How to write Facebook-compliant ad copy

Presented live on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Register for our live tutorials

Are you writing Facebook-compliant ads? You know… that’s where Facebook double-checks your ad copy for all sorts of stuff… and then either penalizes offenders or full-on shuts non-compliant accounts down. Yikes. What kinds of stuff are they looking for, you ask? Stuff like whether you’re using % to describe a percentage – not to, like, do this: @#$%. Are you implying or making any claims… and, if so, supporting them? Does your landing page function “properly”? Are you suggesting knowledge of the FB user with your use of “you” in your copy?

In this live tutorial Facebook ad copy expert Wahida Lakhani goes over the dos and don’ts of writing Facebook-compliant copy.

This tutorial is brought to you in part by Airstory writing software.

TRANSCRIPT

Joanna Wiebe: We are here. I’m Joanna, of course, from Copy Hackers. We’ve got Sarah here, as well. Sarah’s camera is a little laggy. Sarah might be turning her camera off a little bit soon. Aw, she looks real cute right now. We’ve also got Wahida joining us here, as well. Wahida is in to share with us, as you know from the email that was sent out earlier today, Wahida’s going to talk with us about Facebook ads, being compliant, in particular. Which I know is like, really, compliance? Anybody who’s ever worked in legal or with a legal department is like, oh, compliance. If you worked for a bank, if you worked for any large organization, you’re like, oh, really? We have to go through compliance now? This is, like, the worst part of life.

Joanna Wiebe: But it’s critical. I’m not going to freak anyone out with the bad things that can happen if you’re not compliant. I think Wahida might have a few things to say about that. My point is if you want to be successful with your Facebook ads, you’re going to need to be compliant. Wahida, you’re going to share with us today some of the ways you can do that. We’ll dive right into that, but first things first, yes, it’s being recorded. Please chat things over if you just want to chat with us about whatever Wahida is saying, if you have any questions. I use chat for that. Q&A is where you will put all of your questions that you need Wahida to answer by the end of today’s session. We have a 20-minute tutorial in store for you. Hi to everybody who’s chatting, back from Dublin. Hi. Happy Tuesday. Cool. All right. So, Wahida, I will let you take it away.

Wahida Lakhani: Awesome. Okay, good stuff. So I will share my screen. Let’s get this going. So you should be able to see my deck.

Joanna Wiebe: Indeed.

Wahida Lakhani: Beauty. So, I’m so excited to be here. Just as Jo said, yes, my goal here is to walk you through how to write high-converting Facebook ads without getting shut down, because Facebook will bring the hammer if they aren’t a fan of the content that you’re putting out. So my goal here is for us to walk through this and for you to be like, oh, okay, this is dead simple. I have a few rules of thumb. I can do this. So, a quick overview of who I am. My name’s Wahida, and I’ve managed over $1 million in Facebook ad spend across some of the hardest-to-navigate verticals. So we’re talking like health coaching and wellness, supplements, weight loss, financial SAS, business coaching, all of the ones that are known for being the ones that Facebook despises the most, but the ones that are the most fun to play in. I’ve had quite a bit of experience. Without jinxing myself, I’ve never had an account shut down, which is cool.

Wahida Lakhani: Regularly, I’ll rescue ads accounts from getting flagged and all that fun stuff, so everything I’m presenting to you today is both the rules but also the application of how to put those rules into place. Here are my assumptions about what was the most useful stuff for you guys to learn about, is that y’all are likely from various verticals. So the rules can be applied across all verticals. They’re quite general. Two, that you don’t care the least about mechanics when it comes to Facebook ads. What you really want to know is, what are the nuances? Why does one ad get approved and the other one gets disapproved and then results in an account being shut down? That’s my goal, is if you can come away understanding that, then we’re good to go.

Wahida Lakhani: So here’s what we’re going to cover. The big picture of understanding Facebook’s motives, not just the rules, because that’s what’s going to allow you to navigate the nuances. A quick understanding of the two-step approval process is the most detailed we’ll get when it comes to the mechanics, but it’s important for you to be able to anticipate what’s coming your way with the approval process. How to write high-converting ads without angering the Facebook gods. An overview of what an effective Facebook template looks like. You’re going to be shocked at how simple this is. The two kinds of rules, so the obvious rules that are easy to navigate and the not-so-obvious rules. Then, some fun examples of sort of a do this, not that. Ads that would get approved and ads that wouldn’t get approved and why, and we’ll walk through them.

Wahida Lakhani: Then, if we have time, I have a few quick hacks for you to go over. The first is really fun. It’s a way for you to spy on your competitors and peers and see what ads they have in market, both to generate ideas but also to do a bit of research. A few additional tips for how to stay safe and the inevitable my ads weren’t approved, now what? Which is totally okay, and we’ll talk about what to do then. So let’s start with the big picture.

Wahida Lakhani: Facebook, of course, wants you to advertise, right? But they have to protect their user base first and foremost and their user’s experience. So they’re constantly trying to balance what their users want, which is mostly just user-generated content from their friends and family, against what advertisers want, which is as much advertising space as possible. Of course, Facebook makes their money off of advertising, so that’s a huge priority for them, but they’re also under increasing pressure to take responsibility for all of the marketing messages and just all of the messages period on the platform, whether that’s paid or organic. You’ve likely seen all of the scandals that have happened, where users and everybody else is wondering how carefully Facebook is taking care of our data and how responsible they are in shaping social opinion.

Wahida Lakhani: So these are all of the things that Facebook is trying to navigate, and as a result, they’re creating a broad set of rules to meet all of their needs and then trying to enforce these rules with finite resources. That’s kind of the pickle that they’re in. But if we can follow their rules, then we get to do all kinds of fun things when it comes to targeting. I can target folks based on how much they earn, as a ballpark. I can target where they live. I can target if they’re newly single, newly married, just had a baby, moved away from their home town, whether they have an interest in Paleo, online marketing, Tony Robbins, manga comics. You name it, I can target you. As well as your behavior, which is the fun stuff. What you’ve been doing on the Internet. If you’ve watched a particular video, joined an emailing list, or purchased something recently.

Wahida Lakhani: Of course, users find this creepy, even though they’re the ones populating the data, most of the time. So we have to, as marketers, leverage this opportunity and balance it against being good stewards of the user experience. That’s kind of our role as we write our copy, because with great power comes great responsibility, right? So let’s talk quickly about the two-step approval process, what it looks like, and how to navigate it, and what to anticipate.

Wahida Lakhani: So whenever you submit an ad to Facebook, you submit your copy and your image or your video, it goes through two steps. The first is automatic. Basically, Facebook is going to scan your copy and your content for negative keywords, so things like guns, sex, profanity, those things. They have a list of negative keywords, and it’s an automatic no, and that’s all automated. They’re also scanning for gray area keywords, so like weight loss, anything that looks like an income claim. Those might not be automatic nos, but it will increase your likelihood that you’re going to have to go on to the second step approval process.

Wahida Lakhani: If you’ve got negative keywords, oftentimes, Facebook will say, oh, you’ve got a negative keyword, and you can make an adjustment right away. If you’ve used gray area keywords, you’re going to be passed on to manual review. That’s the case for most of us who are in tricky verticals. Again, weight loss, supplements, health and wellness, you likely will have a manual review process happen. The manual review process is where a member of Facebook ads compliance team is going to take a look, an actual person is going to take a look at your copy. They’re going to make a judgment call, and their goal is to make a swift decision. So they’re not thinking, oh, I understood what they meant, but … They’re saying, no, no, these are my rules. This is my checklist. I have a high volume of content to go over. Yes or no, basically.

Wahida Lakhani: So this is also the reason why a lot of people have said, how come my ads get approved, and then they run for, like, a week, and then, all of a sudden, they’re disapproved? This is why, because of the manual review process. This can happen at any time when you’re running an ad, and they’re harder to appeal than automatic no. You do always want to write your copy assuming you’re going to go to a manual review. Now, this sounds like a lot of steps, but it usually takes about 24 hours max for this process to happen, sometimes faster. If you’re an account that’s been running for a while and you have great history on that account, the review process can be, like, 20 minutes to an hour or less. So that’s kind of what you’re up against. When you’re writing your ads, now you know what to anticipate when it comes to how Facebook is going to be looking at your content.

Wahida Lakhani: Then, there are the rules, right? This is where people have a lot of frustration, because there’s two buckets of rules. There’s the obvious rules, which are easy to avoid. Things like no swearing, no sexually explicit content, no hate or anything discriminatory, no illegal products or services, no drugs, no tobacco, no weapons or violence, no payday loans. Alcohol requires age restrictions and gated content. Most of us probably won’t need to mess with that, and if you do, your Facebook ads person should be experienced in that niche. Of course, dating is always tricky. You have to go through a formal application process. These are the things that, for 99% of us, it’s not an issue. We’re never going to step in this mess. All of these policies can be found, and I have this link towards the end, at Facebook’s policy helpline, basically, where they list all of these things. You can look at this and be like, yeah, okay, no problem.

Wahida Lakhani: Then, there’s the not-so-obvious rules. These are hard to avoid when you’re writing great copy, and this is where people get frustrated, because they say to themselves, well, I’m seeing ads that look like they shouldn’t be approved, but they approved, and why? Or vice versa. These are the rules that Facebook creates to protect themselves, and they’re general. So, no personal attributes can be used—age, beliefs, medical conditions. Part of this is because I know I’m targeting you based on these things, but they don’t want users to know that I’m targeting them based on these things. They don’t necessarily realize that that’s what’s happening. They wouldn’t necessarily enjoy that.

Wahida Lakhani: You also can’t imply that a user may have a negative self-perception, negative emotions, or really a problem. Any of that is in a gray area. If you go to manual review and someone looks at it and says, “No, I don’t agree with this,” again, it’s harder to get them to approve it later. Of course, no misleading or false claims. I’m looking at you, business coaches. We love our big claims, and I live in that space a lot, so I use big claims all the time, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.

Wahida Lakhani: So, you’re at cross purposes, right? Do you put out generalized copy in order to be safe and give up on effectiveness? The answer is no, but there’s a right and a wrong way. So, how do we write high-converting ads without angering the Facebook gods? Well, first, let’s talk about the anatomy of an ad, because I don’t know how many of you have run ads before. You’ll all have likely seen this in your newsfeed. There’s the headline, which I like to call the value prop or hook holder. This is where your value prop or your hook lives most of the time. Formats I love for this kind of headline are how to thing that they want without objection, how to thing that they want in measurable increment. Those generally perform super, super well.

Wahida Lakhani: Then, you’ve got your image or your video, right? You always want to speak to the pain or the aspiration. Evoke a feeling, if you can. Then, you’ve got your body copy. Generally, and again, this is where the template is super simple, y’all are copywriters, so you’ve seen these frameworks before, right? You’ve seen problem, agitation, solution, and generally, add a CT at the end. You’ve seen AIDA, which is Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. So that’s generally where you’re going to put … the format that you’re going to follow in the body copy of an ad. These are, in my opinion, in order of importance. So when you’re testing and when you’re writing, nailing your headline, your value prop/hook is the most important thing you’re going to do. Then it comes to your image and your video, and then it’s your body copy, in that order when you’re testing. Everybody wants to test all the things, but nobody has an endless budget to test, so that’s the order of importance when it comes to your ad.

Wahida Lakhani: Let’s look at an example of how this kind of works, right? For this example here, we have the tried and true health coaching workshop blueprint phrase. This is for a coach who helps other health coaches build their business. So we’ve got our headline value prop/hook. We have an image. Here, what we did is we used a bit of a bonus in that she has a ton of social proof, so we added that into her image. Then, for the body copy, we used AIDA, which is my personal favorite. We grabbed attention with a succinct headline. You can also ask a question or put an interesting statement. You’ll notice that here, I’m going to talk about this in detail a little further along, I do call out the user. I do say you or your. I can do that in this case because I’m not talking about weight loss, I’m not making income claims, and I’m not in any of the more difficult to navigate spaces when it comes to our messaging.

