Four Tips for Writing Facebook Ads that Convert to Customers

Over the last several years, social media has exploded. If you’re thinking about promoting a product or service of any sort on a budget, it would behoove you to think about whether running ads on Facebook could help move you toward your sales goals. But before you jump to buying ads, do you know the key factors that will cause a Facebook user to click on your ad?

One of my more successful blogs (which I sadly haven’t updated in a while) is The Frugal Couple. For a while, I saw it as a vehicle to promote another online business of mine. (BTW, there’s a great post at Copyblogger that deals with the fact that to make money with a blog, you must think of it as a business.) I paid for ads on Facebook and was surprised by the results.

There are four things to keep in mind when creating an ad for a social media platform such as Facebook. Who you will target, what image(s) to show, your emotional connection, and the offer.


Facebook offers advertisers several filters to reach a group. The goal here is to get your audience to between 10,000 and 40,000 users and then to test, test, test.

In order to test, I ran several instances of the same ad, but targeted at different age ranges and at men and women.

Next, I targeted users who used phrases in the interest section of their profiles such as: playing with my kids, spending time with my husband, spending time with my children, etc.


Frugal Couple Ad LogoThe graphic was simple, but it was effective. I believe it clearly got the idea across that the site being promoted was about money for couples.

Emotional Positioning

The Ad Copy: “Become a Frugal Couple. Sign up for the free newsletter and start getting tips on living frugally and keeping your marriage healthy.”

It was a simple ad. There were two sentences in each ad. Each sentence told the user what to do. The main call to action (Sign up for the newsletter) was followed with the result the user could hope for if they signed up for the newsletter (keep your marriage healthy).

This appealed to users’ deep down desire to keep their marriage healthy (or in the case of some subscribers, to save their marriages from the dangerous paths they were on).


Although the stated offer was a free subscription to a newsletter, the real offer was to save readers’ marriages from turmoil caused by financial disagreements. Again, the offer was more than a newsletter. It was free information that would help the audience meet an emotional need.


At the time when I ran the ads, the average ad on Facebook had a click-through rate (CTR) of 0.04%. That’s 1 out of 2,500 ads shown.

Depending on the targeting, my ads had CTRs of 0.10% (1 out of 1,000) to 0.25% (1 out of 400). In addition, I converted about 20-25% of the clicks into subscribers. I was paying $0.20 per click on average, giving me a cost to create a newsletter subscriber of about $0.80 to $1.00.

My ads had CTRs that were 150% to 525% higher than the average ad. Needless to say, I was happy with the results.

What are you offering?

Not all offers need to meet an emotional need. As much as I dislike it, many advertisements are successful because they promise to meet a desire such as greed or lust, or they boost the ego of a consumer.

As you begin a campaign, think about who you want to target and what that group’s psychological needs are.

Have you created ads that have been less successful than you would have liked or expected? Or if you’ve had great success, let others know about that as well. What worked?

7 thoughts on “Four Tips for Writing Facebook Ads that Convert to Customers

  1. Steve,
    A few pointers:
    1) Focus on the benefits your customers will see.
    2) Test ads that speak to the viewer’s place in life. You should be able to narrow this down pretty well inside of Facebook.
    3) Test ads that target an identical demographic with different messages.
    4) Remember that gender targeting will be very important. Men and women seek fitness for very different reasons.

  2. Would you recommend making Pages for affiliate offers and then link the affiliate offer on the page, or directly link to the offer from the ad?

  3. @Funsocks, My guess would be that linking directly to an offer/site would be better, but I haven’t tested it. As a user myself, I abandon pages with lots of links rather than content, but I simply don’t know what most users would prefer.

    You can always test it to see, and I’d love to hear about the results.

  4. Great article, thanks for the info. I was in the middle of creating my first Facebook ad for my Contemporary Christian CD called Clean. I tried a few different angles and now, since reading this post am going to focus on the need of “feeling clean and whole from past failures and addictions” etc. My first run is targeted towards men, 30-50 who like “celebrate recovery” “teen challenge” “alcoholics anonymous” etc.
    My first attempt was simply “Hey check out my CD” with zero conversions. We’ll see if anything changes with the focus changing on what my audience can get out of the CD( hope for a new start) vs. what I can (money for my CD).
    Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *