The world of social ads grows more complex each year. New social platforms come onto the scene, and the big players like Facebook and Instagram are always changing up their ad offerings, introducing new products for marketers to try.

One of the greatest advertising options available on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn is lead ads. Lead ads are designed to make it easier than ever for businesses to collect contact information from prospects, which they can upload to their CRM and use to nurture those leads and convert them to customers.

If you haven’t yet embraced lead ads as a part of your social media advertising strategy, then they’re the missing piece you’ve been looking for. Let’s walk through everything you need to know about lead ads, from what they are to how they work and what they can do for your business.

What Are Lead Ads?

Let’s start with the basics. A lead ad is a type of advertising available on Instagram and Facebook. Rather than driving viewers to click a link and visit an outside website, lead ads have a form built directly into the ad to collect contact information from interested prospects.

Not only that, but the form pre-populates with the contact information the prospect has provided to the social media platform. Often, it takes just one or two clicks to register for the offer made in the ad.

The major difference between lead ads and other types of ads on social media is that the ads encourage viewers to stay on the social media platform, rather than leading them offsite to a landing page you’ve built on your own website.

How Do They Work?

Lead ads work in much the same way as other types of social media ads. You start by choosing what offer you’d like to make in the ad.

Perhaps it’s an offer for a free trial of a product. It could be an offer to access valuable information, like a newsletter signup or a PDF download of a white paper. Insurance companies can offer automatic quotes to prospects, and car dealers can begin the process of arranging test drives.

Because lead ads allow you to make so many types of offers, the ads can be useful for just about any business. The forms are easy to create, and you can populate your form with a selection of standard fields (first name, last name, email address). Or, if you want to collect a novel piece of information, you can create your own custom fields.

Once prospects have entered their information into the form via your lead ad, you can download that contact information into your CRM or email manager to follow up with prospects outside of social media.

Related: Download our free ebook all about Facebook ads here.

How Do I Create an Effective Lead Ad?

Many of the same principles that apply to creating any type of social media ad also come into play when crafting a lead ad. Start by setting a clear goal and objective for the ad. This is often easier to do for lead ads; because you’re making a specific offer to viewers, the goal is usually directly tied to that offer.

From there, you can begin to build out the creative for the ad. Select an eye-catching visual to help you stand out on viewers’ feeds. Make sure that the text clearly states your offer.

Be concise to attract as much engagement as possible. Don’t over-complicate things with long blocks of text. Select a CTA button that makes the most sense for your campaign and drives home the offer you’re making.

When it comes to creating the form itself, make sure you’re collecting the least amount of information possible. The more information you ask for, the longer it takes prospects to fill out the form. And the longer the form, the more likely people are to give up halfway through filling it out.

Finally, you want to be sure the right people are seeing your ad. Social media platforms allow you to create target audiences for your advertising, based on demographic information or certain attributes and behaviors. By narrowing the focus of your advertising to those who are most likely to be interested in your specific offer, you have a higher likelihood of capturing more leads.

What Can Lead Ads Do for My Business?

So what is it about lead ads that makes them so special? Other forms of social media advertising are great and certainly have their place. For example, other ads might be best for introducing your brand to a new audience, staying top-of-mind with existing prospects, or reaching existing customers to bring them back for a new purchase.

However, lead ads empower you to approach targeted prospects with a meaningful offer. If you target your lead ads at those who are already familiar with your brand but haven’t converted, you might finally have luck in getting that conversion by showing them a lead ad.

Lead ads reduce friction in the conversion process. By allowing prospects to stay on the social site, and by pre-populating the form with their contact information so that they don’t have to do any heavy lifting, you make it very easy for them to click the button and take advantage of your offer.

The more steps you can eliminate from the process, the more likely you are to generate signups. Additionally, because you’re displaying these lead ads to a highly-targeted audience and are making it simple for these prospects to sign up, you’re going to get a greater ROI on these social media advertising campaigns.

Lead ads are the missing ingredient in many business’ social media advertising strategies. The ads make it easier for prospects to say yes to handing over their contact information. And this makes it easier for you to build your mailing list and bring more prospects into the sales funnel.

If you’re looking for guidance in getting your social media advertising campaign off the ground, check out our solutions.

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