Blog Post

Pattern Interrupt Ad

Have you ever found yourself driving along, when suddenly, out of the corner of your eye your catch an image on a billboard that causes you to do a double-take?

It might be a strange image with very little text that piques your curiosity. Or perhaps it’s a strange combination, like, for instance, a duck selling insurance.

That phenomenon is nothing more than a pattern interrupt, a powerful and widely used tactic stemming from Neurolinguistic Programming, or NLP.

NLP is a psychological programming tool often used by athletes to enhance their performance, and sometimes used by the general public for things such as overcoming fears or addictions.

Smart marketers realized that the programming techniques used in NLP were widely applicable and could easily be applied to their advertising as a means of programming the consumer to buy.

This is by no means done in a manipulative spirit, but in the saturated world of media, new methods must be tried to grab the attention of the customer and today I’d like to talk about how you, as a business owner, can use a pattern interrupt to maximize the results of your Facebook ad.



Take a look at these photos. We found these awesome pictures, posted them to photo stack and tested them. We learned that these images that have 10x to 100x more performance results than the others in our album.

When we posted these two photos above in ad stacks, they both got way more likes than any of the others.


Subsequently, we used them in an ad. You can see here the two ducks, looking into the camera, along with the words “Like if you love customers.” This is a pattern interrupt. We interrupted the thought pattern of the consumer. The pattern we are trying to interrupt is the “usual” images that accompany the over 2000 images a person can be exposed to while spending an hour on Facebook. 98% of the images you see are not made by professional marketers, and are just plugged into any old ad on FB.

The problem is that they all look the same.  Our brains just tune them out after a while. Our goal then is to interrupt that pattern so that the consumer’s brain will tune in to it and they will click. This ad performed extremely well. Some people try to use a “professional looking photo” that is actually a very stock-type of image and they will try to use every last character of text available. The opposite (and better) approach is to use an image like this that is viral and to use as little text as possible; something that is really going to pop. We have tested and tested and found that this combination works very well.

On this duck image, we spent $37 and got over 300 page likes on my business FB page.


We spent $90 on this one with the arrow and got over 700 page likes. These two ads both did very well because we followed the process of sourcing the creative commons images, posting them on our photo stack, boosting the posts, discovering which ones did best and then using only those high performing images on these ads.


Here is the mistake that you are now going to avoid. This is the typical FB ad that everyone does. It’s a “professional looking” ad, but it’s actually done by people who don’t have any idea what they are doing. This image is actually the one on my website. It is great for my website, but it is terrible for a Facebook ad. WHY? Because it looks like all the other FB ads out there. It doesn’t interrupt any patterns. The copy sounds perfectly logical and you would think it would work very well. Except it didn’t. We targeted well, expensive audience, in our neighborhood, with perfect interests. We spent $51 and got 3 likes. We used every last character of text and a professional looking photo. It doesn’t work AT ALL.

So here is what you need to do today:

Test 6 versions of your Facebook Ads.

Remember that every ad you test will NOT be a home run. Assume you will only get results from 1 of your ads. Be ready to throw out 9 out of 10 of them and just let 1 run for a while.

Keep testing until you find the “right” combination, and then test some more.

The good news is, this is easy!


Create one ad and upload 6 different images. Boom! You now have a test of the images and data results that tell you where to put your money. You already know which images have the most likes, so now you simply put them into your ad.


Give it a try. Go and create your FB Page Likes Ad. Click “Promote your Page” and create a pattern interrupt ad using the steps I have shown you.

Let me know how it goes!

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