Facebook lead ads seem awesome in theory. But look tricky in practice. It often seems easier to simply stick with the same old landing-page-based campaigns. Why deviate from the norm when the norm works just fine?
Because it doesn’t always work, that’s why.
Long, complex sales sequences or highly customized forms can tank mobile opt-ins. They require mouse-like fingers and monk-like patience to successfully get what you’re after.
Facebook lead ads, in comparison, provide the best opportunity to increase subpar mobile conversions by shrinking a drawn-out process down into just a few clicks.
So it’s not a matter of if, but when you should use them. Because companies of all shapes and sizes marketing all kinds of offers, from simple content downloads to high-ticket sales, are already seeing success with them.
Here are five lead ad types, with real examples, your Facebook advertising campaigns can’t afford to miss.
Lead ads do exactly as intended: They help you generate more leads with less friction. Nowhere is that more apparent than with lead magnets and other opt-in offers.
Here are the hoops that you’re asking people to jump through with a typical ad:
Ad > Click > Landing Page > Form Fill > Thank You Page > Email Confirmation > Finally Get Their Hands on the Sweet Prize
Phew! I’m exhausted just looking at that sequence of unfortunate events.
Thankfully, you don’t have to torture people like this anymore.
Think about how well that long and winding road performs on mobile. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
And that’s exactly where lead ads can excel. They drastically simplify the opt-in process so you can provide your info and receive your offer with a few clicks within seconds.
AdEspresso found as much, seeing a 67% conversion rate on mobile (1,057 completed forms out of 1,569 lead ad form clicks).
Average Facebook ad conversion rates hover around 9.21%, or about 57.79% less than the rate for this lead ad campaign’s lead magnet.
The good news is that you’re not only seeing better conversion rates with lead ads for lead magnets. Mobile placements have significantly less expensive CPCs, making them perfect for promoting your content-based offers.
That’s why you might see this evergreen WordStream lead ad the next time you’re stalking your ex-girlfriend God I hope she’s miserable without me browsing around Facebook.
The ante is upped with a Facebook video ad, which outperforms the typical “featured image” approach most marketers stick with in different ad creative split tests.
Now, all you gotta do now is click “Download,” then “Submit” what’s already on file:
And you’re good to go! No punching in the wrong characters with big thumbs. No switching between tabs or windows. No email confirmation to search for (“Did you check the Spam folder yet?”).
Easy peasy, right?
Then let’s hurry along to more advanced Lead Ad examples.
We just touched on Facebook’s average 9% conversion rate.
Those are actually pretty good compared with averages from Google Ads (3.75%) and your website (2.35%).
However, it’s not good compared with the top performers who’re seeing 3-5x those returns.
Focus on your site for a second. You know that reducing should increase conversions. It doesn’t always, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to simplify the info-submission process for qualifying new leads (how’s that double negative for you grammar snobs?).
Fortunately, lead ads can help here, too.
Annual season tickets to an NBA game might set you back around $10k. Or around the same as most B2B SaaS software.
The sales process is fairly similar, too.
You don’t want tire kickers. You don’t want to waste their time or yours.
So all new leads will need to be qualified with a series of questions and checkpoints.
Here’s how the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks does it.
That is an A+ for ad copy right off the bat:
“Guarantee YOUR Seats for the Rematch”
But it goes from strength to strength on the follow-up confirmation page:
“Do you want to skip the lines to be first in line to get tickets?”
Then, a series of simple two-word, fill-in-the-blank question fields with a select-the-most-appropriate drop down for more complex ones.
BMW UK is no slouch when it comes to lead ads, either.
The carousel ad highlights a series of features that set their automobiles apart from the commoditized competition.
The next question, though, will look instantly recognizable for all you BANT Champions out there:
A thing of beauty. Qualifying urgency right away, and then leading them directly into the “next step” in the sales process:
Getting information to offer a quote or customized pricing is usually a pain. You’d normally reserve that only for landing pages on desktop devices, when people have about 10 minutes to fill out your long questionnaire.
But lead ads make it as simple as a few clicks.
Every B2B marketer worth their salt knows about the power of webinars for lead gen.
Here’s the thing, though. Running a webinar is easy. Getting a few participants to buy afterward isn’t brain surgery.
You know what the bigger challenge is?
Getting enough people to actually show up in the first place.
Let’s say you want to max your next GoToWebinar with 1,000 peeps. Cool.
Except, only about 50% of the people who see your ad are ever going to sign up. So you’re looking at 2,000 visits/impressions/clicks required already. Depending on your CPC, that might be a few thousand bucks without ever sitting down to create a single slide.
Unfortunately, this scenario is actually a pie-in-the-sky dream. Because the average attendance rate – the number of peeps who sign up vs. actually attend – is only around 30-50%.
