How To Create Non-Boring Social Media Ads That Spark Action

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social media ads

Let’s face it: the perception of social media ads has declined recently.

One of the scariest stats says that nearly 60% of Americans don’t believe advertising. In fact, they often align ads with “fake news.”

So how can your business create entertaining social media ads? And ensure they spark action?

To stop users from scrolling past your ads, keep reading!


The Ugly

First, the ugly, no-good, awful news.

Sprout Social conducted a survey of more than 1,000 Americans and found that their collective perception of social advertising has declined in the past year.


In part, this is due to our current politically-charged climate.

One big factor turning consumers off is when social media ads are shown next to ‘objectionable’ online content or on fake news sites.

As a matter of fact, Sprout’s research showed that 39% of consumers attributed their declined perception of social media ads to recent political events.

Then there’s Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer.

They reported the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media, and NGOs.


If you’re interested in more on “truth decay” and what it means for marketers, check out my post on {grow}.

While there’s not much we can do about the above, we can go from bad to better.

The Bad

If we’re going to focus on what we can control, let’s look at another point made in Sprout Social’s recent survey.

The top reason for the drop of interest in social media ads?

58% of respondents said they were simply seeing too many social ads overall.

This highlights advertisers concerns that Facebook and other sites are jam-packed with ads and turning users off.

Furthermore, now that users have ad-blockers in their arsenal, even fewer ads are being shown.

So how can your social media ads combat this?

In a word: Entertainment. Sprout’s study showed that entertaining ads are the best way to stop ad fatigue.


Additionally, discounts, how-tos, and storytelling are other ways to keep your ads in front of eyeballs.

How To Create GOOD Social Media Ads

So how can you create non-boring social media ads that spark action?

First, ask yourself who you’re trying to reach.

For instance …

  • Millennials and Gen X like entertainment-type ads the best
  • Baby Boomers are more inclined to click ads offering discounts

Sprout’s report showcased this handy infographic to show which types of ads resonated most by generation.


Moreover, as the image above shows, it’s important to focus on educational content when advertising.

We’ve touted “edutainment” (a mix of entertainment + education) many times here on our blog!

Look at this example of a Shopify ad on Facebook promoting education or a “how-to.”


This ad works because …

  • It’s not salse-y or promoting Shopify
  • How-to or nurture content is the focus (also known as education!)
  • It positions Shopify as a thought leader for online media content

Here’s another example from Drip.


  • The ad offers a discount or FREE video course
  • It’s also using education as its lead-in

See?! Your social media ads don’t always need to say “BUY MY STUFF!”

There are plenty of other ways to create advertising that sparks action.

More Social Media Ads To Try

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few more good examples to emulate.

OptinMonster uses the shotgun approach with their ad.


  • They address the pain point of their customer right away (“stop losing customers”)
  • The pain point is solved in the second line of text
  • In the third line of text, a benefit statement is made
  • Then, in the ad itself, they use social proof TWICE (#1 lead capture platform & over 300,000 website use OptinMonster)

If you must be sales-y, try the OptinMonster approach!

Finally, for a look at an entertainment ad, check out Aweber. In this ad, they’re not selling at all. In fact, they’re using a fun, entertaining quiz to collect email addresses.


Guess what? They’re probably using all of those emails they collect in the quiz-taking process to remarket to.

Meaning they can cleverly use those collected emails and show other, targeted ads to those users as they browse elsewhere around the internet.

Note: If you’re not sure what Facebook remarketing can do for you, click here for a fantastic read.

Be A Bore No More!

When it comes to social media ads, we now know that advertising isn’t the free-for-all it once was.

Not only are consumers warier of ads, they’re using ad-blocking technology to forgo them altogether.

To really stand out you’re going to have to adhere to some strict guidelines.

  1. First and foremost, know who you’re targeting
  2. Your creative and visuals need to be crisp, clear and have a call-to-action
  3. Instead of sales-heavy content, try for entertainment, education, how-tos, discounts, or a mix of “edutainment”
  4. Videos and storytelling are also great ways to nurture your potential customer

What are your plans for advertising in 2018 and beyond? (And did you know we can do it all for you?! Learn more about our done-for-you advertising services.) Have you seen a dip in your social media ads or are they still helping you bring in the bacon? Let me know in the comments section below!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Advertising,
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