One fairly effective approach to writing engaging Facebook advertisements is to tell a story.
By engaging I mean the advertisement succeeds at getting the reader to click through to your offer to learn more about it.
By story I just mean some narrative which attempts to disguise the fact that, first and foremost, this is a direct response Facebook ad – meaning that the primary goal is to have the reader click through.
At any rate the idea is to get the reader to lower their defenses by offering what appears to be a story.
I like to begin my ads my recounting an event which frames the nature of the problem I want to present the reader. Then I propose the solution for the problem which the reader can learn more about by clicking through.
It’s actually a little more complicated than that and I’ll present a framework (the SIMA framework) for writing more engaging ads towards the end of this article.
By way of demonstration I am going to present two ads for the same offer, which is a free ebook of ice cream recipes. But of course I could just as well be promoting a behind-the-curtains look at what we provide our platinum-level New York Yacht Club members.
Now back to the world of cheap ice cream.
To get our book the reader is going to have to opt in with their email address, and we do not want people clicking through who are categorically opposed to surrendering that information. So in the ad we mention the opt-in requirement.
Ad #1: Themed on Health / Weight Loss
The first ad caters to women who might be weight conscious.
It offers the idea that there might be a way to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. We do not normally think “ice cream” when we plan out foods for a weight loss strategy. So this ad plays on the incongruous idea that eating ice cream can help you do that.
The credible claim is that replacement of the unhealthy ingredients in regular ice creams with healthy alternative foods is the secret to getting the result you want (less body fat).
But the reader is going to be skeptical initially, so we acknowledge this by putting them in the shoes of a skeptic who is hearing this message for the first time from a trusted authority on the matter of weight loss – a gym owner.
She is also someone who happens to make her own healthy homemade ice creams.
"That looks tempting," said the woman on the other side of the counter. She was staring at the bowl of avocado ice cream with pistachios that sat between us.
I had just signed her up for a six-week get-into-shape program at my gym, and she looked confused.
"That's not on the menu, is it?" she said.
Actually, I told her, it could be, and I began to explain how.
Now, I have always had a weak spot for ice cream. But while training as a professional athlete in my youth I gradually became aware that most ice cream blends contain ingredients which, in isolation, you would never consider feeding to your pets, let alone your children.
Being an ice cream lover was also doing nothing to compliment my waistline. So I resolved to figure out how to create homemade ice cream blends which eliminate the unhealthy ingredients and replace them with high-nutrient real food alternatives.
For the resulting vastly improved recipes this means no dairy, no sugar, no eggs, no vegetable oils...
And certainly none of the emulsifiers and stabilizers like the anti-freeze component that keeps your ice cream from turning rock hard in your freezer. In fact, I discovered that when you use healthy all-natural nutrient-dense alternative foods you won't even need an ice cream maker. A simple blender will suffice.
As a life-long advocate for healthy living I think everyone should be able to enjoy healthy homemade ice creams. So I'm giving away my top 50 healthy homemade ice cream recipes as a downloadable book. You only need to provide an email address so that I can make it available to you.
So what were the results of running this advertisement?
I am not going to provide you with a detailed breakdown of the stats, but I will give you enough information so that you can form some judgement on whether or not you want to run ads based on what I tell you in this article.
There were almost no opt-ins from men during the period this ad was run (early 2021). So the ad may have been run exclusively to women, as intended.
The countries targeted were the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Here is the result from the country (not identified) with the best response:
|Ad #1 – Early In Campaign|
|Link Click Through Rate||14.9 percent|
|Cost Per Click||10.3 cents|
|Ad #1 – Late In Campaign|
|Link Click Through Rate||5.2 percent|
|Cost Per Click||17.7 cents|
The link click through rate here is defined as the total number of clicks through to the landing page (2nd row) divided by the total number of ad impressions (1st row).
You can see that the click through rate, which started out exceptionally high, fell a great deal by the end of the campaign which was based on using look-alike audiences and expanding outward.
Ad #2: Themed on Skin Care / Beauty
When the original ad began to lose appeal with its audience I switched to an entirely new theme with the idea that we might attempt to target women interested in health and beauty, rather than weight loss.
This time I appealed to the idea that you could improve your skin by cutting out the dairy component of your ice cream desserts.
Again, the same strategy of putting the reader into the shoes of a skeptic, presenting them with an incongruous idea (ice cream for better skin) and winning them over by meeting their objections head on.
You think that ice cream is terrible for the skin? Oh, then surely you have never been introduced to THIS kind of ice cream…
"Unfortunately I can't eat ice cream," said my friend pushing away the bowl I had placed in front of her.
"It's really bad for my skin."
The offering of salted caramel ice cream sat untouched between us. "Really bad," she said again.
But I was confident she was wrong.
That's because I had found a way to make ice cream which avoids all the skin care problems that dairy has caused women for decades. And I had done it by cutting dairy completely out of my recipes...
"Actually, you can eat this ice cream," I told her, "and not just because it contains no cream of any kind."
Today I often get compliments on my skin, but really my good complexion is more a byproduct than the goal of my homemade ice cream recipes. I wanted more than good skin. I wanted to be able to shave unwanted pounds off my physique, lower inflammation throughout my body, and enjoy all the other health benefits I knew were possible with nutrient-dense foods.
So I stripped out of my ice creams the dairy, the sugar, the eggs, and the vegetable oils you might find in a store-bought ice cream. When you use healthy fat alternatives like I do there is no need to resort to unhealthy emulsifiers and stabilizers like the anti-freeze component of store-bought that keeps your ice cream from turning rock hard in your freezer.
In fact, I discovered that when you use healthy all-natural nutrient-dense alternative foods you won't even need an ice cream maker. A simple blender will suffice.
As a life-long advocate for healthy living, and someone who appreciates not having to spend time worrying about her skin, I think everyone should be able to enjoy healthy homemade ice creams. So I am giving away my top 50 healthy homemade ice cream recipes as a downloadable book. You only need to provide an email address so that I can make it available to you.
Here are the initial campaign stats for this ad:
|Ad #2 – Early In Campaign|
|Link Click Through Rate||5.4 percent|
|Cost Per Click||52 cents|
This new ad ran directly after the previous ad (AD #1) was discontinued.
In this case the initial click through rate is not so great. It is about what we were capable of with the previous ad towards the end of its campaign. Perhaps the mechanism for validating the claim has not managed to do the job of reducing skepticism in the reader. Or maybe the targeting is off.
The cost per click has also risen substantially.
Still, a click through rate of 5 percent or so is decent on Facebook.
So let’s sum up this high engagement approach which is loosely based on the Storymapping idea of ad writing, which uses storytelling to get across the message we want the reader to come away with.
Our ad-writing framework requires us to perform four main tasks:
Open with a scene in which people are speaking to each other. This is our attention-getter. It works because we like to eavesdrop on dialog.
Present a response to an apparent incongruity (seemingly unlikely claim) in our understanding of how something usually works. This suggests that perhaps we have remained in the dark about something and this is the reason we have not been able to make progress with our own efforts.
Provide a mechanism to resolve the incongruity, so the claim becomes credible. Preferably, use an authority figure to explain the mechanism.
Get the reader to take action by offering to provide a lot more information on how to implement the mechanism for themselves.
This is the SIMA approach to Storymapped ad writing.
OK, I made up the SIMA framework just now, so that you’d pay more attention to what I am telling you.
But I still believe if you keep the SIMA principles in mind when writing your next advertisement you might end up dramatically increasing your ad engagement.
That means higher click through rate, lower cost per click and per lead, and staggering success with the opposite sex.
OK, maybe not that last bit.
But as Mr. Meatloaf once said, two out of three ain’t bad.