Facebook and Instagram Ads, Part 2: Words, CTAs and Smiles

Facebook and Instagram Ads, Part 2: Words, CTAs and Smiles

In a recent blog post, I discussed a Capture Higher Ed specialty — retargeting on Facebook and Instagram — and how the ad copy should attempt to sell the “click-through” not the product or service. Let’s pick back up with the conversation by looking at popular words to use in these social media ads. We also can review some effective Calls To Action (CTAs) and psychological devices that effect persuasion.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular word in a Facebook ad is “you.” Hearing this word, several parts of the brain’s posterior region light up. Other words that work are “free,” “new,” “now” and “more.”

In psychological terms, sentiment analysis of words affects an ad’s valence score, both in attraction (positive valence) or aversion (negative valence). Naturally, it makes sense to skew an ad toward positive words (“capable,” “win,” “breathtaking”), but negative words (“cruelty,” “war,” “hurting”) can also attract attention.

Calls To Action

Hootsuite, a platform for managing social media, recently analyzed CTAs and found the most popular to be “Learn More,” “Shop Now” and “Sign Up.”

But an ad can certainly use another CTA if it is relevant to the service. For example, “Visit Now” is clearly applicable to a university. That CTA should never land on a home page, but a specific landing page; Hootsuite’s analysis showed that 69 percent of these ads point to a landing page.

Smiling Works

On AdEspresso, Hootsuite’s Andrew Tate recently discussed seven psychological tricks to effect persuasion. The first, use faces — the brain activates its “fusiform face area” when we see them. Facial expressions can convey emotion, and science has demonstrated convincingly that emotions override rationality.

Positive emotions work well: faces plus happiness wins. But emotional appeal — inducing motivation to take action through vanity, fear, greed and so on — still stands with rational appeal, targeting the viewer’s logical and practical mind. Testimonials and claims work well here.

This brings up the point of mirror neurons — brain cells that stimulate in the viewer the emotional state they are observing. A smile begets a smile, as it were. Smiling ads work.

Look At The Colors

Colors are integral. The color red, in particular, catches attention. Xerox figured out that color increases a reader’s attention span and recall by 82 percent and makes an impression that is 39 percent more memorable. Color increases comprehension by as much as 73 percent and can improve brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

In fact, eBay found in a 2011 study that the lightness of an ad’s background is the most correlated feature to a click-through-rate.

These are just some of the things to consider when crafting ads for social media. Next week, when we continue the discussion, I’ll talk about other helpful factors like “social proof,” “social contagion” and “FOMO,” the fear of missing out.

Don’t you miss out on the conversation.

By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed