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The Russ Ruffino Technique: How to design effective Facebook ads

Social Media
Social Media

Social media is an important part of our current lives.

Facebook, as the most popular social media channel still active, is as a consequence, very attractive for marketers and advertisers. Advertising on Facebook is cheap compared to traditional media, it offers instant access to niche communities and makes it easy to select the exact demographic group you want to address your message to.

Reaching out is not the same with being effective, however. If a million people pass daily by a street billboard it doesn’t mean that they will all be convinced to buy what the advertisers tried to market on it. Apart from exposure, you need quality, inspiration, and value. Therefore, you need to think about designing effective Facebook ads and not just ads.

Do you see the difference?

Well, with this article, I will try to outline some of the best strategies of Facebook ad design and pinpoint some of the necessary steps that you need to undertake in order to make sure you got it right.

What do you need?

1. A customer oriented strategy

62% of the today’s marketers say that Facebook is their most important social media marketing channel, with over 90% of them using it regularly as their main advertising platform Not all of them are able to create success. For that to happen, you need a creative and effective strategy which starts with the customer itself.

facebook advertising statistics

What does this mean? What is customer oriented strategy?

Well, there are two major ideas the marketer has to deal with and they are both related to the following questions:

  • Why?
  • How?

The approach is different. While most of the companies try to answer the “How” first and try to convince the customer about the “Why” afterward, in order to be effective, you need reverse psychology.

The best example of the “WHY” first approach comes from Apple. They create strategies that answer the said question first and create a culture around it, convincing people not how their products may help them but instead why they help them and why to buy them in the first place.

They are a computer producing company who sells phones and audio players. Would you buy a player from Dell? Would you buy it from HP? Did you even know that at some point Microsoft released their own? It was called Zune.

Now, try to answer me… how many people do you know who own a Zune player? How many people do you know who would buy a similar product from Dell?

This didn’t happen because Dell or Microsoft are not reliable companies who sell great products.

The difference is made by the marketing approach which in the case of Apple, starts with the “Why”.

2. A correct demographic group/selection

The next important thing your design will depend upon is the demographic niche you are addressing.

You see, you cannot design something if you don’t know first for whom you are designing it. To whom are you addressing your message?

facebook insights

If you are already an established company or brand, if you have customers and fans, this process is easy. You can target your ads to the exact demographic group that fits in your general customer profile based on age, occupation, location, education, income and so on.

If you are just starting with building your brand, I suggest searching for similar companies and analyze their clients. Also, it will help you to check out their social media profiles and their blogs or websites and learn the customer behavior, what types of information they consume and to what marketing messages they respond better.

3. The right tools

Effective Facebook ad design depends also on finding the right tools you can work with in order to bring the most out of your designs.

This is a point I cannot help you since everyone has their own style, skills, and rhythm. What may help you, in this case, would be a couple of advice like the following:

  • Get yourself an organizer or a task management service. Use it to schedule your timelines and to write down all your marketing ideas. It will be very helpful throughout the campaign and it will help you as well when you’ll have to come up with an attractive copy text.
  • Get a premium subscription on a web-based design platform such as Bannersnack. It will help you create professional designs and expedite work, saving time to deal with other related issues you’ll have to deal with. Such a service can help you even if you plan to hire a professional designer, as it will make it easier for him to understand your ideas if you are able to actually present some visuals for them.


4. Get to work!

Let me summarize what we’ve discussed so far. We’ve dealt with the approach, the demographic selection and the tools you are going to use. Now, you have most probably reached to point where there are only two questions left unanswered:

How to advertise on Facebook? And, “how to create effective Facebook ads?”

A.     Learn from the best

Let’s get back to our main title for a little bit. Do you know why I choose to mention Russ Ruffino?

Well, when it comes to a successful campaign, he is one of the best. And, from the best, you should learn in order to become successful as well.

Founder & CEO of Clients on Demand, Russ Ruffino has helped numerous clients, especially coaches and consultants to sell their programs. He is also helping businesses attract leads, grow and create companies that can easily scale. Russ is the kind of guy you want to work with when you have a business, you understand your business goal but you don’t know how to achieve the next level of it.

