This week, we encountered 2 situations that related to critiquing Facebook Ads, which lead to this post…
- Discovering an Instagram account called “Which Ad Works”
- Listening to a Social Media Marketing Podcast with Zack Spunkler
How it played out
The Instagram account of “Which Ad Works” was shared in a Facebook group. The account profile reads: “This is my personal marketing scrapbook where I collect and review social media ads that show up on my feed.” The user posts examples of Facebook Ads she sees in her timeline and she critiques them in the Instagram comment. Members of the Facebook Group were raving about how cool it was to have an account to reference for creating their own Facebook Ads.
We will admit, initially, we thought: “why didn’t we think of that!?” We rushed over to follow & browse the Page. It quickly became apparent why the concept is flawed. Which, related back nicely to something Zack mentioned in his recent Social Media Marketing Podcast interview.
The Problem with “Which Ad Works” Critiquing Facebook Ads
The Instagram account appears to be a Personal Account – so there is no reference to the owner or their credentials to critique Facebook Ads. This was red flag number one. We do not believe everything we see on the internet, and we do not trust the opinions of anonymous people critiquing Facebook Ads.
Then, as we read through some of the comments written by the account holder, we quickly realized the process of critiquing Facebook Ads was seriously flawed. She is only looking at HER side of things. There is no way to adequately assess an ad’s effectiveness or success based only on what we see as members of a targeted audience.
In many of the reviews, she refers to the engagement on the post.
But engagement should never be the primary measure of success. Engagement does not pay the bills. It’s misguided to assume that because a post has many comments they must have also made a ton of sales. More often than not, we hear business perplexed over why they received a ton of likes and zero sales (often because they selected an improper objective).
Similarly, to comment that an ad was a “failure” because you do not see engagement is also flawed… it’s possible the ad was not looking for engagement, and also possible that the ad received a ton of Leads (if that was their goal).
Other things “Which Ad Works” points out frequently in critiquing Facebook Ads are opinions on Ad copy (text) and creative (photos/video). Again, these are moot critiques. Advertisers who are following best practices are always testing multiple creatives and/or copy. Drawing a conclusion from the point of view of a single ad by a single audience member should definitely be taken with a grain of salt.
*Note* This is not meant to be an attack on the user directly. This is an example only, and marketers should proceed with caution anytime someone is critiquing Facebook Ads is handled this way.
Zack Spunkler’s View on Critiquing Facebook Ads
As we browsed through that Instagram account, thinking the above-mentioned thoughts, the Social Media Marketing Podcast interviewing Zack Spunkler popped into our heads.
Paraphrasing, Zack had mentioned that he and his team test A LOT of ads. Which makes sense, as that is how you determine what works.
He also mentioned that he often noticed other people would run with some of his ideas. This also makes sense – you see something that a “big name” is doing and you assume it’s a good idea, so you create something similar.
The problem, Zack pointed out, is that when you receive your inspiration from a Facebook Ad, you never really know the true success of that Ad. Without insights into the “back end,” you don’t even know if that ad you emulated got the advertiser any results.
What is the takeaway?
We all want to create the best Facebook Ads possible. It’s human nature (or maybe marketer’s nature?!) to pay attention to the ads in our own timelines, and possibly even follow accounts like “What Ad Works” to keep up with the trends.
The danger in this is that we can’t effectively draw conclusions about what is working this way. In order to know what is working, we would need all-access into the back-end of that Ad Account. Understanding what the objective is, who they are targeting, what they are testing, and how their audience is responding. Without all of that information, we will never really know.
So, by all means, keep up with the trends – without neglecting to keep up with the best practices as well.
And before you pass judgment based on an ad that you have seen… before you assume that an ad is effective for someone else and therefore it’d be a good strategy for you… test, test, test.
Meg is the Founder and CEO of EIEIO Marketing. Originally from Rochester, NY, she now lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and their 4 daughters. Meg has been involved with marketing to moms for over 7 years. She also has experience working for Facebook within their Marketing Expert Program. When Meg is not managing ads for clients, teaching digital marketing strategy, or furthering her own professional development – she enjoys getting the family out of the house to explore a variety of fun and educational adventures. After the kids are in bed, Meg enjoys binge watching Netflix, fantasy football, and a glass of wine. Learn more about EIEIO Marketing.