In this post you're going to learn how to write Facebook ads that convert people mindlessly scrolling through Facebook into leads and sales for your business. If you’re looking for more sign-ups for your webinars or lead magnets (checklists, eBooks, quizzes, and PDFs etc.) this is perfect for you.
An no, I'm not going to tell you the same things everyone else does about how to write Facebook ads. Like “open your copy with a ‘yes’ question” or “make sure you talk about the benefits and not just the features.”
We've all seen that advice hundreds of times now. It was great two or three years ago, but now everyone writes their ads that way. This post is about what's working now.
Let’s get started.
How Facebook Ad Copywriting Works
Right now, we’re using these copywriting techniques to bring in leads for under $3 on Facebook and Instagram. I'm not telling you this to brag, but to show you that they do work.
Before you write a single word, it's crucial you understand how ad copy works on Facebook and Instagram. Here are a few important things to understand before you start:
- On Facebook, there’s no limit to how long your ad copy can be, but when your ad is displayed in the news-feed on desktop or mobile, only the first few lines are shown. To see the rest of the copy, people have to click the ‘see more' button.
That means you need to make sure those first 3 lines really count.
You need to grab the reader and hook them in those first few lines to make sure they click that ‘See More' button. If you don't, they'll just keep scrolling and won't ever see the rest of your copy.
- On Instagram, there is a limit to how long your copy can be. The maximum is 2,200 characters, and only 1-2 lines get displayed when your Instagram ad shows up in the feed.
And as with Facebook, if somebody wants to read all of the copy in your ad, they have to click the “more” button.
- When you're writing Facebook ad copy, you can include clickable links to your destination web page, but you can't do that with Instagram.
Here's how it looks when you include a clickable link in a Facebook ad:
And this is how it looks in an Instagram ad. Notice how the link isn't blue, it's just plain text and not clickable:
And it's not possible to copy and paste text within the Instagram mobile app. So the viewer can't even copy that link into their web browser.
If you're running ads to a landing page, you can see how that’s a problem. Ad copy that tells someone to click a link when it's not possible for them to do that creates confusion and a poor user experience.
The reason I'm telling you all of this? Because we need to cater for all of these things when we're writing our ad copy. We need to understand how things appear on each platform and what the limitations are. That way, we can write the best possible copy to give us the results we want.
The 4 Elements of Successful Facebook Ad Copy
There are four elements that every piece of Facebook ad copy needs to have:
- A hook or lead-in
- A clear call to action (CTA)
First we'll briefly look at each element, then we'll dive deeper into how to craft ad copy that incorporates all of them.
1. A Hook or a Lead-In
The first element every Facebook or Instagram ad should have is a great hook or a lead-in. This is what draws people into the big idea, and gets them curious to read further.
The next thing is credibility. Every piece of copy needs to have something that proves your credibility or your expertise. There’s too many ads out there in the news feed, and people are naturally skeptical. You need to tell people why they should listen to you.
The third element is content. Make it so that people are actually getting value and enjoying the content you’re putting in your ads.
4. A Clear Call to Action
The final thing is a clear, coherent call to action. You've got to tell people what you want them to do next if they've read all the way to the bottom of your ads.
How to Write Facebook and Instagram Ad Copy Using These 4 Critical Elements
Now that we know what every ad needs to contain, let's jump into how to write Facebook ads that convert.
The first thing to do is answer a few questions. Once you do this, it makes the actual writing process much faster and easier. You’ll have much better ad copy and results because of it.
3 Questions to Help You Write Facebook Ad Copy
We all want to know how to write Facebook ads that get us results in the quickest way possible. So answering these 3 questions first should make writing your Facebook ad copy a lot easier.
1. What are the most polarizing opinions or thoughts in your industry or space? What are things that people have a strong opinion or a strong stance on?
One example of a polarizing opinion for Facebook marketing is that organic reach is dead. Some people will tell you that there's no point in even having a Facebook page and posting organically on there anymore, because no one sees it anyway. While at the same time, others have the complete opposite view and have really successful Facebook pages.
If you’re in a local business, another example is that fiberglass pools are better than concrete pools. There are people in both camps who firmly believe one is better than the other.
From email marketing, another example is that growing an email list is a slow grind. It takes a lot of time unless you're willing to spend money.
Taking these polarizing viewpoints and using them in your ad copy is really powerful because it grabs attention and causes conversation and debate. When people read these polarizing opinions in your ads, they’ll either think, “Hey, no, that's not the case!”, or they'll feel a connection with you if they share the same viewpoint.
And that's what you want. You want to find opinions or thoughts where people are on one side of the fence or the other and feel strongly about it.
So go ahead and write those things down: What are strong, polarizing opinions that people have in your industry or in your market?
2. What objections stop people buying your product or service?
In every industry, for every product or service, there are certain objections that people have to overcome before making a purchase. An objection being anything that is stopping them from buying. That could be a question, a concern, a lack of information, a lack of belief that it works as promised, or anything else.
