The 8 Elements of Persuasive Ad Copy
The following excerpt is from Perry Marshall, Keith Krance and Thomas Meloche’s book Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising with guest writer Ralph Burns. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound
Writing ad copy for Facebook ads is really not hard. The following eight elements of persuasive ad copy are simple tips taken from actual ads that are currently converting and doing well from a cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on investment (ROI) perspective.
1. Be authentic
It may sound clichéd, but remember when you write ad copy, you need to write in your own voice. Authenticity is easy to tell people to do, but in actuality it's difficult to execute and still make sales. Being authentic should be your guidepost at all times, because the authentic and effective ads are better than just effective alone.
Case in point: We actually wrote this ad copy in our customer's voice: "As busy women, we don't always have time for a complex makeup look -- and that's okay!"
Because it's written in a personal, casual tone that simultaneously calls out its primary customer, this ad is an ideal one to demonstrate the power of "being authentic" as it uses imperfect English grammar with some unconventional language not typically seen in ad copy. Words like "morning makeup ritual" say what we all know we do every day, but they do it in a slightly different way that's authentic and unique.
Simplify. Simple to say, much harder to do, especially with Facebook ad copy. This is why it's so critical to (as much as humanly possible) use one word in the place of two or three in your copy.
Consider the average Facebook user for a moment. Chances are very good, it's a perfect demographic cross-section of the country you're advertising in. For example, if your business is in the United States, according to the Literacy Project Foundation, 50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level. So, when you write your ad copy, keep things simple. No big 25-cent words, and don't even break it up into five nickel-sized words, just choose a single five-cent word instead.
As with all rules, there will always be some cases where you can write a more flowery style, especially if your niche is highly technical and jargon is unavoidable. But, in most cases, considerable simplification of your ad copy is the best way to go.
3. Show proof
When you're targeting cold audiences and no one knows who you are, trying to establish a level of authority and credibility is a challenge. After all, who buys from someone they don't know and trust?
The first thing to do to overcome this challenge is to show proof that what you're saying is true. This element is typically used in longer copy. One of the primary reasons it does so well is because it inserts credibility statements throughout the ad copy, which are then all neatly tied into pain points.
4. Ask questions
One of the time-tested elements we tend to use on nearly every one of our ads is inserting a question in the first line of our post copy. We then restate that question as a statement in the headline, so in essence we're hitting on the same theme but in two different ways in two different places.
In my opinion, the most important line of copy in a Facebook ad is your first line in your post copy because it's the first words your prospect sees in an ad that appears in their news feed. When you use a question to start your post copy, the headline should reinforce that question for consistency. And if you've crafted a good hook, then just simply ask a question that addresses that hook, then simply restate it as a benefit in your headline.
5. Answer immediately
When you ask a question in your ad copy, try to give the answer to that question immediately on the next line, or at the very least, tell them what to do next in order to discover the answer.
People want to be led; it's far easier than doing the leading. And ultimately people want to be led to reach the logical solution for their problems. If you do in fact have the solution to their problems, then lead them to your solution in your ad copy.
Capitalizing words works well to highlight the most important point in your ad. You can capitalize the words (or words) that you want to emphasize but just don't overdo it.
Keep in mind that if you have all caps in too much of your ad copy, you'll probably get Facebook policy starting to notice because it looks scammy. Instead of DOING EVERY WORD IN YOUR ADS IN CAPs (so annoying), just use caps to highlight the ONE thing you want your audience to really remember.
7. Embrace the ellipsis
This is probably my favorite element to use in ad copy . . .
The ellipsis' job is to lead the reader from one thought to the next, creating a broken thought that needs resolution on the next line. Oftentimes, we use it in concert with the natural break in the Facebook ad in the post copy, but this is more challenging to do regularly. You can also use an ellipsis between your call to action as a subtle reminder that they need to act quickly.
8. Mix it up
When writing Facebook ads, it's good to test all kinds of different copy types. We often split test a number of different ad copy lengths, be it ultra-short, short, long or long-ass copy to see which works best. Ultra-short ad copy may only have one or maybe two lines of copy, whereas short copy will have upwards of three to five, long copy is five-plus, and long-ass copy is just plain long . . . upwards of a thousand words, if not more.