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Data Shows the 3 Things You Need for a Successful Facebook Ad

Following these steps can help businesses get more bang for their buck.

Facebook has become an advertiser’s not-so-secret weapon. Whether you're organizing a craft beer festival for 21-to-34-year-old Deadmau5 fans in Boulder, Colo.,  or hosting an open house for 26-to-54-year-olds in Vancouver, Facebook has you covered. The ability to hyper-target consumers, over a range of devices, exactly where they are spending a large chunk of their time is extremely attractive to modern marketers, and extremely profitable for Facebook.

In 2010, Facebook earned $2 billion over the whole year; the company topped this with $2.6 billion in just the fourth quarter of 2014, and according to recent figures raked in $27.6 billion in total revenue last year. Approximately $12.4 billion of this is reported to have come from display advertising such as banner adverts alone.

Related: Make $50,000 per Month Through Facebook Advertising With These Top Tips

With traditional media in a downturn, companies are increasingly jumping ship from advertising on TV, in newspapers and magazines, and are instead throwing a big chunk of their advertising dollars at Facebook. But, with Facebook warning that it is likely to run out of ad space mid-2017, companies need to plan their ad spends effectively to make sure they reach the right consumers with the right messages to get the right results.

Based on the Facebook advertising performance data from over 3,900 businesses over the course of a 90-day period, we have identified three trends in top performing Facebook ads.

Following these steps can help businesses get more bang for their buck:

1. Use emojis.

After crawling through data from more than 3,000 businesses around the world, we took the top 10 highest performers and analyzed their cost per engagement and "relevancy score" to find what these ads had in common.

Surprised face? Ninety-percent of the most successful campaigns used emojis as part of their ads. Advertisers started seriously using emojis back in 2014, and since then the tactic has grown in favor, having been included in massively successful social media campaigns by major consumer brands such as Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and Disney, to name a few.

But, why are smiley faces, food symbols and everyday objects so popular with consumers? In a recent AdWeek article, Travis Montaque, CEO and founder of Emogi, a real-time emotional intelligence platform, argues, “Not only do emojis capture nuanced feeling that may not be apparent from simple text, but it is an easier way for consumers to give advertisers feedback so that they can leverage it to improve their marketing initiatives."

Related: 5 Tips on Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign

Put simply, emojis often convey emotion/meaning better than text. A recent study by Emogi found that 84 percent of female respondents and 75 percent of male respondents felt emojis express their feelings more accurately than typing out messages. This can be related to the amount of text in a Facebook ad copy. If you need to express the value of a product online in just a few lines, the use of emojis can be essential to conveying your message quickly.

While emojis may seem like a millennial's game, evidence suggests that their effects are cross-generational. The Emogi study also found that 72.2 percent of users aged under 25 use emojis frequently compared to 75.9 percent of 25-to-29-year-olds, 68.3 percent of 30-to-35-year-olds and 62.3 percent of those aged 35 and above.

In total, this is estimated to account for as much as 92 percent of the total online population using emojis with differing levels of frequency.

While many may assume emojis are just a quick way to respond on Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, or via SMS while on the move, according to our data the use of emojis tends to substantially increase traction and improve the click through rate of Facebook ads.

Related: Here's How to Master Facebook Advertising and Why You Must

2. Use a lot of photos.

According to our research, ads with multiple photos (or more specifically albums with five or more photos) increase the click-through rate and relevancy score of Facebook Ads. All of the top performers from our selected batch of more than 3,000 companies included multiple images or even had albums with multiple images.

From our research, the most successful ads -- having click-through rates ranging between 20 percent to 36 percent shared one thing in common: They all included multiple photos. Considering the average click-through rate of a Facebook ad can be as low as 1 percent for other styles of ads, this finding is huge.

Well snapped, high quality photos make products look appealing, grab consumers attention as they are scrolling through their newsfeeds, and make it easier to recognize your company or brand name.

It doesn’t matter if you are selling home insurance or hoverboards, adding images is a great way to stand out from the crowd and grab attention for that extra second needed to spark interest.

Related: A Small-Business Guide to Facebook Advertising (Infographic)

When choosing a photo, it is important to keep in mind that a large percentage of users will view the image on their smartphone or mobile device, which have reasonably small screens. As such you should avoid images that have many small details or text and opt for something simple instead, choosing images which are bright, simple and eye-catching.

Certain images are proven to catch consumer’s attention more than others:

  • Special life moments like weddings or happy family photos.
  • Photos including babies, beautiful people or cute animals.
  • Images that include bright colors, those that stand out from the blue and white Facebook feed display.
  • Photos that appeal to the specific target audience.

3. Choose the right target audience.

So, you have included emojis, and found yourself some suitable, bright, emotion grabbing photographs -- problem solved, right? Think again. The success of your Facebook ad also relies on putting it in front of the right group of people.

When choosing your target audience, bigger is almost always better.

The use of large Facebook audiences increases the target spectrum and also directly dictates the ROI of your advertisement. All top performers in our study targeted an audience of more than 60,000 people, with an estimated true reach of between 5,000 and 20,000 consumers.

Related: 8 Reasons Facebook Will Beat All Other Digital Marketing Channels This Year

The Facebook audience insights tool can help you plan the best way to reach the most people, efficiently. For Facebook users based in the U.S., Audience Insights use interest data, purchase behavior, brand affinity and other behaviors to create target persona profiles for you.

You can use audience insights to identify a sufficiently large and diverse audience by choosing to target people with specific interests, and who already like specific pages. By having a clear target group in mind, you can then use Facebook’s publicly available data insights or “look alike audiences” to scale campaigns further by finding even more people who have a similar profile to those who are already converting.

As the marketing dollars that have been spent in the past on Google AdWords, banner ads and traditional advertising flood to Facebook, using these insights and takeaways can help you avoid costly mistakes. For businesses of all sizes, advertising on Facebook is officially a when, not an if. Let this new data help guide your decisions and remember to follow the data, not just your gut.