For example, in my industry, some people have the belief that Facebook ads won't work for their niche. If they con't overcome this objection they'll never try running ads for themselves.
Another one is that Facebook ads are too expensive. The belief that they won't be able to profit from Facebook ads is a very common objection that stops people from investing in Facebook ads. This is an objection, and it's your job to address this in your marketing copy at some point.
Action item: Take the objections that your clients or customers have before buying and write them down. Don't know what those objections are? Then it's time to start talking to people! Ask people who didn't buy from you why they didn't. Ask people who did buy from you why they chose you. I guarantee they picked you because you addressed their objections better than your competitors, whether you knew you were doing it or not.
3. What are the common questions people ask you before they buy?
This is a natural progression from step two.
The questions people are asking you before they buy from you are a gold mine for copywriting. Obviously they aren't comfortable buying without knowing the answers to those questions. So this is what you should be addressing in your ad copy!
Most people won't even ask any questions. They'll read the copy, and if they aren't convinced to take the next step they'll simply move on. That's why it's important to understand common questions and address them in your Facebook ad copy.
For example, common questions people ask me before buying are: How long does it take for Facebook ads to start working? How much do I need to invest to get any kind of result from my Facebook ads?
In the email list example, common questions could be: How much does it cost to grow our list? Does it cost anything at all? Can you grow your list for free? Simple questions like that.
Action item: Go ahead and jot down your answers to this question as well, and we’re going to bring them all together.
Bringing it all Together to Write a High Converting Facebook Ad
Now, it’s time to start writing your Facebook ad. The first thing we're going to write is the lead-in to your ad copy that we discussed earlier.
How to Write the Lead-In for Your Facebook Ad
Remember, the lead-in is the very first piece or section of your ad copy.
It has one job because it is the only visible thing in your ad before the “more” button. Its job is to get your ideal customer or client to stop scrolling and start reading.
After that, its job is to convince them to click that “more” button and keep reading.
To start, take one of the polarizing beliefs or the big objections that people have in your niche. Use that as the start of your lead-in. People are scrolling quickly through the newsfeed, and if they've got a strong belief one way or the other and see something that goes directly against it, they’re going to stop.
Here's a quick example by Frank Kern. Notice how the hook speaks to the belief that you need a big budget to succeed with Facebook ads:
And then he follows up by stating that it's false, and you actually shouldn't start with a big budget.
You'll also notice that just before the text cuts off he says “In fact, they SHOULDN'T…”.
That is deliberate, and very smart. It creates an open loop to make the reader want to see what he's going to say next. This gets people to click the ‘Read More' button.
Take a look at another example below. The lead-in also ends with something that makes the reader interested right before the “see more” button:
Write your lead-in so that when they get to the point of wanting to keep reading, they see the “see more” button. If you can achieve that, then your lead-in has done its job and we can move on to the next section.
How to Add Credibility to Your Facebook Ad Copy
Now, let’s talk about credibility. This is a really important element to remember if you want to learn how to write Facebook ads that convert.
This is where you want to tell them why they should listen to you, and why you’re an expert.
And you want to do it in a way that's not bragging. You don't want to be the lambo guy who pops up on your YouTube or Facebook bragging about how he’s making millions of dollars.
That stuff doesn't work. What you want to do instead is just weave your expertise in subtly.
For example, I say, “Hey, I'm Andrew Hubbard, founder of Hubbard Digital. We run a digital marketing agency, and I shared what I’m about to tell you in an interview I did on ‘The Art of Paid Traffic' podcast.”
Now, in that example, you can see I briefly introduce myself and mention that I run an agency. This is how you tell people that you have experience, and you’re not just making stuff up.
You’ll notice I also mentioned a popular podcast in the industry to show I’ve been on reputable podcasts. This tells the reader that I'm somebody who can be trusted as well, since people know and trust those podcasts already.
Another example, if we go with email marketing again, could be something like:
“Hey, I'm Andrew Hubbard, founder of Hubbard Digital, a marketing agency, and we actually figured this method out when we ran a trial with a bunch of our top clients and students to see how many of them we could take from zero to 100 email subscribers in a week, without having them pay any money to do it. I knew we'd do well, but I was really surprised when we saw we had a 92% success rate. So I took that, shared it over on MarketingLand.com and it’s become one of the most read posts in the last six months on that site as well.”
Now you can see what I did there. All I did was explain exactly how we came up with the methodology. I explained that we were part of a marketing agency, that we tested this on our customers and clients, then shared a little bit about the results that we got.
And again, I used a credibility marker there. I mentioned that I write for a website called Marketing Land, which is big with email marketers, and explained that it was popular there as well.
So we’re weaving in a bit of story to explain who we are, why we’re credible, why people should listen to us, and the results we've got.
How to Write the Content of Your Facebook Ad
The next section is your content. This is the meat of the ad. This is where you expand on the concept or idea you introduced in the lead-in.
