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How To Create Jaw-Dropping Facebook Lead Ads That Convert

  • List Building

Getting traffic to your site is a high priority for all marketers. You want that traffic so you can convert more visitors into leads and customers. But what if you could increase the number of leads without having to drive traffic to your site first?

Well, you’re in luck!

With Facebook lead ads, you can collect leads for your business through the most popular social media platform in the World!

With 2.19 billion monthly active users, Facebook helps you tap into a vast pool of potential leads with targeted messages.

In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Facebook leads ads, including how to set them up step-by-step, best practices to follow, examples, and more.

This article is quite in-depth, so if you’re looking for a specific section, jump to it below.

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Need some inspiration?

Uncovering inspiration for Facebook Lead Ads is a time-consuming activity (I should know—this post took 16+ hours to research).

To save you time, I’ve included a swipe file with 50 of my favorite Facebook Lead Ads so you can begin capturing and converting more leads (#7 is my favorite).

Get access to our personal swipe file of high-converting Facebook Lead Ads and start capturing more high-quality leads today.

What are Facebook lead ads?

Facebook lead ads are the ads that appear in between posts in your Facebook newsfeed.

They contain an advertisement for a product or a business and a clickable button.

This is a classic example of a Facebook lead ad. It contains a message supported by an image and a signup button (in this case, it says “Download”).

When you click the button, it triggers a popup with your pre-filled information (that is, if you haven’t deleted your cookies).

When you confirm that the information is correct, you give Facebook permission to pass it along to the company responsible for the ad.

You can also edit the pre-filled information if necessary in case your user details have been updated.

But how does Facebook know all this about you?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but when you sign up for a Facebook account you provide all your personal information which is stored, and then used in these pre-filled input fields.

This may sound a bit scary, but it’s great news for your e-commerce store!

The cool thing about lead ads is that it’s such a simple process. People can sign up with just two clicks, and they don’t even have to leave their Facebook page to do it.

You can also target specific audiences with your lead ads and create more personalized, targeted messages for all types of Facebook users.

Most of us are automatically signed into Facebook on our desktop and our mobile, enabling Facebook to track our online behavior and determine which ads to present to us in our newsfeed.

Now that you’ve gotten the what on Facebook lead ads, let’s look at the how.

How to Set Up Facebook Lead Ads

If you’re anything like me, when you have to try out new things, you want a comprehensive step-by-step guide to make life easier.

And that’s exactly what you’ll get now.

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable. Here we go.

To create a Facebook lead ad, you need a Facebook Business Manager Account.

Step 1. To get started, log into Facebook Business Manager.

Step 2. Click the three bars in the top hand left corner and choose “Ads Manager”.

This is where you create and manage all your Facebook Ads.

Now it’s time to create your ad.

Step 3. Click “Create”.

Step 4. Name your campaign, the ad set, and your ad (more on that later).

1. Write the name of your campaign.

A campaign is the frame for your ad sets (more on that later) where you set the objective for your ads. So what is the purpose of the ads? In this case the objective will always be lead generation (otherwise you won’t be able to collect leads directly through Facebook).

2. Choose if you want to set your buying type to “Auction” or “Reach and Frequency”.

“Auction” means you’ll bid to reach your audience for the lowest possible price. Whereas “Reach and Frequency” means you’ll pay a fixed price to predictably reach your brand’s audience.

3. Set your campaign objective to “Lead Generation”.

This is where lead ads differentiate from regular Facebook ads because lead ads allow users to sign up directly in the ad instead of being directed to another page.

Note: If you want to compare the performance of your ad sets, you can activate a split test in this step. You can test creative, placement, audience, and delivery optimization for instance.

4. Name your ad set.

The ad set is a frame for your ads. This is where you decide on the audience, placement, budget and bidding strategy for your ads.

5. Name your ad, and save your draft.

Your ad is the ad itself that will be shown to your audience.

Step 5. Review your campaign. If you want, you can set a limit to make sure you don’t exceed your marketing budget.

You can also activate budget optimization. Here, Facebook will try to distribute your budget so more money will be spent on the best performing ad set.

