Facebook’s marketing page – one of Facebook‘s own resources to provide help to marketers so that they can get the most out of the platform for their brands – has released a guide for spreading a brand’s message through advertisements and sponsored stories from page posts.
There are currently six types of page posts that can be turned into an ad or a sponsored story - video, photo, link, question, event, and text. Here are the tactical best practices suggested by Facebook Marketing, for each of these:
- Videos should be 15-30 seconds long for maximum engagement, even though content up to 3 minutes is allowed. Use your strongest content within the first few seconds to compel people to keep watching.
- Include an eye-catching and action-oriented thumbnail, but ensure that the image relates to the video content and to your brand, and is recognisable and understandable to the audience. Avoid images that are text-heavy.
- Don’t tell people to watch your commercial, instead sell them on the video.
- The text in the body copy should not be more than 90 characters, as anything above that will be truncated.
- Some bad examples are showcased in the image below, where the text is either too long, or not relevant to the ad, or the thumbnail is too text-heavy and does not indicate what the video is about.
- Minimum photo size should be 168 x 128 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio should be maintained. Use high-resolution pictures.
- Host all your photos on Facebook. Do not use third-party websites.
- Photos should be eye-catching. However, avoid images that can be used as stand-alone ads. The photo should be used to complement the messaging in the post’s text, not replace it.
- Critical information should be given in the first 90 characters of the text, as the remaining is truncated. To use a URL in the text of post, place the link at the end of the 90 characters that will appear in the ad.
- Photos with text in them are perceived as inauthentic and impersonal. Instead of introducing text in your images, choose photos that send a message or tell a story on their own without words.
- Photos should include real people and real things. The most engaging content on Facebook is content which people can relate to, and which triggers a compelling emotion.
- Use your brand logo sparingly. Since it is already used as the profile picture on most brand pages, it shouldn’t take up more than 20% of any photo.
- Use open graph tags to control how link attachments render. Proper use of these tags can make a huge difference in customising the look of your post.
- Don’t include the URL in the text of your post.
- The body copy should not be more than 90 characters, and the link thumbnail image should be 75 x 75 pixels.
- Ensure that your questions are relevant for your brand. Don’t ask generic questions that are not unique to your brand.
- Only check the ‘allow anyone to add options’ box if you want to allow user-generated responses which will be beneficial for you, for instance, in gathering product ideas or feedback.
- When asking a quiz question, such as ‘In what year was our company founded?’, keep in mind that people will want to know the right answer, so be sure to inform them where/when the correct answer can be found.
- Don’t have answer options that are too specific or niche, as they may limit votes and organic activity. Do include an option that requires no background knowledge, so that even a person who is not familiar with your brand can vote.
- The goal of a question is to strike up conversations about your brand. Tie your question back to a greater brand initiative, for example, post a question after you post a video or photo, to gather feedback.
- The image below depicts some good examples. The questions are clear, concise and relevant to the brand; and good use has been made of the answer options.
- Use event ads for events that take place offline, or for online events that have a specific time at which people should be there.
- Avoid using events ads if your event spans a long time.
- Include a date and time for your event prominently, and an image. Preferred thumbnail image dimensions are 75 x 75 pixels.
- Body text copy should be within 90 characters, anything further will be truncated.
- Use this type of post/ad to make simple announcements to a targeted audience.
- Ensure that your message is unique, and relevant to your brand. Do not use generic messages that could be used by any brand.
- Make your message memorable. Check whether the message is strong enough without a supporting image, video or link.
- Body text copy should be within 150 characters, anything further will be truncated.
The guide also includes a final checklist of things to keep an eye on when publishing an ad:
The report can be read in its entirety here. Do you resonate with the suggested best practices, or do you have any of your own? Share with us.