Content Writer | Sugatan
February 1, 2022
The 5 Step Formula For Guaranteed High-Converting Facebook Ad Creatives
Creating viral social media ads is our bread and butter. How do we keep it up? With data-driven creatives.
This is our 5 step process to producing high-converting Facebook ad creatives.
STEP 1 – Competitive Intelligence
We start by gathering extensive information about our client’s competitors. We call this methodology “Competitive Intelligence”.
This is an evergreen strategy. These principles will always remain the same even though platforms and software may change in the future.
In a nutshell, it’s the study of the top competitors in your niche and their strategies. We’re looking at how much money they’ve spent and exactly where they’re spending that money.
We can assume that they’re spending a minimum of 30% of their revenue on marketing, so if we can pinpoint exactly where their money is being spent, we gain insight into what ads have worked for them so far.
To research a competitor’s revenue, traffic sources, etc., we start with a competitor list template on a google sheet.
Competitive Intelligence Google sheet
Here’s an example of a Competitive Intelligence sheet we compiled for a former client in the coffee-flavored protein shake niche.
We start on the first tab of the sheet, called the “List of Competitors”. We rank them by primary, secondary, and tertiary competition.
How to get a list of competitors
Intuition: Every business is intuitively aware of at least two or three competitors.
Alexa: Until now, we have been using this Amazon-affiliate paid subscription service. Sadly, it will be retiring in May 2022. SimilarWeb Pro, Vstat 2, Semrush and Archive.org are handy alternatives.
Primary, secondary & tertiary competitors
Primary: These are your direct competitors, which means they’re either targeting the same audience, have a similar product, or both.
Secondary: They either offer a higher-end or low-end version of your product, or they sell something similar to a completely different audience.
Tertiary: Businesses that are tangentially related to yours.
Side Note: Your secondary and tertiary competitors can reveal which other products you might want to launch on the backend.
Based on our Google searches and the competitors’ top Google ads, we want to look at where they’re driving their traffic to, so we can figure out what their landing pages are.
Then we’ll fill in the date they started the business and the total monthly traffic they’re getting.
The date is important to see how seasoned they are and what kind of reputation they have built up. It also shows us how long it has taken them to get to their revenue mark, giving us insight into how difficult the niche is.
We get the total traffic per month from SimilarWeb Pro, which is a subscription service.
Side Note: None of these sites are 100% accurate, but they give us enough data to make educated guesses.
AOV & CR assumptions
From there we’ll make two assumptions: their average order value (AOV) and conversion rate (CR).
The AOV is a complete guess. There’s no software out there that actually tells you their AOV, with the exception of Amazon for eCommerce.
We use a Chrome add-on called Unicorn Smasher to give us AOVs by page on Amazon, but there’s no way to know the entire website’s AOV.
The average CR for most eCommerce stores is around 2%, so we assume 2% is the baseline.
Calculate the monthly revenue
Next, we’ll calculate an assumption of how much revenue they’re making per month.
Total Traffic Per Month x AOV x CR = Revenue Per Month
Findings from the data
This collection of data shows if and which competitors have cracked the code with their ads and what kind of revenue our client should be expecting.
It also shows how extensively we’ll need to test creatives. If none of the competitors have made seven figures, we’re going to have to crack that code ourselves.
Pay attention to the landing page
Looking at the assumed revenue per month, we can assume that they’re spending 30% of that on the ads that send traffic to their landing pages.
We pay close attention to the landing pages to evaluate their optimization.
Analyze spending percentages
The next tab on our sheet is called “Competitor Traffic Sources.” This is where we analyze where competitors are spending their marketing dollars. We pull this info from SimilarWeb Pro and Alexa.
We analyze their spending percentages in various categories, as seen above (direct, organic search, paid search, and so on.)
The numbers on SimilarWeb Pro might not be 100% accurate, but the distribution ratio is.
It’s important to know the traffic sources because we want to determine whether Facebook ads or Insta ads are working.
We fill in the percentage of desktop vs. mobile traffic (usually, it’s about 80% mobile, depending on the niche/industry). We use Alexa to get the demographics (male/female) to create an accurate customer avatar.
Keep track of swipe files
The last tab on the sheet is called “Swipe File Progress.” This is where we keep track of the top competitors’ strategies and digital assets that we’ve placed in swipe files.
