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Mastering The Art of B2B Facebook Ads

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This book examines B2B Facebook Ads from 31 of world-class companies, and reviews each one. We hope you find it useful in writing your own Facebook Ads.

Published in: Marketing
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Mastering The Art of B2B Facebook Ads

  1. 1. - A PUBLICATION OF THE WILL MARLOW AGENCY - Facebook Ads for B2B Leaders Mastering Facebook Ads Learn to Recognize and Write Great Facebooks Ads
  2. 2. What Makes A Great Ad? A Guide for B2B Marketers Will Marlow Agency
  3. 3. The Principles of Advertising If you understand the fundamentals of ad writing, it doesn’t matter where the ad appears. My hero David Ogilvy, known as the father of modern advertising, wrote extensively on what makes great ads, and his guidance is still valid today, even if it is largely ignored, and we draw on his expertise heavily. My other hero, the fictional Don Draper, said that you should bathe yourself in ads if you want to be a great ad writer. This eBook is meant to help marketers become better ad writers by 1. highlighting Facebook Ads that work well, 2. highlighting Facebook Ads that are terrible, and 3. helping you consider lots of ads at once. This approach to teaching ad writing is premised on the belief that repetition breeds excellence. That is, if you are studying painting, you are better off spending six months paintings 100 portraits rather than six months trying to make one portrait perfect. We want you to look through these ads that follow to be able to make quick judgments on whether the ad is powerful. My hero David Ogilvy, known as the father of modern advertising, wrote extensively on what makes great ads, and his guidance is still valid today, even if it is largely ignored, and we draw on his expertise heavily. My other hero, the fictional Don Draper, said that you should bathe yourself in ads if you want to be a great ad writer.
  4. 4. And you should do so in the context of the following 9 questions, because as the great Tony Robbins says, the quality of your results is determined by the quality of your questions. You should think about the following questions as you are writing your own ads, and you should start by thinking about these questions in the context of the ads that follow. Finally, I want to point out that advertising in the digital arena is an eco-system. You are always competing for the attention of your audience, and you are not always competing against your direct competitors. It is critically important to understand that the following ads were drawn from only twopeople. This means that approximately 200 ads were in the Facebook Newsfeeds of two people. That is a lot of ads. I have tried to group the ads in a sensible way: i.e., ads for the New York Times are next to ads for the Wall Street Journal, and desktop ads are separated from mobile ads. But even though the Wall Street Journal is directly competing with the New York Times, it is also competing with Whirlpool, Dyson, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and IBM, all of whom are buying ads to reach the same people. It helps to remember that your ads need to stand out not only against your competitors, but against all other ads that are reaching the same individual. What follows are the questions you should consider when looking at the ads. I hope you find this exercise useful in becoming a more effective marketer. 1. Does the headline grab your attention? David Ogilvy said that when someone sees your ad, the headline will be read 80% more frequently than the lower body copy, and we believe that this is still true. If you make your headline more effective, you are going to have far better results than if you spend time dithering with the less-read subtext. Should. 2. Does the headline evoke a compelling emotion? Selling is not an entirely rational thing. If you are simply trying to state the facts, you are unlikely to stand out.
  5. 5. 3. Does the image grab your attention? Since the beginning of advertising, there has been a war between the art department and the copy department over which is more important. My own position is that you need to excel somewhere. You can’t make a great ad if you have mediocre copy and mediocre art. But you can make a great ad if you are excel only in one of the two areas 4. Does the image evoke a compelling emotion? Once your attention is grabbed, you need to be compelled to do something. We believe that the image should evoke an emotion of some type, just like the copy. 5. Does the ad hold your interest? 6. Does the ad appeal to your ego? 7. Does the ad appeal to your sense of greed? Or more nicely put, does it appeal to your “expectation of gain?” 8. Does the ad appeal to your sense of fear? It is important to note that “fear of loss” is significantly more motivational than anticipation of gains. Some studies show that the fear of losing $50 is more motivational than the expectation of gaining $500. 9. Does compel you to take an action, and is the action clear? The same ad does not need to hit all of these points. You can have a great ad that appeals to greed and not fear, for instance. But you can’t have a great ad that misses all of these points. And now that you know them, I encourage you to bathe yourself in the ads that follow and see how they measure up. Don’t forget that even the bad ads were likely approved by more than one professionally trained marketer, which should give you hope that there is plenty of room for you to be a leader in this industry. -Will Marlow
  6. 6. Analysis: Strong ad: plays on “anticipation of gain” – get $300 toward accomplishing a goal. However, it should be noted that “fear of loss” is generally more effective. People are more motivated by a fear of losing $50 than by the possibility of gaining $500. Still, good job to Google for providing a compelling incentive.