Wahida Lakhani: When it’s sort of benign, like this, like if you’re selling coffee, if you’re selling rubber duckies, you can say you and Facebook isn’t going to mind as much. They mind when the you is attached to a negative characteristic. That’s one of the defining rules, okay? I’ll go over this quickly, because y’all are copywriters. I don’t need to teach you this stuff. Then we show interest by showing empathy. We paint a picture of our struggle. We create desire by showing the desirable outcome, and then we spur them onto action, right? So what’s the clear next step? Download your blueprint. That’s basically the format of 99% of ads out there because it works. That’s what that looks like.

Wahida Lakhani: Let’s go into the fun stuff, the stuff that you’re here for. There’s really three simple rules that will help you navigate 90% of your problems when it comes to writing effective copy that converts and allows you to stay in Facebook’s good graces. My goal is that by the end of these examples, it becomes dead obvious. I’m going to put up these two ads. We have option A, and we have option B. I’m hoping you can see this on your screen. Let’s give a guess, I’ll give you a second to guess, which of the ads do you think would have been approved, and which one do you think would not have been approved?

Joanna Wiebe: People should just chat them over. We’re already getting some chats in.

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah, perfect. Perfect. Awesome. A, B, B.

Joanna Wiebe: Lots of B’s, some A’s.

Wahida Lakhani: Good, good, good. Love it.

Joanna Wiebe: [inaudible 00:15:36] on B.

Wahida Lakhani: That is correct. B would have been approved, whereas A would not have been approved. Here’s why. The first is because we’re saying, “Are you suffering from an autoimmune disease?” We’re talking to the user an attaching what could be perceived as a negative characteristic or a struggle. That’s step one. You can’t do that. The second thing here is we have an image that talks about drugs, right? That was one of our obvious rules. So we don’t want to do that. That’s going to get us in trouble. The version-

Joanna Wiebe: Oh, go ahead. No, go ahead. That’s fine. Sorry. Please go.

Wahida Lakhani: The version that is approved, instead of saying, “Are you suffering from an autoimmune disease?” We talk from the client’s personal perspective. I remember when I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. This one workaround, so when you talk from your personal perspective, from a client’s personal perspective, or as a generalization will solve, again, 99% of your problems. If there’s one thing that you take away from this, this one little tweak is generally where people get tripped up at the most. While the image is sadder in tone, it’s not necessarily objectively a difficult topic, right? The pills, we know it’s a no. Whereas this, someone’s sleeping. It evokes the feeling that someone might have, but it’s not in-your-face negative. It’s kind of a gray area, but it works. So that’s our first dead simple rule, which is when you’re describing the pain or the problem, tell it from the perspective of the client. You can name them. You don’t have to name them. Or by leveraging your hero story, so I used to struggle with, or in general terms. Many women think that, many people struggle with. So keep it general.

Wahida Lakhani: Avoid the use of the word you when associated with anything negative. So that’s rule number one. Jo, do you want to take questions as we go, or should we leave them till the end?

Joanna Wiebe: There’s a big question that I think we should leave till the end. Everybody else is just commenting that it’s a great workaround, et cetera, so it’s awesome. No, we’re good for now, thanks.

Wahida Lakhani: Perfect. Perfect. So, here’s another option we can quickly guess. Option A was approved, or option B was approved? What do we think?

Joanna Wiebe: Just chat over A or B.

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah.

Joanna Wiebe: So everybody’s saying A except, like, two people.

Wahida Lakhani: A was the one that was approved. B was the one that was disapproved. Again, it falls back to this idea of, “Most of my clients believe the wrong things when it comes to slimming down.” So we’re talking generally about someone else. We’re also using, and this is going to be the next rule, a bit of a euphemism when it comes to using weight or negative keywords. You have to remember that Facebook’s first line of defense is those keywords. So if we can find creative euphemisms or turns of phrase that won’t ping Facebook’s automatic review, then you’re most of the way there. Here, things like this, “but here’s the thing: there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. It’s just like a puzzle. Putting it together the right way creates a pretty picture, being naturally slim without deprivation, and doing it the wrong way means a mangled mess, basically.” So we’re not saying, “You need to lose weight. You’ll be unhappy if you’re not 10 pounds lighter.” We’re just kind of using creative turns of phrase.

Wahida Lakhani: The image itself would totally work, because it is a positive image of people being active, versus the image here on the right, where there’s a definite implication that you would be unhappy with your body or that this is about a perfect version of someone. So that’s kind of the rule there. Then, here, how to drop that hormonal weight, again, you’re using generalizations. We’re not saying how do you drop that hormonal weight. We’re saying how to drop that hormonal weight. Facebook will absolutely approve this. Whereas, on the other side, I don’t know if any of you eagle-eyed folks would have seen that they used the word sex. I saw this in the wild. I just had a client come to me with this exact ad, so I’ve pulled this as a real example. Don’t use the word sex. That’s not going to work for you. Everything up here was fine, where they were talking about a client’s perspective, so this was her opinion about losing weight, but then they segue into you and start to use negative characteristics, and that wouldn’t fly for them. Cool?

Wahida Lakhani: So here’s rule number two, which is leverage euphemisms or turns of phrase that your target market will understand. This will help you side step Facebook’s review of negative words or gray area keywords. For example, when you’re in the weight loss space, you can say slimming down. You can say get toned and lean. You can say weight woes. Weight woes is from Dr. Josh Axe. You’ll see that example coming up, which is particularly creative. That’s the idea, is that you stay on the positive side and stay a little bit creative and walk that line between creative and clear. That’s rule number two. So if we look at this next example, this is the coaching/online marketing space. Which one do we think would have been approved, and which one would not have been approved?

Joanna Wiebe: Shout A or B. This one’s tougher. People are taking their time with it. I won’t say what everyone says. Everyone can see. Some are chatting to all panelists. Some are panelists only and others to the group.

Wahida Lakhani: Lots of A’s.

Joanna Wiebe: Lots of A’s. Oh, Eric said neither. Eric said this was a trick question. Is it?

