I once read that good copy is like Castrol GTX for your business: even a few small drops/tweaks can transform your response rates.
There are some exceptions.
This couldn’t be more true, and this post is going to demonstrate that with Facebook ad copy in particular. Read on to look at a handful of before and after examples from the Facebook Ad Library. We’ll cover the anatomy of a Facebook ad, jump into the examples, then finish off with some tips.
- The anatomy of a Facebook ad
- Feature-focused copy
- Pain point ad copy
- Testimonial ad copy
- Repetition ad copy
- Final Facebook ad copy ideas
Facebook ad copy 101
Before we get into the examples, let’s first look at the different parts of a Facebook ad:
- Primary text: the copy that appears at the top, below your account name and above the ad creative. Only the first 125 characters will show, but you can write more (more on that later).
- Creative: the image, which can be a static image, carousel, animated image, or video. You can have text in the creative, but if there’s too much of it, your Facebook ad may not get approved.
- Headline: appears just below the image, 40 characters or less. Facebook ad headline tips here.
- Description: just below the headline, 30 characters or less.
- CTA: chosen from a dropdown (Download, Install, Learn More, Shop, etc.)
Feature-focused Facebook ad copy
Features and benefits are a staple in marketing. The benefits are the “why” (why you should read/buy/upgrade/etc) and the features are the “how” (how you’ll get the benefit).
In the Facebook ad example below, the ratio of peanut butter (benefits) to jelly (features) is making this sandwich just a tad too sweet. We read:
- Primary text: Our beautifully designed app is complete with daily information and week-by-week guides for life’s most exciting journey. Begin discovering today!
- Headline: New content every day, Size comparison guide, Fantastic imagery, and Weight tracker
Feature Fest ’22
Yes, for some products where (a) the benefits are more obvious, (b) the demand is already there, and/or (c) the targeted audience is closer to the bottom of the funnel, feature-focused copy is okay. And that could be the case with this ad. Even still, purchase intent is lower on Facebook so it’s a good idea to include at least one benefit to balance things out.
Ah, that’s more like it. In a different Pregnancy+ App ad, we read:
- Primary text: Prepare for your baby’s arrival with our Pregnancy+ app.
- Image text: How will you stay on top of your pregnancy?
- Headline: Download the Most Loved Pregnancy App
Now I have a reason to be interested in this app (to be ready for my baby). And the features (health and wellbeing tips, body changes, baby development, and more) help explain how I’ll attain this benefit. And the headline is not only a clear call to action but it also nicely incorporates social proof for added appeal.
🔑 Takeaway: The right ratio of features to benefits in your ad copy will vary by offering, industry, and your targeting, but there should rarely ever just be one.
Values-focused Facebook ad copy
Every brand needs to have established core values, regardless of whether you talk about them in your ad copy. But for industries where trust is a major factor, like home services, real estate, and healthcare, this is the way to go. People are more attracted to safe and traditional here than disruptive and edgy.
The dentist ad below for a free new patient exam has the right idea—to share its philosophy and personal messages from each dentist. But there is so much focus on values that the offer hardly stands out.
- Primary text: Let’s just say it’s 213 words and 1197 characters.
- Image text: Welcome! from your [town name] dentists
- Headline: FREE New Patients Dental Exam
- Description: Call & schedule your appointment today!
While this is decent marketing copy, it’s a lot of primary text for a scrolling Facebook user (Facebook recommends 125 characters) and better suited for an about us page. (But I will say, an experiment by Ad Espresso shows that long copy can actually be successful in some scenarios, so maybe that was the case with this ad.)
And as mentioned above, the true offer (free new patient exam) and call to action (book an appointment) get drowned out by the second call to action (to welcome the new dentists) which is emphasized in the primary text and ad creative.
🔑 Takeaway: Long primary text works in some cases, but you’ll want those first 125 characters to be compelling-enough copy to get the user to tap the ol’ “Read more.”
This copy is much better! The primary text distills all 213 words in the above Facebook ad copy into just 19:
- Primary text: You deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, and that’s the foundation of our philosophy of dental care.
- Image text: Your Health. Your Style. Your Smile. // A dental experience like nothing else // Claim your new patient special
- Headline: In-Office Dental Savings Plan!
- Description: Join our dental family today!
The compact primary text and catchy tagline convey those values just as effectively and it’s now clear through the creative that there’s a new patient special.
The only problem now is that the special isn’t clear. Is it the in-office dental savings plan? Or something different? Pair this primary text and creative with the headline and description above, and this Facebook ad copy would be
🔑 Takeaway: Facebook ad headlines are not the focal point of the ad as with Google ad copy. The creative is the focal point, so it either needs to convey the message of the ad on its own; or be intriguing enough to get someone to read the headline.
Pain point-focused Facebook ad copy
Features and benefits are great, but speaking to the pain points in your ad that they solve is even better. This is where emotional copywriting thrives.