  7. 7. Analysis: Unlike the previous page which showed a strong ad from Google, this is a weak ad from Bing. At best, this is an “awareness” ad – it is attempting to motivate via fear, but it fails because the fear is completely ill-defined: anyone “at risk” of missing the 30% of searchers who use Bing is already missing them, and has lived with the consequences of this risk for a long time. Fear needs to be real in order to be credible in an ad. Grade: F.
  8. 8. Analysis: This is slightly better than the previous Bing Ad – it plays on the “anticipation of gain” with the $100 ad credit, and it gives a meaningful size of opportunity by highlighting the 56M searchers in their network – much better than the other ad that highlights “30% of searchers” which is a meaningless number – 30% could be a lot or a little depending on how you define it. Grade: B
  9. 9. Analysis: Another terrible ad – this is essentially an informational or awareness play at best. We see these a lot: they come from marketers who think that all a consumer needs is more information about their product – then they’ll buy! Alas, this is not effective. This ad gets an F. Grade: F.
  10. 10. Analysis: We are not fans of this ad – it is not an “F” because it uses a proven “click-bait” headline to attract the target audience: people interested in cloud trends. But we can’t give this ad above a “C” due to the absence of a compelling reason for downloading the report. It should have said something like, “The Top Ten Cloud Trends for 2017” that will change the way you do business” – playing on fear of the unknown and relevance to their life. Grade: C.
  11. 11. Analysis: This is a strong ad – it may not play on greed or fear, but it does intrigue people into seeing data visualizations that changed history, which can play on a desire to change history if targeted at the right group of people – those who are actively creating data visualizations. Grade: B
  12. 12. Analysis: This is another bad ad. It mixes fear + gain, but it fails to execute on either approach. The hero image orders the audience to “delight their customers every time” without providing any real information, and the description stokes fear by saying that businesses are failing at marketing, but doesn’t finish the thought. This ad should be rewritten as: “9/10 businesses are failing at digital marketing. Read this ebook to avoid ending up like one of them.” Grade: F-
  13. 13. Analysis: This is an outstanding ad: everyone hates meetings, and avoiding 25% of your meetings is a super tangible benefit. On top of that, they get points for using humor in a B2B ad, which is rarely done. Grade: A+
  14. 14. Analysis: This ad is another hohum B2B ad – where is the benefit? Where is the gain? Where the fear of loss? The benefit (reaching new audiences and re-engaging followers) is compelling if you believe it, and if you’re already interested, but it would work better if it said something like: “We found that making just one change can lead to an average uptick of 124% in ROI on social media marketing. Learn how.” Grade: C+
  15. 15. Analysis: This is a completely terrible ad – written by insiders, for insiders. It asks the intriguing question: is there any difference among the dozens of BI tools out there? Of course there is, but who cares? No one, unless you phrase the question differently. Such as: “Picking the right BI tool can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Good thing we made a free BI comparison guide just for you.” Grade: F
  16. 16. Analysis: I want to give this ad an A+, because I love Salesforce.com as a company, but I just can’t do it. This ad is too confusing: it talks about mapping out marketing, then planning a customer journey, and the benefit statement is muddled: “70% of top marketers say customer journeys lead to revenue growth.” That’s a meaningless statement: who are “top” marketers? WTF is a customer journey? Why do I care what marketers “say”? Grade: F
  17. 17. Analysis: This is another bad ad, which is painful for me to say, because I love salesforce.com as a company. This ad needs to be more direct, as in: “Find out why 70% of marketers believe that “customer journeys” are leading them to more revenue.” Grade: F
  18. 18. Analysis: This could be a great ad, but it’s not. Too unclear. Unless I read the fine print, I won’t know that this is a landing page benchmark report, and that lack of clarity makes it all less compelling – the general “Conversion Benchmark Report” is simply not specific enough to entice me. It should say: “You can finally find out if your landing pages are performing better or worse than your competitors.” Grade: F