Wahida Lakhani: Well, I’ll have you know, Eric, that A has been running for months. A was approved. Here’s where, again, it’s that nuance. You can’t use an income claim, but you can use generalizations or hold someone up as a case study or example. In this example, we talk about this particular client, who took their business from making barely anything to 7K a month in recurring revenue. So it sounds like a big claim, but it works, because she’s talking about her personal experience. If she was saying how you can generate 7K a month in recurrent passive revenue, it would not fly, and that’s what we see on this example on the right. The image of kids is actually … Well, her family, basically. That’s performing very well when it comes to native creative. What’s happening is folks are starting to see ads in their newsfeed, and they’re experiencing what we call banner blindness. Banner blindness is as old as time, but we’re seeing it now on Facebook, where we were normally seeing it on the interwebs, when banners would follow you around.

Wahida Lakhani: Folks are basically seeing an ad that looks like an ad and continue to scroll. They don’t stop. So if your image looks like it should be posted by a friend or a family or just a user on Facebook, then it’s more likely to perform well, versus highly graphically designed ads. Those tend not to perform as well, right now, anyway. Sort of a pattern interrupt based on what we’ve been seeing a lot on Facebook. Then, if we go on to the right-hand side, this idea of a woman with money, it’s probably a clear no-go. This is very close to an income claim. If it looks spammy, it is spammy, right? Then, at the bottom, where it says this is something you can have, you can get something from [inaudible 00:23:59], that’s totally not going to fly. You can’t make income claims. You can’t make a promise about what they’ll be able to earn. You can talk about what your client or yourself has done as a case study.

Joanna Wiebe: There’s a question here, Wahida, a little bit here about earning 7K versus generating 7K. I know that the approved one was in the first person rather than the second, so there’s that for the headline. Generate versus earn, any notes there?

Wahida Lakhani: Yes, yes, yes. Absolutely. When we’re looking at this … I’ll just pop to the rule. Yeah, absolutely. You can use the word revenue, but you can’t say earnings. So that’s generally the rule. You can talk about your business doubling. You can talk about getting your next 5 to 10 clients. You can talk about how a client had a 10X launch or how they brought in $230,000, but you can’t say, “My salary has increased,” because Facebook doesn’t want you to be promoting job opportunities or MLM … They’re careful around MLMs and that kind of stuff. Absolutely. Don’t make income claims. Instead, present someone as an example or a case study. Try to use words like revenue, but not earnings. It’s even better if you can focus on a tangible thing that will get them the outcome.

Wahida Lakhani: Here’s what I mean by that. If we look at Frank Kern here on the left, the online marketing pillar, basically, if you want to call him that, he’s focusing on how to grow your business with a book funnel. He’s growing your business, he’s in the online marketing space, but he is focusing on the thing, the tangible thing that you’re going to use in order to get the results. That’s a great way to kind of play it. Then, here on the right-hand side with Law Business Mentors, I used to run ads for these folks. One of the things we started to steer away from is instead of building a seven-figure law practice, it was how Amy quadrupled her revenue the first year, how Joe is booking 10 to 15 clients a month, that kind of stuff. It’s still nice of you to do that fun stuff, which is measurable, which works really well in ads, but without having to make income claims.

Joanna Wiebe: Wahida, with Frank Kern’s, with, “Are you tired of chasing down leads,” it’s not negative, even though struggling was negative before, and struggling is similar to being tired of, like tired of chasing down leads. It’s negative, but it’s not?

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah. In this case, it doesn’t feel like an accusation or a personal struggle. It feels a little more general. It feels a little more neutral.

Joanna Wiebe: Now, can I ask, and I don’t know if this is true, but with Google, you get an authority. If Frank wasn’t getting these sorts of reactions, like if he had very few shares, almost no comments, is there any signal for Facebook when you are getting a lot of … Does that factor in?

Wahida Lakhani: Absolutely. Absolutely. Facebook is going to be taking into account a few things. One is the history of your ads account. This is where it gets … Your Facebook ads person should be watching these things, and it comes down to metrics a little bit. When you talk about these signals, like these social signals, it’s social proof. What really matters and what’s happening behind the scenes in ads managers, you’re getting a relevant score similar to Google’s quality score. Basically, it’s a score out of 10, and Facebook is saying of all the negative and positive interactions that are happening on your ad, where are you netting out? If your score is below five, you should turning that ad off. If your score is 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, you can keep your ads on. For example, if we look back at this, option A, this has a 10 out of 10 score, so your Facebook ads person should be proactively looking at these things. So this ad is completely safe. Does that make sense?

Joanna Wiebe: Yeah. No, completely.

Wahida Lakhani: Cool, cool. So let’s look at some additional examples. I’m going to show you how you can actually start navigating to other people’s live ads and seeing what they’re putting out into the world so that you can decide what your risk level and tolerance level is going to be. If you want to be super safe, you’ll never use the word you. You’ll really stay on the safe side of all of the rules. But if you want to play in the gray, which is generally what makes the most effective ad copy, then these are some examples of things that you can do.

Wahida Lakhani: With Dr. Josh Axe, he uses that creative line “weight woes.” So he doesn’t say, “Do you want to lose weight? Lose your next pounds.” He says, “weight woes,” and then he starts to talk about his keto diet plan. You’ll notice he does use the word you down here, right? But he’s using that in a more natural way, so he’s getting away with it. You can decide that that isn’t what you want to do at all, and you can drop the word “you” from this completely. That’s one really safe way to write your copy. This is designed to show people who are in the program how to do this, that, and the other, or just find ways to drop the you all together. This is an ad that’s running, and it’s performing really well.

Wahida Lakhani: When we look at 21-day fix, again, euphemisms. Get super lean and defined in just 21 days. So they’re not using the word you. They’re just kind of pulling it in. They’re assuming that you’re going to put the two dots together, right? Again, it’s a workaround for the kind of ad that you can put in. You’ll notice the images are positive. This is of food, which is completely neutral, and then this is of folks working out. Working out is fine. It’s where you start to … Before and after photos aren’t going to be allowed. Anything that shows an ideal version of a body against a version of a body that someone might want improvement on, that’s totally not okay. Again, the user experience. Are we speaking to them in a way that they think to themselves, oh, okay, this person recognizes me and my pains without me coming away from the ad feeling insulted.