The intended message for this TurboTax (TT) Facebook ad is a good one: TT is empowering you to say no to the pain point of waiting on the IRS for your tax refund. But without the primary text, it doesn’t come through clearly.
- Primary text: With TurboTax, get a Refund Advance in as little as 1 hour from IRS e-file accept (est. late-Jan). $0 loan fees, 0% APR.
- Image copy: Refund Advance. Don’t play the waiting game. Then the sign the woman is holding says $4,000; talk about fast.”
- Headline: Don’t wait!
- Description: America’s #1 Free Tax Prep Provider. Over 40 million returns were prepared last year with TurboTax. Why Wait…
This could just be me, but here’s where I get tripped up:
- “Don’t play the waiting game” alerts me that I could be doing something I shouldn’t, so it catches my attention, but it doesn’t feel like a pain point that TurboTax is empowering me to eliminate.
- “Don’t wait!” right next to “Install now” sounds more like the classic “Don’t wait, act now!” call to action phrase—which is fine—but it doesn’t convey the intended message here, that your pain point of waiting can be solved with the TT app.
🔑 Takeaway: If you’re going to incorporate pain points into your ad, apply the pain-agitate-solution copywriting formula to drive that pain point home.
Another version of this ad focuses less on the pain point and more on the benefit: up to a $4000 cash advance on your refund.
- Primary text: same as above
- Image text: You could get up to a $4,000 cash advance on your refund.
- Headline: Don’t wait!
- Description: Taxes redefined. From do it yourself to we do it for you, the choice is yours.
Here, the benefit is loud and clear but the “Don’t wait!” still doesn’t convey the feature of speed. The description is also much better (in my opinion). While it doesn’t have the social proof of the version above, it’s quicker and more memorable.
🔑 Takeaway: It all comes down to testing. I have no doubt that a major brand knows what it’s doing with its ads. These ad variations wouldn’t exist if they didn’t get results, so clearly, TT is doing its Facebook A/B testing homework.
I have nothing against TT so I wanted to throw in a solid example of Facebook ad copy all around. In this ad for its TurboTax Premier, we read:
- Primary text: Seamlessly import your investment transactions from hundreds of financial institutions with TurboTax Premier.
- Image text: Now it’s easy to file taxes with investments
- Headline: Get the app
- Description: File FREE: On your own, with expert help, or when an expert does your taxes.
From this ad we can easily infer the pain point (filing taxes with investments), the solution (TurboTax Premier), and the action (get the app).
>> More solid ad copy examples here.
Urgent Facebook ad copy examples
Speaking of “Don’t wait, act now!”—urgency is another copywriting staple, not just for Facebook ads. Even the subtle difference between “Install” and “Install now” can make a significant difference in performance.
The exclamation points in this real estate Facebook ad example give off a touch of urgency, but it could be stronger.
- Primary text: House hunting in Port St Lucie? Give yourself an edge in this competitive market by getting pre-approved before you put in an offer. We have helped many clients achieve their goal of homeownership. Get in touch with us below to discuss your mortgage options and we can get you ready to put in a strong offer. Now is the time to become a homeowner!
- Image copy: LOW Down Payment Options Available!
- Headline: Now Is The Time To Buy A Home!
You can add exclamation points to anything and give it more urgency. What’s missing here is the why. Why do I need to buy a home now?
🔑 Takeaway: This is a side takeaway, but you’ll notice that while there is long primary text in this ad, the first paragraph gets to the point immediately and then provides supporting details in the next one—a nice copywriting technique.
Now we’re talkin:
- Primary text: same
- Image copy: STOP Paying Your Landlord’s Mortgage
- Headline: Rates Are Low, Now Is the Time To Buy!
This ad creates a nice clockwise reading flow.
The STOP message is urgent all on its own—no exclamation point needed. And now we have the why:
- There are consequences to not acting now
- Rates are low.
In addition, the “STOP” leads your eye straight to the fear-based headline. Which then naturally shifts over to the “rates are low” reason, and then if the ad has your attention, you’ll get to the supporting primary text. It’s a nice flow.
🔑 Takeaway: Everyone adds urgency to their ad copy, but not everyone supports it with details as to why there is urgency. Incorporate those and your Facebook ad will stand out.
Testimonial Facebook ad copy
Given (1) how powerful online reviews are and (2) the fact that testimonials are basically reviews on steroids, testimonial ad copy is the way to go.
So I love this business’s approach with using a real customer and a DIY video (gives it more of a human and trustworthy feel), but I take issue with a few things. The ad reads:
- Primary text: What distinguishes [name] from other competitors? Quite simply, it is our experience, dependability, and commitment to 100% satisfaction guaranteed! Here’s what some of our customers have said about their experience.
- Image text: Shasta, Satisfied Customer
- Headline: Trusted AC & Heating Experts for Over 65 Years!
