3 Tips for Creating Powerful Facebook Ads, According to Meta‘s Director of Ads

Facebook has come a long way since its first rudimentary ads launched in 2007. What started as a way for small businesses to get in front of college students has evolved into one of the most sophisticated advertising platforms on the planet.

Over 10 million advertisers now use Facebook to reach a global audience of more than 2.9 billion monthly users. And those advertisers are driving real results, to the tune of $31.4 billion in ad revenue for Meta in Q3 2022 alone.

But while the scale and performance of Facebook ads have exploded, one thing hasn‘t changed – creating ads that cut through the noise and drive quality results is hard. With more advertisers than ever vying for attention in the News Feed, costs are rising and ROAS is harder to come by.

So how can you craft Facebook ads that make an impact in 2023? We went straight to the source for answers. Sitting down with Meta‘s Director of Ads, we got the lowdown on three must-know strategies for advertisers in the year ahead.

1. Keep It Simple (Especially When Starting Out)

One of the biggest mistakes new Facebook advertisers make is trying to do too much at once. With so many campaign objectives, ad formats, targeting options and placements available, it‘s tempting to go wild and build massively complex campaigns right out of the gate.

But as Meta‘s Ads Director explains, that‘s a fast track to mediocre results:

"One challenge I‘ve seen with new Facebook Ads users is that they see the numerous capabilities we have in our Ads Manager, and without fully understanding how everything works, they try to play with everything. As a result, they end up wasting money because they‘re either not being targeted enough, or they‘re using the wrong capabilities."

Instead of going for an overly complicated, jack-of-all-trades approach, Meta suggests starting simple:

  1. Pick a single, clear campaign objective
  2. Experiment with 1-2 basic ad formats (single image or video)
  3. Target a refined, relevant audience
  4. Focus spend on a core set of placements

By honing in on what matters most, you give yourself a much better shot at crafting ads that resonate and drive action. You also set yourself up to learn what works so you can layer on additional elements strategically.

And the data backs this up. A 2020 study found that single image ads have a 143% higher conversion rate than other formats on Facebook. They also tend to be the most affordable.

Facebook ad with single image
Example of a simple, effective single image ad from Blue Apron

As you get more comfortable with the platform and start seeing positive ROAS, then you can venture into more advanced formats, targeting and bidding strategies. But initially, simplicity is your friend.

2. Get to Know Your Audience Inside and Out

Facebook is a fundamentally user-centric platform. The goal of the News Feed is to show people content they care about – including ads. So if you want your ads to perform, you need to create hyper-relevant experiences for specific audiences.

As Meta‘s Director of Ads puts it, "You must understand the audience you‘re going to target — in other words, who is most likely to become a consumer."

But it‘s not just about picking the right audience from the start. It‘s about continually refining that audience as you learn more. Take this example he shared:

"Perhaps you sell baby strollers. But beyond that, you have certain characteristics that pertain to your target audience — maybe it‘s a higher-income market, or parents who are very mobile and need a lightweight stroller to take on trips.

In the beginning, you may have a cohort of ten different kinds of profiles who might buy your stroller. But, over time, you‘re going to see that 20% of those audiences are the ones who are most likely to purchase your product."

There are a few key ways to ensure your Facebook ads are reaching the right folks:

Start with your business data: Use a Facebook Pixel or SDK to build audiences of your website visitors, app users and existing customers. These people already know your brand, making them prime targets.

Layer on demographic and psychographic criteria: Define your target market by age, gender, location, interests, behaviors and more. Get as specific as possible while still keeping scale.

Let Facebook‘s AI lend a hand: Tap into tools like Lookalike Audiences to find new prospects that share characteristics with your top customers. Or use Advantage Detailed Targeting to let the algorithm suggest high-potential segments.

Measure and refine as you go: Place the Meta Pixel on your site and set up offline conversion tracking to close the loop between ad impressions and real business results. Then use this data to focus on the audiences driving the most value.

When you nail your targeting, magic happens. Suddenly your ads aren‘t just shown to anyone – they‘re reaching people with a genuine affinity for and interest in your brand and products.

And this relevance translates directly to results. A Nielsen study found that ad campaigns optimized for reach score 121% higher on ROI than those optimized for views or clicks.

Facebook ad targeting options
Some of Facebook‘s many audience targeting capabilities

3. Treat Creative As Your Top Differentiator

As important as simplicity and targeting are, even a perfectly structured campaign will fail if the creative falls flat. Your visuals and copy are the heart of your ads, grabbing attention and compelling action.

In Meta‘s opinion, standout creative is what separates good Facebook advertisers from great ones:

"One of the first things users notice and react to is going to be your creative, so it‘s important you pay attention to how you‘re designing your ad."

Their research shows that creative quality accounts for 56% of sales lift in brand campaigns and 67% in performance campaigns. In other words, strong creative doesn‘t just look nice – it directly drives ROAS.

So what does scroll-stopping Facebook ad creative look like in 2023? A few key characteristics:

  • Attention-grabbing visuals that use bold colors and imagery
  • Short, punchy copy focused on benefits over features
  • A clear, compelling call-to-action that inspires immediate response
  • Authentic, relatable content that resonates emotionally
  • Formats tailored to key placements (i.e. vertical video for Stories)

Most importantly, your creative should be unmistakably on-brand. Use your distinct brand voice, visual identity and value props to create cohesive experiences from first impression to final conversion.

According to a Facebook-commissioned study, 71% of people say they prefer to buy from brands they recognize. And consistent presentation of a brand across all touchpoints can increase revenue by up to 23%.

Example of good Facebook ad creative
Lululemon‘s ads feature bright, active lifestyle imagery and clear CTAs

To ensure your creative is always improving, Meta recommends a robust testing program. Use Facebook‘s built-in A/B testing or experiment with dynamic creative to find winning combinations. And be fearless in tossing out low performers and trying new concepts.

The brands seeing the most success on Facebook – from disruptive DTC players to global giants – are the ones putting creative at the center of their strategy and investing accordingly. Many are even bringing content production in-house for maximum agility.

No matter what your creative resources look like, it‘s clear prioritization pays off when it comes to Facebook ad design and copy. Get that right and you‘ll be well on your way to high-impact campaigns.

The Takeaway

Building effective Facebook ads isn‘t easy, but it‘s far from impossible. By heeding this battle-tested advice direct from Meta‘s Ads Director – keep it simple, know your audience and bet on creative – you can craft campaigns that cut through the clutter and deliver real business value.

Of course, even the most perfectly optimized ads will need to evolve along with the Facebook platform and user behaviors. What works today may not work next year, next month or even next week.

The key is committing to constant learning and experimentation. Stay on top of the latest creative trends, targeting capabilities and success stories. And don‘t be afraid to take calculated risks in pursuit of outsized returns.

With over 2.9 billion people waiting to be reached and engaged on Facebook, the opportunity is enormous for savvy advertisers. Now‘s the time to put these proven strategies into action and make 2023 a banner year for your Facebook ads.