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How To Write Ad Copy: 6 Formulas To Create Powerful Ads

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Writing Ad Copy Can Be Done Using Formulas and Templates

Does your ad copy resonate with your audience? If you’re looking to up your copy game, we’re sharing our tried and true templates that will get you more clicks.

You’ve tweaked your ad so many times you’ve lost count.

Now you’re sure your target audience is on point, your design is attractive, but… What about your ad copy?

Great visuals can capture your ideal customer’s attention, but what makes them click on it is compelling copy. Tackling your audience’s pain point combined with a strong CTA can go a long way: it can increase your click-through rate and optimize your campaign spending.

There are almost 7 billion Google searches every day. There are almost 2 billion daily active users on Facebook. You can surely leverage this data to boost your advertising ROI, but only if you stop wasting your money on ineffective Google ads and social media campaigns.

Keep reading – you’re about to discover several templates that work like a charm.


What Is Ad Copy?

A brand’s advertising strategy may use multiple channels to reach the target audience: Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. These channels will all have different formats of ads, but they have one thing in common: they need effective copy to draw clicks and conversions.

Ad copy is the text used in your ad, whether it stands alone or accompanies a visual, whose main purpose is to prompt the reader to take action. It usually has the following components:

  • A headline
  • The body of the ad
  • A CTA

Headline: The headline’s role is to draw the attention of your audience. They may be googling a specific term, watching YouTube videos or casually scrolling through their social media feed. If your ad headline is capturing enough, they’ll stop what they’re doing and read your ad.

Body: All the other elements of your ad should lead to this – your goal is to convince a person to read your ad. The main body of the ad, depending on the channel where the ad is placed, sometimes contains additional benefits of your product or service, and a testimonial from a happy customer.

CTA: After that, a persuasive CTA can seal the deal. CTA is short for “call to action” and prompts the reader to take action by using words like “buy”, “get started”, “learn more”, etc.

In some ads, you may see a CTV – call to value. Instead of a simple verb that calls to action, some people use this button to remind the reader of the value of their product one more time. For example, if you’re advertising a product that helps people lose weight, you can use “Get Fit with X Now” instead of the simple “Order Now” call-to-action button.

As you can see in the Google ad below, there’s a headline, the body of the ad with several benefits of the service, along with a clear call to action links.

Better Campaign Results With Compelling Ad Copy

No copy is a big mistake. But bad copy is even worse, since it can clearly demonstrate to your audience that you’re not motivated enough to get to know them. And if you choose the wrong words, you may even end up excluding a part of your audience or offend your potential customers.

That’s why putting effort into writing suitable and compelling copy is crucial. It can help your campaign perform better in many ways:

  • It helps you convey your message to your audience, which sometimes can’t be achieved via image. You can use copy to explain the image in more detail or use storytelling to make the ad more relatable.
  • It encourages people to click and proceed to your website. With a strong CTA, you can increase your website traffic and help people explore other helpful content you share.
  • It helps people gain trust in your brand because relatable ad copy and a message that resonates with your target groups makes the user feel like you understand them.
  • Clever and emotional ads are often shareable and may reach a lot of people without any effort from your side. They may even go viral!

Now you get it – great copy matters. But if you don’t feel inspired, here are the templates you can use, that unmistakably work for every business.

Ad Copy Templates That Work: 6 Proven Formulas That Drive Results

Copy formulas can be used in different forms of copy. They can be incredibly effective in ads, so next time you run a campaign, make sure you test them.

Template #1: PAS (Problem Agitate Solve)

The famous PAS formula is short for: Pain/Problem, Agitate, Solve. It’s effective because it addresses the reader’s pain point immediately, then makes it unbearable, and finally – offers a solution (which is your product or service, obviously.)

Say you’re advertising an anatomic pillow. You may start with a question you know your audience is struggling with:

Tired of waking up with that annoying neck pain every morning?

Chances are, your audience will start nodding immediately as they keep reading the ad.

Then you continue:

You never get quality sleep and your job performance has started to suffer – you can’t focus and you feel grumpy all day long.

This is the “agitate” part, and after that – you present your anatomic pillow as the ideal solution to your audience’s pain.

Simple as that! But let’s see another example:

Struggling to manage your time efficiently?

You’re busy all the time, yet it seems like you can’t get anything done. You’re panicking for the third time in two hours because you’ve realized there’s another deadline you won’t meet. You feel like giving up and just going to sleep.

We get it – we’ve all been there. But what if we told you there’s a simple, all-in-one solution?

This time management tool enables you to create to-do lists, schedule meetings, and track projects in a streamlined and efficient way.

Here, you first ask the question that will resonate with the reader because it’s their pain point. Then you describe exactly how they feel as it’ll show them you understand them well. You press the pain point a bit more just before you offer a solution – your product or service.

Template #2: BAB (Before – After – Bridge)

Here’s another highly effective ad copy formula. For this one to work, you need to know very well what the world looks like for your audience at the moment, and what they’d like it to be.

BAB stands for Before – After – Bridge.

How do we use it? It’s simple.

You start by describing what the world looks like for your audience at the moment. What’s troubling them? What’s their biggest everyday stress? Dwell into these problems and try to describe them as lively as possible.

When you describe life as it is now, you move on to describe this ideal world your audience could live in. All their issues are resolved and they live happily ever after. Give them a hint that there’s a path toward this ideal world.

When you spark their imagination by showing them what could be without their current issues, you give them the means to solve them – your product or service. That’s the bridge that leads from where they’re NOW to where they can be in the FUTURE.

Let’s use the anatomic pillow here as well:

You wake up every morning with extreme neck pain. You’ve started to despise bedtime because you know it’s going to be another morning of feeling tired and completely dysfunctional.

But imagine this: You could jump right out of your bed every morning, feeling fresh and well-rested. You’re smiling because nothing hurts – and you’re ready to start your day being your most productive self.

Think that’s impossible? Well, we’re here to prove you wrong.

This type of copy instill curiosity in the reader, since they’ll want to find out more about that magical product that will solve their issue.Basecamp’s homepage is an excellent example of this formula:


Template #3: FAB (Features – Advantages – Benefits)

This is a simple copywriting formula aligned with one of the main principles of copywriting: people don’t care about a product’s features. They care about HOW these features benefit them and why they matter.

Say a salesman tells you that a computer you’re looking at has an octa-core processor. This probably means nothing to you unless you’re a computer engineer. However, if they tell you your processor is of high-quality and allows you to play demanding video games without your computer crashing, well, that’s a different story.

In good copy, it’s critical to explain the reader the why’s and how’s. That’s why the FAB formula works so well. It stands for Features – Advantages – Benefits and explains exactly why your target audience would enjoy a specific product or service and what problems they’d be able to solve.

For example, if you’re advertising a tool that helps you manage all your social media channels more easily and in one place, your FAB formula could look like this:

The ultimate advertising management tool to help you publish all your ads in one place. Save your time and ditch the messy screen!

In this example, you have the feature, which is the social media management tool, the advantage – it allows you to handle everything in one place. The benefit you get from it is more free time and a more streamlined process of posting on social media since you only have to use one app to manage everything.

And what about our anatomic pillow? The ad could look like this:

Rest is just as important as work. A cloud-like pillow that provides the ultimate comfort to help you get the quality sleep you deserve. Get rid of the neck pain and go about your day healthy and fresh.

Template #4: AIDA

AIDA is one of the most popular copywriting formulas ever. It stands for Attention – Interest – Desire – Action. You can apply it to literally any ad form, and be sure it’ll work.

How exactly, you may wonder?

At the beginning of this formula, you need to use a powerful hook to grab the reader’s attention. You can do it by focusing on the result you know your audience wants and the main objections stopping them from achieving the desired results.

For example, “Want to learn English but have no time to practice?” Instilling the sense of urgency or using specific numbers can also do the trick – “How I made $3,000 in two days” or “How to [X] in only [X] minutes”.

How to [X] in only [X] minutes

Then, you need to create interest in what you’re looking to sell. You can share an old customer’s experience as a testimonial or cite a case study, use statistics or dwell into the audience’s pain by explaining the negative impact of their problem.

When you’ve increased interest, explain how your product or service solves the reader’s issue. Showcase the results you’ve achieved with others or user generated content that explains what’s in it for your audience.

After that, all that’s left to do is wrap it up with a powerful CTA that will have the reader click on your ad if you’ve done all the previous steps correctly.

Let’s use the anatomic pillow once more.

Get the quality sleep you deserve.

Andrea got rid of the neck pain that had troubled her for years. You could, too. Walk into your days feeling fresh and productive without investing thousands of dollars into expensive therapy sessions. Order now and improve your sleep today.

Here’s another example, this time from Moz:

Template #5: 4Cs

More than being a formula, the 4c is a checklist that helps you create ads that won’t make you lose leads and conversions because they’re confusing. Remember, confused people don’t buy. If you give your audience more than one CTA, chances are they won’t take any of the actions you want them to take.

According to this formula, an ad that converts must be:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Compelling
  • Credible

How do you apply this?

Clear: Is your ad easy to understand? Is it clear what you’re offering even to someone who’s heard about your brand for the first time? It’s great to be witty with your headline (and your ad overall), but it’s much more important to be clear. If you can’t achieve both, go for being clear. Say you’re selling the anatomic pillow we already mentioned – you’d need to make it clear in the very first sentence: Anatomic pillow made of the finest materials for improved night sleep.

