The most effective ads are the ones that make a difference and this is what the 5 most popular Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ads have done successfully. With so many organic and sponsored ads appearing in users’ timelines, it takes a lot of ingenuity to grab their attention.
Being one of the top 15 largest websites in the world, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) knows how to leverage its position as the leading social media network on the planet. Gone are the days when your posts got high organic engagement. They have streamlined their algorithm so that now you are now required to pay to play. And despite a recent revelation that they had been accidentally inflating video ad metrics for some time, there has seemingly been little backlash among advertisers, which could soon include big pharma companies, as Facebook makes a concerted push into hosting that industry’s ads.
The social media giant currently has 3 million advertisers. Marketers and users believe in the effectiveness of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ads as evidenced by the 50% increase in the number of advertisers from 2015 to 2016. If you have 1.71 billion monthly active users, it’s safe to say you will attract a lot of business. Facebook is slated to post its third quarter results tomorrow, and analysts are expecting a monster quarter of $6.9 billion in revenue and $0.97 per share in earnings, which would represent about 50% year-over-year growth on both its top and bottom-lines, consistent with the increase in the number of advertisers.
Today we will look at the most popular Facebook ads that have performed beyond what was expected of them. You may have noticed some of them on your timeline at one point or another. They are ranked according to their number of reactions, comments, and shares. Let’s look at these ads and see what has attracted the attention of Facebook’s massive audience.
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3,400 reactions; 167 comments; 2,408 shares
Donate Life America created this ad which ranked last on our list of most popular Facebook ads, to encourage people to register as organ donors. There are more than 4,000 individuals waiting for a heart transplant in the US. Working with advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Chicago, Donate Life America released a video campaign featuring people who are in need of a heart transplant. These individuals also say how long they have been waiting for a donor.
When users click on the promoted posts they will be directed to registerme where they can sign up, which takes less than a minute to do. Aside from the thousands of reactions and shares, one of the people featured in the video has since received a new heart, which is surely the ad’s greatest achievement, above and beyond its likes and shares.
15,000 reactions; 989 comments; 4,019 shares
Car manufacturer Subaru launched the #MakeADogsDay initiative, which ranks 4th in our list of most popular Facebook ads, in order to inspire dog owners to make their dogs feel special. Subaru owners have a higher percentage of dog owners than any other car manufacturer, so the campaign spoke directly to their target market. At the core of the initiative was making a shelter dog’s day by giving it a home. There are millions of dogs killed yearly while waiting for adoption and Subaru wanted to do something about it.
Working with ad agency Carmichael Lynch, Subaru released a series of videos featuring dogs getting pampered by their owners. The popularity of the Facebook hashtag #MakeADogsDay paved the way for pet adoption centers to use it to increase awareness on the state of shelter dogs. Through this campaign, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was able to give new homes to almost a million shelter dogs. Some of them were even featured on the Today show!
13,000 reactions; 4,600 comments; 8,719 shares
In 2015, Doritos launched a special bag of colorful chips called Doritos Rainbows which ranks third in our list of most popular Facebook ads, in support of the LGBT community. Doritos is known for promoting their brand “for the bold.” The ad campaign took this a notch higher through the tagline “There’s nothing bolder than being yourself.” Doritos Rainbows weren’t available in stores, instead being sold only through doritosrainbows.com.
To receive a bag, consumers needed to donate to It Gets Better, an organization that helps young people in the LGBT community who are being harassed and discriminated against. Suicide numbers are on the rise among LGBT youth and Doritos Rainbows wanted to be their voice so they could get them the help that they needed. The minimum donation was $10 and donors were encouraged to post a quote with the hashtag #boldandbetter.
The ad exceeded expectations with 1.8 billion media impressions. In 24 hours, all 11,500 bags were claimed on the site. Doritos Rainbows Facebook posts had the most reactions, comments, and shares in the brand’s history. It generated 70-times more comments, 12-times more likes, and 30-times more shares, reaching around 10 million people.
207,000 reactions; 4,800 comments; 56,523 shares
One of the most successful Facebook ads ever created, #LikeAGirl which ranks second in our list of most popular Facebook ads was spearheaded by feminine hygiene brand Always under its mother company Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG). The campaign aimed to empower girls and build their confidence, especially those entering puberty. Working with Leo Burnett, Always launched a video highlighting the different perceptions of the phrase “like a girl.”
Two groups were asked to run like a girl, throw like a girl, and more. The group with older kids already had stereotypes while the young girls showed confidence and tenacity. The video aimed to remove the insult that goes along with the term “like a girl,” transforming it into a powerful message. The campaign was a total success, with 76 million views globally and 3.4 billion global impressions.
In addition, the #LikeAGirl hashtag became a trending hashtag on Facebook during the first week it was launched. The company’s brand share grew from +1.4 points to +59, while its teen following increased to 60% from 40%. For its global impact, #LikeAGirl truly deserves a spot in the 5 most popular Facebook ads.
17 million videos created; 70 billion video views; 159 countries participated
No one seemed to talk about ALS until the Ice Bucket Challenge was launched on Facebook. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The metrics for the success of the campaign is on a global scale, as it involves millions of videos from different individuals all over the world. Since it went viral on such a massive scale, it would be impossible to gather all of the accumulated reactions, comments, and shares of the 17 million videos created. Needless to say, there were a LOT!
The campaign was started by patients Pete Frates, Pat Quinn, and Anthony Senerchia, along with their families. The challenge spread like wildfire, with people tagging their friends to do the same. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg even participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Other celebrities who supported the cause included Oprah, Bill Gates, and LeBron James. The goal was simple—do the challenge and donate to ALS research. Up to now, there is still no cure to what is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The organic ad campaign raised $220 million for ALS and awareness of the disease increased exponentially. The Ice Bucket Challenge is your textbook on how to make a viral campaign without spending. Building on its success, the ALS Association has made August the Ice Bucket Challenge month to continue its research funding and further increase awareness of the disease.
These 5 most popular Facebook ads show that when you have a good cause you can reach out to a lot of people. Users are already drowning in daily ads and truth be told, they don’t need another one. In order to get their attention you need to speak to their humanity the way these ads did. When people begin to think outside of themselves, that’s when they’re prompted to act, and ultimately, that’s what moves them to engage with your brand.