Facebook Ad Creative: Complete Guide to Winning Creative (With Examples)

Facebook Ad Creative: Complete Guide to Winning Creative (With Examples)

Once upon a time, there was a passionate marketer intrigued by the potential of Facebook ads; they set out on a journey to unlock the secrets of effective Facebook marketing. They quickly realized that no matter how many media buying tactics or trends they tried, the real key to unlocking groundbreaking performance marketing was the ad creative itself. This article is a complete guide to Facebook ad creative, what it is, and how you can build actionable workflows to unlock performance at scale.

man sitting in facebook ad creative studio
30 sec summary icon
30 Second Summary
  • Facebook ad creative is the visual component of an ad seen by users on the platform.
  • Ad creative is becoming increasingly important for the success of Facebook ad campaigns.
  • The iOS 14 update has limited Facebook's access to user data, making ad creative even more crucial.
  • Video ads are popular on Facebook and allow for compelling storytelling.
  • User-generated content (UGC) ads are a hot trend in 2023.
  • To create effective Facebook ads, define your target audience, find creative inspiration, and write a detailed ad creative brief.
  • Leveraging social trends and analyzing competitors' ads can help improve the performance of Facebook ad creatives.

What is Facebook Ad Creative?

Simply, a Facebook ad creative is what you see with your eyes. Whether it is a video ad, image, gif our carousel it is the visual being presented to social media users while they scroll through the platform.

To the rest of us, we know it as a pesky ad we are being served when trying to creep our high school crush to see what they are up to.

Tactically in your Facebook ads manager, your ad creative is at the most granular level sitting within Ad Campaigns and Ad Sets.

Traditionally the campaign is the highest level holding your ad budget; within that is an Ad Set that is usually segmented by your targeting from location to audience interests and more.

Increasing in the digital advertising space, there has been less focus on the Ad Campaign and Ad Sets and more on the creative; in this article, we will break down why that is and how you can become an expert on creating ads that drive growth and increase brand awareness.

Why is your ad creative so crucial in 2023?

There is more mullah spent on Facebook ads (Aka Meta Ads) than on any other social media platform, which is why it works!

For years people have been running around building complex media buying tactics and strategies, but the tables are turning. Much like traditional advertising mediums such as TV and Radio, the performance of your Facebook ad campaigns is becoming increasingly reliant on the ad creative itself.

Why is ad creative becoming more critical?

Firstly, as these ad platforms become more self-reliant, enabled by AI, complex account structures with hyper-interest targeting are not performing as well as simple setups where the media buyer spends more time testing creative. Many have said, "Facebook ads manager is just becoming a black box where we throw in creatives."

iOS 14 Means creative matters more than ever!

Another reason is that due to the iOS 14 update, Facebook cannot act on the wealth of data it once had.

Many hyper-targeted audiences on Facebook are now missing leading to a new tactic people are calling "Targeting with your creative," meaning that creative is your new targeting weapon.

The Anatomy of a Facebook Ad

Facebook ad creative example
Elements of a Facebook Ad Creative

Media (Image/Video Ads)

One of the easiest ways to display what most refer to as "Facebook ad creative" is this side-by-side comparison. You will see that these are identical at the top and bottom of the ad, but the image is different.

In this case, the brand is most likely split-testing this creative to see which performs best. It is important to note that split testing (A/B testing) is critical to being a successful Facebook media buyer allowing you to make iterations informed by creative data.

But other aspects are unique at the ad level.

Facebook Ad Copy

Facebook ad copy, otherwise known as ad text, appears directly under the brand name and avatar; this can be short, to the point, or quite lengthy, where people expand on drawn-out details or customer stories.

As a consumer, you will also notice that some mobile ads, specifically those on Instagram stories, will not show the ad copy.

Facebook Ad Headline and Call-to-Action

You will see text and a button under the image in the Facebook ad creatives above.

This is primarily real estate to specify the primary offer you are running and a button to take action.

An excellent way to think of this is a link description; what can the user expect to see after clicking on your ad?

