9 Serious Facebook Ad Copy Mistakes to Avoid When You Write

ad copy

It’s short. It’s sweet. It’s … one of the most difficult pieces of sales copy to write successfully.

Yes, I’m talking about Facebook ad copy. Facebook ad copy is the first thing I cut my teeth on in the sales copywriting world. From the outside, it seems easy. It’s 2200 characters or less. How hard can it be, right?

Riiiiiiight. After the first few revisions from my ad copy mentor, I had all the questions:

  • Why are there so many rules?
  • How will I ever get the message across without the ad copy getting denied?
  • Will I ever really get the hang of this?
  • Is it really worth the trouble?

We’ll get into the reasons for all the rules in a minute, but just know that like me, you CAN get the message across, you WILL get the hang of it, and it IS worth the trouble. Why?

Facebook ad copy done well can help drive conversions at scale and turn campaigns into lead generating, client acquiring, cashflow creating engines that churn out ROI like nobody’s business. Done poorly, however, you may end up with unhappy clients who feel like they’re throwing ad spend to the wind. Let’s avoid that, shall we? 

I can help! I’ve written thousands of sets of ad copy for industries all over the map, and I’ve compiled a list of the eight common mistakes I see in Facebook ad copy that can negatively impact ad performance. Even worse, some of these mistakes can potentially negatively impact ad accounts, even leading to ad denials or disabled accounts.

When you know what to avoid when it comes to ad copy, you can get those potential roadblocks to conversion success out of the way, paving a clearer path for your clients’ campaigns. Not to mention the ads managers will love you. 

Here’s my list of the nine serious mistakes to avoid when writing Facebook ad copy.

Huge Chunks of Text

Because you only have a limited amount of real estate for your ad copy, you want the text to be as readable as possible. That means your formatting has to be on point. Thankfully, this is an easy one to navigate.

One of the biggest mistakes I see when it comes to formatting is having large chunks of text in the ad copy. People don’t like reading long paragraphs on social media feeds. Keep the eye moving by breaking up the text into shorter phrases and paragraphs. Consider using emojis as bullet points  when you’re listing things out. Anything you can do to help make it easier for the reader to navigate the text is a plus.

Technobabble

Using words and phrases the target audience isn’t familiar with can lead to sluggish ad performance. If the reader doesn’t even know what you’re talking about, why would they click? 

This is a tough one for our clients sometimes. It’s easy to assume your audience understands more than they really do, but don’t make that mistake! Make sure you’re not filling up the ad copy with technobabble that only a warm audience would understand – unless, of course, the ad is targeted to that warm audience.

Being a Negative Ned

There’s something you need to know about Facebook as a platform. Facebook is a very user-centric platform. That means that everything Facebook does revolves around giving the user a positive experience. Of course, this extends to advertising.

The goal of Facebook is to keep people happily engaging with other people on the platform. That’s why ad copy that has a very negative or critical bent traditionally does not do as well. 

No one likes to feel sad or depressed, and Facebook knows that’s not good for business for them. Try focusing the ad copy on the positive result instead of only beating on the negative pain points. 

Not Using the First 125 Characters to Capture Attention

Because Facebook only allows a limited number of characters in ad copy, it’s important to make the most of all of them, especially the very first few lines. Because most people view Facebook on their mobile devices, the initial ad text they see is limited to the first 125 characters. 

That first 125 characters is the very most important part of your ad copy. Use the first 125 characters to capture the reader’s attention so they will stop scrolling long enough to click “see more” and keep reading. This is called the hook.

Far too often, I see Facebook ads that do not make the most of this part of the copy. If the first 125 characters don’t capture their attention, the reader is gone for good. Make it count.

Not Speaking Directly to the Specific Target Audience

A single offer will not speak to everyone, yet there is so much ad copy out there that’s so general that it doesn’t appeal to anyone. It’s great to think that everyone will love what your client is offering, but if you can’t get specific and address exactly who you’re targeting, it’s not going to be an effective ad.

Don’t be afraid to write ad copy that specifically talks to the exact ideal client or customer. This will help prequalify your readers and repel the people who won’t be a good fit. Make sure you know exactly the type of person that your client wants to attract so that you can use the language and phrasing that appeals to them.

Targeting Attributes

Remember how I said Facebook is a user-centric platform? Facebook hates it when you target attributes and will deny ads if it feels the copy is doing so because it’s so focused on giving the user a positive experience.

First, let’s talk about what targeting attributes means. Targeting attributes basically refers to calling out specific features or characteristics of readers. For example, using the phrase “Are you depressed?” in your ad copy is considered targeting attributes. So is “Time to leave your overweight life behind.”

Both of those statements are calling out specific attributes or characteristics of the reader – depression and weight problems. Facebook doesn’t want their users to feel guilted or shamed while they’re on the platform, so targeting attributes is not allowed. 

Making Results Claims

Another thing Facebook hates are results claims. What do I mean by results claims? Anytime you say that the specific reader will be able to achieve a result you can’t prove is a results claim. Facebook doesn’t want to be held liable for the results of your offer, so they will deny ads that contain results claims like:

  • Earn $10k per month
  • Lose 10 pounds in two weeks
  • Make six figures this year

That doesn’t mean you can’t mention results. You can mention your clients’ results or the results of their clients or students. You just can’t claim that everyone else can do it too unless you can prove it 100%.

Lack of Clarity About The Offer

The next mistake I see being made far too often is not being clear about what’s being offered in the ad. Many people assume that the reader will see between the lines and be able to pick up on exactly what they’ll be getting on the other end of the ad. 

This is a mistake. If you’re not crystal clear about exactly what they’ll be getting on the other side, you can’t expect them to click. If you’re offering a 5-day challenge, make sure that’s clear in the ad copy. If it’s a downloadable guide, make that known and give a clear description of what’s inside.

Ads that are crystal clear perform much better. People may love a good mystery, but this is not the time or the place to make people guess.

Being Unclear About the CTA

There’s nothing more frustrating than making it all the way through the ad copy only to realize you have no idea what to do next.  Again, Facebook ads are not the time or the place to try to get clever. Make sure your call to action is very clear if the reader doesn’t know what to do next, they won’t do anything.

CTAs don’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the call to action is, the easier it is to follow. A simple “Click here to download the free guide” will get the job done. Make sure you’re only asking the reader to take one action. One ad, one action. Any more than that and you’ll split the audience and not get the ad results you could be getting because people will be confused on what to do first and likely never take action.

More from Christa Nichols

Now that you know what NOT to do, how about some tips on what you SHOULD do when it comes to sales copy? Download my free guide on 5 tips to creating landing pages that convert HERE.


I also want to let you know that if you’re interested in going deeper and really honing in your sales copywriting skills, I have a full training platform, and ad copy is just ONE of the skills I teach. Want to learn more? Shoot me an email and I’ll tell you all about Written Results Academy, the only online learning platform that offers not only the technical writing training but the target audience research, data analysis, messaging strategy and sales psychology training you need to write for conversion. It’s your ticket to attracting and landing high-level clients who pay high-ticket rates. [email protected]

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