The core offer is their main offer on the landing page. It’s good to know this to understand what a good starting point could be for us.
Discount offers tell us what kind of discounts they offer and where it is placed on the websites.
We collect the competitors’ visual assets as seen in their Facebook ads.
The landing page swipe is the hero image – the most expensive real estate on a landing page.
We look at the landing page navigation menu to see which options they give people.
We assess how their cart page and checkout page have been designed.
Identify patterns in high-converting creatives
We use Facebook’s ad library and Wiser to look for patterns in competitors’ creatives, checking if the same creatives pop up.
If the same ad pops up repeatedly in Wiser, it usually means that it’s a high-performing creative, so we’ll then compile a library of those top-performing ads.
We also calculate how many videos they’re using and the ratio between videos and graphics or images.
STEP 2: Copymining
This is another evergreen strategy, which is more commonly known as “review mining”.
We go through 100 to 300 product reviews in order to get to know our client’s customer base.
We want to be able to talk like them, think like them, finish the sentences in their heads, and get to know their exact problems.
We use Amazon, ClickBank and websites to do this research.
The end goal of this process is to help us write copy that will resonate with the target audience, removing a lot of creative guesstimations in the process.
We organize this data on a master sheet and google form that are connected to each other. For a step-by-step rundown of these documents, watch this video Kris posted on Facebook. ⤵️
STEP 3: Target Metrics
Next, we need to ensure that we have a good understanding of our target metrics.
The 3 most important target metrics are:
- Link cost per click (Link CPC) – Note, not just CPC, but link CPC
- Average order value (AOV)
- Conversion rate (CR)
Case study example
We’ll use a former client, a US-based men’s skincare brand, as a case study here.
We did an initial test knowing that men’s skincare was very expensive at the time and the market was – still is – saturated.
We started with a link CPC of over $10. We needed to calculate what the realistic target link CPC should be. We do this to estimate what our target AOV should be because the link CPC will help us understand what our Facebook costs will be.
We calculated the AOV and CR needed for the cost of link clicks to be sustainable. In the end, the AOV told us what products we actually needed to advertise.
For this men’s skincare brand, our link CPC needed to be around $3, which meant our AOV had to be about $110.
That led us to conclude that we needed to advertise a bundle instead of face scrubs of just $45 or $50.
Your CR will tell you how much high-quality traffic you need to target. If it’s at 1%, you can play around a little, but if you need 4%, you need an experienced media buyer on your team who can capture high-quality traffic.
At this stage, it becomes clear which creatives you need to design. The data you’ve gathered before this point has revealed your target demographic and what their biggest problems or pain points are that will convince them to make an impulse buy.
STEP 4: Themes, Epics & Stories
We don’t go right into testing a whole bunch of ad variations after all that research. Instead, we’ll explore the possible Themes that will go viral based on our Competitive Intelligence and Copymining research.
For example, we might want to test “humor” vs. “science-based facts” as a theme because we’re unsure which message positioning and intonation will be the most responsive for our demographic.
Next, we’ll decide on Epics. These are the angles that fall under the themes mentioned above.
For example, under the humor theme, we’ll choose “gamer memes,” “pop culture memes” or “famous funny actor memes.”
And then, for each of these epics, we’ll come up with Stories that fall under each category.
This process is based on our agile and scrum framework in the sense of TOF acquisition.
STEP 5: Creative Variations
The last step in the process is to create ads with the same story angles, but varying only in their first seconds, opening frames or headlines.
Here’s an example of how we varied the first seconds in video ads: Variation 1 & Variation 2
We keep testing ads until we get a hit. Then we create variations of the best-performing creatives to maximize the possibility of going viral.
The number of stories is thus significantly reduced at this stage, and we focus solely on recreating winning ad variations.
There you have it – our 5-step approach to creating social media ads with high conversion rates.
As you can see, we spend a whole lot of time and energy on research and data collection. By doing so, we smooth out the creation process and replace personal assumptions with informed decisions that are backed by solid data.
That’s not to say there isn’t a ton of effort and gallons of creative juices going into the design and execution of our ad creatives.
However, this data-driven approach directs the creative team on a path that is almost guaranteed to boost a creative’s conversion rate before Photoshop has even been opened.
For more on the topic of conversion-focused creatives, check out this article.
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