If you don’t have time to optimize your ads, budget optimization might be the best strategy for you. However, once you’ve activated budget optimization you can’t deactivate it again.

Once you’re happy with the campaign, click “Ad Set” to the right.

Step 6. Choose the sender of your ads. In most cases, this will be your Facebook business page. If you have more than one Facebook business page, choose the one you want to send the ad from.

Step 7. Set your daily budget or lifetime budget and schedule when to activate your ad.

If you choose the lifetime budget, you can run ads on a customized schedule. For instance, you can choose to run your ad from 6 pm to 11 pm every day of the week. You can test different times to see when your ads are most effective.

Step 8. Define your audience.

Here, you can choose to exclude or include specific audiences (e.g. existing email subscribers). Or, you can create a new custom audience or a new lookalike audience.

You can also segment your audience based on location, age, gender, and language.

Or even by interests and connections.

Once you’ve set your audience, remember to click “Save this Audience”.

Step 9. Select the placement of your ad.

I would recommend choosing “Automatic Placements” for your first ad. This means the ad will be shown in whichever place and channel it’s most likely to perform best.

Step 10. Choose your bid strategy and your delivery type.

Whether you choose lowest cost or target cost is up to you.

Lowest cost ensures that you spend your budget efficiently, but be warned: the costs may also rise as you spend. You can set a bid cap if you want.

Target cost means you set a fixed cost that will stabilize over time even if you raise your budget. However, you may not get the lowest cost, because Facebook will bid to stay around your target (regardless of your budget).

Step 11. Scroll back up and click “Ad”.

Step 12. Scroll down to the Creative and upload images and videos for your ad. You also have to choose if you want to use a single image or video, or if you want to show images and videos on a carousel.

Note: You’ll be able to see a preview of your ad in the view to the right.

Step 13. Write your ad copy, the headline, and the description text (which appears below the headline). Then, choose your call-to-action.

Step 14. Click “Create Lead Form”.

Note: If you have an existing lead form from a previous ad, you can choose it from the drop-down.

Step 15. Choose “Create New Form” and click “Next”.

Step 16. Choose your form type.

“More Volume” means that new leads are signed up directly when they submit their information. This will typically result in more, but lower quality leads. This option is best for mobile as it requires fewer actions from users.

“Higher Intent” means users have to confirm their information before they sign up. These leads will typically be higher quality but are also more expensive.

Choosing “Higher Intent” will add an extra “Review Screen” step to the process.

For the purpose of this post, we’ll choose “Higher Intent” to illustrate more options.

Step 17. Write an introduction to the lead form (optional).

The first part of your lead form is the context card where you convince people to sign up. Here you write a headline and a few sentences or bullets to let users know what they will get.

You can also upload a new image for the lead form, or choose to use the image from your ad.

Step 18. Choose what information you want from your leads.

You can ask for almost anything as Facebook knows pretty much everything about us. You can ask for relationship status, age, birthday, hometown, job, pets, family, phone number, and more.

You can find more options by clicking “Show more options”, or you can create custom questions by clicking “Add Custom Question”.

This information will be displayed as marked to the right in the image below.

Pro Tip: Don’t ask for too many details or information that’s too personal. If you’re collecting leads for your e-commerce email list, you should ask for their name and email address.

We’ve also experienced that asking for people’s phone numbers can decrease your number of conversion a lot. A phone number is much more personal than an email address, and it takes a lot more convincing to get people to give you their phone number than it does to get their email address. So keep that in mind when you create your lead ads.

Step 19. Link to your privacy policy.

When you create your lead ad, you need to include a privacy policy. This way you ensure that users are aware that their information will not be given to a third party or used for other incriminating purposes.

Remember, people are much more willing to give personal information to companies who provide such a policy as it exudes trust and credibility.

This information will be displayed as marked to the right in the image below.

If you already have a privacy policy on your site, you can just rewrite that and use it in your ad. Just remember to include a section on how you will use information collected through Facebook.

