How to use text in e-commerce ads

September 1, 2022

If you’ve ever wondered how much text your ecommerce ads should have or what you should write — you’re not alone. 

Words convey the specific information that visuals have a hard time doing. We know that words have the power to help us to sell more products. 

But what about the old “20% rule”? Or maybe you’ve considered using a video with audio of a person speaking to get your message across. 

Knowing how much text to use, or not use, is a dilemma marketers face. This article will offer valuable insight into best practices and show the data to support it.

*Note: To be clear, we are discussing how much and what text to put INSIDE the content of your ads and not the ad copy above or below the content.

High text amount increases performance for e-commerce ads

A common misconception is that text is bad — or instead, it’s best to use the least amount of text possible. 

This myth is shared by marketers and designers and may be heavily influenced by the outdated Facebook 20% rule. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this rule, back in the day your image could not have more than 20% as text. Images that exceeded 20% would get rejected in Facebook ads. 

The 20% rule is no longer applicable, yet seems to still have an influence today.

Here’s the thing; there is a direct correlation between a high amount of text and performance.

We must think like consumers and understand how they interact with ads. Consumers are looking for information, and the text you use to describe your product or offer will influence whether or not they convert. 

High text amounts help to increase sales because it allows you to include unique information about your offer. 

Take a look at the chart below, and you’ll see that a high amount of text can increase performance by 51%

We just mentioned that a high amount of text is good — so why do you still see ads with such little text?

There could be a few reasons for this, but overall, the less text others are using, the more you can benefit.

Majority of e-commerce ads uses low amount of text

Given that the majority of marketers push their ads with low or no text, presents an interesting opportunity for advertisers.

We just learned that a high amount of text performs best. Yet 27% of all ads don’t have a single letter in their content even though it results in the worst performing group.

Ads with little or no text receive 54% of all impressions.

This gives a great opportunity for marketers to stand out. 

Let’s look at how the text amount impacts performance on sales ads, one of the top-performing d types for e-commerce brands.

Ecommerce sales ads with high text amount performs the best

In general, the more information you add about a sale, the better the outcome.

Here’s an example:

“Summer Sale” is not nearly as effective as “ Summer Sale — ends in 3 days — Save up to 50%.”

The latter has much more text and gives the viewer more information about the specific details. 

Just mentioning the sale isn’t enough. In fact, when running sales, a high amount of text increase performance by 110%

Adding a high amount of text in a sales ad is a no-brainer.

But is that true for all types of e-commerce ads?

Let’s find out.

Ecommerce new ads with low text amount performs great

Here, we will be reviewing ads that talk about new collections, new product launches, etc.

E-commerce new ads perform differently than sales ads. 

When you’re looking to highlight something new, it’s best to “show” rather than “tell.” 

You want to highlight the brand or product with minimal descriptions of the features. This will pique curiosity in the audience. They will naturally want to quickly glance over it to see whether or not it’s interesting.

The chart below confirms that when launching news, a low amount of text performs 154% better than a high amount of text.

Find out more about How text amounts affect different messages.

Text rules — or myths, you can bust.

  • Don’t shy away from text because of Facebook’s old 20% rule and the brand affection. This is an outdated rule that can be forgotten.

  • Adopt the mentality that, in general, the more text you add to the content, the more likely the viewer is to buy from you

  • Context matters. Don’t forget that:

    • For sales, a high text amount performs 110% better than a low text amount.

    • But for news, a low text amount performs 154% better than a high text amount.

More to read

This article focuses purely on the impact of text in eCommerce content. To learn how to optimize your ads further, read these blogs:


The dataset from this article is based on 5.6B+ impressions and 6k+ pieces of individual content on Meta (Facebook) platforms. It takes into account data from all countries and only e-commerce brands, with the campaign objective of Conversions. The period is from 1st of September 2021 - 16th of September 2021.  Numbers are looking at correlation only, not causation. Remember to check your own data: numbers for different brands, industries, and contexts will vary. If you were intrigued about a specific insight, you can go in-depth into the various dimensions and how data can be segmented in Confect,  here.