Creative Call-To-Action Options

You have a few options for the CTA button, including Learn More, Shop Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Signup Now, and Watch Video.

The creative ad section is where you have the least constraints and can let your creativity run wild. Now let's review the most popular formats and ad styles you can use to stand out.

The Most Popular Ad Formats on Facebook

Video Ads

Although they sometimes lead to a higher CPM for your Facebook ads, video advertisements are certainly the most popular format as they let you tell a compelling story through live-action footage, voiceover, or even animation.

Here is a Facebook ad example from Magic Spoon. This ad would be known as a mash-up where they start with a visually compelling hook to grab the user's attention, followed up by a customer story and, finally, animation for the call to action.

For the story section of the ad, you will notice it is very organic-feeling footage from a customer.

What to know about using UGC ads on Facebook

In 2023 one of the hottest Facebook ad formats is UGC (otherwise known as user-generated content). Stemming from customers organically reviewing and producing content for brands, user-generated content has become an entire industry in itself.

If you want to scale up this strategy, you will most likely want to engage an external partner or agency like Insense to help you create ads at scale.

Single Image Ads

Behind Facebook video ads, single-image ads are the second most popular format.

Being relatively self-explanatory, a single-image ad is just a photo. This could be a lifestyle photo, product shot, or illustrated image made by a graphic designer.

The main variable you have control of as a Facebook advertiser is the aspect ratio, meaning the shape and size of the image.

Before running your single image ad, ensure it looks good anywhere on Facebook, including the right column placement, which many forget about.

Can image ads outperform video ads?

You know that they say, "A picture tells a thousand words". On the creative side of product ads, be sure to think about the ad content to try and resonate with the right audience. A striking image can often be more compelling and requires less mental energy for the audience to consume. In this Facebook ad example, you will notice........

{embed single image ad}

Use time-tested copywriting on your images

Personally, I'm a sucker for old vintage advertising. When advertisers were constrained by simple print advertising, they often did more with less. They were clear, concise, and got straight to the point.

When you are thinking about your image ads, it is a great practice to look at some of the best ads before our time to see you can apply the same practices to your ads in modern times.

The Facebook Carousel Ads

Ads you have most likely seen across all meta-advertising platforms is carousel ads. The benefit of using carousels is that it allows you to showcase multiple images (or video ads) in a single ad placement.

This can be a useful format for showing a product's transformation or a compelling story by using multiple images or slides.

Facebook Carousel ad example - Source

Carousels & DPA Ads on Facebook

Carousel ads are also an incredibly popular Facebook ad format when running DPAs, otherwise known as ads collection ads where the actual image is pulled automatically from your online store.

For brands with multiple SKUs, this is a very efficient way to display your wide product offering without manually making new ad creatives for each product.

3 Steps to Creating Winning Facebook Ad Campaigns

Now that you are up to speed on the tactics and tools that Facebook gives you to get in front of people's eyeballs, it's time to turn our attention to making compelling Facebook ads that drive your desired outcome, achieving success for your brand.

Step 1: Define the target audience for your product or service

Defining your target audience for the first time involves a practical process that helps you understand your ideal customers.

Start by conducting market research to gather insights into demographics and psychographics.

Analyze data to identify critical characteristics and segment your audience to help you develop detailed buyer personas that represent different customer segments; by the end of this exercise, you should be incredibly clear on their;

  • Personal or Business Needs
  • Preferences for adjacent products or services
  • Pain points that your product could solve.

Validating your audience research

Refine and validate these personas through testing and data analysis. Continuously monitor and update your understanding of your ad category and target audience as you gain more information.

This iterative approach ensures you have a solid foundation to create effective Facebook ads and you might even be surprised to discover niche groups within unexpected markets that align closely with your brand.

Step 2: Find Stylistic Creative Inspiration for your Facebook Ad

If you are starting, taking inspiration from the best Facebook ads is a strategy you will certainly want to implement.

