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First off, what are viral Facebook ads and why do you want to learn about them?

A viral Facebook ad takes a viral Facebook post or photo and turns it into an ad for the purpose of getting 10 times cheaper clicks and 10 times to 100 times more click-throughs. It’ll help you have a much, much more successful ad campaign.

I’ve used this technique to grow the largest Costa Rica Facebook page in the world and the largest yoga Facebook page in the world, with over 1.2 million likes. My own Facebook page at, with a quarter million likes, generates $20k per month of income and recurring revenue.

viral facebook ad 1BUT in case you don’t already know, likes on a Facebook page simply do not equal customers. What likes do equal is social proof, which can help you convert browsers into fans and fans into customers.

So I want to be very clear that the purpose of using this technique is to get cost effective social proof. Again, make no mistake about it. Likes do not equal customers, but they do equal social proof, which can help you grow your business.

How I Do Viral Facebook Ads

What I teach is called the Global Ad Secret. I created the Global Ad Secret by accident when I was growing the Costa Rica Facebook page. I discovered it by advertising not just to the United States but to lots of other countries where we happened to have customers. It helped us get massively cheaper clicks and cheaper costs per like.

In fact, we’re now getting $.03, $.02, and $.01 likes.

Viral Facebook Ads Step by Step

Now I’ll show you step-by-step how to create an ad, how to optimize it, and then how to bid for the different pricing.

First things first, like I mentioned earlier, this ad strategy creates cost-effective social proof. For example, in one week I generated 6,347 new likes at $0.03 per like. However, the technique is not for everyone. It’s great for coaches, trainers, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and sole proprietors.

viral facebook ad 2

Now, let’s jump in.

STEP ONE: Find the Right Photos

First you’ve got to find the right photos. Finding the right photos can literally get you 10 times to 100 times more likes and 10 times cheaper page likes, as well as cheaper costs per click.

The way that I find the right photos is by testing them with the photo album stack. And I usually source those photos from the creative commons. (This is a place to safely get photos without asking permission, as long as you give credit to the photographer).

I also sometimes source photos from other relevant Facebook pages that have received 100’s of “Likes.” I also occasionally Google “free viral photos” and “royalty free viral photos,” and then test them—again using the photo album stack. The top two photos that receive the most likes are the photos you want to use for this ad strategy.

Below, I’m showing you an example of a viral versus non-viral photo:

  • Jennifer Aniston doing Yoga – only 11 likes
  • Cute Kitty – 5,424 likes, 427 comments, 544 shares

viral facebook ad 3

STEP TWO: Create Your Ad

First, go to the sprocket in the upper right corner of your page and from the drop down, select “Manage Ads.”

Click on the green button “Create an Ad.”

It will give you some different choices. For the Global Ad Secret, select the option for “Page Likes.”

Next, choose your page from the dropdown and it will load your page details.

Facebook will automatically select your timeline cover photo as the thumbnail, but you do not want to use that photo because it’s not one of the viral photos. Therefore you must upload your viral photo by selecting and opening the file.

Enter the headline for your ad. You’ll want to use a brief question such as “Got Likes?”

For the text within the ad, use very short copy, or even another question. Since my business is to attract customers from Facebook, I use something like “Love Getting Likes?”

You want to make your ad a right hand column ad, not a “Desktop News Feed” ad, because the latter is more expensive.

STEP THREE: Optimize Your Ad

Using the Global Ad Strategy gets many more likes, which ultimately converts to much higher sales. Using this strategy, I received 200K likes, drove traffic to our website, and got 2,500 email addresses. This ultimately converted into sales of $1.5 million. Here’s how to do it…

When selecting countries and locations for your ad, consider where your customers are located. Avoid the countries where you don’t have clients or counties that have been known to have “click farms” such as Bangladesh, which is something Facebook tries to avoid. I choose about 25 countries overall.

Below is a shortcut to choosing countries—a list of countries by GDP per capita. (GDP is Gross Domestic Product per capita which means the countries that have the wealthiest people in the world). However, this may not be current, so you should do a Google search of it yourself.

viral facebook ad 4

For the age demographic, I know most of my customers are over 30 but younger than 59 years old. You should know the age of your audience and choose accordingly.

When targeting the precise interests, tailor it to your customer’s interests. For our yoga page, our customers are into yoga, peace, mediation, love, etc. I’ll add Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Mary Ann Williamson, Jack Canfield, and I’ll continue finding as many general interests as possible that could help me generate as many inexpensive likes as possible.

Overall, I am trying to get the number for the potential reach up to 40 million people.

I always filter the ads with English even though some countries might be non-English. For Connections, I will leave the default, which is for people who are not connected to my Facebook page. For Categories, I leave this alone. For Budget, I’ll do a budget of $5 per day.

Then you’ll see a “Suggested Bid.” In the example below, it’s $0.07-$0.37:

viral facebook ad 5

When selecting the bid, choose “Optimize for clicks” and “Manually bid for clicks.” For pricing, I start with $0.09 max bid per click.

Next, you click “Save” then click the green button “Place Order” and the ad is done! The ad will be pending review but once it clears, in a minute or two, the new ad will be up.

*Note: If your ad does not run, go back in and increase your max bid, to about $0.19 per bid. This will help you find the baseline for what Facebook is going to charge you for these ads. You will later try to move that price down and down again, as low as possible.

STEP FOUR: Test Your Ad

You always want to test ads because testing them will help you get considerably less expensive click throughs and costs per like. The secret to this is that most of your marketing will not work and therefore you need to do many tests.

A big mistake that a lot of people make is they expect the first ad they try to be massively successful. But it simply never works that way.

So you’ll need to start out by testing two or more versions of your Facebook Ad. Remember every ad you create is a marketing test.

For example, when I do Facebook ad work, I have the mindset that I will have to create 10 different ads to find just one that will work great and be very cost-effective.

Keep testing until you find the “right” combination. Then test some more.

Split Testing Viral Photos – Facebook Makes This Easy

When setting up an ad, it will give the option to upload up to six photos for different thumbnails. Use the two viral photos from your photo album stack to create two identical ads with different photos.

For one of my yoga ads, I tried one image of people upside down on yoga swings looking like they’re floating. And the second image was of a cute kitten doing a yoga pose.
I pinned those photos against each other and here are the results I got:

Photo 1 got 767 likes at $0.04 per like
Photo 2 got 2,498 like at $0.03 per like

*Note: These were not the only ads I tested. I first tested 20 ads to get these 2 photos.

STEP FIVE: Review and Edit Your Ad

After 24 hours, you go back to review the ad. Here, you will see the two photos you split tested, sponsored stories, and results. You need to search for the ad that did the best and put a pause on all the ads that were not winners.

Next, you edit the max bid on this ad to make it as cost effective as possible. For example, if this max bid ends up at $0.06 per click, then you manually change the max bid to $0.06 or $0.07 per click.

The Final Formula

So, the formula is: A viral photo plus a very short question headline, and very short copy within, possibly another question. In neuro-linguistic programming, we call this a “Pattern Interrupt.”

You must remember that this will not work the first time and you will need to try it probably at least 10 times before you find an ad that will work really well.

Try different bid prices and find the winning combination that will work for you and your audience.

Now get out there and start testing!

About The Author: Bret Gregory

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