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17 April 2024

Eight tips for writing effective social media ad copy

By Matilda Ekström

Social media platforms are a crucial part of most brands’ marketing strategy. With 4.95 billion users globally and a more than 60% penetration rate1, platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Linkedin offer unique opportunities to build your brand and generate leads. However, for a social media ad campaign to be successful, you need to be strategic – not least when writing the copy for it. In this article, we have listed our top copywriting tips for social media ads.

1. Consider the goal of your campaign 

First of all, you need to know the objective of your ad campaign. The goal should be as specific as possible to allow you to write efficient copy and, of course, measure the success of your campaign. Should your copy help generate leads for your business? Or build brand awareness? This will impact both how and what you write. 

2. Do your audience and competitor research 

Knowing your target audience is key to crafting effective social media ad copy. After all, the interest and engagement of your target audience is the determining factor of your campaign’s success. Similarly, knowing how competitors and other brands communicate is crucial to help you stay relevant within your industry and market. It can also be a helpful inspiration. So, before attempting to write anything, you need to do proper research. Where is your target audience? Who are they? What are their pain points? How do other brands write to connect with them? Knowing this will help you establish a unique angle for your ad copy that speaks directly to your target audience. 

3. Look at old social media ad copy to understand what works 

Something that many brands forget about when creating social media campaigns is the data that can be gathered from old campaigns. Perhaps you have a past campaign that targeted the same target audience? Such data gives us unique insights into what works and what doesn’t, both in terms of themes, imagery and copy. When analysing performance of past campaigns, keep in mind the social media KPIs relevant to the goal of the campaign – whether it’s engagement, conversion rate, or something else. After all, if your campaign goal is to engage, there’s little point in taking inspiration from a post that had a high impression rate but little engagement.  

4. Familiarise yourself with advert­ising regulations 

A perhaps less exciting, but extremely important part of writing copy for social media campaigns, is to learn the advert­ising regulations in your country and industry. Is there any language you’re not allowed to use? This knowledge is of course key to have when writing copy for social media campaigns. 

5. Tailor your tone of voice to the platform and audience 

When it comes to social media copywriting, how you write is as important as what you write. There are mainly three things to consider: 

  • Brand tone of voice. Hopefully, this is a given for any copywriter. Your brand tone of voice helps convey your brand’s personality and is as important to build brand equity as any visual part of your brand, such as brand colours.  
  • Target audience. Remember that audience research you did when starting to think about your campaign? This will give you valuable insights into how your target audience speaks. By knowing this, you can flex your brand tone of voice for your specific audience, helping you to better connect with them. But be careful – your brand tone of voice is still your main guide and it’s crucial to maintain it to sound authentic and build your brand. 
  • Platform. Different social media platforms come with different audience expectations. For example, the tone of voice of a LinkedIn campaign might not be the same as the tone of voice for a TikTok campaign, as these platforms have different audiences with different expectations. 

Remember, regardless of what platform your campaign is on, social media offers a great opportunity to humanise your brand. So, don’t be afraid to flex your brand tone of voice at least a little bit to be more conversational than, for instance, on your website. 

6. Ensure both captions and ad copy have the right character length 

A basic but important thing to consider is of course the character length of your caption. This includes staying within the maximum limit, but also considering how much of the caption will be visible without clicking on the post. For instance, on Instagram, the character limit for captions is 2,200 characters, but the caption will get visually cut off already at about 125 characters. So, even if you have a slightly longer caption, it’s important to get your key message across quickly. When it comes to the actual ad copy – that is, the copy in your visuals – less is often more. This is especially true if you’re using video to engage your audience, as too much text means people won’t have the time to read and digest it. 

7. Always include a call to action (CTA) 

One of the most important parts of your social media ad copy will be its CTA – especially if your objective is to generate leads or drive conversion. A good CTA should start with an action verb, such as “buy” or “sign up”, telling audiences exactly what to do. Your choice of verb will of course depend on your campaign objective. Preferably, the verb should be followed by a time element to create a sense of urgency and get your audience to act quickly, such as “now” or “today”. Keep it short and to the point.  

8. Use campaign hashtags 

Hashtags, especially branded hashtags, are a great way of not only driving reach but also categorising your content. This is especially true for social media campaigns, where a branded campaign hashtag works to tie all your content together. Moreover, if you encourage your audience to use your hashtag, your audience may start creating user-generated content (UGC), promoting your campaign for you.  

In short… 

Do your research before starting writing for a campaign to understand your audience and gain insights into what has worked before. Set clear goals. Once you have done this, it comes down to keeping your ad copy focused and tailored to your audience and platform. You should have a clear CTA, especially if your objective is to generate leads and drive conversion, and preferably a campaign hashtag to increase reach. 

Statista, Social media statistics and facts


  • Cecilia Börjeson

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