A 4-Step Formula for Writing Fantastic Facebook Ads

Shannon Willoby

Apr 29, 20155 min read
A 4-Step Formula for Writing Fantastic Facebook Ads

Not seeing the results you want from your Facebook ads? Then it’s probably time you looked a little more closely at the words you’ve been using in them.

And while you don’t have to be a professional writer to create Facebook ads that convert, following the formula below will help your ads attract more attention and convince your target audience to perform the action(s) you desire.

Let’s get started!

(Side note: For this post, I am referring specifically to Desktop News Feed ad copy.)

Step 1: Define Your Objective

This might seem rudimentary to some, but a clearly defined objective is the first, and arguably most important, step in the creation of your Facebook ad.

After all, knowing why you’re writing this ad is going to dictate the words you use and the tone you write it in.

Decide what your desired outcome is first — and then start writing.

Are you writing your ad for:

  • Brand awareness? (Educate on who we are and what we have to offer.)
  • To sell a product? (We want to increase sales.)
  • To get the reader to complete an action? (Subscribe to our blog, become a member of our website, etc.)

Only when you can answer this definitively, should you move on to step two.

 Step 2: State a Benefit 

You’ve probably heard of being company centric vs. customer centric before, right?

Now let’s think of this in terms of copy. If your ad copy is created in a company centric way, it’ll babble on endlessly about how great your company is.

But if it’s customer centric, it’ll show the reader clearly how your product or service will benefit them. Plainly state the advantage the reader will get by signing up, purchasing, clicking, etc. Make your copy about the customer and what you can do for them.

For example, the ad above is one I wrote for the company I work for, Scott’s Marketplace. (Shout out to our graphic designer, Bri Ritivoy, for the great image used in the ad.)

The copy focuses on the benefits a business owner would get by opening up an online store on our site. The ad clearly states that:

  1. It’s easy to set up your store
  2. It’s free to set up your store

The ad copy gets right to the point and answers two questions readers might have before they can be deterred. (1. “Is it hard to set up a store?” Nope, it’s easy. 2. “Will it cost any money upfront?” Nope, it’s free.)

Notice how I restated the free factor in the title of the ad? Do the same with your company. Restate your biggest selling point to help grab attention of those skimmers out there.

Step 3: Be Persuasive 

Persuasive ad copy gets results. As you can see in the ad above, I wanted to highlight the benefits of shopping local in a persuasive way.

The ad was created to tempt people into shopping on our site, but to also highlight the fact that you’re supporting local stores when you spend money on Scott’s Marketplace rather than chains.

The ad copy also matches the image it was paired with (another shout out to Bri Ritivoy for the eye-catching creative) and together, the two complement each other and ultimately convert!

Here’s how to inject a nice dose of persuasiveness into your copy.

  1. Avoid fluff. You barely have enough time to grab (and hold) a reader’s attention. Why would you ever junk up your ad copy with flowery language?
  2. Be conversational. Talk to your readers as if they’re a friend — or at least an acquaintance. Facebook is not a formal platform — and your copy needs to reflect that.
  3. Understand the difference between a benefit and a feature. It’s much more persuasive to show a reader how the item you’re offering will improve, enhance, better, etc., their life in some way rather than simply list a few of its features.
  4. Know that less is more. I try to keep my ad copy under two sentences (if they’re medium to long in length) and under three if they’re very short. This same rule applies to all components of your ad, however. Ashleigh Barlow, head of marketing for Scott’s Marketplace, says, “I’ve found that sticking to two lines with your supportive link copy and one line for the title of your ad works — and looks — best.”
  5. Always include a call to action. Facebook lets you include a customizable call to action button in your ad, so don’t overlook this important step. But your ad copy can also include a CTA to reaffirm the action you want readers to take and, again, catch the attention of skimmers. (Get it now, buy today, download, click here, book now.)
  6. Customization is crucial. Ashleigh notes, “Keep in mind that one ad does not speak to all audiences. Meaning, your copy should be customized according to the audience you are trying to reach.”
  7. Test the persuasiveness of your ads. Testing various ad copy with the same creative will help you determine what type of copy (straight-forward, funny, edgy, etc.) resonates best with the audiences you are targeting.

 Step 4: Know the Rules

You can spend hours writing the perfect ad, but it’s never going to see the light of day if you don’t follow Facebook’s rules.

  1. Text overlay on images must adhere to the 20% rule. Put more than 20% text on an image and your ad will be sent to its untimely death faster than a Game of Thrones character. Not sure how to figure this out? (Who can blame you?) Facebook’s grid tool will help.
  2. Be relevant. Your copy must match what it is you’re trying to sell or promote.
  3. Avoid adult content. If you’re getting too racy, you’re not going to get approved.
  4. Stay away from religion and race in your copy. For example, “Are you Christian?" or “Meet other black singles” will not fly.
  5. False advertising… just say no. Don’t be deceptive or misleading with your copy, ever.
  6. Typos destroy ads. Use spell check unless you’d like your ad banished for all eternity by Facebook’s grammar and punctuation police.

Now Put It all Together!

Hey, I’m no mathematician, but in my experience, this formula works quite well:

Objective + Benefits + Persuasiveness + Following the Rules = A Fantastic Facebook Ad.

While many components go into a successful ad, (the image you use, the audience targeting you do, etc.), the copy is always going to be a major player that can either keep you in the game or have you sitting on the sideline, watching as your competitor scores the touchdown.

Have more questions on how to write fantastic Facebook ads? Share below!

Author Photo
Shannon Willoby is the director of content marketing for Scott’s Marketplace and editor in chief of the small business blog, The DRIVE.