From copywriting to ad design, looking at Facebook ad examples in your space can help spark creative ideas that you can apply to your own product or service.

Where to find Facebook Ad Inspiration?

Finding a collection of top-tier Facebook ad inspiration can be a challenging task to get started.

Although endless fantastic ad creatives are being run at any given time, finding it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. That is where a curated ad spy tool comes into play.

Using the Foreplay Facebook Ad Examples Library

Foreplay offers the most extensive community-curated ad library in the world.

Essentially it is a real-time feed of Facebook ad inspiration with over 500k winning ads across over 70k brands being saved by some of the top ad creative experts in the space.

facebook ad exaple library
Ad Example Library by Foreplay

Another key feature to finding the most relevant Facebook ad examples in less time is the AI Search function. This allows you to search by a product type or keyword and instantly get served the best ad creative in seconds.

You can also save these ads to boards for reference later.

Signup for Foreplay to start searching winning facebook ad creatives

Step 3: Write a detailed ad creative brief, or produce it yourself

Phew, you are almost there. Now that you have defined your target audience and some stunning Facebook and Instagram ads to draw inspiration from, there is only one more step to making your ad: an ad creative brief.

A creative brief is simply a document containing all the information and assets that a creator or video editor might need to execute your vision.

Briefs can range from very vague to incredibly detailed and dynamic; whatever you choose, the most important details to include in your creative brief are;

  • Brand name
  • Logo & colors
  • Brand guidelines
  • Brand assets
  • Script or Storyboard

Taking your ad creative brief to the next level

If you are looking to save a ton of time while building a detailed brief to avoid endless revisions with a creator, Foreplay created this entire workflow with their AI Brief & Storyboarding platform.

Facebook Ad Brief Platform

This allows you to modularly define every detail in your new Facebook ad creative, link directly to the Facebook ad creatives used as inspiration, and even manage the status of your project.

Click here for a more detailed guide on the 5 steps to crafting the perfect ad creative brief.

How to produce Facebook ad creatives yourself

Like many digital marketers, if you are a one-man show and plan on producing a video ad or image on your own, you might not need to create a brief; the marketing genius is in your head!

Depending on your experience with video editing or graphic design will inform what platform you use to create your ad.

Some of our favorites include Canva for basic graphic design, CapCut for native-feeling mobile ads, or a template library like CreativeOS for single-image ads.

Whatever tool you use, ensure you are not forgetting step number 1 and that you are speaking and resonating with the right audience.

Expert Tips to help your creative ad out-perform your competition

Facebook advertising is like war; because the ad platform is open, you constantly compete with competitors offering a similar product or service.

If you want to make your Facebook ad stand out, here are some expert tips for getting an out-sized return on your meta ad spend.

Identify trends, take action fast, and ride the wave

surfing a wave in excitemtn
Ride Social Trends in your Facebook Ads

Creating ads specifically around trends you see in the market is a great way to achieve outstanding performance and convince your target audience to buy from you.

When consumers are served advertisements based on social trends, several psychological triggers come into play. These triggers can influence their perceptions, emotions, and behaviors.

How trends affect the Performance of Facebook ad creatives

Social Proof

Humans are inherently social beings; we often look to others for cues on what is popular, desirable, or acceptable.

When an advertisement taps into a social trend, it provides a sense of social proof, suggesting that many people are already engaging with or endorsing it.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Social trend-based Facebook ads can evoke a fear of missing out.

They create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, implying that they will be left behind if the consumer doesn't act quickly.

Perceived Relevance

Consumers may perceive a Facebook ad as more relevant to their lives and interests when it reflects a current social trend.

Identity and Belonging

Advertisements that align with social trends tap into the motivations of wanting to express their identity and belong to specific social groups.

They highlight how adopting the trend aligns with the consumer's desired identity or the identity of a group they aspire to be part of.

This psychological trigger fosters a sense of belonging and encourages the consumer to engage with the advertised trend.

Emotional Connection

Consumers might associate trends with strong emotions, such as excitement, enthusiasm, or nostalgia.

