As CEO, COO, CFO, and CIO of your startup, you probably don’t have time to add another hat like Chief Marketing Officer. But guess what? Congratulations. You’ve been promoted. While you might think digital marketing is just another item on a laundry list of business functions that you’re clueless about, if you begin with something so community-friendly and personable as Facebook ads, you’ll be in much better shape than you’d anticipate. After all, where else are you going to such a customizable population sample for market testing?


In Part I of Facebook Marketing Tips for Startups (URL), we talked about the form and function of Campaign Objectives. Now it’s time to do the damned thing and actually put an ad together. But, much like the Campaign Objectives, you’ve got another array of choices when it comes to ad format. In Part II, we’ll hit on the three simpler ad formats, and in Part III we’ll discuss the three more complex formats.


Image Ads


Here’s FB’s most common ad format, though, if used properly, it’s hardly vanilla, The beauty of every ad format, regardless of its function, is that it always initially mimics the structure of a “Shared Post”:



  1. Text. The status-like space at the top of the ad is where you can deliver the essential expository information. Let’s say your company is running a grand opening promo discount on your app’s download fee. Here’s where you hit the customer with timeframe of promo, discount total, etc.


  1. Image. The name “Image Ad” is a bit misleading, as FB’s ad specs only allow for a minimal text within the image itself. Never fear. There’s a tool to help. But when choosing the ideal photo or graphic for your ad, remember that this is where the eyes will be drawn to first, so make it count. The rest of the ad will do the work.


  1. Headline.This is likely the second place a viewer’s eyes will stop. Are you running an offer? Give your audience a single tantalizing line that sums it up. If there’s some fine print, you can always mention that in the status space above or on your website landing page. Are you introducing your product or service? Try using the headline as a space to quickly state the biggest problem what you’re offering solves.


  1. News Feed Link Description. Though this blurb only appears on FB’s desktop version, it’s still prime real estate. Here’s how you can make your headline even more enticing. And if you don’t manually fill in this field, FB will auto-fill this with the beginning text from your landing page, which will likely result in a vague fragment followed by an ellipses. Unless that’s exactly the sort of enticing you’re going for . . .

  2. Call-To-Action. FB provides you with 9 choices for that all-important button at the bottom of your ad:


        • Learn More

        • Sign Up

        • Contact Us

        • Download

        • Get Offer

        • Watch More

        • Shop Now

        • Apply Now

        • Send Message

        • Listen Now

        • Donate Now

        • Book now

        • See Menu

        • Request Time

        • Get Showtimes


It’s pretty likely that the last four don’t apply to your needs. But every other button provides an opportunity to land conversions—something as simple as driving traffic or signing up for a newsletter, or something more out-of-the-box like landing people on your crowdfunding page or getting them to download a podcast. Of course, you don’t have much ad spend, so whatever your call-to-action, make sure it’s as high-value as possible.



Video Ads


The ad format here will look exactly the same as the Image Ad above, except, of course, there’s a video in place of the image. Your everyday FB experience might lead you to believe that only super-polished, super-extensive content is worthy of this format. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, a certain controlled amateurishness can help your ad stand out from the rest. With the treasure trove of video editing apps out there, you’ll be able to carve out a poignant story from even the roughest cuts.


Examples of video ad topics:


  • A simple how-to for your product or service


Let your audience know what problem you’re solving. Remember though—you’re probably driving them to some sort of landing page. A how-to should always leave them wanting more.


  • A digital mission statement for your company


In the age of social media, it’s become difficult to separate a company’s business model from its politics. Does that mean you have to give a stump speech? Not at all. But you can gain a lot of headway by just giving your audience a sense that you see your company as weaving itself into the social and cultural fabric of its adopters.


  • A behind-the-scenes look at your startup


There’s a reason that Instagram Live and Story have made a huge leap in the past couple years. People love getting a peek into the everyday life of others. It humanizes even the most larger-than-life celebrity. Think of ways to promote the competitive advantage of your product/service and your company as a whole while focusing on the people that are helping make your dream a reality.




Carousel Ads


Here’s where you get a chance to create a reel of images or videos, or a mix of both, all of which still appear in the same ad format as the two above. You can use up to 10 carousel cards per ad, regardless of the media therein.


The beauty of a carousel ad is that you get to offer your audience a little slice of your brand universe. This is your chance to create some mystique around your product/service, which can go a long way for any startup. Find a story to tell. It could be your founding story, or highlights from your launch party, or a day in the life of a startup in a booth at an industry conference.


There’s more to projecting the value of your company than the usual polished pitch commercial. Any audience gravitates toward real people. Find a way to leverage what makes your company and the people in it unique.




Collaboration Is Key


As one of the nation’s emerging innovation and entrepreneurial centers, tekMountain strives to connect the brightest minds with the best opportunities. With over [x] startups operating out of our space, we have time and again provided vital access to mentorship and investment networks that have helped company after company scale out from their humble beginnings. Our love for the entrepreneurial spirit is also why we try to offer articles that inform every aspect of the startup experience.


Contact tekMountain today to learn how your startup can hit the next level.

This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda Sipes, Kelly Brown and Zach Cioffi with lead writer  Bill DiNome.


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