Understanding the Anatomy of a Social Ad

Author: Pattern89

July 9, 2018


This post was contributed and sponsored by Pattern89.


The world of social ad campaigns is complex and ever-changing, and you need more data than ever to navigate it.

For retailers, the landscape is constantly evolving and it can be hard to keep up. Just last week, eMarketer reported brands like adidas, Aritzia and Louis Vuitton will sell products via Instagram Stories, adding yet another creative option to the multitude of possibilities.

Pattern89 has analyzed thousands of ad elements in our data co-op across hundreds of brands and hundreds of millions in ad spend to identify the trends that most impact ad performance.

Savvy digital marketers know the best messages often aren’t delivered with words.

Creative is one of the most critical parts of a social ad’s success. And video can have a larger impact on an ad’s performance than a simple image: a 2017 Buzzsumo study revealed that videos are the most engaging format on Facebook, with posts featuring videos performing consistently better than images. And in late 2017, eMarketer reported a surge in Instagram video engagement: numbers for videos from top media publisher accounts worldwide increased by 53% year over year in May, 7% higher than the growth rate for photos over the same timeframe.

That makes the Pattern89 Co-op data on video and image ad usage surprising. Marketers are still building ad campaigns with images over 90% of the time.

Every part of a social ad, not just the creative format, has an impact on its audience, and it is critical for marketers to get creative right. From headline to call-to-action, everything can impact performance.

Emojis are kind of a big deal for paid social.

Emojis can also boost ad effectiveness: a 2016 study by Twitter revealed that using branded emoji in social ads increased engagement by 10%. Instagram, a social channel built around visuals, reported that nearly 50% of its comments included an emoji. The Pattern89 Data Co-op corroborates those earlier studies showing that, across goal objectives, Facebook ads including emojis are noticeably more successful than ads without.

One of the most important parts of a social ad is its call-to-action. But how do you know which CTA to use? The Pattern89 Data Co-op reveals that on both Facebook and Instagram, one CTA is the clear winner:

You can find a dissection of more ad elements and tips for how to apply these findings to your paid social program by downloading the full report here.