Aligning your brand with positive emotions, the advertisement creates an emotional connection with the consumer.

This connection makes the trend more appealing and memorable, influencing the consumer's attitude toward purchasing the advertised product or service to deepen this emotional connection.

In summary, if you try and leverage trends in your Facebook advertising, it is important to choose trends that can convey Social Proof, FOMO, Perceived Relevance, Community Belonging, and Emotional connection.

Analyze your competitor's ads using Facebook Ad Library

Spying on your competitor's Facebook ad campaign is much easier than you might think. Due to privacy and transparency efforts, Facebook launched the Facebook Ad Library.

It is important to note that you can also use this tool as a quick way to view your brand's own ad creatives.

When analyzing competitors' Facebook ads using the Facebook Ad Library, focus on the following three key aspects:

Ad Messaging

Keep a close eye on the visual elements, such as images or videos, used in the ads. Analyze the ad copy, headlines, and call-to-action messages (even within the video ad).

Look for patterns or strategies that might be used to capture attention and make the consumer take action.

Frequency and Engagement

Observe how frequently your competitors are running their ads.

Take note of ads that have been running consistently over time, as this suggests their effectiveness.

Target Audience Insights

Examine the targeting options used by your competitors, including demographics, interests, and behaviours.

Identify any specific audience segments they are focusing on that have the potential to be a winning audience for your next Facebook ad campaign.

Trust the data and iterate on your findings

From there, you want to build a workflow so your team can create ads at scale. Facebook advertising is changing every day.

Trusting the data you gather and iterating based on your findings is essential. Here is how you can embrace data-driven decision-making to produce effective Facebook ads.

Using Creative Analytics Tools

Using specific creative analytics tools like Motion can enable you to surface insights much faster while increasing the speed at which you can comprehend the data with visual reports.

Validate Assumptions

Data allows you to move beyond assumptions and rely on concrete evidence. Use data to validate your creative ideas rather than relying solely on intuition or guesswork.

Identify Successful Patterns

By leveraging these insights, you can replicate and optimize what works, enhancing the effectiveness of your Facebook ads while cutting down on the time-testing ads that will never work.

Save Findings for Reference

Not every insight can be actioned at the moment of realization - save your findings for future reference. By documenting and organizing key data points, you create a repository of knowledge that informs your creative strategy moving forward.

Creative Facebook Ads to get inspiration from

As mentioned, Facebook ad creative examples are gold to performance marketers. With the appetite for new ad creative increasing daily, we can often feel creatively drained. A hyper-relevant Facebook ad example can get your creative juices flowing and inspire action among your team to produce more creatives.

To help you stumble upon some creative ad ideas, here are 3 unique Facebook ad styles and examples you get inspiration from while following Facebook ad creative best practices.

Ad Inspiration 1: Feature Point Out Ad

Ad Inspiration 2: Before/After Video Ad

Ad Inspiration 3: UGC Story Ad

Ad Creative terms you need to know

When working in the creative department of a marketing team, you will hear a lot of different terms and jargon being thrown around. Here is a quick crash course on terms you should be aware of.

Facebook Ad Creative Fatigue

Facebook ad creative fatigue is a term used to explain the situation where a specific video or image ad drops in performance over time.

Remember, Facebook users are just humans, so you might find that initially when you launch your Facebook ad, it works incredibly well, and soon after, you may ask yourself why performance is dropping.

Ad Creative Testing (A/B Testing)

Ad creative testing for Facebook ads involves systematically experimenting with different variations of visuals, copywriting, headlines, and formats to determine the most effective combination for engaging and converting the target audience.

As advertisers, it helps us understand which creative elements resonate best with their audience, optimize campaign performance, and make data-driven decisions.

Targeting with your Creative

Targeting with your creative in Facebook ads means tailoring your advertisements' content to resonate with your target audience, prioritizing it over in-platform audience targeting.

From here, Facebook's algorithm will automatically find the best people to serve your ad to rather than being constrained by your binary targeting in the platform.