Concise: An ad isn’t the place to show off your thesaurus skills. If you can make a sentence shorter, do it. Get rid of all the words that don’t contribute to the message you’re trying to convey and get straight to the point. If you’re describing a pillow, don’t start your story in cotton fields where you get the materials – your readers won’t care. They want to know how your pillow can make them feel.

Compelling: Use power words and be precise. Saying “many benefits” sounds too vague and gives an impression that you’re not even sure what they are. If you name a few concrete benefits, that’s more compelling to the reader. Also, power words can grab the attention of the reader and make the message sound more effective. Cloud-like, as soft as a cloud, anatomic design, getting rid of the pain, appropriate sleep posture, staying healthy and energetic, these are the benefits your audience may experience from the product.

Credible: Use testimonials to give credibility to your stories. When people see that other people trust you, they’ll be more confident about trying your product or service. Add a short review from a happy customer, and you’re good to go.

Here’s a good example of the 4Cs formula from SEMrush:

Template #6: 4Us

The 4Us formula is suitable for creating great headlines, but it also works for short-form copy such as Google or Facebook ads. The 4Us stand for:

  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Unique
  • Ultra-Specific

Now, let’s elaborate the formula.

Useful: This part should state a benefit your audience gets to enjoy if they buy your product or service. How does it help them?

Urgent: It’s well-known that today FOMO is one of the most powerful triggers that makes people buy things. Some stats show that Facebook is the leading social media platform when it comes to instilling FOMO in its users, so it’s no wonder the 4Us formula is commonly found in Facebook ads.

If you create a sense of urgency in your campaign, your target users who haven’t been quite sure about making the purchase may finally make the decision because they’ll be afraid they’ll miss out on something if they hesitate. Words that can help you create urgency are: now, only today, two seats left, last offer, limited edition, etc.

Unique: Your unique selling point should be highlighted in this part. How does your product or service differ from others on the market? What’s a surprising fact about you that your audience may not see coming? Use it to create a hook for the reader’s attention.

Ultra-specific: When you use vague explanations, your audience loses interest. Rather than saying “in short time”, say “in only two weeks”. Concrete facts, especially if you use numbers, work much better than unclear descriptions. When you’re ultra-specific, you’re addressing the audience’s pain points more precisely and they know exactly what to expect from your product or service.

Let’s rewrite our anatomic pillow ad one more time:

The unique design and specially processed materials of this limited-edition anatomic pillow guarantee you a good night sleep after which you’ll feel refreshed and energetic. It can improve your sleep quality in less than a week. Available at the price of X for three more days.

Here’s an example of the 4U formula:

Before You Go: 5 Extra Tips for Writing Effective Ad Copy

Here are a few quick tips that will help you make the most out of your advertising budget thanks to great copy.

  1. Always Use A/B Testing

If you’re truly trying to get inside your buyers’ heads, split testing is key to success. Creating two versions of an ad and comparing their results later can help you pinpoint the exact element of the ad that drove clicks. When you run only one ad, whether it’s successful or not, you can’t know for sure what made the user click and buy your product. It also helps you speak to different target groups if necessary – by using split testing, you can use several copy variants to target different segments of your audience.

  1. Focus on the Headline

We know it’s a bit ironic, but the shortest copy is usually the most challenging to write. In your ad copy, the headline is what draws the attention, and it’s where you should spend most of your time while writing. Every word should be in its place, so don’t just jot something down: even if there are just a few words, there should be serious audience research behind it.

  1. Know the Buyer Intent Inside out

What is your ideal customer actually looking for when they type in a query in Google search? What do they need? If they are looking for software to manage their finances, it means they want to save time, money, and other resources. That’s exactly what you should focus on in your ad copy – let them know immediately that the things they need are what you can provide for them. Addressing the search intent correctly is one of the most important factors that affect the success of your copy and content.

  1. Do Throrough Keyword Research

Keywords are meant for blogs only. To optimize your Google ads, for example, you should make sure that the keyword you want to target is used in the headline. If you’re not sure what keyword should be your primary one, you can use tools such as SEMrush to find what your audience is searching for.

  1. Trigger Emotions

People don’t buy products and services – they buy the results and how they’ll feel after achieving them. They don’t buy cameras, they buy the possibility to make memories and remember special moments forever. If you can evoke emotions with your copy, you can be sure that your click-through rate will be above average.

Create Persuasive Ads with Adline Quickly

If you feel like you spend too much time on creating and monitoring your ads without seeing enough ROAS, we get it.

It takes time to think of great copy, pair it with capturing visuals, test different versions, optimize your budget on the go… When you’re done with all of it, you feel like you have no time to focus on other tasks that are critical for running a successful business.

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Stefana Zarić

Stefana Zarić

Stefana is a Content Marketing Specialist at Deel, and is the Founder at El Grande Digital. Stefana is also an adtech enthusiast.

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