Inject Some Humor into Your Social Media Ads (But Do It Right!)

4 March, 2021  

Humor can be a powerful tool to foster positive emotions, and that in turn can have a big impact on how your audience receives and shares your content. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh?

It is not surprising, then, that adding humor to social network advertising content has become a go-to strategy for marketers and business owners. But comedy can be a double-edged sword.

Used thoughtlessly, audiences can react poorly or get the wrong message from your ads. In the worst-case scenario, they may regard it as insensitive, unprofessional, or, what’s worse for some, cringeworthy!

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to avoid those unwanted consequences!

In this piece, we’ll explain how to use humor wisely and show you some great social media ad examples for you to learn from. Let’s get started!

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The Power of Humor as a Sales Tool

It would be easy to claim there’s just something about comedy that makes your social media advertising more enjoyable and effective. But you have to take humor very seriously if you want to do it right – ask any stand-up comedian if you don’t believe us. So, we are going to break down what that “something” is all about.

We’ll start by mentioning humor’s incredible hooking potential. Laughter works wonders for catching people’s attention – something exceptionally valuable in social media, where users are known for their short attention spans.

More importantly, funny content sparks positive emotions in the audience. This leads to an emotional connection based on positive feelings that people will associate with your brand in the long run.

Yes – in the long run, because comedy also makes your social media ads more memorable. I still remember funny ads from my childhood, and I bet you do too!

Last but not least, humor enhances your message persuasiveness, so it can be the perfect addition to a social network advertising campaign. HOWEVER, bear in mind that humor doesn’t suit all products and services. If comedy makes your content seem tactless or unprofessional, then you should do without it.

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Understand Your Audience’s Sensibilities (And What Makes Them Laugh!)

Have you ever shown someone a meme that made you split your sides only to get a polite smile as a reaction? If you have, then you already know how relative “humor” can be.

People find different things funny, so your target audience’s tastes play a massive role in determining whether your social network advertising is amusing and, therefore, effectively attracts the right response.

Sadly, no metric can inform you about your audience’s sense of humor. The best alternative is to A/B test your social media ads or run a focus group.

If these are not viable options for your business, then try to use generic humor. You know, jokes that most people will find amusing and, more importantly, understandable. A confusing wisecrack may distract some viewers from your ad’s main idea and provoke an adverse reaction. So, avoid using sarcasm, complex ideas, and pop culture references not everyone will get.

Humor Isn’t Just Words (Leverage Visuals for Smiles)

I guess you have already heard about showing, not telling. This well-known rule applies to multiple parts of a content strategy, so it’s not surprising it also plays a role in social media advertising.

In fact, showing without telling is particularly relevant in social media since videos play on auto-mute on many platforms. So, if you were planning to start a video ad with a funny audio cue to attract viewers, have in mind many won’t be able to hear that first joke… or the rest of them.

You see, plenty of social media users would rather not turn the volume up when they are in public, which is a very common situation. Sure, you can always resort to captions to make your video understandable with no sound, but reading a joke is not nearly as funny as hearing it with the nuances of the spoken word.

In this context, making use of both visual and spoken comedy is critical for the success of your social media ads. And it will also make your videos more enjoyable for those who do turn the volume up!

Visual cues will enrich and complement your script, making the funny, funnier!

Don’t Overdo It!

When mixing social media advertising with humor, you should choose quality over quantity. I know that is a cliché phrase that applies to almost anything in life, but in this case, it can make-or-break your social media ads!

The reason is simple: too many shallow jokes can distract the audience from what you are trying to say. To have a clearer idea, think about TV commercials that you’ve found funny, but you can’t remember which product or service they were about – That’s what you should avoid.

Any one-liner you mention on your video should contribute to your video’s message. Otherwise, you should get rid of it! Remarks that sound forced within your script should be out of it; it’s as simple as that.

It’s worth noting, though, that spotting and dismissing jokes that don’t work is easier said than done. So, instead of writing a complete script and then getting rid of the useless bits, it’s better to write a draft focused on your key message and add humorous remarks as an afterthought.

Use Humor Strategically

Just as vital as learning how much humor to use is knowing where to use it!

We have already stated comedy works great for grabbing viewers’ attention, so adding it to your video ad introduction is a no-brainer. In fact, we recommend you include one of your strongest punchlines in the initial part of your video.

With the video development, it’s a whole different story. Here’s when you should elaborate on the ad’s central message, so try not to deviate your audience’s attention. Add a few witty remarks here and there, aiming for chuckles rather than over-the-top reactions.

When the video is drawing to an end, you can finish it up with another strong punchline to spark a final laugh and leave an overall good impression in the viewer’s mind.

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The Best Social Media Ads Examples

Let’s take a good look a some of the best social media ads examples and what they can teach us about humor, shall we?

Bissell – Twitter Ad

When your business is mainly based on pets’ messes, you have a precious chance for exploiting humor on your social media advertising – and this is something Bissell understands remarkably well.

In this particular social media ad example, they built a funny piece injecting just the right dose of humor. They took one central joke that goes hand in hand with the video’s message (bathing your dog is messy without Bissell) and developed it throughout the entire piece.

Moreover, the main joke (comparing bathing a dog with an apocalyptic experience) is bound to resonate with the brand’s target audience – pet owners who hate mess!

Dollar Shave Club – Instagram Ad

Dollar Shave Club is the perfect example of how humor can benefit your social network advertising efforts in the best possible way. Thanks to their hilarious content, this small business became a giant of the razor blade industry – and without having to break the bank!

This social media ad example is not their most renowned video, but it demonstrates how well the company leverages humor even on a simple ad like this one!

Using an element of surprise, they managed to capture people’s attention to announce their Cyber Monday offer – a single joke that sparks positive reactions and matches the brand’s bold style.

Chatbooks – Facebook & YouTube Ad

A YouTube ad people don’t want to skip? It may sound like a myth, but it’s actually the case of this social media ad example.

This Chatbooks ad ticks nearly all the boxes of our recipe for using humor wisely: it resonates with the brand’s target audience, it’s visually funny, and it starts with a very attractive punchline! The only problem we see in this ad is that it’s on the verge of displaying way too many wisecracks – some of which don’t contribute to the video’s message.

Still, the hilarity of this video has made it go viral, increasing Chatbooks’ brand awareness to unexpected levels. Hats off to their fantastic team!

Parting Thoughts

Something as (deceptively) simple as a well-placed joke can enhance your social media advertising to a great extent.

With the right amount of humor, your ads can persuade more viewers, grab their attention, and boost brand recall. Given that it’s so beneficial, we don’t blame you if you are tempted to dive headfirst into the world of amusing social network advertising.

But wait! Not all social media ads can benefit from being funny. There’s a right and wrong context for comedy, and mixing them can have a harmful effect.

So, inject humor into your script as long as it sounds natural and matches your goals and audience. If it does, then go make your audience laugh!

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