Through audience research and persona development, you gain insights into your audience's demographics, interests, and pain points.

Aligning your ad creative with these insights, you craft visuals, copywriting, and messaging that directly address their needs and desires.

Dynamic Ad Creative

Dynamic creative refers to a feature that allows advertisers to automatically generate and deliver personalized ad variations to different target audiences.

By inputting multiple creative elements such as images, videos, headlines, and ad copy variations, Facebook's algorithm dynamically assembles combinations based on user preferences and behavior.

This allows you to deliver more tailored and relevant ads to different audience segments, optimizing engagement and campaign performance.

Dynamic creative maximizes the chances of delivering each viewer the most impactful and personalized ad experience.

Crucial in-platform metrics creative advertisers need to understand to improve their Facebook ad creatives

facebook media buyer analyzing ad metrics
Understanding your Creative Metrics

When you run Facebook ads there is visibility into endless metrics you can use to evaluate the performance of your Facebook ad campaign.

As creative strategists, here are the most relevant metrics, what they mean, and some ideas for improving them.

Hook Rate

The hook rate refers to the ability of your ad creative to capture your audience's attention and interest quickly.

A high hook rate indicates that your ad effectively grabs viewers, sparks curiosity, and entices them to engage further, driving better campaign performance. Here are some contributing factors to a good hook rate:

  • Compelling Visuals
  • Intriguing Headlines
  • Personalization and Relevance

Retention Rate

Unlike Hook Rate, the video retention rate measures the percentage of users who continue to engage with your brand or take desired actions after the initial interaction.

Retention rate gauges the ability to maintain and sustain user interest, driving long-term engagement and conversions. Here are some contributing factors to a good retention rate:

  • Compelling Storytelling
  • Clear Value Proposition
  • Ongoing Communication

You can also try sprinkling in hook-style compelling visuals or headlines in the middle of your ad to engage the audience to keep watching.

Relevance Score

A metric that indicates how relevant an ad is to the target audience. Facebook assigns a score based on feedback, ad performance, and user interactions.

Higher relevance scores generally lead to better ad delivery and performance. If you are consistently struggling with a low relevance score, here are some things you can improve in your Facebook ad creative:

  • New messaging and copywriting angles
  • Precise Audience Targeting
  • Compelling and Relevant Messaging
  • Clear Call-to-Action
  • High-Quality Visuals

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to change Facebook ad creative?

To change your Facebook ad creative, access Ads Manager, select the campaign and ad set, and edit the desired ad.

Modify the creative elements, such as images and text, review the changes, and publish. Monitor performance to optimize your campaign.

Q: Why isn't my video ad creative being approved by Facebook?

Facebook may not approve your video ad creative due to various reasons, such as violating advertising policies, containing prohibited content, or not meeting the technical requirements.

Be sure to read through all of the Facebook ad policies to ensure you publish ads within their guidelines.

Q: Where do I read comments on my Facebook ad?

Reading comments on your Facebook ads is a practice that many creative strategists use to gain access to the psyche of their prospective customers. To read comments on your Facebook ad;

  • Navigate to your Facebook Ads Manager
  • Under the "Campaigns" tab, select the specific ad campaign.
  • Click on the ad set
  • Choose the "Ad" section.
  • Scroll down to the ad preview, where you can view and respond to user comments.

Q: Do Facebook ads show on Instagram?

Yes, Facebook ads can be shown on Instagram. Since Facebook owns Instagram, advertisers have the option to run their ads on both platforms simultaneously.

By selecting Instagram as a placement option during ad creation in Facebook Ads Manager, your ads can reach users on both Facebook and Instagram.

Q: Should I use stock images in my Facebook ads?

Although it can seem like a shortcut to use a stock image in your Facebook ad, often, they lack authenticity.

Consider your target audience, the message you want to convey, and if custom or authentic visuals would better resonate with them. That being said, like anything in Facebook advertising, it's worth a test!

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Zachary Murray

Founder of

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