Contrary to popular belief, Facebook ads do NOT create desire. Neither does persuasive messaging.
What they can do, however, is take existing fears and desires and transmit them onto a particular product or service.
Master copywriter Eugene Schwartz wrote that a marketer's job is "NOT to generate a new desire, but to channel and direct it."
The Wrong Way To Strategize Your Marketing
This is a major paradigm shift for many novice digital marketers, who try to impose a service or product onto the 'right' demographic.
"If we just put our service/product in front of our target audience on Facebook, Youtube, etc...they're bound to want it!"
And then they get frustrated by their campaigns' sub par results.
Tapping Into Existing Fears & Desires
Experienced marketers tap into trends and desires. The first thing a marketer must do is identify people's feelings, hopes, fears and dreams. Then they find a way to connect that with the product through the words and imagery of their ads. Detecting these desires is both science and art.
Some of them never change: the desire to look good, to fit into a social group, or to get quick relief from pain, for example.
Others shift with time: modern trends, celebrity nuances, standards of convenience and so on.
There are also unconscious desires that we accumulate from being exposed to hundreds of daily ads on social media, across the web, on billboards and everywhere we go.
Finding The Right Desire
When I develop new ad campaigns for my clients, I draw up a list of as many relevant desires as possible. At any given time, there could be 10-30 different desires relevant to the product.
Then I narrow down the list to the 2 strongest desires that could realistically be channeled onto the product.
Real Life Example:
For example, I've run campaigns for a business that sells alkaline water systems. Before they hired me, they were running Facebook ads, simply showing their products to their target audiences and hoping for sales to trickle in.
Needless to say, that 'strategy' didn't work well.
Using this desire-first formula has nearly tripled their quantity of leads without increasing ad budget.
Choosing Which One Will Bring Results
In narrowing the list of potential desires, I consider:
The intensity and urgency of the desire.
The product's ability to satisfy the desire.
Reach. Is this a desire shared by enough people to be worthwhile targeting?
The two desires I chose for the client above were
"Regain your youthful appearance" and
"Protect your health from harmful elements in tap water."
Working Them Into Your Campaigns
Once I've determined the desires, I create two separate campaigns, one for each desire. I develop ad copy and imagery that speaks to each of those desires.
These two campaigns are then measured against each other.
There's a lot going on in each campaign: I split-test multiple audiences, campaign objectives and variations in ad copy and imagery.
Finally, I study the results, with particular interest in the best and worst-performing ads, in order to continually tweak and improve the campaigns.
Pro-tip: When certain ads don't perform well, do not just turn them. Study them. Learn from them. Find out why they didn't work, and use that knowledge to make your other ads even more effective.
If you can figure out how to piggyback your product onto the right desire, this formula will work.