Russ Ruffino

He is not the most prolific blogger, although he podcasts almost daily about the most interesting topics in the industry. He is successful, however, not through content marketing but especially through a well designed Facebook ad campaign. The podcast/blog popularity came later after he became a well-known professional in his field.

So, how does he do it? What makes him so special that I choose his name as the lead headline of this article?

Well, he targets cold traffic. He targets people who have never heard of him or who are not familiar with his content, watch his webinars and make purchases.

For this, he spends $30 to generate $300k in every single campaign which is more than impressive in today’s marketing terms.

You have to remember you’re talking to human beings. A clear example of what we do to acquire customers is we run hyper-targeted Facebook ads to a webinar registration page, and then we let those webinars teach and educate these leads on the value of our marketing and sales strategies, said Russ.

russ ruffino facebook

B.     Trigger some emotions

Emotions are important in marketing and advertising. If you manage to trigger emotional responses from your audience, you are halfway through making a sale.

Here are two examples from the same, Russ Ruffino:

facebook ads examples

Both these images are able to create positive associations in our minds, and these positive emotions don’t even depend on age, professional background, income or location.

They are generally viable positive images which resonate with all the people and as of consequence, they manage to transpose the commercial message and associate it with the positive.

Here, is yet another example of positive emotions triggered visually on a Facebook ad, an example that comes from Eventbrite:

facebook ad example

In this case, the imagery is based mostly on the targeted audience and what the advertiser expects out of them. The message transmitted through the image is simple yet effective. It tells the story of a group of people enjoying an event, more likely a concert. Is it the emotion Eventbrite wants to transmit? Well, it most surely is.

In conclusion, you don’t need fancy images and complex designs. You can achieve a lot by sending the right emotional message to the right audience. Or, in the case of Russ Ruffino, to the general audience.

C.      Trigger curiosity

Curiosity is one of the most important human emotions you can aim to trigger with a Facebook ad. Or, with any other type of ad, whatsoever, if you plan on conquering other channels and other communities as well.

As you can see from the following Ruffino ad, curiosity can be triggered easier than you might think:

facebook ad


The ad design is as simple as it can be but the effect is quite powerful.

The same effect can be achieved with a copy text and a stock image that fits into the context.

A good example, in this case, comes from SOFI, a finance company that helps their clients get their finances in order.

facebook ad example

The message is clear and simple while the image triggers curiosity and at the same time, impatience and movement. It is, however, a positive movement, towards the tunnel exit, an exit that is associated in our minds with a positive outcome when we are dealing with an issue that needs a solution. The message is therefore quite clear: “We have the solution”.

D.     Be credible. Always

For this final piece of advice, we’re going to take a quick look once more at one of Ruffino’s ads. This one, unlike the other previous examples, is mostly based on text.

facebook ad example

The add also features a screenshot that acts as social proof of the benefits of working with him.

If you need another effective example, take this one, from BlueHost:

facebook ad example

This Facebook ad features a simple and effective message that is not only easy to understand but also accurate and credible. The company advertises the benefits of working with them and it avoids falling into the trap of overselling. Nobody would have clicked on it if the copy text would have advertised the potential financial benefits of having a website.

However, by advertising the benefits of creating and publishing a website easily, the message is more credible and as of consequence, more accurate.


Facebook advertising is a powerful marketing tool if you use it properly. There are thousands of advertisers out there but not all of them are successful enough to stand out from the crowd. Russ Ruffino, on the other hand, is one of the most successful stories on Facebook and this is the main reason I choose him as a good example of how to design effective Facebook ads.

As we’ve seen in this article, sometimes, even the simplest images and messages can open the doors of success as long as you know how to address them and to whom you are addressing at the same time.

I hope you’ve all learn this important lesson and that, even if you are still trying to learn the art of advertising success, I have at least triggered a positive curiosity on your part. It is the curiosity that will drive you to learn more on the subject, explore more success stories and try to design your own path to effective advertising.

What other techniques are you using right now and what other success stories are you aware of?

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Robert Katai

Brand and Communication Manager

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo