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Everyone’s doing it these days.

There was nothing lewd or raunchy meant by that, so get your head out of the gutter, folks. We’re talking about ads on Facebook, which for a number of reasons, has become the norm for businesses marketing themselves on the website.

These days, it’s so easy for a company's ads to get lost in the abyss on Facebook. It’s the same old tale: Organic reach is down to nearly nothing and businesses are struggling to reach their current or future customers. If your ads aren’t well planned (from your organization’s goals for the ad to the design to the targeting) they will most likely be unsuccessful.

Download our free guide to creating successful Facebook ads here.

So, how does one prevail when the odds are stacked against them? Well, first there's the correct targeting. This means ensuring that your ads are reaching the appropriate group of Facebook users.

But beyond targeting, what makes a great Facebook ad? The obvious answer is that it brings the customers to the proverbial yard, but there are some ingredients that will help you create an ad that will get noticed:

1) Use compelling images that will appeal to your customer

Ever seen those ads with random stock images that have almost nothing to do with the product? Or an image so blasé that you just flew past it without taking notice? Compelling imagery makes people take notice. If they like the image, they may read more about your offer.

2) Make the offer worth your customer’s time of day

Do your customers love deals, sales, and freebies? They might not be so interested in a whitepaper. Do your clients crave tips? They might not be into a 50 percent off of everything ever sale. Knowing what your customer wants makes an offer worth looking over.

3) Great copy is your best friend

It’s pretty mind-blowing to see Facebook ads where it is so obvious that a campaign was hammered out and the actual ad says next to nothing about their brand or what they offer. How are people supposed to know they are into you if you aren’t nuts about them right back? Make it easy for them to fall in love with you by taking the time to be clear and remarkable in your ad.

Here are 17 Facebook ads that hit the mark and use the 3 ingredients to create captivating ads that will reel their dream customer in.

17 Examples of Inspiring Facebook Ads

1) Warby Parker

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Warby Parker uses richly descriptive language to bring their products to life. And the cool girl in the cool glasses doesn’t hurt, either. Makes you want to buy a pair of glasses, no?

2) George Takei and Apple

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Clever copy, check. Hilarious meme, check. This ad is so likable that it cries for action. Having a tongue-in-cheek way of promoting something through a celebrity is a creative tactic.

3) Airborne Health

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The copy is clear and warm and is also paired with a video. Videos are a hugely popular form of content: 70 percent of companies say video is better for conversion and 92 percent of mobile users will share video content.

4) Carter's

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Carter’s is actually the master of deals. They always have a sale and for someone with a rapidly growing toddler, their ads are irresistible. Look at the copy: “Last Day Sale.” The sense of urgency is an effective tactic.

5) The Consequence of Sound

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This ad has an obvious goal of generating page likes. My guess is they got it with their timely post about Robert Plant and the ripped up contract debacle. It also has a dynamic image. Plus, who doesn’t love Plant and Page?

6) OutboundEngine

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From the hypnotic swirl pattern in her hat to the message, this ad most definitely conveys that this brand will allow one to work or not work. Sometimes, an attractive image is all it takes to convey a brand message and entice a click!

7) Liz Benny

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This ad is attention-grabbing to the max: the colors are bright, there’s a CTA, the word “free” is everywhere and the copy is loaded with personality. There’s also the potential to make a six-figure income – always enticing.

8) Edgar

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On this ad, the text definitely pops and is well positioned-- it explains the product without being too revealing. Plus, they claim to be the “newest” social scheduling tool (early adopters, take note). The copy really speaks to small business owners who appreciate the value of social media marketing.

9) Club W

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Want an image that will grab the attention of potential customers? Give it an Instagram vibe. This detail shot has a vintage-feel with strong aesthetic appeal. Also, wine.

10) Amazon

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This ad presents a single, compelling deal with a deadline. It’s clean and easy to understand. It also has a button that makes it easy to shop the deal. Ease for your customers – nothing better.

11) Birchbox

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Want to appeal to prospective customers? Then include current customers in your ads for an authentic and engaging piece of content.

13) Try The World

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Want to build credibility? Include a review from a reputable and popular source (like the Huffington Post!)

14) NatureBox

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Their copy is deliciously enticing and you can find the word “free” mentioned 4 times throughout the ad. The image is, well, divine.

15) Vistaprint

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A great way to engage with your current customers and draw in more is to feature actual happy customers. It brings the brand down to earth. Vistaprint loves to do this and they do it effectively.

16) Cuff

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Selling a physical product? Take a page from the Cuff playbook. The image in their ad really displays the product and the copy really hones in on the benefits. Super effective.

17) Photojojo

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This ad accomplishes a couple of things: it highlights the product, allows people to like their Facebook page and lets you know what the brand is all about: Truly unique gifts and gear.

The Bottom Line

Worrying over whether you will see any ROI on your Facebook ads is definitely a reality for all of us, but it doesn’t have to be. Meticulous planning and plenty of brainstorming (paired with the right targeting, of course) is what you need. What are your favorite Facebook ads? Tell us in the comments!

free guide to facebook advertising  

  learn the science of successful facebook ads

Originally published Nov 21, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017