  19. 19. Analysis: I’m really getting sick of looking at terrible ads. As much as I want to like it, the message in the ad below is muddled, and again, no benefit statement. It also seems like they could go a humorous angle with something like this, as in: “Does Your LinkedIn Profile Have B.O.? Clean yourself up with our new LinkedIn Professional Profile Kit.” I often tell clients: I’ll test any message, and I’d love to test their boring ad below against a “B.O.” version. Grade: D
  20. 20. Analysis: I admit that I’m very biased here. First, I can’t believe that the US Postal Service could produce a good ad (which they didn’t) and I don’t care about millennial stereotypes regarding ROI, so I have no incentive to click on the ad below. They should have been direct: “Find out the shockingly high ROI of Direct mail [free report].” And if I ran their ads, I would A/B test it against “You’ll be shocked to learn the ROI of Direct mail in 2017 [Free Study].” Grade: F
  21. 21. Analysis: This is a reasonable ad: beautiful imagery of a conference room that you could use, a good description of amenities, but still lacking an incentive. Scheduling a tour? That’s an imposition, an inconvenience. They could at least offer some benefit, as in: “Schedule A Tour (The Freshly Brewed Coffee Will Be On Us)”. Grade: F
  22. 22. Analysis: This ad is also terrible – no benefit, no incentive, no reason to click. Instead of the flat line “Commercial Real Estate Jobs” they could at least say “The Most Rewarding Jobs In Commercial Real Estate.” Grade: F
  23. 23. Analysis: Finally, a great ad from salesforce.com. I love their eye- catching statistics, and even though they don’t have a tangible benefit, they go better with an intangible: countless high-fives. Grade: A+
  24. 24. Analysis: This is all feature, and no benefit. They should say: “Still using spreadsheets? After reading this, you’ll agree that you’ve been flushing money down the toilet.” Grade: F
  25. 25. Analysis: This feels like the most common B2B ad. Nothing but descriptive text. This one below is begging for FOMO, and should be re-written as: “Why Everyone Is Taking BI To The Cloud.” Grade: C
  26. 26. Analysis: This is an OK ad. As a B2B marketer, it is intriguing to see wonder what the 3 main challenges are, and I’m a big fan of the “Complete Guide” incentives. Grade: B+
  27. 27. Analysis: This ad is identical to the one on the previous page – worth seeing that their A/B test is purely on the visual, as everything else is the same. Grade: B+
  28. 28. Analysis: I would change 2 things about this ad: make the “increase sales” line hard hitting by adding a #, as in “Increase Sales 2x,” and I’d eliminate a bunch of words elsewhere – lots of wasted verbage. Grade: C
  29. 29. Analysis: Finally, another good one. Huge benefit statement, meaningfully focused. Also, they hit the “ease of use” angle well. It’s a little odd that the imagery is so terrible. Grade: A-
  30. 30. Analysis: This is pretty good – there’s a clear statement of value given the promise of quick information. Moz also projects confidence in their ability to monetize traffic, given the lack of a CTA. Grade: A-
  31. 31. Analysis: This is better than the IBM desktop ad from above. It is clearly written, and they hint at a benefit with “more conversions.” If they pushed that benefit further I would bump them a letter grade. Grade: B-
  32. 32. Analysis: This is an example of an ad that could be great with the right Facebook targeting: if you hit an audience with this problem, a “Dummies” guide communicates a nice time-to-value incentive. Grade: B
  33. 33. Analysis: Who expected a good ad from Microsoft? Not me, so no surprise here. Honestly, I have no idea what they are trying to sell with this ad below. Grade: F- - -
  34. 34. Analysis: I have to give WordStream credit here: the benefit is as clear as can be, as long as you know what a bid is, which is a targeting issue. Grade: A
  35. 35. Analysis: This is a terrible ad, because they mix “Maximize Potential Deductions” with “Save 60%” With “Stay Organized.” My advice to whoever wrote this ad: pick a knife, then plunge it hilt-deep. Grade: F
  36. 36. Analysis: This is a pretty good one – it’s a real “free ice cream for everyone” ad. This is one of those messages that sounds great, but rarely drive sales. Still, hard to argue with trying it.
  37. 37. Need more? We do two things: run data-driven marketing campaigns, and teach people how to run data-driven marketing campaigns. Email us for more.

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