When advertising on Facebook, you often find yourself troubleshooting ad campaigns that aren’t working.
You focus on bidding, on audiences and on ad structure – forgetting far too often about the importance of the most fundamental stuff in marketing and advertising:
Content and copywriting.
“But People Don’t Read Long Ads on Facebook”
Popular belief is that with Facebook ads, only the images matter; the copy does not. Most marketers also believe that the copy should be short.
But are they right?
AdEspresso recently ran a Facebook Ad Copy Length experiment that challenges this belief. In it, they tested seven different ads for the same offer, where everything was the same for each ad except for the copy. Here’s a summary of their copy tests:
- Variation A: One Sentence, Version A (claim with data)
- Variation B: One Sentence, Version B (question)
- Variation C: Bullet Points
- Variation D: Bullet Points + Emojis
- Variation E: One Paragraph
- Variation F: Three Paragraphs
- Variation G: Six Paragraphs
AdEspresso then polled marketers to see which variation they thought would win.
Nearly half of the marketers polled guessed Variation A: One Sentence would win.
But not only did Variation A NOT win. It also had a much higher CPA.
Turns out Variation E: One Paragraph was the ultimate winner, followed closely by Variation F: Two Paragraphs and then Variation G: Six Paragraphs.
Even better? Not only did the longer copy in these ads bring in the most leads… but long copy also had the lowest CPAs across the board.
But maybe you’re still not sure long copy actually works in Facebook ads???
Case Study: “I Will Teach You a Language” uses long Facebook ad copy to get 3000+ subscribers in 1 week
I Will Teach You a Language is a website for learning new languages quickly through storytelling. For the past three years, FB ads have been consistently building their email list.
In a recent seven-day period, they received 3,118 email opt-ins at £0.54/lead.
The secret is no secret at all: writing lots of ads which engage in storytelling, using long copy.
Here’s the ad that brought in all those leads in one week:
And now take a look at the comments! That ad got 2.2k likes, 545 shares, and 443 comments (708 total comments, if counting nested ones).
Long-form copy has been given a bad rap in the marketing world.
People love to tell you that nobody reads online.
And here’s the thing: that can be very, very true.
But any great conversion copywriter will tell you this:
Don’t write for the people who don’t read online. Write for the people who do.
Ok, so how?
Below you’ll find 10 techniques for using long-form content and storytelling in Facebook ads.
It’s a long read but if you run Facebook ads (or consider running), it’s worth reading in its entirety.
10 Techniques for Writing Effective Long-Form Facebook Ad Copy
Writing high-converting Facebook ads can feel intimidating, but you really don’t need to be an experienced copywriting expert to knock it out of the park.
Good ad copy comes 90 percent from reading and listening, and only 10 percent from the writing itself.
1. Understand and Reflect Your Customer’s Struggle… Specifically
If you were reading a page from your ideal customer’s diary, what would their struggle look like?
Understanding specific pain points and how your product or service can relieve them is key. Below is an example of an ad that opens with a very visceral struggle:
Here are a few key things to note with this Facebook ad copy:
- We built desire before pitching. We didn’t go for the hard sell. We captured attention, provided value… and then appealed to a need. At the end, we finally offered the solution: a downloadable training kit.
- We were specific. We used a singular, detailed story that many people can relate to in order to evoke an emotional connection. We didn’t just say, “She felt like she wasn’t part of society.” We SHOWED how she didn’t belong. If you can apply specific storytelling to a pain point, you’ll see great results.
- We didn’t cut out the stuff most marketers cut out. The parts of the ad copy that most engage your reader are the details. We didn’t lose sight of the need for details, and we didn’t prioritize some random idea of “always be short” over the power of storytelling.
2. Frame Your Message with Something Timely
Facebook is for new things. New announcements. New life changes. News. And new forms of news.
So little wonder stories that seem immediately relevant perform well as Facebook ad copy.
A while ago, there was a story about a missing parrot who turned up speaking Spanish and without its previous British accent. Anything can be an inspiration:
Many stories that get covered by the media COULD relate to your niche. Spin the story into an ad.
3. Mine the Comments for Facebook Ad Copy Inspiration
The comments section on an ad will be filled with everything from the hilarious to the outrageous.
Sometimes you can mine those comments and turn them into ad copy. For example, someone left this comment on one of the ads:
That’s a seed of an idea right there.
You can use a different spin on storytelling – and some humour – to make a point.
That Facebook ad copy follows the old copywriting rule: the job of a line of copy is to get your reader to read the next line.
Short copy doesn’t build up to the next line. Long copy does.
4. Use the Power of Analogy in Your Facebook Ad Copy
Analogies are powerful in sales. They help people understand more quickly – they’re a shortcut for actual knowledge.
For example, if you asked “What does a Pomelo taste like?” and got an answer “Like a grapefruit but without the bitterness,” you’d get it.
Analogies make it easier to understand something new by invoking concepts you already know. Try to use analogies frequently in my Facebook ad copy. They’re an essential part of good storytelling. Here’s an example:
Try to address what an ad will be about in the first sentence; doing so keeps people engaged. You don’t want someone to read three paragraphs about running before they realize that it’s really about learning Spanish.
Make the analogy clear up front.
5. Write Facebook Ads Based on Common Mistakes or Rookie Mistakes
Let’s say you help people learn to cook Italian food.
You might want to run an ad addressing the common beginner’s mistake of adding pineapple to pizza or ketchup to pasta. (Yes, I got myself banned from Italy.)
Fixing common mistakes for your readers builds trust and demonstrates credibility while offering value. Here’s a Facebook ad that uses this strategy, highlighting simple mistakes and showing the fix.
6. Try Opening Your FB Ad with, “It’s a common misconception that…”
All industries are plagued by misconceptions that affect their image. It’s the reality of life.
If you’re able to address a misconception in your Facebook ad copy, you may clear up a customer’s conscious or subconscious objection. When addressing misconceptions, make sure to explain your stance and back it up with evidence and stories whenever possible. Here’s what this might look like:
7. Turn Your Questions into Facebook Ad Copy! Answer Questions You’re Always Asked
What’s one question you’re asked over and over? There’s got to be at least one.
Answering questions that your audience frequently asks will strike a chord with many members of your target audience, who almost certainly have the same Qs. It’s also another great chance to offer value to your audience and build a relationship with them early on. After all, for every person who dared ask a question, there are at least a thousand others who have wondered the same but never voiced it.
This is a high-converting ad written to address a question which was asked regularly:
8. Interview Your Clients and Use What They Tell You to Write FB Ads
Reaching out to your clients offers a number of benefits. You can ask users how they’ve benefited from your product / service / solution and try to find out what made them convert in the first place. If you can, dig deep. You want to go beyond the general testimonial of, “He’s nice. I got good results.” You want specifics, and asking the right questions can help.
Some good questions:
- What was it like before working with / finding our product?
- How did X help you?
- What mistake did you stop making after working with / finding our product?
- How did you address that mistake?
- What’s one new thing you learned, or one benefit you gained, and what difference did it make?
Great copy takes what your prospect says / thinks… and puts it on the page. Your prospects then read the copy. And it feels like you’re inside their head. NOT because you’re a genius. But because you listened to them… you documented what they said… and you used it to write the ad they then read. It’s not about you. It’s not about your product. It’s all ALWAYS about your customer.
9. Stop Hiding What Makes You Unique
Facebook ads can be used to disqualify your competition, giving potential customers reasons to choose you instead. When you say the same thing as everyone else, your selling power weakens and your message is diluted. People assume you have nothing different to offer because surely you would have mentioned it otherwise.
Viva-Luxe needed their ads optimized. This is a British brand that sells high-quality, made-to-measure Asian fashion.
During the call with the founder Jay, he was asked: “There are lot of online and offline alternatives… what really makes you unique?”
Based on that question, he wrote the Facebook ad copy below:
Focused on differentiators, this particular campaign got £22.2 in revenues for each £1 spent on ads:
What’s unique about your product? Your team? Your service? Your location? Your facilities? Your process? Your motivation? Your story?
Why isn’t any of that guiding your Facebook ad copy?
10. Focus on the Individual-Level “Why” – Not a Generic, Vague Why – in Your Facebook Ad Copy
Your product or service will likely have many different use cases. It might solve different pain points that mean something different to each audience member.
Facebook ads are waiting to happen in each different use case.
When creating your Facebook ads, you need to consider the top five to 10 reasons that anyone might need your product or service. You then need to branch those reasons off into their own distinct ads.
Vesna Hrsto, one of the top 10 naturopaths in Australia & New Zealand, did something like this.
Hrsto helps people suffering from adrenal imbalances.
One of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue is weight gain. Some members of Hrsto’s audience will care about weight loss, others will care about feeling tired, others will care about being moody – the list goes on.
Among her many ads, she ran one about helping people have more energy.
That ad body copy focused not on ALL the whys… but just on one: being tired.
Not only did the ad get webinar registrations at $3.5/lead in the first week we launched it, but it also quickly generated five sales at a CPA of $90.58/sale – for a product that cost $497.
Does long-form ad copy always work, then?
Long-form copy doesn’t work BECAUSE it’s long.
Short copy can work wonders for highly engaged fans… for high awareness audiences… for markets that are extremely sophisticated… and for smokin’ great offers on products people already know and love.
Long copy can work wonders for newer fans… for low awareness audiences… for unsophisticated markets and disruptive products… and when you need to move a reader through multiple stages of awareness to get to a paid offer.
But keep this in mind:
Crappy copy never works.
Boring copy never works.
Whether it’s short or long, your Facebook ad copy will not move people to yes if it does not engage them. That means:
- Use the techniques above
- Always write a strong hook
- Stop striving for short copy
- Follow the other copywriting lessons you’re learning on Copy Hackers
- Be strategic with your images and videos
PS. In addition to copy, don’t forget to test everything else: targeting, demographics, lookalike audiences, frequency etc. Combined, you should see great results and profitability.