You can’t create a Facebook lead ad without providing this privacy policy, as the law requires it and it’s also part of Facebook’s data use policy as they are the ones sharing the information.

Step 20. Check that the Review Screen looks right.

You won’t have to customize anything in this step. If something doesn’t look right, you’ll have to make changes in one of the previous steps.

Step 21. Write copy for “Thank You Screen”.

This information will be displayed as marked to the right in the image below.

NB. If you want to be able to track users who click your ad, you should add a UTM parameter to the link in your button.

Step 22. When you’re happy with your lead form, click “Finish”.

Step 23. That’s it. Click “Publish” and your ad will go live.

Simple as that.

How to Integrate Facebook Lead Ads with Your ESP

If you use a CRM system that Facebook doesn’t integrate with directly, you need to set up a third-party integration.

To see the full list of direct Facebook integrations, check out this page.

If you don’t set up an integration, you’ll have to manually download your leads as a .csv file from Facebook and upload them to your ESP and CRM system.

The problem with downloading leads manually is that your leads can’t enter an automated email sequence immediately after signing up.

Otherwise, you would have to download leads as they come in to ensure the emails are sent out immediately.

I would recommend that you use a service such as Zapier, connectleads.io, or LeadsBridge to get your leads transferred directly to your email list immediately when they’ve signed up.

By getting the lead into your system immediately, you have a chance to engage with that lead while they’re still warm and interested.

Lastly, you can develop a custom connection between your back-end and the Facebook API. This does, however, require some coding skills and it’s more time-consuming.

Action Item: Set up your integration and the first email in your welcome sequence before you activate your lead ad to ensure all users are followed up with immediately (more on this later).

How To Create Powerful Facebook Lead Ads

Most marketers can set up a lead ad, but few know how to create a lead ad that converts.

There are many elements to get right if you want your lead ads to capture Facebook users’ attention and convert them into quality leads.

From the headline to the follow-up, every element of your ad needs to earn its place, and that’s what I’ll help you learn how to do now.

We’ll look into the following:

  1. How to create an effective incentive
  2. How to write compelling Facebook ad copy
  3. How to write an irresistible call-to-action
  4. How to target the right users for higher quality leads
  5. How to follow up with new leads

1. How to Create an Effective Incentive

Your incentive is the value users get in exchange for their email address or phone number.

The question all prospects ask before opting in for anything is: What’s in it for me?

Answer this question and you have your incentive.

Many e-commerce businesses use discounts as incentives.

Consumers, after all, love to save money, so offering a discount in exchange for an email address is an effective way to collect new leads.

When you create your message, you need to tell people that they have to sign up to get the discount so they know what to expect.

Tell them how easy it is: “Just confirm your email and the discount is yours”.

It’s important that you send them the discount code immediately after they’ve signed up.

Your new signups are expecting it, and this is the moment where they are most inclined to use it.

Remember to include an image in your lead ad that supports your message as Udemy has done in their lead ad.

Another commonly used and effective incentive are competitions.

People love to enter competitions—especially on Facebook.

We know that our chances of winning might not be that high, but we always think “what if?”.

In 2016, sales of state lotteries reached approximately 80.55 billion U.S. dollars.

That’s an incredible number when you think about the fact that people pay money to maybe win more money back.

It’s the thrill of the competition people want.

The difference here is that instead of paying to enter your competition, prospects only need to confirm their name and email address (if that’s the information you’re asking for) making it much easier for them to sign up.

The higher value the prize has, the more leads you’ll get. But it doesn’t have monetary value. It could just as well have emotional value or other types of value.

It’s all about how you present that value to your audience.

Here’s a good example from Thrive Market.

The offer has great (monetary) value, and it’s relevant to the website and the product.

They also mention at the bottom that you can shop for 25%-30% below retail prices, reminding users that even if they don’t win the competition or even enter, they can still get great discounts on the website.

When you create a competition, you should always include how long the competition will run for.

That way you let people know when they can expect the result, and even better, it pushes people to sign up now and not postpone it for later and maybe forgetting all about it.

People are more motivated to sign up for time-limited offers.

