How much time do you spend on creating the perfect ad copy for your Facebook Ads? You probably focus more on videos and images, don’t you?
You’re not alone out there!
Many marketers seem to forget that each and every word you pick for your ad copy is important for the success of your Facebook Ad campaigns!
Strategyzer boosted their ROI by 1866% mainly by improving their Facebook ad copy! Now that’s a huge improvement, we all agree!
To help you write the best ad copy that will produce results, we performed a sentiment analysis on our gallery of more than 750,000 real Facebook ad examples from every industry.
Read on to learn how top marketers are tweaking their Facebook ad copy and use our takeaways for improving your results!
First things first: What’s a sentiment analysis?
It’s the process of using Machine Learning and AI to understand whether a piece of content is positive, negative, or neutral.
Here’s Techopedia definition:
Sentiment analysis is a type of data mining that measures the general public’s sentiments or reactions toward certain products, people or ideas. Natural language processing (NLP), computational linguistics, and text analysis are used to extract and analyze subjective information from social media feeds (like tweets and status updates), blog posts, reviews, news articles and social media adverts.”
Sentiment Analysis (or opinion mining, as you prefer to call it) is used by marketers to better understand public opinion on a certain topic and track:
- Brand reception and popularity
- New product perception and anticipation
- Company reputation
- Flame/rant detection
Finn Årup Nielsen, the head data scientist of the Department of Informatics and Mathematical Modelling at the Technical University of Denmark, created a list of English words rated for “sentiment” with values between a top negative minus five (-5) and a top positive plus five (+5). You can download the whole AFINN database here.
Sound complicated? You don’t have to worry.
Three years ago, in the first analysis of our database 752,626 Facebook Ads, we discovered that most ads are neutral, either because the words aren’t scored in the valence database (it only contains about 2000 words in the English language), or because positive and negative words in the ad have canceled each other out.
We performed a new analysis for you in 2018, and broke down the findings below.
Facebook Ad Copy in 2018: The Good, The Bad, and the Alternatives Explored!
When we dug into our ads sample, we originally thought ad text would show lots of strong words, like “superb”(+5) or “bad” (-3). How else would marketers stand out with words on crowded feeds?
Despite what we thought, it turned out that most of the words that marketers were using were relatively neutral, like “free”(+1).
Below, you can see the number of ads that were extremely positive or negative.
It’s clear that most of them skewed toward 0 (didn’t contain as many strong negative or positive words).
To conduct the analysis, we scored each ad using the valence database, a repository of sentiment scores for thousands of common words. We calculated the total sentiment score of each ad by adding up the individual scores of the words.
As you can see above, the number of positive ads outnumber the negative ones by a large margin.
Positive ads contained words like “fun” (+4) and “enjoy” (+2), as in this ad by Emirates.
Negative ads contained words like “crime” (-3) and “wrong” (-4), as in this ad by Offbeat.
Below, we dig into the types of words that marketers are using today in each of the copy elements that compose a Facebook ad:
The headline is the most important element of the Facebook ad copy. Viewers read this right after they look at the image. It’s often bold, and the text is larger than that of the main ad text and link description.
If you can grab attention with the header, a major part of the job is already done.
Historically, positive headlines have been used to inspire people to take action. In this ad, EU Business School encourages people to “Start your way to success.”
Thanks to the word “success,” the sentiment score of this headline is +1.
Although specific ads still use this tactic, on a general level, we found out that the number of positive (as well as negative) headlines is on the decline.
From 2015 to 2018, the percentage of positive headlines decreased from 24.72% to 21.83%. The percentage of negative headlines also dropped from 5.48% to 3.65%.
Marketers are turning to other tactics.
Advertisers are adopting new ways to use their headlines to grab their target audience’s attention.
Use Numbers to Show Value
The Points Guy’s ad headline “7 Cards Offering 100,000-Point Sign-Up Bonuses” is a great example of a number-loaded ad headline.
This headline is bound to catch the attention of people interested in a credit card. The ad uses “7” to show clear organization of the options available and “100,000” to further highlight the value of the credit card.
Numbers are brain candy. Our brains love things when they are organized and concrete. If marketers use numbers in reference to money, big numbers naturally attract attention. In fact, a study by Conductor revealed that more people prefer headlines that include numbers.
Though this study is in reference to blog posts, the same logic holds for ad headline as well.
Takeaway: Replace words with numbers wherever relevant in your headlines. If you’re talking about money, use numbers with a lot of zeros to grab viewers’ attention.
Use a Simple Yes/No Question to Incite Curiosity
Music Discovery’s ad headline is a short and simple question: “R.E.M fan?”
This is a great example showing that you don’t need to have strong positive or negative words in your Facebook ad copy to incite curiosity.
Questions make people engage with a piece of content on a deeper level. Some copywriters are against the use of yes or no questions because they think viewers might disengage with the ad if their answer is “no.”
But when it comes to Facebook ads, each click costs you money, and you don’t really want the attention of people who aren’t interested in what you’re promoting. In the above example, Music Discovery is only interested in R.E.M. fans. So asking questions is a great way to improve the quality of leads early on.
Takeaway: Use Yes/No questions in your ad headlines if you are targeting a particular niche audience.
Ad Text: Uber-Specific Text Is Replacing Sugar-Coated Text
The ad text plays an important role in convincing ad viewers to take action. Most people will read ad text after they are sold by the image and headline. The ad text is used to give viewers more details on the value they’ll get once they click.
