You may have noticed something strange happening on Facebook lately. (And I’m not talking about your high school classmate’s obsession with their cat.)

It’s the ads. The weird ones.

Facebook is suddenly full of sponsored ad campaigns for ecommerce brands that are, to put it mildly, a bit odd.

These aren’t your standard promotions offering 20% off the newest product line, featuring a gorgeous model and perfect styling. Instead, these ads are getting seriously creative. So much so, that seeing one in your news feed may cause you to stop scrolling and stare, trying to figure out what on Earth it could mean.

I decided to look into these strange ads for ecommerce businesses and suddenly, they were everywhere. I realized that not only were these oddball Facebook product ads popular, they were clearly effective in converting traffic. Many had thousands of likes and comments, and I saw them again and again, indicating these ecommerce brands were onto something.

Don’t believe me? I’ve got the screenshots to prove it.

Here are a few of the stranger Facebook ads and why I think the brands chose that specific message for their cost-per-click campaigns. While I can’t say for sure how the B2C marketers came up with the ideas behind the scenes or what the click-through rate really is, there’s definitely something valuable to learn from these unique and somewhat strange ecommerce Facebook ads.

Quirky copy catches the eye

What does “quirky copy” mean? It could mean anything really. But the very first ad that struck me as strange was this one from the Thursday Boot Company. The copy on this ad is the definition of quirky.

ThursdayBootCompanyWeirdFacebookAd

The headline alone is weird enough with it’s honest: “I really need to sell a lot of boots with this ad.” Why would the target audience care that the marketing team at Thursday is trying to sell a lot of boots? The ad copy at the top is also completely unconnected to the rest of the ad. It starts off talking about relationships and switches into talking about engagement rings. It’s honestly a mystery how this ad got made!

However, at the same time, the ad is clearly effective in making buyers read it. I not only laughed when I saw it, I clicked over to the ecommerce store to try to figure out what it was all about. I didn’t have my questions answered, exactly, but I did discover a new brand of boots in the process. And likely, that’s the point.

Extra honest influencer marketing

This ad from SiO Beauty is another slightly odd one. It’s an endorsement from a well-known celebrity, but it’s very different than you’d expect. The photo of Vanessa Hudgens isn’t perfect and polished at all, and her testimonial in the quote is very honest and direct. In fact, it seems like it’s been copied and pasted directly from a slightly misspelled email.

SioBeautyWeirdFacebookAd

The authenticity of this ad is really what stands out. It’s not a perfectly lit or photoshopped image, and it doesn’t seem like the copy was written by a marketer. However, I’d bet that it actually was. This type of faux-authenticity is very appealing to buyers and likely drove a serious click-through rate to the site.

Getting a little graphic

This ad from the fashion brand Reformation isn’t afraid of oversharing! In fact, that seems like the point. The copy in this ad is clearly trying to shock you as you scroll through, but also make you laugh with recognition. As any woman will tell you, this is exactly what you have to do when you wear a one-piece outfit. 

ReformationWeirdFacebookAd

This ad features some fairly traditional images of models wearing the product, but it’s the super simple, incredibly casual copy that really stands out. There’s not even a period at the end of the sentence, which makes it seem even more relaxed. But it’s already gotten quite a few reactions from people who have seen it. 

Slightly shocking company names

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to use a little shock value. This Facebook ad from Startup Drugz — yes that’s the company’s real name — definitely relies on that idea.

StartupDrugzWeirdFacebookAd

This company sells amusing and silly t-shirts for people who work at startups. This is a niche market, but it’s also one that appreciates a certain type of humor. This ad has a simple CTA for 20% off, but relies on the crazy company name to catch the eye. Then, once the buyer is in, they’ll consider buying a shirt with an inside joke that is almost guaranteed to make that specific audience laugh.

When in doubt, add emoji

Another trend in Facebook ads is a super casual tone in the overall ad copy. Take this example from Greetabl, which offers something a little different for a Mother’s Day gift.

GreetablWeirdFacebookAd

This ad doesn’t have crazy visuals or anything else odd. However, the tone of the copy sounds like something a close friend would text you — complete with an emoji. It’s completely relatable and definitely amusing to read in an ad. For this target audience of younger buyers, the tone likely works incredibly well at converting new customers to give Greetabl a try.

Unusual video and visuals

When you think of skincare, you probably don’t think of a concerned woman with bright shapes on her face, but Sephora does. This Facebook ad includes a short, very brightly colored video of women looking deeply concerned about what’s happening to their skin.

SephoraWeirdFacebookAd

This ad hits on a few of the trends we’ve already discussed: casual copy, emojis, and oddly imperfect imagery. This video ad is not a perfectly-lit photoshoot of a woman with perfect skin — it’s the opposite. And clearly, Sephora has convinced a few people to check out these SKINCARE HOLY GRAILS. If you’re thinking of buying some skin products, you’ll almost have to click on this ad.

These ads are just a few of the best examples I’ve seen, but there are hundreds more out there. And while I can’t tell you for sure that these ads convert at high rates, the engagement numbers and likes indicate that they do. So why exactly are these ads doing so well? It’s the simple fact that they’re different that makes them stand out.

Facebook is the Wild West

As a brilliant B2C marketer once told me, Facebook ads are the Wild West of CPC advertising. Unlike Instagram or Google or other paid social media, you never know what will work to gain attention from your buyers and drive and high conversion rate for new traffic. And because that’s the case, many ecommerce brands are getting incredibly creative with their Facebook advertising. Experimentation and A/B testing are clearly encouraging brands — both niche and well-established — to double down on this weirdness because it gets results.

 

Cara Hogan

Cara Hogan is the Content Strategist at Zaius, where she focuses on how technology can drive business growth. She is a grammar perfectionist, a data enthusiast, and a rock climber.