Like many of us, I’m susceptible to online advertising. I’ve noticed that the ad unit I click on the most is the Facebook News Feed ad. News Feed ads feels more like a friend’s post or fun content to browse, rather than a traditional advertisement encouraging me to buy a product or use a service.

The Facebook Exchange lets advertisers serve across the Sidebar or Right Hand Side and/or the News Feed. It’s tempting to only run Sidebar ads because they appear on several pages and the CPMs are so low. Every advertiser should consider opportunity when running News Feed versus Sidebar ads. News Feed ads have high visibility because of their placement in a user’s timeline, and their larger size encourages advertisers to be creative with images and messaging. They capitalize on the “native ad” movement, which doesn’t distract the user but seeps into the user’s Facebook ad experience.

For advertisers who are new to the Facebook Exchange, or advertisers who are new to the Facebook News Feed, we’ve compiled a step-by-step list on how to launch effective Facebook News Feed ads and campaigns.

1) The Foundation

Make sure you create a Facebook Business Page. Connect with large groups of people, post relevant business content, and be discoverable on Facebook. A Facebook Business Page is necessary to launch Facebook News Feed ads.

2) Branding

Prepare your ad elements by thinking about how they represent your brand. Though News Feed ads serve direct-response advertisers by driving more qualified leads, they also take up a whole lot of real estate that provides an opportunity for more creative experimentation than other ad units.

a. Images

Experiment with several visually captivating images of your product or service, and of people positively interacting with your product or services. Take advantage of the human connection. Include images for both News Feed ad formats: 600×315 and 200×200. This will ensure maximum chances that your ad has a chance to enter and win ad auctions.

Here is a 200×200 News Feed ad that we ran for a Perfect Audience campaign. News Feed Ad

b. Messaging

Test both a long or short post message to see what speaks to your audience. Stress a clear call to action next to any promotions or discounts your company is offering. If you don’t have any existing promotions, then carefully craft your message about why your company is better than the competition.

Here is an ad from my personal News Feed that has a strong call to action mixed with a promotion, short effective text and to top it off, a fun colorful image. colorful image

c. Seasonal

Take advantage of holidays even if you’re not an e-commerce advertiser. Holidays give you the opportunity to be top of mind and be creative, while rotating in new ad units and fun messaging. This isn’t restricted to Q4, of course…Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day are all ripe for gift-buying, and Memorial Day, Independence Day, and even Labor Day are great for outdoor-oriented sales.

d. Logo

Remember that images in News Feed ads can only have 20% text. Include your logo or company name in the News Feed ad or in the image of the ad in a tasteful way, while still meeting Facebook’s requirements.

If you’re using Perfect Audience, you can find more information about how to create Facebook ads here.

e. Ad Fatigue

Think of your News Feed Ad as content and not a traditional advertisement. Users consume good content voraciously, so keep your News Feed ads fresh. Introduce new ads every 10 to 14 days. It’s not necessary to create something radically new and different, but making minor modifications to existing ad copy is necessary to keep users engaged with your brand via News Feed ads.

3) Audience

It’s almost time to launch your campaign. Consider the type of people you’d like to reach and the audiences you have compiled. Include your “All Visitors” list if this is a general branding or seasonal campaign, but target specific audiences who checked out particular pages or sections of your website with more tailored News Feed ads. This is why we tell you to have so many News Feed ads in your arsenal.

4) Measure Success

Too often, advertisers don’t implement conversion tracking to measure whether their News Feed ads and campaigns were successful or not. Measure conversions and optimize towards a CPA goal to drive qualified leads and generate a positive ROI.

5) Launch Time

Voila! You’re ready to test. Launch your campaign and check performance frequently. Put those beautiful News Feed ads to work.

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Anita Avram
Anita Avram works on strategic partnerships at Marin Software. She has a wealth of experience in partner acquisition and management, and digital advertising. Anita previously led the partnerships team at Perfect Audience, and before that, spent 5+ years on the Enterprise and AdWords Channel Sales organizations at Google. In her free time, Anita enjoys running with her dog, cooking and hosting events for the Young Professionals of San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter at @anitaavram.