Many advertisers use strong positive or negative words to incite emotion. Once you get people involved emotionally, be it positive or negative, chances are that they’ll click on the ad.
This Facebook ad copy by Raritan Family Health uses a lot of negative words to spread awareness on depression and suicide to get people involved.
They’ve used words like “worse” (-3), “loss”(-3), and “suicide” (-2) which takes the sentiment score of this ad text to -8.
Again, while this tactic isn’t completely outdated, like headlines, we found that the use of strong positive and negative ad text is on the decline:
Actually, the decrease of positive text has been particularly drastic. It’s dipped from 2015’s 32.98% to 23.18% in 2018.
Here are other tactics that advertisers use to make their ad text more persuasive.
TheMoveChannel.com’s ad text is perfect when it comes to illustrating value for viewers.
Even people who weren’t previously thinking of investing are bound to be interested when they read “Get a guaranteed 8% annual income for 5 years, plus a 115% buyback option.”
While showing revenue is a neat little hack we discussed earlier, in this case, being specific about it takes things to a whole new level. It makes the copy very persuasive. Many investors will explore further just to see how it works.
Takeaway: If you are trying to convince the ad viewer of the benefits of your service or product, be as specific as possible. This will make your ad stand out from the crowd.
Be Conversational and Tell a Story
In his ad, Jared Goetz tells the story of how he started a new Shopify store that became the second-fastest-growing store within a few months.
He uses a very conversational tone, which makes his ad feel much more personal.
In your Facebook News Feed, there are posts by brands and posts by your friends. There is a stark difference in the tone of both types of post.
By using a friendly and conversational tone, Jared’s ad feels more like a Facebook status update than an ad. Mixing that up with the power of storytelling in your ad can drive stronger results. That is because human beings are wired to be attracted to stories.
Takeaway: People might ignore branded messaging, but they love personal stories. Treat your ad as an opportunity to tell great personal stories.
Link Description: Strong Words Are No Longer a Must to Be Effective
The link description has the smallest font size and doesn’t command much attention compared with other elements in the Facebook ad copy. But being near the CTA button and the website link, most people still read it before clicking on the ad.
Many advertisers try to use strong positive or negative words to give ad viewers that final push.
This ad by Plated uses positive words to give viewers a heavenly vision of how things would be if they tried Plated’s product.
They’ve used words like “exciting”(+3) and “fresh” (+1), which takes the sentiment score to +4 (that’s pretty high!).
But like headlines and the ad text, sentiment-loaded link descriptions are going out of fashion.
From 2015 to 2018, the percentage of positive link descriptions have decreased from 33.64% to 29.41%. The percentage of negative headlines have also decreased from 4.71% to 4.18%.
So what other hacks are advertisers using instead of strong negative or positive descriptions?
Elaborate on your Features
Quip uses the link description to list all of its in-app features, such as documents, spreadsheets, task lists, and chat.
This pushes ad viewers to explore the app. While Quip has used the other elements of their Facebook ad copy to set up expectations, it uses this section to elaborate on what’s inside the app.
Copyblogger’s 1-2-3-4 Formula for persuasive copy talks about the importance of telling people what they’re in for when they try your product or service. This is where the extra space in the link description can come in handy.
Takeaway: Being transparent about what users will get can spur them into converting. This will work especially if you have many features to show off.
This ad is used to induce people to try Walmart’s grocery-delivery app. The ad’s link description uses the fear of missing out (FOMO) to push people to try the service.
First, Walmart provides a promo code for a $10 discount. Toward the end of the description, readers see “Offer expires 12/18/14.” FOMO encourages people to take action on this incredible offer.
FOMO is a copywriting technique that’s been used successfully for ages! A study on millennials found out that 69% of them have a fear of missing out on events their family and friends will attend. A separate study illustrates that 56% people fear missing out on important status updates or posts on social media. That’s right: FOMO in social media is real. Take advantage of this to improve conversions.
Takeaway: FOMO is a fantastic way to push people into taking action if you have something to sell. It creates a sense of scarcity and urgency.
Why Is There a Decline in Positive and Negative Facebook Ad Copy?
The stats make it clear that the use of both positive and negative words in Facebook ad copy is declining.
This could be attributed to Facebook becoming stricter over the years when it comes to ad quality. They’ve been taking a lot of measures to make sure clickbait content and fake news don’t appear in ads. They’re even going as far as checking the quality of ecommerce goods being sold via ads.
This crackdown could have resulted in fewer words that might make ads look like clickbait.
These were the top positive and negative words used in Facebook ad copy in 2015 and in 2018 so far:
As you can see, most of the words have remained the same.
This makes it clear that the decline of positive or negative words cannot be attributed to a few specific words being used less.
It’s a general trend in which all words are being used less.
Wrapping It Up
We’d recommend that you use positive and negative words sparingly and concentrate on the other tactics we’ve discussed.
For the headlines:
- Use numbers to show value.
- Use questions to incite curiosity.
For the ad text:
- Be uber-specific.
- Be conversational and tell a story.
For the link description:
- Elaborate on the features.
- Induce FOMO (fear of missing out).
Remember, any online ad with a poor ad copy is like a wedding cake with no icing.
Make sure your ads have the right ingredients to be a showstopper (and a customer magnet too!)