Your Facebook Ads Are Too Short
Ah, Facebook. These days it is facing more and more competition for premium ad dollars and is in the middle of a huge battle with Apple, but it is still one of the biggest players on the block when it comes to advertising online. If you are running digital ads, chances are you’ve got at least some time, energy, and money invested in a Facebook campaign.
There’s a lot that goes into a successful Facebook campaign, but a huge part of the equation is the copy. The right words are important, but choosing how many words to use is equally vital, maybe even more so.
Don’t believe your eyes
If you are making your own Facebook ads, your first instinct might be to just see what ads appear in your Facebook feed. This doesn’t seem like a bad strategy. After all, if super successful brands are using a certain tactic there must be at least some merit to it, right?
Let’s take a look at some Facebook ads running right now from a few companies you’ll know:
According to these ads, you want to use short, punchy copy for the text of your ad and a clean image. These ads probably do pretty well for each of these companies, as each one has a few different versions currently running.
So, will this strategy work for you? Probably not.
You aren’t a nationally recognized, billion-dollar brand.
Sorry, it’s probably true. Don’t worry, we aren’t either. And because of that, we (and you) can’t advertise like one. The equity built into the brand identity of these household names does a lot of work on behalf of these ads, freeing them up to keep their message simple. No one has to be convinced that Nike makes a quality running shoe. Most people know what a Wendy’s burger tastes like. And if you only know of one children’s hospital, you probably know St. Jude.
Beyond that, these audiences don’t need to be told why they should use one of these products. Everyone needs shoes and food. And you don’t have to spend any time telling people why donating to a children’s hospital is an objectively good thing to do.
So with no need to convince readers of the necessity of the offer, or the quality of the product, brands like these can focus strictly on being cool, funny, cute or direct. And that’s really easy to fit in 125 characters or less.
Your words have to work harder.
If you are anything less than the undisputed top-of-mind brand in your market then your copy needs to do its part. There’s a myth that’s been persistent in marketing circles for some time now that people don’t like to read. That’s simply not true — but you have to give audiences something worth reading.
If you really want to steal another companies tactics, it never hurts to look at marketing brands, since they are the most entrenched in the industry:
Neither of these are long-winded, but they are significantly more dense than any of those first few examples. And there are several studies out there showing that these longer versions are the ones that are converting better. It’s especially nteresting because if you look around you’ll probably find several sites that tell you the character limit for text is 125 characters, causing some to abandon longer ads altogether. But, as you can see above, that’s not accurate.
We’ve seen this play out in our own advertising as well. We’ve run ad campaigns for nonprofits, online retailers and medical industry service providers and seen longer ads win out again and again.
Don’t take our word for it
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all advertising strategy. Shorter very well could work better for your product and audience. But there’s only one way to find out: test.
Next time you run a Facebook ad campaign, create two ads with the same image, same headline, and same CTA. Then, write one to be short and sweet while giving the other space to talk about the so what of your product. How is your offer going to make their lives noticeably better? What problems are you helping them solve? Don’t be coy — put the answers front and center. Then run those two campaigns against each other and see what happens.
Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to a successful digital campaign beyond the copy. But if you can feel confident in how you write your ads and the thought process behind them, then you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.
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