Aside from Google Ads, Facebook offers the kind of visibility you need in this day and age. The current market is oversaturated, competition is high, and the days of organic growth are basically over...
So, it's no coincidence that there are 7 million advertisers on the platform. The potential reach is a whopping $1.9 billion.
But there's a catch...
Writing Facebook Ads is actually one of the trickiest things you'll probably ever have to deal with. The platform is notorious for compliance regulations that make most other platforms seem lenient and careless...
And basic, fundamental sales tactics simply are not tolerated.
The good news is that with a little know-how, you'll be able to tackle those rules head-on without any issues. And lucky for you, this blog post covers just about everything you need to know on how to write compliant Facebook Ad copy that converts.
Let's dive in.
So, first thing's first: templates are never a good idea. They make for some very dry, standard, unoriginal copy.
And frankly, they're overused, which means whoever you're targeting is likely seeing the ad template being used hundreds of times over the span of a week.
But there's an exception to the rule: frameworks are acceptable because they're not exactly one-size-fits-all. For example, the following is a framework used to write a high-converting Facebook Ad...
Notice how long it is though.
That's because you're only supposed to choose 2-3 body points, depending on your topic.
Big Idea, Pattern Interrupt, Proof, and CTA are non-negotiables, but everything in-between will change based on your offer, audience, and brand image.
Also, notice how there's no fill-in-the-blank. It's just a general list of what goes where, and what it covers, but it's not mostly pre-written.
This is good. 3 people could use this same framework and write vastly different ads.
This is your angle. Remember, the customer is going from A (pain) to Z (life after your solution). So, what's the arch? What does that look like?
This will vary wildly depending on several factors like your industry, what you're selling, their demographics, etc. But at the end of the day the overall arch is reminiscent of the buyer's process:
Depending on any differences and unique industry must-haves, you'll have to select an angle for your copy and overall branding that suits the situation.
This is a shocking, unexpected statement, question, or even word that gets people's attention effortlessly. It should captivate them from the very beginning, so they don't go anywhere.
And that means this needs to be good. Really good.
If you're having trouble, come up with a few options and test them on people you trust to give you their full, honest thoughts on the subject.
This is storytime. You tell your story and amp up the details to draw readers in.
Of course, it can't just be any story. It needs to lead with details of an experience they desperately want. If they can't live vicariously through you, you're not doing it right.
It helps to take a page out of a fiction writer's book for this one. Ramp up the drama, boost emotional draw with some heartstring-pulling. Break down barriers. Be the hero of your own journey.
You've read this in ads and landing pages before. It's the "This could be your reality too," angle.
Consider it to be a rock-solid promise, something you can deliver without a shadow of a doubt. There should also be a big demand for it, to captivate people with the value.
Sounds like a lot of pressure? Well, it really is. There's no way around it. In business, you need to promise people what they want. That's kind of the whole point.
You need to stand out because otherwise, you're not really raking in the dough. You're just kind of passively making it by.
Consider this the part where you twist the knife in the wound a little. Highlight their pain points in a way that screams "I've been there, I know what you're dealing with."
You want to be one of them and feel like you belong and resonate with your audience.
The more relatable you seem, the more inclined people are to buy. It feels like a good purchase, a justifiable one.
This is your chance to shine. Unlike other competitors who focus more on features, your goal should be to list benefits. What can they get from you that they simply can't get anywhere else?
What does your offer have that no other version has? And more importantly, how much of an impact does that added feature have?
A bit of advice here: don't highlight benefits your audience doesn't care about just because you do. Too many people make this mistake.
This is the part where you build authority and trust with your audience. It helps to find some common ground first, and build up to a jaw-dropping revelation that resonates with them.
For example, if you're in the software business, and you're targeting businesses who have an outsourcing need, you could lead up to something that sets you apart from the rest.
What do you offer that no other software B2B is doing? And what proof do you have that this unique spin works?
A few side notes here: credibility is one of those things that runs deeper than it seems at first glance. In the context of Facebook ads, you want to be detailed and relatable, but it goes beyond that.
The more you can build credibility in all channels, the better it'll be long-term. And a good way to do that is to reuse content that does well.
