Facebook Ads and "The Sale Before the Sale"

Even more than most ads, Facebook Ads are tasked not so much with making the sale, but in making “the sale before the sale.”

In other words, your Facebook ads have to sell the prospect on giving you an audience.  And this comes in two stages, as well:

  • Stage 1: Sell the prospect on halting their otherwise satisfying experience browsing their newsfeed to actually pay attention to your ad long enough to actual read it.
  • Stage 2: Sell the prospect on the benefit of clicking through – sell them on the actual offer beeing made.

Eye catching ads with crappy offers will get looked at and maybe even read, but won’t generate any clicks.  And ads with great offers but poor images and headlines will never get the attention they need, let alone the clicks. So you have to have both.  And that’s where this ad for Yellow Sky Actions falls short:

If you’re a professional photographer, this offer will likely come across as compelling. Giving away valuable, download-it-now software plug-ins is a great offer. But the picture and the headline are severaly lacking.

First, if you have a great offer like this, why bury it in the body copy?  Why not put out in the headline, like this:

  • Like Us for Free Photoshop Actions
  • 4 Free Photoshop Actions!

Either one of those front-lines the free offer and doesn’t depend on any (likely non-existent) brand familiarity, as the current headline does.

But as they say in Missouri: show me.  If you’re selling Photoshop actions and your ad features an image, why not show a before and after?  Maybe something like this:

Now, I’d prefer the “Before and After” photos look a bit more dramatically different, but you get the picture (pun intended) — the very format invites further inspection.  Before and After’s grab more attention because prospects are inclined to read the “before and after” caption for the photos, and also to note the differences between the photos.  That’s added attention practically guaranteed to bleed over to the headline.

Do you see now why the headline should contain the offer in an ad like this? Putting it there dramatically improves the ad’s ability to make that first sale. And by improving the picture AND the ad, you end up with more people giving Yellow Sky Actions an “audience” for their pitch than with the ad they’re currently running.

So are your creating Facebook ads capable of making that first sale? Or are you counting on a great offer to get itself read without any additional help from your image and headline?