The Anatomy of a High-Performing Dental Facebook Ad

The Anatomy of a High-Performing Dental Facebook Ad

Are your Facebook ads cutting it?

An increasing number of dentists are turning to Facebook to promote their dental businesses; some to complement their organic SEO and PPC strategies, others who feel that they get better return-on-investment than Google Ads. There are numerous combinations of strategies and channels to investigate in the race to get new patients booked in for treatments and Facebook is becoming increasingly popular.

Today we’ll take a look at Facebook ads and in particular what basic components you need to get an ad which will work for you. Let’s make a start.

A suite of ads

OK, so it’s not actually one ad you need, you will need several to cover the range of treatments you are wishing to advertise. Of course it’s also possible to launch a few “general” ads simply advertising your presence as a dentist in your location, but even then, you should be looking to try a range of different ad formats. If you are familiar with Google ads, you will already know that a granular approach works best i.e. you need to deploy your ads in specific categories. This way you will be able to see which ads are working well and fine-tune them for optimal performance.

One key thing to remember is that advertising on Facebook, just like on Google, is not “fire-and-forget” – you need to be prepared to try a range of ad options and revisit them regularly to tweak and adjust. Keeping your campaigns granular will also give you the best visibility in Facebook’s reporting tools.

Basic ad components

Images – Facebook is very visual and so you’ll need a good image for your ad background. Stock images will work but you’ll get better results with bespoke images. Similar to websites, engagement data shows that bespoke photographs are much more appealing than cheesy stock versions with smiley models who already have perfect teeth! So choose you images well. We will often deploy a selection of ads based around a treatment type, for example functional shots of dental implants alongside other ads with a more human element. See which works best for you and then concentrate on those.

You will also need to add a text overlay to your image to make sure the user knows exactly what you are offering and how it can be advantageous for them. Facebook has really expanded the type of ads you can choose, for example you can combine several ads into a carousel format for even greater visual impact. There are several options to try.

Text – your text content is clearly extremely important and you need a ‘hook’ to grab the user’s attention quickly. Supporting text will need to be engaging to encourage the user to convert i.e. click through to your landing page or fill in an enquiry form directly on Facebook. More of that in a moment.

You also need to evaluate how Facebook displays your ad text and the way they do this can change quite frequently. For example, until quite recently Facebook displayed several lines of text above your image; however now it’s down to just a couple. So clearly you need to ensure that those couple of lines which the users see first, do the trick. Once you’ve hooked them in, then hopefully they will expand your ad to read your additional information and go on to make an enquiry.

Call-to-action – Facebook gives you various options for the types of “call-to-action” buttons which are displayed on your ad. These will vary based on the type of campaign you are using (lead-generation, traffic etc) and you will need to select the most appropriate one to use, for example “Book Now”, “Make Enquiry” etc.

Destination URL – i.e. where the click links to. This can be one of several options, usually either a purpose built landing page, a website page or to a contact form deployed directly on Facebook. There are pros and cons for each and which one you choose will depend on your overall objectives. For example, Facebook users can be quite fickle and it often pays to stimulate the enquiry via a “lead-gen” contact form direct on the platform i.e. they don’t come off Facebook and enquire directly from there. Other techniques prefer a landing page where you can offer comprehensive information and perhaps encourage sign-up to a mailing list with the offer of a free download, e-book etc. Some of our clients prefer the lead to go directly to the on-line booking portal of their practice management system, e.g. SOE, but tracking the enquiry can get a little more complex there.

There are other features of the ad which you will also need to configure, for example the display url, but these are all quite self-explanatory and shouldn’t cause too many problems. Facebook will also show you multiple different ad formats which they will use on other channels, e.g. Instagram, and you can configure each of those independently if you wish.

A word on offers

When you advertise on Facebook it really does pay to understand that you are placing an ad in front of someone who isn’t necessarily there looking for a product or service; they’re more likely interacting with family or friends. This is unlike the ads you place on Google where users are already engaged with purchase intent and are some way into that process. This results in lots of enquiries from Facebook which are less-targeted and often speculative. There are also numerous “tyre kickers”. That said, the number of enquiries can be substantial and there are numerous golden nuggets in there; you just need to dig them out. There are targeting tools you can use to ensure that your ad is only shown to certain demographics but even so, you will need to be prepared to do some sifting work.

Offers are also a key feature of high-performing Facebook ads, whether offers are something that floats your boat or not. So be prepared to find something attractive to provide that all-important hook to attract enquiries. Also be prepared to think out-of-the-box when it comes to creating your offers – note that “free whitening” after Invisalign, free retainers, £350 off etc are all too commonplace now.

Another word on “body shaming” (what?!)

Sounds a bit odd maybe but you need to be very careful when you are building and deploying ads on Facebook. They have very sensitive filters which not only look for the types of material you obviously wouldn’t want to see in ads, but also more subtle content which could be construed as “body shaming”. Frankly some of it seems incredibly strict, for example if you mention “loose, uncomfortable dentures” in slightly the wrong context, then prepare to have your ad ditched. Similarly anything related to facial aesthetics and “ageing” is also subject to strict regulation. There can be some trial, error and frustration required before you start to realise how the validation algorithms work, so again, be prepared for this.

You should also be aware that Facebook can block your ad account seemingly at the drop of a hat. So if you get a few ads ditched out, don’t try to force it or you could end up in a pickle with an account which is either temporarily, or permanently blocked.


Whilst this is not a step-wise guide on how to build a high-performing ad, it does illustrate some of the key things you will need to complete and also some of the “gotchas” to be aware of. Also some of the tried-and-trusted techniques such as a compelling offer which you’ll need to consider.

Whilst the Facebook ad platform is a little more forgiving than Google’s, you still need experience to get the best results. If you have the time to jump in and experiment, that’s great. If not, why not give the Facebook Ads team here at Dental Media a call on 01332 672548 and we’ll get you going quickly and effectively. To move your own ad initiative forward, or simply if you have a few questions before stepping in, please give us a call for no-obligation help and advice.