Nailing Your Facebook Ad Copy

Guest blogger, Lauren Hamilton, guides us through the most important factors when writing copy for your social media campaigns

For years, small business owners have relied on creating a connection and sharing news with their customers through regular social media activity.  But with organic (that is, unpaid) posts on your Facebook business page reaching a teeny-tiny 2% on average since the most recent algorithm update, more and more business owners are turning to Facebook and Instagram ads to reach their followers and grow their audience.

We’re not talking about boosting posts here – as a rule, I don’t recommend this way of setting up ads on Facebook, as it rarely provides a good return on investment.  I’m referring to Facebook and Instagram Campaigns, set up in Facebook Business Manager, as part of a broader marketing strategy.

The most challenging part of creating excellent social media ads (once you’ve mastered using Business Manager!) for many small businesses is writing quality, impactful copy (the text) for their ads.  Writing for social media ads is NOT the same as writing organic copy.  When you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a campaign, the natural, ‘off the top of my head’ style of writing which is fine for regular posts to your feed suddenly doesn’t feel good enough.

Research suggests that Facebook and Instagram audiences respond differently to sponsored posts than they do to organic posts.  People anticipate being sold to; they want brands to get to the point rapidly, and they’ve been conditioned to look out for codes, discounts, reductions and other price-led promotions.  They will click on your ad (if you’re speaking to the right audience!) but they need a compelling reason to click – a problem solved, an irresistible saving, a must-have item – to push them over the line.

Be single-minded with your ad copy and give people a clear indication of what you want them to do.

They key to writing successful copy for social media ads, therefore, lies with recognising this crucial difference between organic and paid posts.  Be single-minded with your ad copy, don’t just vaguely introduce yourself, and give people a clear indication of what you want them to do.  It’s also super-important to structure your writing to respect the number of characters recommended …

Physically, ad copy typically follows the following formula;

Primary Text: 125 characters.  Punchy, strong first sentence with key info included.  Some ad executions don’t reveal all your copy, which means you need to ‘load’ this first sentence with your heaviest ammo!

Headline: 40 characters.  Literally the heading you’d place if this ad were a blog, or an article – we usually describe this as your ‘hook’ and it may be a special offer, an announcement of a new product launch or whatever the ad is essentially ‘about’.

Description: 30 characters. Either repeat your key offer or hook, or add a secondary or supportive point – e.g. PLUS free shipping nationwide or 100% Australian made.

Pair strong, well-written and strategic copy with a clever or eye-catching little video (video out-performs still images on social ads in most instances) and a purpose-built landing page on your website (i.e, the page which your audience will click through to), and you’re well on your way to making the most of your ad budget.  No matter how large or small that budget may be, follow these guidelines and anticipate an improved strike rate and return on your investment soon!

About the author

Lauren Hamilton is the Founder and Digital Strategist of Digital Narrative.  Digital Narrative specialise in helping small businesses punch above their weight in the digital marketing arena with clever, budget-friendly ways to be bigger than you are.

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