In today’s ever-expanding digital marketing universe, we all hear, time and time again, some version of the message, “content is king.”
We also all know that in the end, talk is cheap. And, alas, so is much of what gets written – and passed off as “content” – by many marketers out there.
Outsourcing article, blog post and ad writing to far-flung locales can be the problem when it comes to such egregious errors in writing. But no matter where you turn to produce your content, there’s one fact that simply should not be ignored:
Writing is not easy. And like most endeavors in life, it’s always better left to professionals.
In the realm of digital marketing, much of this professional writing is done by seasoned “copywriters,” “content writers,” and even “bloggers” who specialize in various styles and forms of writing. From blog posts to Google AdWords ads to email blasts to Facebook ads, each execution and medium has its own particular set of challenges, nuances and best practices.
In this particular blog post, we’re going to take a look at writing Facebook ad copy – and in particular, dynamic Facebook ad copy.
Dictionary.com defines “dynamic” as, “pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; energetic.”
In the case of dynamic Facebook ad copy, Facebook instantly creates an “energetic” ad by searching the HTML of a provided URL for certain tags. The good folks at Facebook pull the title tag, meta description, and an image associated with the main content to create this “vigorous” ad – similar to how they pull information when Facebook users share a link.
So after the advertiser provides the URL, the ad’s title, copy and image are “dynamically” generated. Facebook automatically inserts the first 90 characters from the meta description into the ad copy, whereas the title is created from the first 25 characters of the title tag.
Of course, Facebook allows the advertiser to edit this auto-generated, dynamically created ad. And in most cases, that’s a good thing – as the robot-edited ad often can read far from “energetic,” “vigorous,” or anything close to “dynamic.”
The real challenge here comes in the character constraints. As veteran Twitter users know, 140 characters is not much to work with, especially when it comes to delivering a message that effectively and memorably sells your services, positions your product, or boosts your brand.
Facebook ads used to provide enough space for a Twitter-esque 135 characters in the body copy area, but in February 2012, Facebook tightened that figure to an even leaner 90 characters.
To demonstrate how challenging this limitation can be, this sentence is 87 characters.
Granted, this still represents an upgrade in creative freedom from Google AdWords ads, which also allow 25 characters for a headline, but only 70 characters of actual ad copy.
So you’ll want to make sure that your ad copy message not only fits within the rather narrow box provided, but works extra hard while doing so. Cut any and all fat, buzzwords, and jibber-jabber out of your ad copy, and make sure that mandatory messaging is included.
Just like with any good ad throughout the history of advertising, think of your headline as the “hook” – and do your best to engage your potential customer right up front, right off the bat. Asking a question or delivering a bold statement with your headline are always good ways to do this, but there are many other methods that can also be employed.
Remember that your ad can always be updated in real-time, so don’t be afraid to take a trial-and-error approach to creating your Facebook ad. After all, this is “dynamic” stuff we’re discussing here. No matter what you come up with during your first pass, chances are it’s a lot more effective, personalized and timely than the Facebook robot-written ad you first got your hands on.
Not that we’ve got anything against robots, mind you. In fact, we’re big fans.
And remember that you must adhere to Facebook’s advertising guidelines, which are quite lengthy and considerable in scope. You can read all the details about those guidelines at Facebook’s official advertising guidelines page.
That’s it, really. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect. Or at least helps you improve. And you never know, you may even find yourself enjoying the challenge of writing compelling and effective Facebook ads. (And if not? Don’t leave the job in amateur hands.)
– Jeff Ferguson is the CEO and Lead Consultant of Fang Digital Marketing, a strategic consulting agency that specializes in internet marketing, including search engine marketing, display, social, and affiliate programs.