Does your advertising tell a story to entice your potential consumers? Often times an ad will use the call to action (CTA) method of directly telling a consumer to “Click Here” or “Visit Our Site”. Is this method effective? Facebook and Adaptly conducted a study to figure out which advertising format pulls in higher engagement rates. Based on their research, storytelling is the true victor.

 What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is a form of marketing that brings the reader on a journey. It communicates the brand in a non-threatening way. It is emotional and personifies the brand. In storytelling, ads are sequenced to each individual in a marketing funnel.

Storytelling Funnel

  • The initial advertisement is informational. It explains the brand and spreads awareness.
  • The second advertisement expands on the brand awareness. This advertisement is the reminder ad.
  • The last advertisement is the standard CTA. This ad directly tells the consumer to sign up for an email list or visit the site.

 The Research

Adaptly used Facebook advertising and Refinery29, a lifestyle website for millennial women, for the study. The advertising campaign encouraged consumers to sign up for Refinery29’s website through their Newsfeed. Adaptly created three focus groups using Facebook Custom Audience for the research and each group contained lookalike audiences. The first group received a 12-day sequential advertising campaign using three creatives running four days per ad. The second group received a 12-day sustained CTA campaign also using three creatives running four days per ad. The third group was the control group who saw no ads.

Marketing funnel for sequenced CTA


Marketing example sustained CTA


Key Takeaways

  • The research proved that sequenced, storytelling ads increased view-throughs by 87 percent and increased conversions by 56 percent.
  • Individuals who saw all three ads in the sequence converted at higher rates than those who saw one or two ads.
  • Individuals are more willing to convert or sign-up, if they are warmed up to the brand.

 Why is This Important?

This study is important because widely used CTA tactics are not always beneficial for awareness as previously thought. Today’s consumers want to know about the brand before being asked to move forward. This is similar to getting to know a person before going on a date. Stretching a campaign could bring in more engagement than the direct response method. Sequential advertising also allows the brand to control interactions. Simply developing your campaign to sequencing your ads could mean attracting more high-value consumers. This method is especially important for new brands. However, it is important to test out this advertising to see what is most effective for your business.