Wahida Lakhani: Here’s some examples from more neutral spaces. So, Proactiv. When we talk about Proactiv here, they’ve helped millions of people fight acne. So generalizations about other folks. That’ll absolutely fly. This one is a quote from one of their clients, or past users, so that totally flies. She’s talking from her personal experience. They’re not calling you out, as someone in the newsfeed who might have problems with their skin.

Joanna Wiebe: Wahida, at what point does it cross into the lines of a sort of claim, where legal would say, “We have to [inaudible 00:31:10] type that.” Can you talk to that at all, just quickly? I know we’re already over time, but people are loving you, by the way.

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s say Proactiv. I wouldn’t say, “How to get clear skin in 30 days,” because that’s a claim, and then you have to be prepared to deal with that with legal. I could say, “Join our clear skin challenge. It’s a 5-day challenge or it’s a 30-day challenge.”

Joanna Wiebe: I wonder about the millions of people, because anybody can say that. If there’s nowhere that you have to prove it … or do you prove it on the landing page? Or is Facebook not worried about that particular sort of claim at this point in history?

Wahida Lakhani: It comes back to the idea that do they have a reason to believe you? Proactiv can say that. They’ll be ready and able to deal with it. Facebook isn’t necessarily going to police that. It comes back to finite resources and doing your best to manage the rules and have good intentions with the platform and what you’re writing. Let’s say that you’re a fly-by-night snake oil salesman and you said millions of people, then there’s going to be other indicators that Facebook is looking at, like your relevance scores, the health of your account, that kind of thing. We don’t want to worry about that scenario, because none of us are going to try and do that. In the case of Proactiv, if they have helped millions of people and they can back it up, then it’s believable for Proactiv. If I was a small business owner and I said, “I can help you make a million dollars,” then Facebook’s general rule to try and protect from that is to say income claims. It’s true. Social proof is one of those things that’s a little bit sketchy.

Wahida Lakhani: HubSpot can say, “We have 500 users,” and if that’s true, it’s true. It comes down to is Facebook going to pick a fight with you if it’s useful? Err on the side of being careful, because Facebook can and will shut you down if they don’t believe you. So that’s the other thing.

Joanna Wiebe: Nice.

Wahida Lakhani: So last few examples, because dating … I don’t know if anyone’s going to be writing for dating, but it was the biggest issue a long time ago. Facebook shut down any dating advertising, and then they brought it back. If you are working in dating, you have to put in an official form and get approved. The reason I bring up all these examples is because if you can think about copy for the worst or the most difficult verticals, you can write copy for any vertical. Again, if you’re selling coffee or kitchen tables, this is nothing that you’re going to have to worry about. This is where the fun stuff happens, where we get to see, if you’re at risk of being shut down, how do you manage this? For dating, you can see, again, she’s talking generally. Some women have an emotional blind spot. My clients use five simple steps. She’s not saying you. She’s not attaching a negative characteristic. She’s talking really, really generally, so it’s flying and it’s working.

Wahida Lakhani: This other example here, money after graduation … which she has a great program. I have it. It’s phenomenal, so I’m biased. She’s focusing on the specific thing that’s going to get you … the vehicle that’s going to get you to your goals, so an introduction to the stock market. She used to run how to build your first six-figure stock portfolio. That was the hook, and she’s walked it back a little bit from there. You can see how it’s not her hook anymore. It’s not the main emphasis. It is an introduction to the stock market. So if you’re in finance, again, focus on the thing or something that’s measurable. How to get started with the stock market, five steps to get to place your first stock order, that kind of thing. Think back to the rules and navigate that way.

Wahida Lakhani: Just to kind of review the rules, these dead simple ways that you can start to navigate the nuances of Facebook ads is, one … Again, if this is the only one you use, for the majority of you, this is going to solve all of your problems. When you’re describing a problem or agitating the pain, don’t use the word “you.” Find creative ways around it. Leverage euphemisms or turns of phrase that your target market will know. Sometimes clients will make up words. Don’t make up a word. Don’t say, “My unicorn oil that’s going to solve all of your problems.” Use their language so that they can recognize it right away. Be careful not to make income claims. Again, you can use the word revenue. You can say next 10 clients. You can say double or triple your business. You don’t want to refer to earnings or take-home salary.

Wahida Lakhani: Then, whenever you’re in doubt, write it the way you want it to sound, and then sweep it with that person in mind, the Facebook ads person, who’s never run an ad in their life but will be looking for these kinds of nuances.

Joanna Wiebe: Nice.

Wahida Lakhani: Cool? Here’s some fun stuff, how to spy on your peers and competitors, if we have time. I’ll walk you through this. Awesome. This is as a result of … This new functionality’s as a result of Facebook wanting to make advertising transparent. As a result, if you go to any page … and I have Beach Body up right now. If you go to any page and you scroll down to the bottom where info and ads is, you can click on it. We’ll let it load. It’s going to show you all of the active ads they have running right now. So you can sort for geography, but you can scroll down and see basically everything. Now, the disclaimer is just because the ad is live doesn’t mean that it is performing really well, but it gives you an idea of what’s been approved and what other marketing messages are in the space that your ideal target market might be exposed to. It’s kind of a great place to get some inspiration and do some research, which is awesome. This will work for any Facebook page that is currently running ads, which is super neat.

Joanna Wiebe: Nice.

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah. A few last words about not getting shut down. So here’s something that you’ll want to do, is develop a relationship with your ads manager or agency, if you have them. You guys should be in lock step when it comes to submitting ads for approval. For those of you who want to roll up your sleeves, you can create a dummy ads account and submit the ads yourself without any consequences. If you need a quick and dirty tip, set up an ads account for yourself, just yourself on the ads account, and submit ads there to kind of get a feel for what will and will not be approved. If you’re new to working a specific vertical, like weight loss, this can be a great workaround so you can get a sense of what will and will not work without having to hand it over to the client and then have the client tell you that it didn’t fly, right?

