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5 Facebook Ads Case Studies of Successful Campaigns

Kenny Novak • Updated on June 29, 2023
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There’s a lot of debate online about how effective Facebook marketing is. Some people staunchly defend it as effective, and offer themselves as proof. Others claim it’s a giant scam and likewise claim their experience is the norm. Few take industry into account, and fewer dig deep enough into the data to explain their positions. The fact is, Facebook ads are very potent, and here’s a heaping pile of data to prove it.

1. Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware

For a hardware store, spring is the beginning of the busy season. As soon as the snow melts and the sun comes out, the ground thaws and plants start to bloom, people leap into action with projects ranging from home improvement to landscaping to new construction. All of them need hardware, and for a chain with 4,400 stores nation wide, this is absolutely when you need to be contacting your potential customers.

Ace Hardware needed to reach these customers, and it took to Facebook to do so. They started using Facebook as to promote a week of discounts specifically for fans. For targeting, they chose to direct their ads towards people via keyword, using home improvement and repair keywords.

As a result of their campaign, their following grew from 20,000 to nearly 50,000 in the span of four days, a growth of 132%. Their CTR skyrocketed, with over 50,000 clicks sent to their website from Facebook during the promotion. Meanwhile, fan posts on their page grew by 900%.

2. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema


Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a chain of dinner-and-a-movie cinema-restaurant hybrids that serve meals along with movies, with an extensive pre-show. They began in Texas and have since expanded across the country with locations in Virginia, Michigan, Colorado, New York, Arizona and Nebraska.

In order to entice and engage their movie-going patrons, Alamo decided to implement Facebook Deals using the check-in system. They gave rewards to customers who checked in to their locations, and in order to promote this feature, they took to Facebook ads. With ads that explained the virtues of their check-in system, including free movie screenings and free pint glasses, it’s no wonder they had success.

As a result of their ad campaign, more than 5,100 people checked in with the cinema in Austin, Texas. The cinema gave away 10,000 free pint glasses during the promotion, and received record levels of engagement and page likes during the promotion.

3. Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins

Much like a hardware store, an ice cream shop kicks into high gear during the spring and summer months, and their business begins to drop off during the fall. Baskin Robbins wanted to do something about this drop-off and had the idea to take to a social promotion. Combining groupon-like ideas and social referrals, they created a special program call the Group Scoop.

A Group Scoop was an app on Facebook that enticed users to invite their friends to visit Baskin Robbins. One friend has to invite three others for a total of four. If the number four is reached, all four members of the group are given a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream. Any or all of the participants could already be fans of the brand, but Baskin Robbins specifically ran ads targeting non-fans to promote the event.

As a result of their ad campaign, Baskin Robbins gained over 200,000 likes to their Facebook page, all ice cream loving followers. 8,600 groups were successfully created, leading to the serving of approximately 34,400 free scoops of ice cream. All during fall, historically one of the slowest times for the brand.

4. Cheerios


For a cereal company, springtime is… well, no different from any other time. This case study goes against the format of the others in this list a little bit. Cheerios didn’t have a great Facebook page back in the day, and they really wanted to connect with their primary target demographic, which they had identified as mothers with young children.

In order to accomplish this, the cereal brand decided to run a charitable promotion. For every new like they got on their Facebook page, they would donate a book to First Book, a charity that delivered books to needy children. They ran advertisements on Facebook targeting all women over 25 – these days they would also include the presence of children in their targeting – and ran several premium page ads promoting their charity and the health benefits of the cereal.

As a result of their ad campaign, Cheerios grew an astonishing 1,500%, going from 9,000 fans to 130,000. They broke the record engagement rate for General Mills brands, and they ended up donating more than 124,000 books. Not bad for a relatively bland cereal.

5. Toyota Hybrid Synergy

Toyoto Hybrid

A few years back, when alternative fuel sources for vehicles were relatively new and only just reaching affordable prices, Toyota decided they wanted to promote their Hybrid Synergy Drive, a special energy-saving engine. Specifically, they wanted to promote this drive in young drivers in Southeast Asia, including Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

In order to promote their drive, they created special video advertisements and ran them on Facebook as premium video ads. These ads – two in total – ran in conjunction with follow-up sponsored stories that reached out to potential fans who had seen the videos.

As a result of their ad campaign, the Hybrid Synergy page – not the Toyota page in general, but a specific page for the Hybrid drive – went from brand new to 50,000 followers in just three weeks. This is with only 13,000 video views, though the ad exposure reached over 7.4 million people. The brand engaged with 45,000 fans throughout the campaign.

If this is the kind of potential growth waiting for you, why would you ever be skeptical of Facebook ads? Here’s the thing; none of these ad campaigns are particularly clever or outside-the-box thinking. They’re fairly simple examples of “run a promote, promote it to a basic audience” and yet they lead to sometimes astonishing growth. That’s the power of Facebook ads.


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