January 20th, 2008 | 8 MIN READ

Facebook Ads Deconstructed: 11 Tips for Marketers

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Thinking about running a Facebook advertising campaign? It helps to pick apart what advertisers are already doing. Today we'll examine several campaigns of online retailers from ad copy and design to landing page and boil them down to 11 tips for Facebook banners and graphic ads.



Iphone Ad

I'm not too crazy about the ad text - it seems a bit awkward. It could be shortened to "Hottest Phone, Lowest Price. $399 + Free Shipping from the Apple Store." Easier to read, capitalized letters are proven to convert higher in PPC - why should this be any different? Oh, and ditch the Christmas messaging, it's January 21st!

Landing Page

This is a great landing page choice - leading right to the conversion page for the product advertised. BUT this is the Apple.com store, and the ad was served to me as a Canadian. Geo-targeting is available, please use it. It's not clear that this is the US store unless you check the address bar. Especially disappointing as the iPhone requires "hacking" to be used in Canada. Can the average Facebook user figure this all out?

DigiCombos & Abe's of Maine


Digicombos AdAbe’s Ad

These 2 ads are undeniably similar, but they lead to different websites. The second ad still refers to the holidays which is outdated but otherwise the text is fine. They both include price and "free shipping" offer which is always good PPC ad copy.

Landing Pages

Digicombos Landing Page

Abe’s Landing Page

What's curious is the difference between the 2 landing pages. One leads to a category page and the other to the product page itself. I prefer the second landing page. It goes directly to the product, has a clean design, links to more product information and shows related cross-sells along the side and below the fold.

But as a Canadian, I'd like to see "International Shipping Info" somewhere. The ad and landing page promise free shipping. That's usually not the case for international customers. Shipping info is buried under the "Support" link and it doesn't address this concern.

Pleasant Holidays


Pleasant Holidays Ad

This ad is complicated. It instructs you to choose your destination, but you can't click through on any of them to the website. Then when you click BOOK NOW nothing happens. You have to click on the teeeeeeensy www.PleasantHolidays.com. I have 20/20 vision and I find this very hard to look at.

Landing Page

Pleasant Holidays Landing Page

Instead of landing on the package I thought I had selected, I arrived at the home page - left to fend for myself. Where's Puerto Vallarta?

And the departures are from California. Does this mean I'm left to make arrangements with another site to get to Cali? I'm probably the most unseasoned traveler there is, so maybe this is obvious to others - but I closed this window right away because I didn't know where to start. Let me choose a package and click right through to its landing page OR create a custom landing page that repeats the offers in the ad with appropriate links if that's too complicated.


Threadpit Ad


"T-Shirts to Die In" is an edgy headline and I think it's appropriate for Threadpit's image and market.

I like the way Threadpit uses people in the image. Facebook users are in profile-pic-scanning mode and this ad is less likely to overlooked due to "banner blindness." I imagine the brain will at least check to see if you know that person, then you realize "oh, this is an ad."

The photo looks amateur, the lighting is terrible, the models aren't airbrushed. It looks like a user-uploaded image. Brilliant.

Landing Page

The ad sends you to the Threadpit homepage which you can check out yourself. Some of the shirts are offensive and I don't want to post the screenshot.



Bidz Ad

The headline is great. $1 is an eye-catching number. The ring is an eye catching product. The ad text is short which means it's more likely to get read.

Landing Page

Bidz Landing Page

This type of page is proven to convert. The goal of sign up is right in front of you. There are 3 bulleted reasons why you should sign up. The required fields don't ask for too much information. For those who want to peek behind the door before signing up, there's a "Take me to the Home Page" link.

Circuit City


Circuit City uses Flash animations for 2 rich-media ads.

Circuit City 1Circuit City 2Circuit City 3

The image on the left is what the first ad looks like when it's finished flashin'. The middle and right images show the end of the second ad, which you can interact with as shown on the right.

Just eyeballing the 2 ads, personally I prefer the Mega Sale ad because it has a strong offer with urgency (3 days) (I found this ad on Friday so I'm not sure when this sale is supposed to start...)

It has a shop now button that makes it clear, and it's affirmative.