See how BarkBox has done this in one of their lead ads.

They’ve made the time limit extra visible by writing it in capital letters. It gives the impression that it’s a very exclusive offer that won’t come along again anytime soon.

Action Item: Ask yourself, “What value can I offer potential prospects in return for their email address?” “How can that value help guide prospects towards a purchase later on in my funnel?”

2. How to Write Compelling Facebook Ad Copy

When writing copy for your lead ads, you need to take a different approach than with other types of content.

Your ad will appear in between hundreds of other Facebook posts all trying to capture the user’s attention, so your ads need to stand out.

Besides the copy, you need to include an eye-catching image or video to draw attention to your ad.

We respond much better to visuals than we do to text.

Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Your visuals should always support your message. Thus, it’s worth spending a bit more time on these to make sure they are perfect.

(You can read more about visual marketing in this recent post I wrote).

Once your ad has caught the reader’s attention, your copy needs to convince them to sign up.

Tell them why they need to sign up.

What’s the benefit of subscribing?

And it’s not your product and all its awesome features that will convince people to opt in.

It’s the value it offers.

If the objective of your Facebook ad is to collect newsletter subscribers, you need to tell prospects what the value of your newsletter is.

What will they get in exchange for their email address?

Here’s an example from WoodWorkers Guild of America:

The focus of this lead ad is the value of the newsletter, and not the newsletter itself. The value is “woodworking how-to videos, projects & tips every week”.

Let’s say you run an online store with home decor such as Pottery Barn.

You create an audience of people who’ve visited the Christmas decoration page and target them with a specific lead ad.

This lead ad could contain a DIY guide for Christmas decorations, and all you’re asking for in exchange is an email address.

It provides great value to the user, and all they have to do is confirm their email address in two simple clicks without ever leaving Facebook.

Besides offering value, there are other things you can do to make your ad stand out on Facebook.

One thing that we’ve experimented with at Sleeknote is humor.

Humor is a great way of establishing an informal relationship with your potential customers and subscribers. Plus, it makes everything more fun.

Facebook is an informal social media platform where users go for entertainment and to connect with other people.

If you decide to use humor in your ad copy, it’s important that you write it in a way that’s consistent with your brand’s voice.

(You can read more about different types of humor marketing and how to use it in this article).

Action Item: Once you’ve defined your offer, write down three benefits of that offer. Turn those three benefits into two different versions of Facebook ad copy. Then you have three versions of ad copy to split test.

Now, it’s time to look at your call-to-action (CTA).

3. How to Write an Irresistible Call-to-Action

A good call-to-action tells people what to do, how to do it, and what to expect—in that order.

Guide your viewers to the right decision.

They might not know what a lead ad is and how it works.

Tell them what is required of them and convince them to make that decision.

Some might click the button in the ad and think that they’ve completed the signup, which wouldn’t give you any value.

You can write “Click below and confirm your information”. Simple as that.

You don’t have to create a lengthy how-to guide.

Just write a simple sentence, telling prospects what to do and what to expect.

This brings me to the CTA button.

Normally I would tell you to never write “sign up” on a CTA button.

But Facebook doesn’t allow for custom copy on the CTA buttons, meaning you can only choose from a drop-down in the Ad Manager.

Needless to say, I hope this changes VERY soon, but in the meantime, you need to ensure that every other element of your lead ad focuses on the value you’re offering.

Action Item: Tell users exactly how they sign up. Boil it down to one sentence and make it clear what you want them to do—click a button. And be sure to keep checking when Facebook will allow for custom CTA buttons.

4. How to Target the Right Users for Higher Quality Leads

The more relevant your ad is to the individual users, the more and better leads you’ll get.

There are multiple ways to target specific segments, and I’ll take you through some of the most effective ones in this section.

  1. How to retarget website visitors
  2. How to create lookalike audiences
  3. How to target mobile users
  4. How to set up a Facebook retargeting flow

1. How to Retarget Website Visitors

Retargeting is a highly-effective way of targeting your ads to people who have already expressed interest in your site.