That slashes your estimates in half. It also means you’ve got to lower expectations (lower leads) for the same budget (higher cost per lead) or bump up that initial ad spend to make up the difference (like 2x).
You get the picture.
Actually getting 1,000 people to attend an event (online or off) conservatively estimates you’ll need an audience of 3-5x that size.
In other words, you can’t afford to screw this up.
Once again, lead ads can help you claw back a few percentage points. Facebook even runs them for their own events!
Once again, all of your registration info is pre-loaded and submitted with a single click:
Lead ads also make it easy to funnel newly interested people directly into your nurturing campaigns to bump up that registration number.
When this ad type first debuted, it required marketers to export and import. But Facebook has been on a tear lately, adding new CRM integration partners in droves.
If they’re somehow missing your app, Zapier’s got your back:
You’ve seen the same stats for years.
Prospects need a dozen touches prior to purchase. Usually, from multiple different channels.
The story is still the same. You still need to reach people multiple times, in multiple channels, before they purchase.
See above. ☝️
You use (1) ads to drive people into a (2) webinar and then follow up in (3) email.
Yes, it’s time-consuming. Yes, it requires some extra effort. But the results are worth it.
The silver lining is that you can use Lead Ads to help deliver these same nurturing drip campaigns. So we’re mashing up the first (lead magnet) and third (event) points, because millennials love a good mashup!
This Tokyowheel example comes via Lead Bridge. They’re using the carousel lead ad, similar to the BMW UK ad from before. Except, instead of promoting different features, they’re using an old-school, dripped course in a new way.Each carousel ad promotes one of the free lessons the viewer is going to get:
This way, they can use multiple messages and hooks to try and appeal to the most people possible.
Click on any of them and you can opt-in for the entire five-lesson, 101-style course.
You’re spending more time on the initial ad and offer development. But you don’t need a whole lot of friction on the questionnaire (default name and email fields will do).
And this campaign is evergreen, so there’s no need to continually update or stop and start.
B2B sellers can use a free course like this to lead into a webinar at the end of the sequence. It provides a many-to-one way to nurture leads at scale, summarizing each lesson to warm them up before leading into the obligatory pitch at the end.
Or you can even send them directly into a tripwire sales offer that provides the solution to the problems you just exposed in the course.
Last, but certainly not least, is the discount offer. An oldie but a goodie.
What this ad type lacks in creativity, it more than makes up for in ruthless efficiency. Read: it’s the perfect way to finally nudge prospects off the fence and into your funnel.
All we’re doing is simply repeating the steps from the first four examples above. But instead of a straight 10% off the top that will attract nothing but cheapskates, you can use a discount that incentives at least one, if not two, full-priced purchase, first.
MakerBot does exactly this to perfection.
Admittedly, 3D printing ain’t sexy. Plus, buying a bunch of pieces ain’t cheap, either. Like, you-gotta-fill-out-a-quote-form-to-find-out expensive. No way you’re getting out of there for less than a few hundred bucks. MakerBot sails over both hurdles by using a well-timed “Buy Two, Get One Free” offer specifically for schools.
So Makerbot is getting two, not one, full-priced purchases. That all but guarantees them an initial order value that provides enough margin to soak up the free unit offer.
Especially because that free model is a refurbished one! In other words, you’re paying through the nose for two brand-spanking-new speakers and getting a fine-but-refurbished model that probably costs 50-80% less than the others.
The ad copy and image speaks directly to a target persona, too. This ain’t their first rodeo.
If it wasn’t obvious so far, it is when you click on the ad and start the quote process with this beautiful qualifying question:
A work of art that combines a lead form (number two above) to streamline a complex process down to a few pre-built selections, with a discount to take advantage of convenience and impulse.
Facebook lead ads are your best bet to right-sizing under-performing mobile conversions.
They have the unique ability to simplify complex opt-in processes down to one or two clicks – something that can’t be said for any other ad type on any other platform.
Tricky lead magnets can be downloaded within seconds.
Customizable quote forms can be re-created inside Facebook, so you can get the same qualifying questions your sales team needs without requiring users to sit still for ten minutes.
You can max out online and offline events by seamlessly transitioning from lead ad to CRM nurturing sequence.
Drip campaigns, like free courses, can be combined with the steps above by using carousel ads that highlight several different incentives to hook the most people possible.
And deals or promotions, even the most high-touch, expensive ones, can now leverage the impulsive sitting-on-the-couch-at-home convenience that used to derail prospects.
The best Facebook lead ad examples aren’t just fluky one-offs. They’re legitimate lead gen machines that can and should be copied yesterday to stop missing out on lost profits.
Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, long-form content creators for SaaS companies. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, TheNextWeb, Shopify, Moz, Unbounce, HubSpot, Search Engine Journal, and more.
See other posts by Brad Smith
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