Wahida Lakhani: Let’s say your ads weren’t approved. Now what do you do? You’ve got a little notifications in your ads manager, and it says, “Nope, this isn’t working for us.” The first thing that you want to know is that getting your ad disapproved is not the same thing as getting shut down. There’s a gap there, which is great. So you can get your ads approved fairly frequently without your ads account getting shut down. You don’t want your ad to be disapproved, but it’s not something to panic about, right? If you’re working with an experienced ads person, this won’t phase them at all. They’ll know exactly what to do, and they’ll work with you to solve this. Again, lean on an ads person if you have the option. Often, Facebook will display the reason for why it wasn’t approved, so just tweak the copy and resubmit it or appeal. If Facebook is going to be a pain, then your ads manager, assuming that they’re managing a certain amount of money every month, will have access to Facebook ad support, so they can escalate this for you.

Wahida Lakhani: Some of the mystery around how it works is simply that you give it a go, and if it doesn’t work, your Facebook ads person should be able to fix it for you or work with you to fix it. Send them coffee. Give them praise. They will be working to help you with this stuff. Okay, a quick note on landing pages, because this is new. Well, not new. The rule came in about a year ago, if not longer, but now they’re really enforcing it on a new level. Your landing pages generally need to, again, protect the user experience. So all of the things that were true for your ads need to be true for your landing pages. Sweep for language that Facebook wouldn’t approve. This is also for your sales pages, just to be safe. I had a client who had a hormonal weight loss program, and she had one version of the sales page that was internally for her emails and that kind of thing, and we had another version of the sales page that I was sending retargeting ads to. We stripped the sales page of before and after photos and that kind of thing, and she was totally fine and had a huge launch. Just be mindful of that.

Wahida Lakhani: Don’t enable pop-ups. Facebook doesn’t love that. Google hasn’t loved that for a long time. Facebook also doesn’t enjoy it. Maintain message match with a short and concise description. I’ll show you what that looks like on the landing page, but don’t send … None of us would do this, because we understand message match, but don’t send an ad to a landing page that doesn’t seem to fit or be relevant, right? Take care that the page looks clean and user friendly, and include your privacy policy in the footer.

Wahida Lakhani: So here’s an example of a landing page. This was a client who actually came to me. They’d had their account flagged. We rejigged their landing page. So we used language that didn’t associate negative characteristics with the reader. The offer’s clean. It’s a clean experience. The privacy policy is linked down below, and there’s no pop-ups. It’s optimized for mobile, and just as a good note, the CTA’s above the fold. We all know that stuff. This was a landing page that was absolutely approved, easy peasy, approved in a matter of minutes. Again, this is stuff we know. Keep it simple. We don’t want to get hyped up in the mystery of Facebook. Facebook’s trying to do a great job, and if we follow these simple rules, we’ll be able to do it, as well. So, if there’s questions, I’m happy to answer them. This link down here will take you to Facebook’s policies. So if you just follow that, you can read the policies for yourself, as well.

Joanna Wiebe: Amazing, for one. People are going nuts. I’m going to send the chat transcript to you after so you can see. It was amazing. Thank you so much. That was so cool. Everybody’s saying it now. Thunderous applause. [inaudible 00:42:30] panelists, but very cool. We do have some questions. Let’s try to get them in in the next 16 minutes. Thank you for sparing this time, as well.

Wahida Lakhani: No, of course, of course.

Joanna Wiebe: And everyone who stayed on, too. So, the questions. We have 10, so I’m trying to triage them a bit. Well, Jason said, “Wahida, how do I hire you?” So I should start with that one. Is that a thing?

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah, absolutely. So you can contact me at this email address, and we can have a conversation. If you just need quick strategy help, I offer that, and if you’re looking for more hands-on help, we can chat.

Joanna Wiebe: Justin says, “Does dropping the link multiple times throughout the ad result in lower reach. I’ve heard a rumor that Facebook is punishing that practice.”

Wahida Lakhani: I would keep it to … Again, it comes back to the rule anything that looks spammy is spammy. I would keep it to two links, maybe three.

Joanna Wiebe: There’s a question about cryptocurrencies, which yikes, but I’ll read it. It’s a big one, too. Eric says, “Facebook has special policies regarding cryptocurrencies. I have tried to receive preapproval, as described in their terms and policies, but Facebook support completely stopped engaging. It’s frustrating when trying to follow the rules and Facebook doesn’t seem to follow their own rules.” Eric’s copy is essentially, do you want to learn about blockchain and cryptocurrency? Then, he says, we are selling a course, not a get-quick-rich scheme or anything shady. In fact, we’re trying to help people not get scammed or money stolen. Any chance you can comment on this issue?

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah, absolutely. So the first question I have is, are you working with an ads person? Because they should be able to navigate this for you. They should be able to escalate it for you, as well. So you will have to go through the Facebook gods. There isn’t any going around it. But if they’ve stopped engaging with you, then you need someone who has a history in marketing on Facebook ads with a certain amount of ad spend behind you to start solving this problem for you. So I would reach out. If you need help, you can reach out to me at this email address, and I can help navigate that for you. Reach out to a Facebook ads person, and they should be able to help escalate.

Joanna Wiebe: Awesome. Thank you. Lauren says, “Can you talk about the effectiveness of a video ad versus a real, non-designed photo? Are you seeing successful ads with both? Is the recommendation to A/B test?”

Wahida Lakhani: Yes, so, A/B test all the things. What I have found is that video at the bottom of the funnel, so leading to a sales page, leading to webinar, and with warm audiences, tends to get longer retention rates. Video retention rates is a metric that’s in the back of the ads manager. So that’s something to think about. If your goal is I want them to consume content, then at the bottom of the funnel, it’s fantastic. When it comes to live streams, for example we’re retargeting our warm audiences constantly on a weekly basis. If you’ve got a weekly livestream, retarget your folks with that kind of content. It’s phenomenal. At the top of the funnel, it depends. Some ads accounts, an image will perform a smidge bit better than a video, because it depends on what action do you want. Do you want them to click through and sign up, or do you want them to consume the content? You would think that they would do both, but a lot of the data says that they’re going to choose one or the other.