Problem #1: There is no testimonial ad copy. Yes, you’d hear it in the video, but you need captions or text overlays. Not only do 80% of Facebook users watch ads with the sound off, but also, the text overlay aids in memorability. I’m more likely to remember that this customer’s name is Shasta than anything she’s saying in the video. Same with you?
Problem #2: The primary text is cookie-cutter generic copy. The “experience, dependability, and commitment to 100% satisfaction guaranteed” could be more authentic with either more interesting words or simply more details like “65 years of experience” or “4.8 star rating.”
🔑 Takeaway: Replace or modify generic words to write more credible ad copy and if you have a video, make sure its message can be conveyed without the sound on.
Now this is the way to do it. The primary text here is three customer review quotes. Nothing special, but much more effective than the generic statement in the above version.
- Primary text: “I couldn’t have asked for better service.” // “They explained everything and offered me lots of good advice.” // Very professional and caring. Excellent job!”
- Headline: Servicing Austin Since 1954
Now the only problem is this Facebook ad creative. Smiling faces and high-quality images are good but the lower-quality video in the first ad is more real. And the headline still gives credibility but it’s less friendly and the 65 years feels stronger. Use this version’s primary text in the previous example, and we’d have a great Facebook ad.
🔑 Takeaway: What your customers have to say about your business—even if it’s simple— carries more weight and credibility than what you have to say about it.
Repetition-style Facebook ad copy
Repetition is a psychological copywriting technique based on the mere exposure effect (and also common sense), but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.
No mistake here. There is no “before” version because SoFi nails repetition in both of these Facebook ad examples. In this first one, we see perfect implementation of overt repetition in the ad’s creative:
Want to bypass the fees?
No origination fees.
No pre-payment fees.
No late fees. No joke.
The fly swatter in the image even has the word NO in it.
The repetition of “no” here helps make SoFi’s value proposition crystal clear while also lending to the ad’s tone of empowering the customer. It just wouldn’t have the same feel if it had been written like this:
No origination, pre-payment, or late fees.
With SoFi, you can bypass:
Would you agree?
🔑 Takeaway: If you’re going to use repetition, go all-in so that it makes a bold statement rather than appearing uncreative or lazy.
So there’s redundancy, when repetition feels unnecessary or lazy, and then there’s consistency, when repetition is artfully done. And SoFi comes in for the win with this second no-fee Facebook ad example.
- Primary text: Fees are a waste of money. That’s why we don’t charge them.
- Image text: Get cash fast—with zero fees // Move to a SoFi Personal Loan // The ZERO FEES move
- Headline: Kick unnecessary fees out
- Description: Get a SoFi personal loan and say goodbye to being fee’d.
This ad tells you you won’t have to pay fees in seven different ways. Seven creative ways, like:
Kick unnecessary fees out
The Zero Fees Move.
Say goodbye to being fee’d.
These are interesting words (more on that in our headline examples post) that once again strengthen the empowering and bold feel of the ad.
🔑 Takeaway: With active words and a little creativity, you can turn redundancy into rhythmic repetition that resonates with your readers.
More Facebook ad copy tips & ideas
Aside from the takeaways above, I’ll leave you with some additional ingredients for writing great Facebook ads.
- Product description. For ads on products with specific sought-after features, taking the approach of a product listing can work—within character limits, of course (no Amazon-style descriptions).
- Explainer statement. For products or services that aren’t as clear, an explainer statement may be all you need.
- Deadlines. If you’re offering a competitive, discounted, or limited-time price, make this known.
- Text overlay. This is the focal point of the ad and it should make the message loud and clear. Your primary text, headline, and description can then either supply repetition or supporting details.
- Catchy taglines/slogans. These work well in your description because they’re memorable and they’re the last thing a person reads when they’re scrolling through their feed. Slogan examples and tips here.
- Call to action: Make sure your call to action isn’t just the button. Your creative, headline, and/or primary text should make this clear as well.
- Controversy: Perhaps the best scroll-stopping technique.
- Summary headline. If you’ve written a lot for preliminary text, your headline can serve to sum it up in a nutshell.
- Questions. These often hold more power than exclamations. You can answer your own question in the ad or go the rhetorical route.
- Emojis. These give your ad copy a friendly and personable feel, and work well for bulleting lists, too.
- Common language: Readability is essential for any form of copywriting, but with Facebook ads especially. The default mode of a user on Facebook is the scroll state. Aside from a compelling image, your copy needs to be as easy to read as possible so it can be comprehended in a split second.
- Emotions: Aside from your copy, your images, font sizes, and colors should be used to elicit specific emotions from your viewers.
Put these Facebook ad copy examples & tips into action
As CopyKooks said, a few small drops and tweaks to your ad copy can make a big difference in performance—just like engine oil for a car. Use these before and after examples to see what you could tweak and test to come up with your own great Facebook ad copy!