Look at your data and notice the things that get the most traction. Tweak them per platform, reuse them, and use them as inspiration for the direction to take all-new content.
When you're trying to convince anyone that what you're saying is true, you're always going to get some level of pushback. It's just normal behavior, we all want to make sure that what we're potentially buying is the real deal.
So come up with at least 3 or 4 objections that people would naturally think of when reading your copy.
Some of the most common are...
So the trick is to find a way to counter those arguments. Crush the objections with rock-solid facts they can't dispute.
A good unit of measure is to put yourself in their shoes. Do you honestly feel like you'd be satisfied if you were in their shoes? Or do the answers need more work?
This is the part where you help your prospects visualize their future. What could they be, or what could they have, if they convert?
A good way to approach this is with "visual copy" which is when you paint a scene for them to imagine. Telling them to "Picture this" is a great start.
So for instance, take the sample below as an example:
"Imagine this for a second...
You're living your best life.
All the bananas you could ever want...
Are just a few feet away at all times.
You have hundreds of trees tucked away in a neat, top-of-the-line vault room.
So, when hunger strikes, all you need to do is walk in there and grab one, right off a tree.
No one else has something like this, just you.
Because you're the banana king."
Think testimonials, reviews, and stories of existing customers. Text or video, whatever format works as long as they're real, believable, and informational.
Because remember, people want to learn from others. They trust the average Joe with a review of your offer because they assume that he has nothing to lose.
If your offer doesn't meet their needs, they're probably going to let people know why that is. If your offer is based on a solution that worked for you in the past, describe that too.
More importantly, how did it compare to other solutions people tried prior?
This is simple, you already know what it is. This is the part where you tell people what you want them to do, whether it's clicking on a link, leaving a comment below, or something else.
Also, if they get any freebies, this is the chance to mention that. People should know what they will immediately get after converting.
The more detailed you can be, the better. If your offer is available for a limited time, or at a temporary price cut, let people know. Link out to a form or shopping page if applicable.
Once you have your framework down, and you're sure you have the right content for each part of your ad message, it's time to consider guidelines.
There are several, but they can all be categorized into two main categories ― images and copy.
But they're all somewhat tricky. As previously stated, Facebook really wants its readers to be protected from anything potentially judgmental to them.
Its priority is to be as inoffensive as possible. So, while you might think something is perfectly acceptable, Facebook might think otherwise.
Let's start with images:
Now that we've covered image guidelines, it's time to focus on copy guidelines. Just a quick note though, all of these guidelines are tricky but must be adhered to in order to manage an effective ad campaign.
Also, every guideline listed (image and copy) goes for whatever link your ad leads to as well. That means if you're sending people to a landing page, that page needs to be Facebook compliant.
However, it only goes 1 layer deep. So if that landing page links out to something else, that doesn't need to be compliant.
Let's get to it.
The workaround is creating statements. So, for example...
"Find out what the 3 most effective ways to lose weight really are ― fast" is not compliant.
But "Three effective ways to lose weight fast" is acceptable.
Notice how the acceptable statement also isn't absolute? It's not presenting these three ways as anything more than effective.
The same goes with the noun rule. "Discover the 5 Strategies That Increase Conversion Rates" doesn't work because it withholds information that the reader has to "discover."
But "5 Tips to Increase Conversion Rates" is a complete, acceptable statement.
When you specifically target people, you're using assumptions about them to craft compelling copy.
For instance, if your target audience is people trying to lose weight, then you can assume most of them are overweight, have bad eating habits, and lack exercise.
Well, Facebook doesn't like that. In fact, they really don't like any sort of assumptions, but more on that next.
For now, let's just say even if you are targeting people based on specific criteria (you are), like weight, age, gender, income, location, etc. just don't make it obvious.
"This tool is perfect for hikers like you," would be wrong. "This tool is perfect for hikers," is the way to go.
Remember Facebook doesn't like assumptions. It doesn't matter what the assumption is, or how small it is, it's still off the table.
So, if you assume anything about your target audience's behavior, you'll have a rough time. The same goes if you assume they have a certain condition, illness, or situation.
"If you're eating certain types of greasy foods, it can lead to a host of health problems" seems vague enough, but it's not allowed.
