How to Measure, Build & Inspire Creative Facebook Ads: Your Complete Ecommerce Toolkit with 90 Examples + 30 Types

Common Thread Collective

by Common Thread Collective

May. 27 2021

Inspiration doesn’t always hit when you need it.

Creator’s block is real. Worse, when it comes to advertising, that block easily turns from frustration into low-ROAS, bottomline-crushing burnout.

The demand for creative Facebook ads isn’t going anywhere. Increased competition in a post-COVID landscape and decreased data thanks to iOS 14.5 have only intensified its importance.

What if — instead of starting from scratch or endlessly hunting through Facebook Ad Library — you had a comprehensive toolkit to inspire you?

What if that toolkit was organized around 30 ad types all defined and designed for ecommerce?

And, what if it also included exactly how to build and measure?

You need ecommerce ad inspiration and more. Here’s how we’re serving it:
  1. Measure: Four Metrics, One Funnel & Your ‘Real’ Goal
  2. Build: Three Rules to Create Every Ad’s Five-Part Anatomy
  3. Inspire: 30 Ad Types + 90 Examples of Facebook Ad Creative
All 90 creative Facebook Ads to measure, build and inspire your ecommerce business
Get access to a limitless creative universe … all 90 ad examples in their full and original video formats contained within a single download

Measure: Four Metrics, One Funnel & Your ‘Real’ Goal

How do you know if your ads are working?

Seems like an obvious question with an even more obvious answer, right? Return on ad spend (ROAS). Unfortunately, ROAS is the end result of an ad — the final step in a customer’s journey.

Instead, let me introduce you to AIDA: attention, interest, desire, and action.

AIDA gives you an analytical framework for the different stages your ad need to take customers through: i.e., the funnel. It’s one of the core principle we use as a Facebook advertising agency to identify and solve problems.

The goal is to evaluating and then improving the steps everyone must take to get to ROAS:

AIDA as a Model for Measuring Ad Creative Performance

Attention

At the very top, we have attention.

When a prospect is scrolling through their feed, your video may automatically play or a thumbnail will show. You need to be prepared for both because attention is measured by dividing three-second views by impressions.

AIDA: Attention Metric for measuring facebook ad creative

If this number is below 25%-30%, you’re paying a ton of money for impressions that don’t result in views.

Interest

Next, we move into interest.

Is the ad holding the prospect’s attention? It goes beyond the three-second mark and is measured by average watch time.

AIDA: Interest Metric for measuring facebook ad creative

The longer they watch, the better. Why? Because longer watch times directly correlate with the next two metrics: outbound clicks and ROAS.

The inverse is painfully true: even if someone clicks through before consuming your creative, we regularly see low conversion rates. Low-interest ads lead to low-qualified visitors who simply aren’t prepared to make a purchase.

Desire

Once you’ve captured interest, your ad has to push someone forward.

Desire compels them to click your call-to-action (CTA) button. In a sense, that’s creative’s number one job — to sell the click.

AIDA: Desire Metric for measuring facebook ad creative

Desire is measured by outbound clickthrough-rates. One percent may seem low but it’s only a benchmark. Your aim should always be to beat your own ad’s averages.

Action

Once a prospect clicks on the CTA button and arrives at the landing page, creative’s initial job might be over. But clicks don’t pay the bills.

Just like you, we obsess over whether the intended action — ultimately, a purchase — occurs or not. Naturally, that metric is return on ad spend (ROAS).

AIDA: Action Metric for measuring facebook ad creative

So, why not just measure ROAS and be done with it?

ROAS can tell you if an ad is working or not working. It can’t tell you why. AIDA gives you a step-by-step, metric-by-metric system to diagnose exactly where your creative social-media strategy isn’t performing … all within a single funnel.

Build: Three Rules to Create Every Ad’s Five-Part Anatomy

If we think critically about how a prospect consumes ads on their news feeds, three rules tower above every other piece of advice.

What’s more, when you use those three rules to shape the anatomy of every ad — the five parts Facebook gives you to work within — you’ll have a cheatsheet to guide the waterfall of inspiration and examples we’ll cover below.

Think ‘Small’: Mobile Ads, First to Last

98% of Facebook users view the app from a mobile device. And, 81% of users use its mobile app exclusively. With so many prospects using Facebook via mobile, it would make sense to create your ads so that it fits the platform.

Starting with Facebook video ads instead of a single images and designing creative that works with the sound off goes a long way in boosting your ad’s effectiveness.

Maya Pete, Creative Director at CTC

“Things should be designed for mobile, Facebook ads tend to meet people where they are.”

— Maya Pete, Creative Director at CTC

Device Usage on Facebook: Worldwide

Go ‘Native’: Context Shapes Content

It’s a common misconception that high-quality ecommerce content performs better than low-quality content. Translation: As your business and digital marketing plans mature, you should pay more for high-production-value content.

