How to find high-converting social ad concepts

In the wonderful world of advertising, testing is still king. But…

Test doesn’t mean you have to guess.

Here’s the process I follow (as a conversion copywriter) to find ad concepts with high conversion potential.


Let’s talk about social ads for a second.

A while back, I was in conversations with a Facebook ad strategist who was exploring potentially bringing me on to help deliver copy for her clients. And during that conversation, she asked me:

“Paige, how do you decide what ad angles to test? How do you decide to recommend ad copy for your clients? Do you always recommend running a problem-focused ad and an outcome-focused ad? How do you think about it?”

What I told her was this:

I don’t work from a template.

I don’t always recommend problem-focused ads or outcome-focused ads.

What I do when I’m working with clients, and we’re focused on writing social ads, is I start by looking at what the strongest messages in the data are.

  • Which of those messages are bringing us the highest quality leads?
  • Maybe, which messages are bringing us lower-quality leads? (So we know to stay away from those.)

From there, I recommend ad concepts and then ad copy.

In a recent project, this is what that looked like.

We started out with three ad concepts as a baseline.

For ad #1, I recommended the ad concept be focused on a specific outcome.

The outcome I chose was one we knew was bringing us the highest quality leads. And it was also the outcome that was best solved by the product. So there was a very strong alignment between the product’s value proposition and the outcome that the prospect wanted.

For ad #2, I recommended we focus on a push event.

A push event is something that’s happening in the prospect’s life that’s causing them to consider switching or even to actively look for a new solution.

Now, in this particular context, we were selling a financial product, and at the time, there was something going on in the economy that was bringing us leads with high urgency and high intent. They were ready to find a new solution and make the switch as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that these people were solution-aware, but they didn’t know our solution existed. They just knew that the solution that they had wasn’t working anymore, and they were looking for something better.

For ad #3, I wanted to test an ad that was targeted at someone in a slightly more advanced stage of awareness.

Both the other two ads were for problem or goal-aware and early solution-aware prospects. Neither of those ads was focused on people who knew that our product existed.

So for ad #3, I wanted to deliberately test an ad that would reach people who had heard of our type of solution before but just may not know much about it. I wanted to test and see if we targeted someone who was a bit further along in the buyer’s journey, would that result in a higher quality lead and a shorter sales cycle for my client?

Even though we knew that when we looked at the market as a whole, there was a pretty low level of awareness of the solution we were selling.

So that’s the three ad angles that I recommended, and then I wrote copy for each of those ads.

That’s the process I followed.

  1. I did the voice-of-customer research.
  2. I mapped the conversion context.
  3. I looked for trends in the messaging and…
  4. I deliberately selected those that were correlated with higher-quality leads, shorter sales cycles, more urgency, and higher intent.

And that’s how I approach recommending ad copy.

I don’t follow a template. I don’t always test this or test that. I rely on the data to tell me where the biggest opportunities are. And that’s my starting point.

If you’d like to take a more strategic approach to the social ad concepts that you test, let’s chat.

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