I’ve addressed the importance of copywriting for Facebook and Instagram ads. Many marketers default to short copy — a few sentences, max — thinking that their audience will not read more. But that is not accurate, in my experience.

Consider an experiment from AdEspresso, a platform to optimize ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google. In 2018 it tested seven Facebook ads ranging from one sentence to six paragraphs. The best performers were the longer ads.

Why is this? Many seasoned advertisers believe the more expensive the item, the more copy is needed to convince the reader. Certainly that is true. However, we also know that extended copy can drive response for even modestly priced goods.

NTWRK is a mobile shopping platform that blends ecommerce with entertainment. It summarizes a typical purchase journey in an “Awareness Spectrum” — from “unaware” to “most aware.”

Graphic of "Awareness Spectrum": Unaware, Problem Aware, Solution Aware, Product Aware, Most Aware.

NTWRK’s “Awareness Spectrum” describes a typical purchase journey as migrating from “unaware” to “most aware.”

Long copy can take a prospect from “problem aware” (e.g., my kitchen cabinets are disorganized) to “solution aware” (e.g., I need more storage containers) to “product aware” (e.g., I should consider Tupperware items) to “most aware” (e.g., I’ll buy more Tupperware from XYZ website).

Let’s look at some examples.

Long Copy

In the screen capture below, an ad from the birth-control app Natural Cycles uses long-form copy. It’s targeted at women who are problem aware (“hormonal birth control is making me sick”) and even solution aware (“I need a new birth control method”).

Copy of ad text on Instagram for Natural Cycles, a birth control app.

Natural Cycles, a birth-control app, uses long-form copy to move readers from problem aware (“hormonal birth control is making me sick”) to solution aware (“I need a new birth control method”).

The entire ad is a testimonial from a user. It addresses the topic in a realistic, sensitive manner. It seamlessly takes the audience from “problem aware” to “product aware.” The discount code entices readers from “most aware” to buy.

Next, consider the example below from Melanie Aubert, a content marketer. She deployed long-form copy for a “Cash Converting Content” course. Products or services that are complex based on what’s included typically require extended explanations. That’s the case with Aubert’s ad. It provides critical details — “50+ posts,” “High Converting Writing Methods,” “6-month Content Calendar.” The effect is to take a reader from “unaware” to “most aware.”

Instagram ad for a "Cash Converting Content" course

This Instagram ad from Melanie Aubert deploys long-form copy for a “Cash Converting Content” course. Products or services that are complex based on what’s included typically require extended explanations.

Short Copy

To be sure, there are many instances where shorter copy is better.

For example, many products are well-known — e.g., Levi’s jeans, Nike shoes, Tide laundry soap. Consumers are aware of these items. There’s no need to educate them about the product or its use. Thus shorter ad text is likely appropriate.

Moreover, highly targeted ads often require less copy. Take the example below from Reformation, a clothing company in Los Angeles. The ad is aimed at females who have demonstrated an interest in fashion and clothing. The body copy contains just five carefully-chosen words: “30% off everything. Shop responsibly.”

Reformation clothing ad on Instagram

Shorter copy is appropriate for well-known products and for highly-targeted ads, such as this example from Reformation, a clothing company, which is aimed at females who have demonstrated an interest in fashion and clothing.

Testing Is Key

As with any form of marketing, testing is key. Try long, well-written copy in your ads, social media posts, and other marketing materials. Your audience may read it and respond accordingly. “Writing Instagram Captions to Drive Sales,” my article last spring, offers pointers on short and long-form copy for that platform.



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