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Let’s be frank. Social media marketing can be confusing and frustrating. Just creating an account can be a challenge at times, much less actually finding your fans and followers, interacting with them and growing your success. While social media ads can be undeniably beneficial, they must be created in the right way for them to work the way you want. To really do that, you’ll need to know more about the anatomy of a successful ad.

First, a Caveat

Before we get too far, understand that the actual anatomy of ads will vary from one network to another. The overall layout and design elements that go into a Facebook ad will be very different from one on Pinterest or Twitter. With that being said, they do have many similarities, and whether you’re creating an ad for the desktop, mobile, photo engagement, website conversion or something else, these tips will help.


Headlines should be short, evocative and punchy. They should not be used for explaining, highlighting features or the like. With Facebook, you have a mere 25 characters, so you need to make them count. It should grab attention and encourage the viewer to move from the headline down to the body copy below it.

Body Copy

In most instances, you will have some sort of body copy for your ad. This is just the text that speaks to your viewer. It should be concise, compelling and at least marginally tied to the image you’re using (more on images later). Remember that this is ad copy, so it cannot be purely informational. However, it can also not be an outright sales pitch. It should strike a balance, inciting curiosity, or even evoking humor, but encouraging the reader to take whatever action you want (click, sign up, download, etc.).


In most instances, you’ll use an image of some type, although you may also use a video snippet in your ad. In no case should you use plain text for your ad without any supporting graphics. That is a short road to failure. Make sure your image is evocative and ties at least somewhat into the text and into your offering, whether that’s a service, a product, an experience or something else. For instance, a travel company could use an image of a happy couple aboard the deck of a yacht. A sportswear company could use an image of their product in action, a sports figure/player, or something similar.

Call to Action

All ads should have some sort of call to action. These can be direct, such as “Click here to buy now” or they can be indirect, such as “learn more”. The call to action should match the tone of the body copy, and should also relate to the action you want the user to take. For instance, you wouldn’t use “buy now” if you want the user to click the ad and follow your Facebook account, rather than making a purchase.

Again, while the elements mentioned above are specific to Facebook ads, all social media ads have similar characteristics. The tips above should help you create more compelling, engaging ads, although ads should never be the entirety of your social media marketing strategy. You need to combine this with content marketing and other efforts. To learn more about how to succeed with content marketing, get in touch with Words You Want.

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