Don’t believe the lie! Context — where your ad will appear and who it targets — matters infinitely more than being “pretty.”

Going “native” means designing your creative to match the interface of the platform where it’s being consumed. Native should also speak directly to the prospect. One of the best avenues for this is user-generated content (UGC).

UGC can be achieved through the use of content created by everyday consumers or influencers who are heavily trusted in your brand’s market.

Another vertical in native content are quiz ads like the ones BuzzFeed produces on a regular. Quizzes provide the opportunity for brands to collect first-party data that can be used for customer research, detailed targeting, and effective retargeting.

Make It ‘Plain’: Clear Beats Clever

No matter what type of content you create, you have to provide as much information as possible about your product.

You want your prospect to feel comfortable and confident enough to buy from your business.

Confused customers don’t buy. Actually, confused customers aren’t customers.

You can achieve this through creative design that puts the best information where it can be clearly seen …

The Five Parts of Every Facebook Ad

Five Parts of Every Facebook Ad

Primary Text

Sometimes referred to as body text or post text, this is usually the first thing a prospect sees before they get to the creative. Facebook recommends less than 125 characters. But, we stick to 90 or less.

Depending on the creative, a few best practices …

  • Emoji and distinct voice
  • Customer or PR quotes
  • Reviews and ratings
  • Questions to spark intrigue

Or, just a straightforward presentation of the offer — especially if you’re running a sale or promotion.

Ad Creative

Creative is the most important part of any ad. Although it’s an unproven theory that videos are more effective than images, each ad format has benefits.

If you choose static images, you can increase their effectiveness by using the carousel ads format or slideshows. Another way to give your static ad images a boost is to include ad text to guide the prospect to the information you want them to see.

We’ll unload an avalanche of inspiration in the next section. For now, basic specifications boil down to:

  • 1x1 ratio for Facebook feeds
  • 9x16 for Instagram Story ads
  • Time? As long as it needs to be

Headline

Facebook ad copy accounts for a very small percentage of an ad’s effectiveness. 25-50 characters will ensure it doesn’t get “truncated” (cut off).

Your headline should be catchy, informative, and directly connected to your creative. Also, keep in mind that your brand’s messaging should always shine through in any copy that you write for your ads.

Description

The description section usually supports the headline but it can be used in a number of ways to help your prospect make a decision.

Ask yourself: “What is the single most powerful reason someone should click and buy right now?”

  • Free shipping and returns
  • Limited stock or drops
  • Special discounts

Think of it as your last chance to hook someone before they’re gone forever. Give them a solid value proposition they can’t refuse.

Call-to-Action Button

The CTA button is where your prospect falls into the desire level of AIDA. If you’ve done your job and the ad is working then the CTR will be determined by this button:

  • Shop now
  • Learn more
  • Subscribe or Sign up

Inspire: 30 Ad Formats + 90 Creative Facebook Ad Examples

Alright, finally: the main show.

Since we are dealing with the creative side of things, we can’t say that there’s one proven way to design the “best Facebook ad campaign.” That could look very different for individual brands.

But there are at least 30 ad types — classifications under three main categories: product, people, and brand.

Hang on tight … here comes an absolute avalanche of inspiration!

Product

1. 3D Products

Product video that features 3D renderings. This can include text on the screen that describes notable features and benefits.

3D renderings allow you to get “shots” of the product that would be difficult to capture with traditional photo and video equipment.

2. Boomerang

A short snippet, video that loops forwards, then backwards, over and over.

It’s a more dynamic alternative to still imagery. The repetition is a great way to highlight an important motion that your product makes or a key benefit.

3. Cinemagraph

An addition to still photographs where minor and repeated movement are created to form a video clip.

This transforms still images into high-converting motion graphics. It can also lift watch times, depending on the level of creativity in the design.

4. Comparison

Visual representation of the differences between the product you're advertising and your product's competitors.

Call attention to the best parts of your product. It’s a great way to win over prospects who are still in the research phase.

5. Flat Lay

Made popular by Tasty, this is a stop motion video of a product.

It's shot from above and is used to dynamically show product features. Flat lay videos work extremely well with apparel, tech, and food products to place more focus on details.

6. GIF

A low-quality, animated image that’s in internet-native format. It has the potential to speak more fluently in the language of the internet savvy consumer.

GIFs should be used only if context is common knowledge among your audience.

7. Grid Swap

This is where multiple SKUs are laid out on a grid. Color backgrounds are used to make the product itself pop.

Grid swaps can be useful if you have more than one SKU but fewer than 10. They’re even more powerful when those SKUs work together as a bundle or upsell.

8. How-To’s

A video that clearly displays how the customer will use the product after they receive it.

How-to’s are purely educational. They should essentially be step-by-step instructions and are brilliant for overcoming objections or adding pre-purchase value in the form of DIY explanations. In either case, clarity is paramount.