Wahida Lakhani: So I would test both. Video is all the rage. Everybody wants to work with video, understandably, so I would test both. I have clients who … For example, with the New Law Business Model, when I was managing ads for them, they didn’t have capacity to create video, but it didn’t stop them from being a multi-seven-figure business. So test both.

Joanna Wiebe: Further to that, Robin had a question about the law firm ad. Robin said, “It talked about your struggling law practice, and the word earn is in there, so how did that pass?”

Wahida Lakhani: I know. They have a very high tolerance for risk. Part of that is because I’m running the ads, so I’m in there. I can navigate, and I’m comfortable with the risk. I play in the gray area all the time. So that’s one of the beautiful things of working with a Facebook ads person who’s in there constantly, because I have a sense for what’s going to work. If you’re nervous about it, again, the quick and easy way is to talk from your perspective, talk from a client’s perspective, or use generalizations. Often, lawyers will struggle with this. They’ll just take anyone who walks in the door, and that’s not ideal. So use that rule that we talked about to be safe 99% of the time, but if you want to play in the gray area, work with a Facebook ads person.

Joanna Wiebe: Cool. Excellent. [Nuvan 00:47:30] says, “I have an ad running that’s about dealing with neck pain with a person in pain as the image. I use the words, ‘Does your neck feel like this,’ and I’m yet to receive any issues with the ad. Do you think that I basically got lucky and should soften up my ad to avoid future issues?”

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah, I would soften up my ad and create a version that’s a little more keeping in mind will it pass a manual review. I would keep a version of that, especially if you’re working on your own versus working with an agency or ads person so it’s safe. I would do that just to be safe, yeah.

Joanna Wiebe: Awesome, awesome. Erin says, “In the health and fitness niche, I’m getting ready to launch an add using MRI images that show the differences between fat/chubby muscles versus lean muscles. What’s the likelihood of Facebook rejecting the ad?”

Wahida Lakhani: I imagine that if it were approved, it would be short-lived, so I would steer away from that. That’s beautiful content to put in your funnel, on a webinar, in a blog post, that kind of thing, but I would steer away from it on a Facebook ad.

Joanna Wiebe: Okay. Steven says, “How exactly does a dummy account work? Do we need a separate login and email for a dummy account?”

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah. So you would just create it the way you would … I can send over instructions. If you Google Facebook ads add account, how to set up, basically, you would just set it up from scratch. You want to be the only person on it. You don’t want to be sharing it with anybody else. You will have to add your billing information, but you’re never running ads, so it won’t charge you. Literally, you can set it up in an afternoon, and it’s pretty straightforward. I would Google a YouTube video to kind of set it up, but that’s kind of the long and short of it.

Joanna Wiebe: Carlos says, “Do you do copy compliance critiques?”

Wahida Lakhani: I do. If you want to reach out to me at this email address, I can definitely help.

Joanna Wiebe: Fantastic. Steven says, “How does a great Facebook ad person charge?”

Wahida Lakhani: Great question. They’ll charge a number of ways. The better the person is, the more they’ll charge. Before you get started, you oftentimes … One of the questions someone who’s really great at their job will ask you is, “Do you have a funnel in place, and is it working? Are you generating sales from that funnel, or how are you generating sales?” Those are the two kind of requirements. Generally, it varies. Anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 a month in retainer fee is normal. Then, you add on top of that … Some agencies will add on top of that a percentage of your ad spend. That sounds like a lot of money, especially if you’re just starting out. So learn from folks who are teaching from scratch. I’m a fan of Claire Pelletreau, if you take a look at her stuff, or Andrew Hubbard. They all have great courses that you can Google and take a look at. Yeah, that’s generally how much they’ll cost.

Joanna Wiebe: Claire Pelletreau?

Wahida Lakhani: Yeah, Pelletreau. P-E-L-L-E-T-R-E-A-U.

Joanna Wiebe: Okay. The other person, Andrew Hubbard?

Wahida Lakhani: Andrew Hubbard, yeah.

Joanna Wiebe: Okay, cool. People are chatting out those links. Thank you to people who are doing that. That’s awesome. Just a couple more, and then we’ll wrap it up. I know people are already leaving. We’ve had lots of people have to go, and that’s totally cool, but the replay will be available. Louise says, “Does putting the link or call to action right after two sentences of the ad copy upset the Facebook gods? Does having the link below the ad copy get approved? Does it make any difference where the link goes, essentially?”

Wahida Lakhani: I haven’t seen any difference, so it shouldn’t make an issue.

Joanna Wiebe: Awesome. Nice and clear. [LeMonica 00:51:30] says, “How do you know when a Facebook ad is doing well? What’s the metric to shoot for?”

Wahida Lakhani: The biggest KPI of all of them, is it bringing in sales? If you work your way back from that … If your main KPI is, is it bringing in sales? Am I getting an ROI? If you want to work towards the front end of those metrics, things that I’ll look for are your relevance score. So out of a 10, what’s the balance of your positive to negative interactions? That’s what Facebook is measuring with that, basically. That’s telling you the health of your account and how well the ad is being received. If it’s lower, on the low end of that relevance score, likely you need to change audiences or you need to rejig your offer, like the copy on the ad. Other things like traditional things that we’ll look at are cost per lead or cost per registration, assuming you’re running a conversion campaign, where the ad’s objective is to have someone join your list or take an action where they’re converting, a microconversion on the front end of your funnel, and/or clickthrough rate. Of the people who are seeing your ads, how many of them are clicking through to your next destination? So those are some of the ways that you’ll look at it. A great clickthrough rate is at least 1%. Those are some of the top-level metrics.

Joanna Wiebe: Cool. So there was talk about a template before, and I kind of hinted at a template. Is [inaudible 00:52:59] for this?

Wahida Lakhani: So maybe it was a bait and switch. The template was the AIDA.

Joanna Wiebe: Oh, okay good. That’s cool. That’s all. People were just like … Manuel just asked, “Is there a template?” So AIDA, great, and you had the three steps, like the three different parts. Cool. All in the replay. One last question, and then we will wrap it up with how to follow up with you, et cetera. Charlie said, “You mentioned snake oil and MLM a couple times. My sister sells essential oils for an MLM. I’m not a fan, but I want to help her. Any insight on how to set up a successful ad?”

