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Online shopping is here to stay. With more and more companies looking to eCommerce, there is more focus on successful social media marketing strategies now, than ever.

Despite Facebook being constantly mentioned as a platform that is bleeding users, it is still the largest social media platform with over 1.73 billion daily active users in the first quarter of 2020. Instagram also continues to grow, reporting over a billion monthly active accounts and more than 500 million daily active users.

With nearly every fortune 500 company running paid social ads, and smaller businesses now turning to Facebook’s new Shops feature, the need for understanding the features of a Facebook ad is more important than ever.

Often when creating Facebook ads and ad strategies, one of the most time-consuming aspects of a build is identifying what length ad copy is going to be most efficient, by providing the greatest return while reducing costs. The question that often arises is the debate between longer ad copy vs. shorter ad copy and what length ad copy will be best for each placement? Or even how to write Facebook ad copy well?

When you consider the biology of a Facebook ad, the ad copy is the one dynamic that will change across the 15+ different advertisement placements offered in Facebook’s Ads Manager, something Facebook hopes to make easier with the recent platform update.  Still, there is still the question however of how long should Facebook ad copy be in the most prominent placement groups?

Facebook’s Ad Copy Length Recommendations:

Primary Text: 125 characters

Headline: 25 Characters

Description: 30 Characters

Ads manager has always recommended keeping ad text near 125 characters, as any copy that is greater will get cut off in mobile ads and many of the other offered ad placements.

If you have the ability to utilized different creatives specific to Instagram & Facebook Story placements (9:16 ratio) you should, as in just appearance the ad will look more appealing by taking up the entire screen. Story placements have become a very effective tool within Facebook Ads, and should not be ignored.

It is important to note however that when using a 9:16 ratio image or video for story placements, the ad text will no longer be visible when the ad is delivered. With this, you should incorporate the most important aspects of the copy, be it promotional offerings, into the creative itself.

Facebook Ads Manager

Long Tail vs Short Tail Ad Copy

  • We have seen success in longer paragraph form ad text, often using testimonials within the text that is anywhere from 2-4 sentences in length. Utilized in acquisition purchase conversion campaigns, YTD these acquisition ads have provided over a $10 return on ad spend. The shortest copy we used is 141 characters and the longest being nearly 3 times that.

  • Longer ad copy should not be avoided, as in the right situation it can be very effective.
  • Short tail copy should not be avoided either, however, going too short may cause the question of what the ad is selling, if the rest of the ad does not.
  • We still do try to keep in mind the length Facebook recommends, and often work to keep the most important parts of an ad’s text (promotional offerings, announcements) within the first 125 characters so that it is clearly visible and will not be cut off.
  • We have used promotional offerings for both acquisition and retention focused campaigns and have seen successful and unsuccessful outcomes in both. 

To Sum It All Up

Ultimately, there are benefits to both long tail and short tail copy, but the most important part of building any Facebook ad is knowing what will resonate with the targeted audience, and that cannot be without continuously testing different copy. You can have two identical ads placed within 2 different ad sets targeting separate audiences may see drastically different results.

It is also important to consider that ad copy may not make or break your ad. A regular single image ad has other just as important features to it. And what copy worked with one headline may not work with another or may in a single image/video format but may perform poorly in a carousel or collection format.

Have a question that wasn’t answered above? Feel free to reach out by shooting a message to hello@sociummedia.com.

Matt Missert
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