July 2, 2020
While the fundamentals of marketing don’t often change, the medium for effectively delivering a marketing message does. Facebook Ads are a mystery to many, but one thing is certain: They must work, because tons of people are using them.
I am one of those people that makes a living doing this — I have run Facebook Ads for dozens of industries, and specialize in Facebook Ads for board game Kickstarter projects.
One of my favorite things about the board game industry is that creators are very altruistic — people help each other, because that is the right thing to do!
This article is the first in a series of board game marketing articles, and probably the tip of the iceberg that I will no doubt produce over the years I work as a marketer in this industry and design board games on the side.
In the famous words of Earl Nightingale, “You become what you think about.”
Before you review the ads, know that there are actually 3 parts to this equation (to get an email signup): The ad, the audience, and the landing page.
The core of a great marketing campaign before a Kickstarter launch is your landing page. Without a great landing page to capture someone’s email address, you’re not going to get results.
The problem with landing pages is that they disappear once the campaign is live, so there aren’t many great examples that stay live (fortunately, I design them often, and will share examples of landing pages with great conversion rates in a future post).
The audience needs to be interested in the sort of product you’re selling. If you’re sending the right message to the wrong audience, your ad will seem like a dud.
My source for conversions is when a website visitor gives me an e-mail address. I never use Facebook Lead Ads, because I am not just looking for an email… I want to feed information to an interested person to get them excited about the project. I’ll also cover what system helps us do this, which I call the “virtuous cycle,” in a future blog post, but you can listen to me discuss this on a podcast here.
Furthermore, things that matter change a bit after a campaign goes live (mainly because the landing page changes to Kickstarter, campaign goals change from email signup to backing your project on Kickstarter, and the ability to track stats change due to Kickstarter not allowing Facebook to track data on their platform. That is a whole other can of worms we’ll address in small parts later, but what I can say is that the information you’re about to read translates very well to what works post-Kickstarter launch!
Lastly, there are benchmark figures you should be looking for that mean an ad does well or poorly. I will definitely cover this in a future post as well, but you can listen to me discuss some of these numbers on a podcast here!
So without further ado, here are 5 ads that I have developed that are very effective for their respective campaigns along with why I think they were effective:
Board gamers that are also interested in RPGs.
This ad raised 491 email subscribers for $1.55 per lead average. The campaign funded over $73,000 CAD.
RPG players absolutely love beholders. I cannot think of a more iconic character in all of D&D to use in an ad, so my angle was to relate the monster that everyone knows to how the game is played. We also made a clever use of puns that were complemented with highly relevant emojis in the ad text. I almost always use emojis!
Relate your ad to something that people already know and love.
Board gamers interested in Outdoor Activities.
This ad raised 286 email subscribers for $1.70 per lead average over 5 days.
Of all the ads I have designed, this one probably pulls people into the theme better than any of them. In order to really get into a theme, a player needs to know who they are, and why they are doing this” (aka what is motivating their characters in the game). In addition, the ad makes clear who would like this — co-op players that enjoy survival games.
Highly thematic text that explains the “hook” of the game combined with a simple explanation of game mechanics is a powerful combo!
Board gamers that are also interested in minis, collectible card games, and other related interests.
This ad raised 411 e-mail subscribers for $0.61 per lead average.
We kept the message simple, and relied on introducing a new twist on a well-known franchise to an existing fanbase. We used many variations of images and text, but this was our top performer by far. People knew that logo, and when we kept the message all about the brand, we performed better than when we made it about the components, the art, or the mechanics.
Don’t be afraid to let the audience fill in the gaps of how the game actually works. Lead with a teaser, and let the reader’s imagination do the rest of the work!
Board gamers that are also Christians of any denomination.
This ad raised 537 e-mail subscribers for $0.94 per lead average.
The focus on one of the primary characters kept the ad simple to understand and focused on showing theme. Other tests showed equivalent value when using other characters as long as they were zoomed in. This also used “introduction” language like Example #3 above, but is unfamiliar as it is a new product. The appeal of the ad was all about the theme, which is quite unique among board games.
Don’t be afraid to target very specific niches with your ad text. When doing this, make sure your audience lines up with your message!
Board gamers with families that are interested in Unicorns.
This ad raised 393 e-mail subscribers for $1.89 per lead average.
While we had other ads that performed even better, I wanted to focus on what this ad did very well that you should take not about — we actually lead with creative emojis. The text took advantage of a very popular culture phenomenon, which is Unicorns, and was rewarded well for it.
You should always try an ad creative that is dominated by emojis. Browse emojipedia.com for ideas!
Secular board gamers (as opposed to “Christians” in the first Deliverance example).
This ad raised 457 email subscribers for $1.03 per lead average.
This ad also focused on a primary character in the game, but the different image performed especially well when tested with secular audiences. The appeal of the ad was all about the theme, which is quite unique among board games.
Make sure to test ads using different images with different customer groups, because each ad creative will often appeal to one group more than another!
I hope you enjoyed this article! Please leave a comment with your #1 takeaway, and feel free to ask a follow-up question! Chances are if you would benefit from the answer, others would as well.
If you’re looking for a Facebook ad guy for your next Kickstarter project, view our Kickstarter Marketing page for details.
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