You want to give them value and teach them something. Then you want to get them excited about the idea you’re sharing, and convince them it’s something they can do.
This is where you start to address objections. I like to address objections by using examples from students, customers, or clients, or even from myself.
Take the objections you wrote down earlier and figure out how you can address each of them in your content.
We'll use the email marketing example again. Let's say one of our objections was that you have to create a lot of free content in order to build an email list.
To address that objection in our copy, we could say:
“You don't need to create a ton of content to do this. One of our students wrote one blog post. It took them about two hours to write. And that's the only content they created in order to go from zero to 100 subscribers. The way they did it was through repurposing. We took that post and repurposed it into five separate pieces of content, and we used that to fuel their lead generation efforts and build their list to 100 subscribers.”
In that example, we took an objection and found a way to address it. We nipped it in the bud straight away. In the hook we could have been very direct in saying, “Hey, guess what? You don't need to create a ton of content to grow an email list.” And then we explained how we did do it in the content.
That's the other key point here. We talk about what we did, but we don't go deep into how we did it at this point in the copy.
We’re trying to give them some value, but get them excited to the point where they're going to click on whatever we're telling them to.
So in this example, we might want them to click to attend a one-hour training where they can learn more about this method. We want to get them really excited about it, give them these examples, and overcome objections. That way in the end, they click our ad and that moves us on to the next section, which is our call to action.
Adding the CTA to Your Facebook Ad Copy
If you already know how to write Facebook ads, you know what a call to action is. But in case you don't, a call to action is simply telling somebody what you want them to do next.
So in this example, we're just going to say, “If you want to learn more about this, I'm hosting a free training” or “I've got a free PDF” or “If you want the step-by-step checklist that we use when we're going through a list building process, click here to get it now.”
And if you're using it for a Facebook ad, then you would put the link in.
Here's a quick example of a CTA inside a Facebook ad:
Now, I want you to make sure that you write you ad for Facebook first. After that, take that copy, paste it into a new document, and adjust it for Instagram.
This is a really important part of the process. You've just written everything using the structure that I mentioned, so now copy it into a new document and restructure it for Instagram.
Two simple things you need to do next: first, check the character count. If your Instagram ad copy is over 2,200 characters, you need to shorten it up. Take some bits out and abbreviate to get it below 2,200 characters.
The second thing is, change the call to action in your Instagram ad from a link to copy that tells people to click the button in the ad. You can choose what the button in the ad says. Most of the time, I recommend just using “learn more”.
So if you choose that button, then anywhere in your Instagram ad copy that previously had a link, change it to say “click learn more to…”
Here's an example:
So instead of putting links in you Instagram ad copy, which we know don't work, remove the links and your copy is ready for Instagram as well.
Additional Tips on How to Write Facebook Ads that Convert
Now that you've got your Facebook ad copy written and you know how to structure it, here are a couple of extra things you can do to improve the performance of your ads straight away.
1. Include links and calls to action at different sections within your ad copy.
Always try to include your call to action in several different locations throughout your Facebook ad copy.
Try to include one somewhere near the start. Not in the lead-in, but somewhere up near the top.
And where it makes sense, also include one midway through and one at the end.
What we've found is, people have different preferences and they behave differently. Some people skim through the ad and click the link at the bottom, and others read the first bit of your ad and want the link immediately.
So pepper those CTA links through, and you'll notice your click-through rate will increase.
2. Don't repeat the same thing in the lead-in of your ad in the text on your image.
You want to make sure you use all of the available space available to us on ads effectively. For that reason, avoid repetition. For Facebook, where you can have a headline as well, don't say the same thing in the headline as you've said in your graphic or in your lead-in.
Think about it. When somebody sees your ad in the Facebook newsfeed, the first thing they can see is the headline, the image and the lead-in. So if you've got the exact same thing written in all three places, it's a complete waste. Instead, you have an opportunity to have three different things written there.
This is a great example of an ad that does that.
On the flip side, I created an example of an ad that just has the same thing written in all three places:
It's just wasting all that free real estate that people see when they first look at your ad, so I don't recommend it.
All right, so now you know how to write Facebook ads that convert. To summarize, here's the basic process:
- Understand the difference between Facebook and Instagram ad copy: Instagram ads have a 2,200 character limit and no clickable links, while Facebook has an unlimited character count and clickable links.
- There are 4 elements of successful Facebook ad copy: the hook or lead-in, credibility, the content, and the call to action.
- Before writing your copy, ask: what are polarizing opinions, objections, or questions your audience has about your industry?
- Start your lead-in with a polarizing belief your audience has in your industry.
- Subtly weave in your credibility in a way that doesn't brag.
- Expand on your lead-in in the content section of your ad.
- Add a clear call to action, and adjust for the different platforms (Facebook allows clickable links, Instagram doesn't).
If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them. Ask me in the comments section below!