While many advertisers focus on graphics and design, high-quality copy can be the difference between run-of-the-mill performance and massive wins. In this post, we’ll break down 25+ ways to structure your ad copy and explore why they work, along with real examples from ads we’ve launched for our partners.
See the 25+ templates under the cut:
1. The Listicle
It works for Buzzfeed for a reason. Do you remember in high school English class when your teacher told you to “outline your essay in your intro”? Use the same technique when creating paid media ads. People love knowing what to expect and are more likely to engage when the introduction specifies what they’re getting, like starting out with a clear number — e.g., 10 reasons families love [Product Name].
Having the number explicitly stated also generates curiosity— Why 10 reasons? What is number 4? Number 10? Is each info I’ve been missing in my life?
Once people start reading, they may not want to leave: if they stop at number 4, e.g., they may always wonder what numbers 5 through 10 were.
Think of the listicle as a table of contents for what potential customers expect from your website. These should be the main points they pick up from your landing page or homepage. Think of answers to key buyer decision questions like:
- What problem does your product solve?
- What do customers feel after using your product?
- Why should customers pick your product over another’s?
- What, exactly, are you selling?
2. Start with a Killer Testimonial
Social proof is a huge validation for potential customers. Leverage it in your ads by starting off with a testimonial from a customer or press outlet that shouts, “this is amazing!”
When pulling testimonials, look for those that include your company’s Unique Selling Points. That way, instead of telling potential customers your USP (and risk having them think you’re just overselling your product), let them hear the USP from a real, happy customer!
3. The Award-Winner
To lend credibility to your business, start your copy with awards you’ve won or places you’ve been featured.
4. Solve Their Problem in One Sentence
Use the first sentence of your copy to succinctly and clearly call out customer problems and solutions. Everything after that (including a clear call to action) is just icing on the cake.
Make your first-line copy quicker to read by demonstrating key points with emojis.
6. Multiple Choice
When you let your kid pick between, let’s say, McDonald’s and Wendy’s, they’ll feel like they had a say in their decisions and got what they wanted…even though you had already narrowed the choices for them. The same general principle applies to multiple choice copy. You get four great things out of it:
- The scrolling thumbs stop to engage in the quiz or poll, or to offer comments.
- Readers feel like they’re interacting with the copy by thinking about and choosing their answer.
- Each answer shows off a value prop for your product, so that no matter what they choose, they like a benefit of your product.
- In thinking about their decision, users are actively engaging with your value props and reflecting on what your product provides (even sometimes without knowing it). This analytical thought process helps your product stick in their minds more.
7. Capitalized Keyword Call-Outs
While you can’t set keywords in Facebook like you can in Google Ads, you can give the same feel by capitalizing important words that will stand out when users are scrolling.
8. Playful Hook
When you start out with interesting or playful copy, scrollers will want to read the rest of your post. It’s kind of like a good story: If you have a strong hook, they’re going to want to read on to see what happens.
9. Local Call-Out
Everybody loves feeling seen. If your brand offers local products, city-specific services, and anything geographic-specific, try calling out those residents in your copy. Seeing something that feels local is much more likely to stop their scrolling.
10. Bye, [Alternative] 👋
Bring a bit of irreverence and humor into your copy by waving goodbye to the alternative. With just a couple of words, you can clearly convey what you’re setting your business up as an alternative to.
11. Before You Try [Alternative]… Watch This
Most of us can recall Billy Mays’ energetic timber calling out “But wait! There’s more!” While social media ads generally need a little more finesse than that, you can get the same straightforward, powerful energy as Mays’ infomercials with this style of copy:
12. What Makes Ours The Best?
Channel a movie high school speech and utilize rhetorical questions to get potential customers thinking about value props in an organic way. These could take various forms, but one of our favorites is…
What makes [the product type] the best?
Bonus points if you use any of these (also great) variations:
- Hate [the worse alternative]?
- Try this! Hate going to the doctor? Watch this!
- Thinking about trying [product type]?
- Thinking about trying fresh pet food?
- Thinking about [the worse alternative]?
- Thinking about doing your taxes by hand?
- Still [the worse alternative to the product]?
- Watch this: Still wasting time on drug store errands? Watch this:
- Are you [accomplishing the goal optimally]?
- Are you using the right protein powder for your body?
13. “Value prop” is our middle name
It’s fun and playful and gets straight to the heart of why people should become your customer.
14. Lead with Your Discount
Marketers know that a good discount can actually make a company more money in the long-run. If you have a strong discount, put it in your copy to entice people into trying your product.
You can re-frame evergreen offers as “holiday specials” for key times of the year where ad auction competition increases — like Black Friday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.
15. Call your brand/service a “secret” in the first line
FOMO is a strong purchase-driver. You may already know that word of mouth sells. Branding your product as “a secret” taps into the same desire to buy what other people value. The element of gaining secret knowledge that only some people have adds to the feeling of exclusivity.
Potential customers want to fit in with the taste makers who already like your product. But they want to stand out as special — having unique knowledge and being an early adopter of what’s cool.
16. Holiday/Seasonal Call-Out
Mentioning the season or holiday around the time you’re running your ad helps it feel new and timely. For major gifting holidays, like Christmas, mentioning that your product suits the holiday can also relieve potential customer’s stress: you know exactly what they’re going through and have the solution — why yes, your wife would love this as a gift.
17. So Punny
What can we say? People love puns. They also groan at them. They love to groan at them. No matter what, puns stick in people’s brains. And when they pop up again in customer’s thoughts, it’ll be a free reminder of your product.
18. Retargeting Call-Outs
If you’re running retargeting/remarketing ads, be sure to include some retargeting-specific copy. It can make customers feel more understood when they see your ads.
Instead of focusing on introducing customers to what your product is, use your retargeting copy to offer additional value about your brand. Speaking to their decision process can also make customers feel seen, which can make them feel closer to your company and more likely to hit “buy”.
19. “Almost Sold Out”
Create a sense of urgency by referencing countdown deals, limited-time offers, and almost-sold-out stock.
20. Define Something Industry-Wide
Help offer value to your customers by giving them knowledge they didn’t have before. This will help establish you as a credible source of both information and solutions.
21. How it Works
Tell your potential customers explicitly how your service or product works to help them feel more confident in your company. Services, subscriptions, and SaaS would particularly benefit from this style of copy.
Not only does humor help improve people’s opinions about your brand, but it can also get more reactions (be prepared for your post to be covered in the crying-while-laughing emoji). And more reactions generally means increased exposure for your company — be it through people sharing to their feeds, word-of-mouth discussions about your ad, or people following your company’s page for more content.
23. Meme Speak
A great variation on humor, if you need a place to start, is by looking at trending memes. Replicate what’s popular on text-heavy sites like Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr but find a way to tie it into your product.
24. Value Prop Equation
An easy and simple way to convey the benefits of your product is by breaking it down to its useful components. These short and sweet equations can show the user what your product is, how it differs from the competition, and why it brings value to the user.
25. Facts & Stats
Nothing says “industry expert” more than backing up your claims with data. Pull potential customers in with real facts that match up with your product.
This is particularly useful for beauty, health and wellness, and medical brands.
Ready to Write Performance-Fueling Ads?
There you have it — 25+ examples of ad copy that really worked for our partners. Make sure to test out your copy using our Outlier Method.
If you’re looking for a team that can generate fantastic copy for your ads, Primer can help. Our wide range of partners means we see what works in many different verticals, placements, platforms, and audiences. We bring that knowledge (backed by extensive data and proven success) to every account we service.
Find out how you can start hitting goals with our high-volume strategy in a FREE growth consultation ↓