With retargeting you can create customized lead ads for specific user segments from your website.

By retargeting people who’ve already visited your site, you can tap into a user segment filled with potential subscribers and high-quality customers.

Let’s say you have an e-commerce store selling shoes.

Facebook already tracks visitors on your site if you implemented the tracking code.

You can then create an audience for your lead ad by selecting visitors who visited your sneaker page.

Add images of sneakers to your ad along with a message telling them to check out new styles or offer them a discount.

You can then decide if you want to redirect them to the sneaker page, or if you want them to sign up to receive the latest sneaker discounts.

I recommend the latter, as you get a new lead in the process. Just because you offer a discount and redirect people to your site, doesn’t mean they will buy something.

By getting their email address, you’re able to add these leads to your automated email sequence where you can convert them into repeat customers.

Remember, though, to send the discount code immediately, so they have the possibility to use it while they’re still interested.

Once you create your ad, Facebook will show it to visitors the next time they log into Facebook.

In this example from Jabong, you can see how it looks.

Jabong uses images of specific sneakers with discounts to invite viewers to go to their page and buy sneakers. They also remind shoppers of their free shipping policy.

Showing previous visitors similar products, rather than random offers, increases the chance of converting them into customers.

Another important segment to follow up on is users who clicked the ad’s CTA button but didn’t confirm their details.

They were clearly interested but weren’t fully convinced.

So, create an ad with the same context, but a different message.

Maybe a competition or social proof is enough to nudge them to take the final step.

Action Item: Go to Google Analytics and find a page on your site that has a lot of traffic, but a low conversion rate. Create an ad for the users who’ve visited this page and try to get them to opt in by using a different message.

2. How to Create Lookalike Audiences

You can also create a lookalike audience for your ads. Here, you upload your email list to Facebook target groups, and Facebook creates a list of people who are similar to this audience.

These can be based on demographics (e.g. age, job, gender, etc.) and can help you narrow down your target group on Facebook.

It’s an easy way to create an audience, and reach people you may not be able to reach otherwise.

Facebook has created a simple how-to guide for creating a lookalike audience that you can check out here.

Action Item: Take a look at your buyer personas, and use the same demographics in a lookalike audience to target a highly relevant pool of potential customers.

3. How to Target Mobile Users

When Facebook initially developed lead ads, it was developed for mobile use only to make it easier for mobile users to sign up with a click or two.

Later, given its success, they decided to launch lead ads on desktop as well.

The takeaway here is you need to make sure that your lead ads are mobile-friendly.

Keep in mind that a mobile screen is much smaller than a computer screen and users shouldn’t need to scroll in your lead ad to read all the content.

The best would be to create two separate lead ads—one for mobile and one for desktop.

This ensures a much better user experience on both devices and a higher conversion rate.

Action Item: Take the desktop version of your lead ad, and boil the copy down to one sentence. The image in your mobile lead ad will be the main attention drawer, so a good idea is to include your value proposition directly in the image for more conversions.

4. How to Set Up a Facebook Retargeting Flow

You can also use your new signups in a retargeting flow on Facebook.

Facebook doesn’t have a retargeting flow feature, but you can still set it up manually. Let’s say you want to target all the visitors who have visited your sneaker page (to use a previous example).

Create an audience including the people who visited that page within the last 1-4 days.

You then create an audience of those who visited the page within the last 5-8 days, 9-12 days, 13-16 days, and so on.

In this example from John Loomer’s website, he set up a retargeting flow based on people who subscribed to his service.

I would recommend continuing up to 50 days and then testing different messages and content in your ads.

You can try with videos, slideshows, podcasts, discounts, competitions, and much more. Let your imagination run wild.

You can also try using something they’ve already seen on your website.

If you have a video on your targeted page with you telling people how great your sneakers are, you can include that video in your first ad in the flow to establish relevance to something familiar.

I won’t go into details of how you create your retargeting flow because John Loomer has done that perfectly already in his how-to guide.

Ensuring that your ads are targeted at the right people is super important.

Imagine if existing subscribers were shown a lead ad asking them to subscribe to your newsletter.

