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Molly’s Top 5 Ad Campaigns for 2023 (from Social Media Marketing World in San Diego)

Have you ever created a campaign that had stunning creative, clever copy and STILL didn’t perform?

In advertising it’s hard to know when art should meet science, but remember – art is subjective, and science is trial and error. Chances are you have all the right stuff, but are missing out on one key ingredient that’s making the recipe fall flat.

This year at Social Media Marketing World, I presented 5 ad campaigns that are working for our businesses and our agency clients.

But the reality is, it took testing and adding a few secrets to the sauce to go from good to exceptional performance.

Want to see a few examples?

I thought so! So, let’s dive in.

Campaign #1 – Opt-ins

EX: Smart Marketer – 2023 Facebook Ads Performance Report

Ever read Hemingway? He gives you the bones and lets your mind fill in the gaps.

I know saying, ‘To be a good ad writer, BE HEMINGWAY’ is quite the statement… so, I won’t say that.

Instead, I’ll say this: Keep it succinct, keep it simple and get to the point.

That sounds a little less intimidating, right?

Good! Because for opt-in campaigns, the secret is – THE SHORTER, THE BETTER. Short-form just about always converts better, because audiences don’t want to click on a humble brag, they want a solution to their problem!

Essentially, customers don’t want quarter-inch drill bits, they want quarter inch holes. Remember your service or product isn’t what your client ACTUALLY wants, they want the end result it provides for them.

Position your ad and opt-in accordingly.

For example, if a Smart Marketer ad offers an opt-in for a Facebook Ads Report, we DON’T highlight “this report offers stats and info on Facebook Ads”. We highlight, “Ad costs dropped 50-60% on FB in the past few weeks — take advantage of it now!”

Then we offer a simple opt-in for how to accomplish this: “download the report”, “register for early bird access”, etc.

By beefing up your promised solutions, you beef up your offer.

Campaign #2 – Top of Funnel Campaign

EX: Hyperbolic Stretching

One tactic that our clients at Hyperbolic Stretching use is price slashing.

Price slashes — such as ‘course marked down for $199 to $27’ — work incredibly well for top-of-funnel campaigns. In fact, it’s a customer generating machine.

But how do they scale this top of funnel? They diversify their audience and clientele.

To do that, consider how wide-reaching your service or product can be.

For Hyperbolic Stretching, their course on stretching targeted video ads to older generations who wanted their mobility back. But the reality was that everyone can benefit from stretching, and the product was relevant to more people than just that one audience.

So we decided to run it to 18–65+ and focused more on meditation, yoga, etc. as identifying audience factors.

The result? It was their best performing ad set EVER.

But how did we get there?

We repeatedly asked our client, ‘Does a (fill in the blank) need your program?’ For example, would a RUNNER need a stretching program?

Without skipping a beat, the client listed multiple reasons why runners benefit from deep stretching, and with that, the vertical ad ‘prep for your next marathon’ was born!

BUT! Here’s the caveat.

An ad that says ‘prep for your next marathon’ gets the runner to click but if you leave it there, a click is ALL you’ll get.

Why?

Well, the ad is doing what it’s meant to do — getting them to your site. But the message in your ad has to be consistent with the message on the page. If your ad talks about prepping for a marathon and they click over to a site showing 65+ year olds stretching for mobility… you’ve lost them!

The key is to not only create ad verticals, but also create pages that speak to them according to the click.

Campaign #3 – Google Performance Max

Ex: BOOM! By Cindy Joseph

Now, this one is simple and won’t take long to explain, because AI does the work for you!

You just pick the country in which you want to advertise, and Google’s new Performance Max campaign type will create the ad and takes care of the rest.

The only drawback is you have far less control.

As for audience building, you can set the country and a cap on showing ads to people who are existing customers. But with the cap set at 2k, it’s not the most scalable option.

All that to say, I want to build out this feature more, as it works phenomenally for clients like BOOM! And while you have far less control and insight into the metrics, the ads are generated with urgency, and it knows how to target.

And the more the AI learns, the better Google’s new campaign type will become.

Campaign #4 – Presell Article

EX: Arrae

Presell articles are some of the most effective educational hooks, and one of the best templates for this is, ‘Top 5 Reasons Why (insert pain point)’.

After all — if you have a problem, you want to know why and how to fix it, right?

Here’s how a presell funnel usually works:

  • Hook with the issue (ad)
  • Lead with education (presell)
  • Show them your solution (sale).

For our health and wellness client, Arrae, their highest performing article is a prime example of this: “Top 5 Reasons Why You’re Bloated.”

This article provides education behind bloating and finishes with a way to solve their bloating problem, which is — you guessed it — to take their product, “Bloat”.

Here’s what this article from Arrae does so well:

  • Highlights educational points and makes them clear
  • Sentences beneath each point are short and succinct
  • Finishes with product to heal the problem

The best presell articles are essentially just bullet points, and while that may seem too thin, it converts.

In fact, the best converting ad for this presell article was a carousel.

It hooks with the first slide, “Top 5 Reasons Why You’re Bloated”, follows with the next 2 tips and then leaves you hanging. It works because there is no barrier to entry and the teaser makes you want to see reasons 3, 4 and 5 – so you click!

This is an adaptable strategy for multiple verticals (i.e., Top 5 Reasons Why Your Dog is Scratching, Top 5 Reasons Your Email Marketing Isn’t Working, Top 5 Reasons Your FB Ads Aren’t Working… and the list goes on and on).

Campaign #5 – What Makes You Different

Ex. – Las Margaritas

I grew up in a small town and the food options were a Mexican restaurant or… a Mexican restaurant.

So when Las Margaritas opened, the entire town sighed over the same old, same old.

The man who owned it was someone I went to high school with and on opening night, the place echoed with emptiness. To help, I charged up my little marketing brain and came up with a simple Facebook Ad.

First, I thought:

What’s the problem?

It’s just another Mexican restaurant.

What do people want?

Something different.

What makes this place different?

The ad began with a call out to my small town. People don’t see local ads very often, so that immediately made them stop scrolling.

The copy read, ‘NEW RESTAURANT IN YOUR AREA – COME CHECK US OUT!’

Then I called out what was already in the mind of the customer… ‘I know what you’re thinking – ugh, not another Mexican restaurant, but we promise we’re different.’

Then I showcased how they were different with a few testimonials (i.e., margaritas made from scratch with fresh juice, and their best dishes).

The ad was as simple as that, and the very next day the restaurant was packed. They’ve been selling out of food regularly ever since!

The secret to the Las Margaritas sauce?

It wasn’t anything special, JUST DIFFERENT.

This was an old-school, boosted post for people living within a 10-mile radius, and I told a story. Always tell the story, especially if it’s a local story.

Then respond to comments as much as you can!


So, there you have it!

Those are the top 5 campaigns that are working for our businesses and agency clients.

If you’re already implementing some of these strategies, know that sometimes your ad isn’t working SIMPLY because your audience isn’t right — and that’s ok.

Continue down that rabbit hole and when you find audiences that work, go on the hunt for scale.

If you need any help in the meantime, you know who to call!

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