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3 things Love Island can teach you about Facebook advertising

I will be the first to admit, with my entire chest, that I absolutely adore Love Island.

I have watched every single UK series (series 2 from 2016 is the best and if you disagree, you’re wrong). I’ve seen every series of the Australia version and I’m now working my way through the American version.

I excitedly look forward to every new series and I’m involved in two different Love Island group chats which only come alive during the summer months. At this point, I think it’s part of my personality.

I do however understand that Love Island is a divisive show. I hear and completely understand all the arguments about its toxicity and unfortunate impact on society, from its negative effects on body image to the discussions surrounding the suicides of not only contestants but original host, Caroline Flack. All conversations on both sides are valid, and I find the whole thing extremely fascinating.

Every summer, Love Island manages to capture the attention of much of the nation and for marketeers, it brings another wave of talks about our world from authenticity to branding and communication.

Love Island may seem extremely shallow and, at points, it very much is. Do I need to remind everyone of 2018’s series 4 discussion about Brexit? When blonde Liverpudlian, Hayley Hughes, after admitting she hadn’t heard of Brexit, replied “so does that mean we won’t have any trees?” Her fellow contestants were as confused as I still am, four years later.

But Love Island is a perfect snapshot of where our society is at that exact moment, from the clothes, the villa and most importantly, the islanders themselves. The country’s zeitgeist is preserved for all to see and there are some marketing lessons we can learn from watching a group of tanned and toned 20-somethings try and win £50,000.

1. Can I pull you for a chat?

It doesn’t take much searching online before finding lists of the most problematic Love Island contestants.

In 2021, series 7 contestant Faye Winter had a blazing shouting match with her partner on the show, Teddy Soares. After being shown some misleading footage of Teddy’s behaviour during Casa Amor (a time when the male and female islanders are separated and joined by new contestants, to tempt them from their current couple), Faye unleashed a furious rampage onto Teddy in front of the entire villa of contestants and the entire viewing nation.

She did not give him any chance to speak, dismissed anything he managed to say and attacked other islanders who tried to defend Teddy. Ofcom received 25,000 complaints, the most in the show’s history.

In post-show interviews, Faye has said that her behaviour was admittedly aided by alcohol, but that she was being her authentic self. That on the outside, in her personal life, she would behave in that manner. But this wasn’t her personal life. This was public.

How does this relate to Facebook advertising?

Corporate accounts thrive when they’re being, ironically, less corporate. Showing personality is great. But forgetting that this is a business account, not your personal social media, can land you in very hot water.

This is especially important when responding to negative comments. A popular question I get from clients is “how should we respond to this?” followed by a screenshot of a negative review or comment online.

It’s so important to keep a business head on here. Unlike Faye, flying off the handle and saying “but that’s how I would reply outside the office” isn’t going to work here.

Firstly, you must never ignore the comments. Maintaining public relations is a must for brand building and not acknowledging how this commenter is feeling only leaves more room for negative emotion to build on their part.

It is always best to acknowledge how they feel, apologise if that is necessary and, in Love Island fashion, ask to pull them for a chat. I mean, offer to take the conversation outside of the comment box. Most people complaining to a company simply want to be heard. By giving them that time, a resolution can be solved a lot quicker than by going into defence mode.

If Faye had only remained calm and offered to speak to Teddy in private, there would have been a much smaller scene and far fewer Ofcom complaints…

2. The client I’d like to couple up with is…

For those of you who have no understanding of how Love Island works (I am both stunned and admittedly, slightly jealous that you’ve not allowed this all-consuming juggernaut to enter your life), the ultimate goal of the show is that you must find someone to couple up with.

Through challenges, both mental and physical for comedic value, the idea is that you and your partner will remain loyal through it all and then the public will pick you two as their favourite couple.

You’ll walk away with £25,000 each to spend on designer items and a city centre apartment that you’ll move into and then out of in 12 months or less, when the relationship eventually crumbles and is announced on your Instagram story.

A word mentioned a lot just there is couple. Love Island is a show about relationships, both platonically and romantically. A common final remark from a girl leaving the villa with no romantic partner is “I may not have found a soulmate, but I’ve found you girls”, usually followed by hugs and tears in the dressing room as the evicted islander packs weeks’ of clothes into a small suitcase.

The whole point of Love Island is that you cannot win the show alone. You must be partnered with someone. The show thrives and depends on the islanders getting along.

This is the same for digital marketing. It is such a collaborative effort; you really cannot do it alone. Something we’re extremely proud of at Yardstick is the way in which our teams work together. Our content teams write amazing guides for our lead generation campaigns, our branding team takes that copy and turns it into a gorgeous PDF, then it’s handed over to myself to work with clients on the corresponding campaign.

Some businesses really believe that when they hire an agency to manage their paid ads, it really is a case of sending over the log in details, approving the first campaign and leaving them to it.

That is far from the truth, as the process is so collaborative. I rely on my clients hugely for feedback – what leads have you been getting? Are they of the right quality? Are you getting too many people of the same age? Is there a location you’d now like to try? Have your business goals changed?

My part of our relationship is only half of the job. It’s vital that my clients are also engaged in the process. By working together, then can we make your campaigns a success. We can’t win alone.

3. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket

It’s an absolute classic line from Love Island history. Two islanders haven’t been in the villa for too long and already, they’ve found someone they really click with. They have great banter, they have aligned life goals and most importantly, they think each other is fit.

Should they give everything to this person? Put all their eggs in one basket, ignoring any new islanders?

In the words of Wes from 2018’s series 4 (that series really gave a lot of great moments), “I’m happy but I could be happier”. It turns out that yes, Wes absolutely could be happier, and he left his Scottish partner Laura in the dust for pastures new.

But anyway, the same absolutely can be said for Facebook advertising.

In this game, it is all about testing. At Yardstick, my four-week initial testing period with a new client is the most vital part of their campaign. Are there some locations you’d like to try, to see which provides you with the highest quality leads? What about ad creatives, shall we try a few images? Some varying text styles, perhaps?

The beginning stages are crucial in determining which outcome will attract the right audience and you’ll only ever know this by testing the waters. Put your eggs in some other baskets!

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If you’d like to explore how Facebook advertising can work for your business, get in touch for a chat. Email or call 0115 8965 300.

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