It would be a total waste of resources.

They’re already subscribed and would just ignore your ad (or even feel annoyed by its irrelevance).

So make sure you target your lead ads to the right audience.

Action Item: Ask yourself which audience segment has the highest potential to become customers, and create a retargeting flow for that segment. Don’t create too many ads (maybe start with five ads over the course of 40-50 days), and try using different messages and calls-to-action in each ad.

5. How to Follow up with New Leads

Once people have signed up through your lead ad, you need to think about the next step.

How will you convert these new leads into paying customers?

Response time is essential at this stage.

A study by James B. Oldroyd, Kristina McElheran, and David Elkington show that companies who contact a lead within 5 minutes have a 100 times greater chance of having a successful conversation with that lead, than companies who contact a lead 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.

Thus, it surprised me a whole lot when the same study revealed that out of the 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies that were part of the study:

  • Only 37% responded to their leads within an hour
  • 16% responded within one to 24 hours
  • 24% took more than 24 hours
  • 23% of the companies never responded at all.

These numbers prove how crucial response time is when it comes to converting your leads into customers.

Your leads go cold fast because they lose interest or go elsewhere to buy.

If your response time is too long, you need to consider hiring more people, as lost leads equal lost potential revenue.

The same goes for your email leads.

Send them a welcome email right after they’ve signed up.

BlueHornet conducted a study that shows that 74.4% of consumers expect a welcome email when they subscribe.

They will expect a welcome email from you, and even more so if you offer to send them something in exchange for their email address such as a discount or free resource.

Welcome emails have 320% more revenue per email than other promotional emails.

After the welcome email, you should keep following up to ensure your brand stays top of mind, and to encourage subscribers to make a purchase.

Have new leads enter an email drip flow.

Here’s an excerpt from the Sleeknote onboarding process:

The main purpose of an email sequence like this is to offer value to subscribers, while still trying to convince them to try your product.

You can even combine your email marketing efforts with lead forms on your site, to show a custom message for the users in a specific email sequence.

With a UTM specific form, you ensure that only users who’ve clicked a link in a specific email or email sequence will see this form.

Here’s an example of how you can set it up.

Don’t have time to watch the video?

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Create any type of SleekBox you want to show
  2. When you get to settings, click “change rule” next to the targeting options
  3. Set your preferred trigger
  4. Click “Add another condition” under “Conditions”
  5. Find “UTM campaign” and click “+ Add condition”
  6. Choose “Show sleeknote” from the drop-down
  7. Insert the UTM source, medium, and name from your campaign (you can also add UTM content and term if you want to be more specific)
  8. Save your SleekBox and activate it. That’s it.

Action Item: Ask yourself, “What unique content can I offer in these emails to encourage a purchase?” “What should the next step be when a prospect clicks a link in an email?” Getting a click in an email is just the first step. Guide them to the next step when they get there (Hint: Use UTM specific forms).

Free Downloadable Bonus

Need some inspiration?

Uncovering inspiration for Facebook Lead Ads is a time-consuming activity (I should know—this post took 16+ hours to research).

To save you time, I’ve included a swipe file with 50 of my favorite Facebook Lead Ads so you can begin capturing and converting more leads (#7 is my favorite).

Get access to our personal swipe file of high-converting Facebook Lead Ads and start capturing more high-quality leads today.

Logging Out of Facebook for Now

Phew … If you’re reading this, I’m proud of you!

You made it all the way through. Thank you!

I know there are a lot of things to consider when creating Facebook lead ads, and it might seem overwhelming at first, but once you’ve created your first lead ad, the second will be much easier.

There are so many different possibilities with Facebook lead ads that it would be a shame not to explore at least a few of them.

You can create ads with competitions, discounts, videos, checklists, etc.

Test what works best for your audience and your business, and you’ll quickly see an increase in new leads and customers.

I hope this post has helped shed light on these possibilities and that you’re ready to try it out.

What are your experiences with Facebook lead ads? Do you have any ideas not mentioned in this post? Leave a comment below.

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