Wahida Lakhani: Yes, absolutely. Facebook is careful of MLMs. That said, there are lots of MLMs who are successfully advertising on Facebook. You just need to be one step removed. Here’s what I mean by that. Instead of saying, “Here are …” An ad that’s like, join my MLM. Join my downstream, or whatever that language might be. You would say something along the lines of, “Here are ways to …” I’m trying to think off the top of my head. The 10 oils that are used most often. That’s an awful example, but do you see how it’s separated? Let’s say you were an MLM, and you wanted to promote the downstream of your business. You would talk about social media techniques. You would talk about how to grow your list. You would talk about those kinds of things and target MLMs, and they would connect the dots. When it comes to oil, the other thing that you can do is drive traffic to educational content like blog posts. Then, once they’re in your funnel, then you educate them.

Wahida Lakhani: Here’s another example. The Pinterest ad that you saw, what she’s doing is affiliate marketing. She drives Pinterest traffic to affiliate marketing, and that’s how she makes her recurring revenue. We start at the top of the funnel, basically, with they’re problem aware. So we talk about how to use Pinterest to drive recurring revenue. Once they’re in the funnel, in the webinar, we talk about affiliate marketing. It’s not the messaging we lead with. It happens inside the funnel, where we’re safe and we own that data and those folks. Hopefully, that helps.

Joanna Wiebe: Love it. Wahida, you have hundreds of new fans.

Wahida Lakhani: Yay!

Joanna Wiebe: People, they are going nuts, so I know that they’ll want to reach out to you for more. You’re probably going to want to do more live training like this. Just saying. Other types, too. So we see wahida@digitalinthecity.com. You’ve got anything else that people can do to follow you, learn more from you?

Wahida Lakhani: That’s the perfect way to kind of reach out to me. So I’m super excited to hear from you if you need some help. Hopefully, this was useful, and thanks, guys, for having me.

Joanna Wiebe: Thank you for being here. Thanks for that great training. Thanks for everybody who stayed on for the full hour. We’re 20 minutes [inaudible 00:55:57]. We really try to get it to 20 minutes, but I mean, when it’s stuff like this, time is not important, right? This is incredible training. Thank you so much. Do follow up with Wahida. Follow her wherever you can, and we’ll see you in our next Tutorial Tuesday. Thanks, Wahida. Thanks, everybody.

Wahida Lakhani: Bye, guys.

Joanna Wiebe: Bye.

Copywriting tutorials

COPYWRITING
How to write headlines
How to be specific in your copy
How to write great bullet lists
How to write a long-form sales page
How to write compelling “agitation” copy
How to write holiday copy
3 essential copy techniques to use daily

AD COPYWRITING
How to write an Adwords ad
How to write Facebook-compliant ads

EMAIL COPYWRITING
How to write welcome emails
How to write a launch-day sales email
How to write a last-day launch email
How to write a cold email
How to write cold emails for services
How to write a trial-ending SaaS email
How to write a post-welcome SaaS email
How to write TOFU emails

FREELANCING
How to write a project proposal
How to present your copy to clients
How to get more proposals approved
How to wireframe your landing pages

PLANNING & PRE-WORK
How to research a blog post
How to plan a SaaS onboarding funnel
How to use Amazon review mining
How to do a content audit
How to know what your visitor’s thinking
How to use SEO landing pages
Creating a Launch Command Center
How to evergreen your course sales
A 3-part copywriting process for newbies

OPTIMIZATION
How to optimize a headline
How to optimize a SaaS sequence
How to optimize content for SEO
How to validate your copy
Optimize your email sequence with Trello

CONTENT
How to write an epic blog post
How to write a mass-appeal blog post
How to write funny content
How to make your writing sound good
How to keep readers reading
Blog post formula for authority building
How to write an ultimate guide

THE SEVEN SWEEPS (Editing)
Sweep 1: The Clarity Sweep
Sweep 2: The Voice + Tone Sweep
Sweeps 3 & 4: The Believability Sweeps
Sweep 5: The Specificity Sweep
Sweep 6: The Heightened Emotion Sweep
Sweep 7: The Zero Risk Sweep

We built a million-dollar business on blogging

Amazing blog posts build businesses and print money. Now Copy Hackers is teaching indies and teams to write kick-ass posts in half the time. Get notified when we're live.

Unsubscribe anytime. 100% privacy. Powered by ConvertKit

Our most popular tutorials

COPYWRITING
How to write headlines
How to be specific in your copy
How to write great bullet lists
How to write a long-form sales page
How to write compelling “agitation” copy
How to write holiday copy
3 essential copy techniques to use daily

AD COPYWRITING
How to write an Adwords ad
How to write Facebook-compliant ads

EMAIL COPYWRITING
How to write welcome emails
How to write a launch-day sales email
How to write a last-day launch email
How to write a cold email
How to write cold emails for services
How to write a trial-ending SaaS email
How to write a post-welcome SaaS email
How to write TOFU emails

FREELANCING
How to write a project proposal
How to present your copy to clients
How to get more proposals approved
How to wireframe your landing pages

PLANNING & PRE-WORK
How to research a blog post
How to plan a SaaS onboarding funnel
How to use Amazon review mining
How to do a content audit
How to know what your visitor’s thinking
How to use SEO landing pages
Creating a Launch Command Center
How to evergreen your course sales
A 3-part copywriting process for newbies

OPTIMIZATION
How to optimize a headline
How to optimize a SaaS sequence
How to optimize content for SEO
How to validate your copy
Optimize your email sequence with Trello

CONTENT
How to write an epic blog post
How to write a mass-appeal blog post
How to write funny content
How to make your writing sound good
How to keep readers reading
Blog post formula for authority building
How to write an ultimate guide

THE SEVEN SWEEPS (Editing)
Sweep 1: The Clarity Sweep
Sweep 2: The Voice + Tone Sweep
Sweeps 3 & 4: The Believability Sweeps
Sweep 5: The Specificity Sweep
Sweep 6: The Heightened Emotion Sweep
Sweep 7: The Zero Risk Sweep