Instead, "Certain types of greasy foods can lead to a host of health problems..." is better.
If you've been reading around the blog, you already know how important stories are, and Facebook Ads are no exception. Your copy should be either a personal story or a third-person story.
And that means when you transition into the sale, it shouldn't read "If your answer is yes to these questions, there's still a chance." It should read "If the answer to these questions is yes, there's still a chance."
This one is going to throw some people in for a loop, but you can't specifically say the reader will get a specific benefit, but you can make them feel that they'll benefit from it.
For example, "Let me show you how to generate XXX leads at $5 a pop" would not be allowed...
But "My unique process makes generating XXX leads for $5 possible," would be acceptable.
For a platform with such tricky rules, it's no surprise the call to action is affected too. Turns out, you can't write open-loop CTAs in the body copy.
Anything like "Watch now to discover 5 foods that accelerate arthritis" or even "Click below to discover the 5 foods," would not be tolerated.
The workaround? Phrasing things strategically. "We reveal what foods to avoid below" would be acceptable.
Now that we're done pinpointing the more general, tricky, unrelated rules that Facebook Ads imposes on people, it's time to dive into a little category called "unacceptables."
These are the things that are banned from all ads on the platform, without exception. There is no workaround for them, you simply can't do them.
And if you do, you get flagged, and no one wants that.
So first thing's first: you can't over-hype your offer. This goes in line with sensationalism, only this takes an extra step and basically says you can't use words that sound sensational.
So words like...
...are not allowed. On the other hand, words like key, blueprint, principles, foundation, and roadmap are just fine.
Here's the thing about "how-to" copy: it's very much an opinion-based, non-absolute.
For example, one person might claim that to peel a banana, you have to start from the top, where it's connected to the bunch. They'll walk you through the motions, and presto, it's done...
But then someone else might write another way to peel a banana, say from the bottom, leaving the stem to act as a sort of handle.
At the end of the day, both are acceptable ways to peel a banana, so it's arguable content, which Facebook doesn't like.
Here's a copy example for more clarity:
"How to eliminate anxiety fast" is not accepted, but "XYZ helps with anxiety fast" is fine.
The thing about negative action words is that they 1) assume something about the reader, which is a direct violation, and 2) place the focus squarely on a problem that the reader might be having.
This focus on negativity makes Facebook administrators uncomfortable.
So for instance, here's an example of what's not allowed:
"Regulate Erratic Blood Pressure with XYZ" → "Regulate" is an action verb, which implies the reader has ‘erratic blood pressure ― a negative attribute.
On the other hand, "XYZ Helps Support Erratic Blood Sugar," works because you're talking about your product, and you're not directly claiming the reader will get the benefit ― you're simply telling them what your product does.
You probably know the drill by now. Facebook doesn't like assumptions of any kind, good or bad. To them, an assumption is just unacceptable, at all times, no matter the context.
So time-frames are automatically banned.
Here's an illustration:
If I were to say you can get 30 bananas in under 2 minutes, I'd be setting an expectation. 2 minutes is what you expect to spend getting 30 bananas. It's a time-frame.
So when I break that, and it actually takes you closer to 60 minutes, or a full hour, you have grounds to be upset.
Suddenly, there's a ton of negative comments left on the platform and Facebook hates every second of it.
Makes sense, right?
That's why saying something as simple as "I lost 5 lbs. in 1 week" would not be allowed on the platform.
And yet, take out the time-frame, and write "I lost 5 lbs." and you're fine...
All you need to do to edit your pre-existing copy to adhere to this rule is remove the second half, the part setting a time-frame expectation. It's an easy fix, especially considering a lot of the other regulations listed.
Congratulations, you made it through the Facebook Ads gauntlet and you're still here.
Even though it can be tricky, there's great reward in learning the ins and outs of the platform. Regulations or not, the visibility and conversion rates alone are worth the hassle.
Of course, not everyone has that kind of time. For some, this blog post was the extent of effort they can commit to, and that's ok.
Running a business takes time and energy, and you're bound to have to hand off projects that don't absolutely require you to be present.
If that's your situation, consider outsourcing your copy to experts, like us. Take a look at our portfolio to find out more.
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