obvious.

The measurements that truly indicate performance, whatever that looks like to your business, are called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

KPIs will be different for every team – and potentially every individual – in every business. When advertising on social media, you need to be aware of what the KPIs are for your company’s specific goals. For example:

Is your biggest goal to gain traffic? Maybe you have an awesome product but just don’t have a big enough network in your area to sell many. You know that people who know about your product love it, so you simply need more eyes on your product. Your KPIs might be reach or impressions.

Is your goal to get somebody to start a free trial? Maybe you’ve found that people most often become a client once they complete a free trial of your service, the hard part is simply getting them to sign up for the trial. Your KPIs might be website conversions or people who don’t just look at your service but actually sign up on the spot for the trial.

Is your biggest goal to build your social proof? Maybe you offer a great service but your lack of a dedicated following, or “social proof,” averts people from trusting you as a leader in your industry. Your KPIs might be likes or shares to increase social proof on your social media platforms.

Once you’ve determined the KPIs that have the most direct impact on your goal, start testing different creative by comparing these metrics. You can do this by running an A/B Test, or by showing half of your audience one version of an advertisement, showing the other half another version of the same advertisement, and comparing the results. Variables to manipulate in an A/B test include:

  • Stock photos
  • Font style
  • Color choice
  • Product placement
  • Headline copy
  • Design elements

Once you’ve tested your creative for a length of me (no less than at least one week), compare the KPIs and find a winner. Create a new version of the winning creative to test, then repeat. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the process of optimization.

Getting to work

So you’re ready to start creating social media advertisements with a clear, simple message that resonates with your customers and addresses a specific pain point on a regular basis.

Ready, set, go!

Why are you still reading? Shouldn’t you be out there designing new creative? Oh, wait, let me guess: you don’t have enough time.

Let’s be honest, nobody has me to keep up with the demands of content marketing by themselves. Luckily, that’s where Design Pickle comes in!

One of the easiest ways to create variations to test is by asking your designer for different variations in your initial request. For example, you could ask your designer to create a graphic sized for Facebook and Instagram with the copy you need, the style you want, and with a few variations in the stock photo.

If you are selling shampoo, you might ask your designer for variations in the stock photo using someone elderly, someone middle-aged, and someone young holding the shampoo. You’ll never know what works until you test it!

Including a request for a variation in your initial request will save you time on the back-and-forth of a revision, and you’ll have multiple creatives to start optimizing the very first day of your campaign.

Not a Design Pickle client yet? You can try out the service completely risk-free for 14 days. Visit our website to get started!

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