9. Hybrid

A video overlaid with still imagery or a banner.

Hybrids allows you to combine motion with a message that stays on screen the whole time. It boosts ad engagement by providing clear information coupled with relevant imagery.

10. Illustrations

This is a hand-drawn animation video. It adds a whimsical, "fun" element to ad materials.

Illustrations are best used when photography won't work or your imagination expands beyond the limits of real-world tools!

11. Mashable

These ads are based on the "Mashable" style of text-on-screen video.

This allows you to create a story that people are compelled to read. Mashable style ads are useful for educating prospecting audiences on the specific benefits of your product while simultaneously catching eyes and stopping scrolls.

12. Product Reveal

Creative video that gradually reveals what the product is.

Product reveals have great potential for engaging the Facebook user through intrigue and mystery. This increases attention as well as interest: i.e., watch time.

13. Product Video

A high-quality, scripted video piece. It cinematically highlights product features or benefits. New products or limited-edition drops — especially to existing customers — fit these perfectly.

14. Screen Record

A screen recording ad is a video of your screen while you use your website.

It serves as a great educational tool. It also brings the experience of shopping directly to potential customers, easing the transition from ad to website.

15. Slideshow

Slideshow ads are a series of still images that follow one after the other.

The images do not need to contain transitions between images. Think: sharp, jolting cuts. It can be a good way to show multiple products in one ad.

16. Specs

Specs call attention to product specifications via text on screen. Specs ads often work best for products that are hi-tech or hi-tech-adjacent.

Still, they can be great for non-tech industries, especially when you need to justify a higher price point than the market typically expects.

17. Stop Motion

Stop motion is a film making technique where objects are physically manipulated incrementally. Each movement is photographed so that they will simulate independent motion when the series of frames are replayed as a fast sequence.

18. Text Overlay

Perhaps the most straightforward creative type, this tried-and-true ad is nothing more than text over an image. Text overlay doesn’t include text that appears sequentially on a background still.

If you’re running a sale or discount — especially around a peak buying season — don’t overthink it. Put the deal front and center along with the products.

19. Value Prop

Value proposition ads include an on-screen list of (you guessed it) the specific value propositions of your product.

20. Video Inlay

Video inlays are videos within a still image. These add a bit of motion to an otherwise static ad.

21. Vignette

Vignettes are cutout images of product laid over background video. They’re essentially the inverse of video inlays meant to serve the same purpose.

Person

22. Before and After

Still images or videos that show the before-and-after effects of product use. They’re incredibly effective, but come with a warning …

Facebook ad policy states: “Ads must not contain ‘before-and-after’ images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results. Ad content must not imply or attempt to generate negative self-perception in order to promote diet, weight loss, or other health-related products. Ads for health, fitness or weight loss products must be targeted to people 18 years or older.”

23. Profiles

Type of testimonial that uses influencer marketing, athletes, or everyday customers as product ambassadors. It covers three points: (1) who they are, (2) their pain points, and (3) their relationship to the product.

24. Reaction

Reaction videos are handheld or otherwise low-resolution videos that show a person experiencing a product. Showing people’s faces is a particularly powerful way to give potential customers an idea of what’s in store for them.

25. Reviews

Review ads are a type of social proof ad that includes a verbatim, direct-quote, straight-from-a-real-customer testimonial. This can be either visible with a text overlay or audible with a video recording.

26. User-generated content

User-generated content ads are self-shot videos by customers or influencers. They range from 30 to 60 seconds in length. The best UGC ads show the product in use and — at the same time — explain the benefits or features.

27. Unboxing

Unboxing video ads show the customer the packaging in which the product is delivered.

It gives details on what they can expect when they receive it and open it. Some of the best unboxing ads are UGC reactions.

Brand

28. High Concept

High concept ads are campaign videos built around a big, philosophical, brand-value-driving story, rather than a specific product. They can also center seasonal events from your marketing calendar (like Black Friday, Cyber Monday) or social causes (like Juneteenth).

These are what you might think of as “Super Bowl” commercials — large-scale productions (or, at least, appearing as large-scale productions) — aimed at creating brand awareness.

29. Meme

Meme ads mimics the general look and feel of an Internet meme. This can include lots of abbreviations, emojis, white top-and-bottom text.

This is a highly targeted type of ad and it should be something that your target audience would immediately understand.

30. PR

Type of brand awareness ad that uses any form of press the product has received to create trust. This can be done by displaying publication logos and quotes.

Social Media Marketers, May Your Ads Manager Runneth Over

This toolkit was designed to help push you into your creative genius zone while eliminating the burnout that accompanies low performing ads.

Feeling inspired, yet?

If not, no worries.

We’ve complied every single one of the 90 examples above — original resolutions and runtimes, with full volume and sound — in one easy (though enormous) download.

All 90 creative Facebook Ads to measure, build and inspire your ecommerce business
Get the all right here!