The black box with "Free shipping on orders $24 and up" is a great offer and encourages the click.

The second ads, though mildly clever are less impressive as this looks more like an ad to me (of course, they ARE both ads, but this is easier to ignore. The products are just there - there's nothing to draw your interest to shop now. The interactivity is cool but really, there's not enough clue as to what's behind "get richer," "get together" and "get involved." This is just too vague.

Landing Page

Circuit City Landing Page

This is the home page. I don't see any reference to the big Mega Sale. There's not even a sale section in the navigation or somewhere on the home page. There are offers rotating in the center for 25% off laptops etc. But there are only 4 of these offers and they rotate slowly, giving customers time to think "where the heck is this sale you speak of?" Was this a Christmas ad? Was this last week's offer?

Notice Circuit City plays upon the upcoming Super Bowl in the offers, both on the left and right side link: "Get HDTV in time for the big game"...

New Egg


New Egg brings this powerful and timely Super Bowl messaging to its ads. Here are shots of 2 different rich-media ads. Looks like they're split testing - and they're doing it right because they are showing 2 similar ads/offers, unlike Circuit City which has 2 completely different approaches.

New Egg BannerNew Egg Banner

I prefer the 2nd ad because it's cleaner, the Free Shipping stands out, the "Buy Now" is easy to find and is affirmative (though most people argue Buy Now is presumptuous). But I prefer "Get Yours In Time!" better than "99% of orders ship within 1 business day." It's shorter, and doesn't confuse the customer. So what if it ships within one day - when does it arrive? What if I'm that 1%? Is this 99% of all orders or 99% of TV's?

Here are shots of horizontal rich media ads, the last 2 shots are from a single ad:

New Egg Horizontal Banner
New Egg Horizontal Banner
New Egg Horizontal Banner

Landing Page

New Egg Landing Page

A focused, relevant landing page. There are actually 12 offers if you scroll down. This may be giving customers too much choice - but it does offer a variety of sizes and price-points with enough information for customers to evaluate the available TVs. Unfortunately the offers all use the same thumbnail image but I understand this is easier for the design team and it's not a big deal.

New Egg has also got a leg up on Valentine's Day:

New Egg Valentine 1New Egg Valentine 2

You won't find a "Candy and Flowers" category at New Egg, but the electronics retailer found a way to appeal to the sentimental - photography and a contest. The colors and imagery are appropriate for the season, and for a medium like Facebook where people aren't actively searching for something, the appeal of entering a contest might be the right messaging for encouraging a click from someone who's not in buying mode yet.

Plus, when the contest form is filled out, New Egg *could* collect demographic information such as age and gender.

New Egg Contest Form

One beef about this - once again this campaign failed to geotarget the ads. This offer is only valid in the US.

Geo-Targeting and Gender Segmentation

Under Armour and American Apparel ads both show up for me, obviously one of these ads is more targeted to me. Kudos to both advertisers for sending me to their .ca sites.

Under ArmourAmerican ApparelAmerican Apparel 2

(These are static banners, not Flash)

11 Facebook Advertising Tips

1. Choose your landing page wisely. The rules of Pay-Per-Click apply to Facebook marketing! Make sure the offer matches the landing page.
2. Include calls to action.
3. Don't use wacky fonts or low contrast font/backgrounds.
4. Keep your offers up to date.
5. Less is more when it comes to text/copy and graphics.
6. Don't be vague. Cute/clever doesn't always come across right to customers who are are not inside your head.
7. Contests may appeal more to social media users who aren't in buying mode.
8. Geotarget your campaigns well. If you don't ship to Canada - don't advertise there. If you do, make it clear for your international visitors. If you offer free shipping in the ad, show different ads to locations that don't qualify.
9. Segment your campaigns by gender if necessary. New Egg's football pitch is more of a guy thing, let's be honest. (To be fair, Facebook users have the option of displaying their gender to other users or not. I don't know if the ads, when targeted by gender, appear to all "registered" males or just males that display their gender on their profile.)
10. If you split test ads, make sure they are similar enough - same offers, with different text/design.
11. Use people in your ads when you can. Facebook users are in people-scanning mode, and you're more likely to catch attention as people pause to figure out who these people are (this is only my theory).

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