Creative Matters: Best Practices for Engaging Voters

Creative can be one of the hardest things for a campaign to pull together. Not everyone has a niece who is a graphic designer or a nephew who can write copy. Even if you do have the team to pull the most effective political ads together, optimizing creative for Facebook is its own special process that requires content be created in a particular way.

Seem overwhelming huh? Don’t be discouraged - there are several quick and (relatively) easy ways to produce creative for your Facebook ads and to make them stand out from the crowd. But for starters, let’s break down the two most basic elements of your creative on Facebook - visuals and copy.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT VISUAL

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Visuals are the keystone of your political social media strategy, and ultimately what will initially make your future voters stop and pay attention. Humans are wired to respond emotionally to visual stimuli, so choose images that will evoke the response you want from your voters. Consider, an image of the candidate with their family or out campaigning, relevant geographic landmarks that your voters would recognize, or an image of a candidate addressing local issues within the community that matter to the campaign.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when choosing visuals for your ad:

  • Keep your images free of text. Facebook only allows 20% of an image to be text before they reduce how often the ad surfaces to voters. This can include your campaign logo so be careful when using it in an ad. A great way to check if your image exceeds this 20% text threshold is to upload it here facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay and see what Facebook says themselves.

  • Your image will display at 1200x628px, so make sure your pictures are cropped appropriately, and know that vertical, as well as square images won’t display properly.

  • A great tool for cropping and creating images is Canva! You can go to www.canva.com to upload your images, find stock graphics, layer your creations, and export them in a Facebook ready format super quick.

  • Video often performs better on Facebook than just still images. Posting a video can often do wonders for your social media political advertising, and help your message surface to more voters.

MOVE VOTERS WITH YOUR MESSAGE

Copy defines your message. Your visual/image will draw your voter to the ad, but your copy is where you can provide the details that will hook voters and ultimately create the most effective political ads. Copy on Facebook is split into three different options - headline, text, and news link description.

The Headline field is where you grab your voters attention. To do this you want to keep it brief - less than 8 words brief. If you have to go over 8 words be mindful that each word is absolutely necessary to the message. The longer your headline is, the less likely a voter will be to even read the phrase to its conclusion.

The Text field allows you to add some context now that your headline and image has caught the voter’s attention. You still want to keep it short, but you can think through your words here in terms of a proper sentence, not just a quick phrase. Note that since your text appears above the ad it is also important to make sure what you write can exist independent of the headline since they may be viewed separately or in different orders depending on how someone is scrolling through Facebook.

The News Link Description is where you are able to add more context. You can put together a couple full sentences for the people who have really been attracted to your ad and want to start to learn what your campaign is all about.

Best Practices

Strong creative is very valuable, but so is understanding how to set up your budget and optimization options. You can read our blog post Ready to Tackle That First Topplr Send to gain a better understanding of what all of your options are.

When crafting your political social media strategy, keep in mind that even the best creative can become stale if it runs for too long. If you’ve noticed your reach numbers beginning to stall out, it may be time to update creative and go back after your voters with something new. We suggest updating your creative with something new every 10 days.

In Summary

  • The most effective political ads don’t use text in images

  • Crop your images to 1200x628px

  • Video Performs better

  • Write an 8 or less word hook for the headline

  • Keep the text field independent and about a sentence long

  • For the News Link Description write two sentences

  • If your ad has been running for 10 days, switch up the creative.

Best of luck and happy campaigning!


Nick Martin