Mediagistic Blog

The Science of Social: What Makes a Customer Stop for Your Facebook Ad?

Danielle Gouletas
Danielle Reinhardt

While it’s true that Facebook is a novel advertising medium for most businesses, you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel for your Facebook ads to succeed. You do, however, have to understand the science behind what makes a Facebook user stop and look at your ad instead of scrolling right past it.

Social Currency and the TPJ

Every Facebook post possesses what Wharton marketing professor and viral marketing expert Jonah Berger calls “social currency.” Social currency is not unlike the currency we use to purchase goods and services, but it’s used to increase status and reputation.

Posts and ads that exhibit a high level of social currency tend to get more responses and shares. This is because users see this content as a means of gaining an emotional approval, status validation, or affection from their audience. People share and engage with certain posts on social media because they believe doing so will make them seem intelligent, cool, a good mother, a healthy citizen, etc.

When considering whether to share a post, the temporal parietal junction (TPJ) — otherwise known as the “empathy center” of the brain — becomes activated. According to Marketing Land contributor John Kasteler, “what really matters isn’t how visually appealing an image or idea is to the viewer, but how the viewer perceives others might enjoy the image or idea. In other words, social media sharing has a lot to do with intuition and understanding.”

Subsequently, you not only need to know who your audience is and what makes them tick, but you also need to understand what they perceive their audience values. The better you’re able to understand this, the more likely you’ll be able to leverage social currency to collectively activate a powerful TPJ response for your Facebook ad.

3 Factors to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Social Ads

Eye-Catching Imagery

We’ve all heard that people are visual. As it turns out, though, scientific studies agree. Dr. John Henderson, a Michigan State Psychology professor, has devoted the bulk of his research to how and why people direct their vision to the most salient area of an image. He explains that our brains only register detail at the middle of our fields of vision.

As a result, your advertising needs to catch and keep your customers’ gazes. In Henderson’s research, he’s found that sharp contrast and changes in texture facilitate visual fixation. Here are some other visual techniques that will help stop Facebook viewers in their tracks:

  • Rule of thirds: Images are most pleasing to the human eye when they’re evenly balanced throughout three imaginary horizontal and vertical lines drawn over the image.
  • Emotions: Studies have proved that emotions, not information, prompt people to buy. Choose an image that will evoke the desired emotion in your viewers.
  • Vibrant colors: Vivid colors draw the eye in, while certain colors can also evoke certain emotions.

Intriguing Text

Even the most captivating of images won’t do you any good if they aren’t supported by a compelling message. Your ad’s copy should interest and motivate your viewer, appealing to people’s nature as purpose- and betterment-of-life driven. Give your audience a compelling reason to click.

Human beings also tend to operate out of self-interest, so personalize the ad and incentivize the user’s actions with exclusive deals or social currency triggers. Finally, remember the serial position effect, which tells us that people remember best the first item (primacy) and the last item (recency) in a list of information. Pay the most attention to your ad’s headline, and don’t neglect any postscript you want to include.

Precise Targeting

The image and text of your ad also need to align with your brand and your target demographic. You don’t want to market a toy to a 60-year-old man, nor would you try to sell makeup to a toddler. Think about your target audience’s age, where they live, their gender, their relationships, and their affinities.

Facebook allows you to include as many or as few target demographics as you want, including language, level of education, marital status — and perhaps most significantly for home services companies — whether they are homeowners.

Social Media Solutions for Local Businesses

If you’re struggling with planning and executing a Facebook advertising campaign for your home services business, then Mediagistic can help. Our social media team knows how to leverage Facebook ads to grow your brand, and increase your site’s inbound traffic and leads. Contact us today for a free social media assessment — our team will evaluate your social media presence and put together a comprehensive set of recommendations specific to your business.

Danielle Reinhardt is a social media specialist at Mediagistic. Her passion is creating engaging, lively content that helps businesses grow. When she’s not busy cheering for her Florida State Seminoles, she’s burning the midnight oil for the non-profit professional organization, Ad 2 Tampa Bay, which is an affiliate of the American Advertising Federation and Tampa Bay Advertising Federation. Connect with her on Linkedin.

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