Creating Gym Ads for Lead Generation: Part 1 – Facebook Advertising

Published on: 
04 October 18
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8 min read

In the first of an ongoing series, we look at how you can use different ad platforms to generate leads for your fitness business and ultimately grow your membership

Lead Generation.

A process that can cause endless strife and frustration for a gym owner.

A process, however, that is fundamental to the success of your gym and needs just as must effort and attention as any other aspect of the business. Creating effective gym ads is a large part of this.

It doesn’t matter if you have built a top of the range gym or how well your gym management software is performing, you will not see your revenue increase if you aren’t consistently growing your customers base. While there is a number of ways to do this, Facebook Ads is one of the most effective ways that you can do this digitally. In a recent industry report it was found that 62% of marketers regard Facebook as the most important method of advertising through social media.

Opening up Facebook Ads Manager for the first time can make for an intimidating experience for a novice. Don’t let this intimidate you though, as the platform offers unbeatable customization and control over who you can target with your ads – with options for targeting based on age, gender, locations, and interests in very specific detail.

For your gym, creating an effective Facebook Ads Campaign can significantly boost lead generation for your business which in turn can significantly increase membership for your gym. Below we will lay out the main things you need to know to set up a Facebook Ads campaign to start generating quality leads for your business.

Plan Your Strategy

Before you even open the Facebook Ads Manager you need to ask yourself a couple of key questions about what kind of campaign you want to run:

  • What is the objective of your campaign?
  • Who is your target audience for your gym ads?
  • What is the specific promotion you are running?

Basically, you need to have the correct strategy in place before you begin any campaign. Have a road-map of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.

For example: For the months of October and November you want to increase the membership of your gym by 15% and you want to convert at least 50 of these into paying members

Create a Promotion That Gives Value

When thinking of what promotion you want to run for your gym, think about the kind of value you want to give to potential members. There are two main gym ads that you can run to achieve this:

A Discounted Offer

This is quite a straightforward promotion for your gym:

Example: Join Now To Get 25% Off Your First 3 Months

The value of a discount is that it incentivizes the person to become a member without paying full price.

A Sense of Scarcity Offer

One way of boosting interest in your promotion is to create FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). This means that you create a promotion with either a limited number of spaces or a short window of time to sign up.

This creates urgency, especially if you combine it with a discounted offer. People will take action if they feel they are going to miss out on offer that will deliver the value they may not get again.

Example: Sign Up By 5 pm on Wednesday To Get 2 Free Personal Training Sessions.

Use Good Images and Video

The key to any successful Facebook Advertising campaign is visually engaging and colorful images and video. The dimensions of a video or image on the newsfeed is 1200×628 and the key is to keep it very simple.


The main thing to remember about imagery is that it is you need to keep it as visual as possible and keep any text to a minimum. Facebook implements a 20% rule as it prefers ads images with as little as text as possible to give people a higher quality user experience.

If you do have too much text on your image, Facebook will show your ad to fewer people, causing your ad to be less effective. To make sure the text in ad falls within the 20% rule use Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool.


You have probably noticed in your Facebook feed that nearly every second post is now a video and this the is reflected by the fact that Facebook receives over 8 billion average daily views and it has been reported that 100 million hours of video is watched every day and in general, 80% of all web traffic is expected to be video by 2021.

When creating a video for your campaign keep in mind two key factors that can help make sure your video is successful.

Time: Research from Facebook suggests that 47% of the real value of a Facebook Ads comes in the first 3 seconds and 74% comes in the first 10 seconds. This value is defined as the ability of the user to recall the ad.

What this means is that you need to create a video that will grab the viewer’s attention in the first couple of seconds so they will be compelled to consume the entire video. Also, keep the video short and to the point.

Audio: 85% of video is watched with the sound off, meaning that advertisers have to get their message across without the need for audio. To achieve this, consider using captions. Internal testing from Facebook show that video with captions increase video viewing time by 12%

To add captions to your own videos, you can either create them within your own video editing software, use a free software like Headliner or use Facebook’s automated caption tool.

Choosing An Ad Type To Suit Your Objective

Facebook offers many different ad types to help you achieve your objective and choosing the correct one is vital to the success of your campaign.

For a gym, it is all about generating those precious leads to convert into full paying members. To do this you will want to drive a person to a dedicated landing page to sign up for a free trial or whatever type of promotion you are running.

The most common purpose of Facebook Advertising is to drive traffic to your website to generate these leads and there are a couple different ad types you can select.

Link Click Ad

This type of ad is the most common you will see on your Facebook Ad. It is a clickable ad with a clear Call To Action (CTA) that will direct the user back to a dedicated landing page on your website. It consists of:

  • Image (1,200×628 pixels) or video (aspect ratio:16:9 to 9:16)
  • Ad copy: 90 Characters
  • Headline: 25 Characters
  • Link Description: 30 Characters
  • Clear CTA: for example “Sign Up”, “Book Now” or “Contact Us”
Facebook Link Ad with image of bearded man pushing a sled in a gym

Carousel Ads

These are multi-image ads that that let you display up to 10 ads in one rolling set. Each will have its own individual image/video, headline and links, and CTAs.

For gym owners who have a number of different promotions and classes they want to run at once, this would be ideal. For example, you could run an ad in the month of January promoting the different types of classes you have available to kick off the new year.

Facebook Carousel Ad with bearded man pushing sled and woman sitting and looking at her phone.

Facebook Lead Ads

Lead Ads are a fantastic way of gathering email addresses for potential members. What makes them so good is that they gather a person’s key information without leaving the Facebook feed.

Once the person clicks on the CTA to sign up or download content a form pops up for them to fill out. You control what goes into this form and by keeping it short (i.e name and email address) you make the process quick and easy. This also means there is a higher chance for conversion of the lead due to the positive impression from a more user-friendly process.

Learn more about this new type of Facebook Ad here

Facebook Lead Form example

Have a Dedicated Landing Page for Your Promotion

After you have set up your campaign you need to make sure you have somewhere for the person to go once they have clicked through on your ad. There are three main options to send the person to:

  • The Facebook page for your business
  • The homepage for your business
  • A dedicated landing page for your promotion

The best place for this person to go is a dedicated landing page on your website for the promotion you are running. On an episode of our Glofox podcast, digital expert Paul Thompson explained that a person is 13 less likely to convert into a lead if they are sent to a Facebook page or homepage of your business.

The reason for this is that if they are sent to a Facebook page or website homepage they are far more likely to become distracted and not take the dedicated action you want them to take to become a lead.

A good landing page will have your offer and CTA laid out clearly and should be easy for the person to enter the information you need to help convert them into a lead.

These are the main things you need to consider when setting up and running a Facebook Ads campaign for your gym, However, there is so much more that can be explored with this extremely powerful advertising platform.

For more information on how to run a successful Facebook Ad Campaign for your gym or fitness studio listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of our discussion with digital expert Paul Thompson for Thompson Digital on the Glofox Podcast.

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