How text in story ads influences performance

February 7, 2022

As advertising competition continuously increases, so does the need for advertisers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. 

Fortunately, when used correctly, story ads can be incredibly effective at helping brands achieve the differentiation they need.

But critical elements do need to be considered when creating them. 

For instance, colors, design, layout, message, and text all play an important role in making an effective story ad. 

Of these factors, text is one of the essential elements to consider because it directly communicates your message to your viewers and because of this, it can significantly impact ad performance. 

But how much text should you be using in your ads? 

And how much of an impact does text have on overall performance? 

Let’s explore the data we’ve found and see how it can help you optimize performance during your next ad campaign.

A high text amount in the content, performs the best when doing story ads

To study the impact text can have on performance, we compared ads with low, medium, and high amounts of text. When we say high amounts of text, we mean ads with text covering 20% or more of the content.

So what were our findings? 

Is it better to use more or less text in your story ads? 

To immediately put the debate to rest, our research found that using higher amounts of text in a story ad increased performance by 51%.

Whereas ads with low or medium amounts of text performed 27% below average. 

If you're wondering how much text to include in your non-story ads, find out more here.

More text means more information, which is something that your ad viewers can appreciate! 

Ads with very little text can often leave them with unanswered questions. 

And this can leave you with lower click-through and conversion rates. 

So, it's generally safer to include more text in your content rather than less.

It's also good to note that you can edit your Facebook ads with overlays or other types of graphic designs to include this type of relevant information, rather than having actual text in your ad content.

However, the impact of using more text is not universal, and there are cases where using a higher amount of text will perform worse. 

Let's take a look! 

Generally, high text amount improves performance, except for Free & News

We now know that people generally appreciate a story ad with more text.

But are there any ads that perform better (or worse) than others when including more text? 

We looked at ad messages that mentioned sales, shipping, competitions, free, and news to find out.  

When we compared these categories, we found that sales, shipping, and competition messages performed between 28% and 85% better when we included higher amounts of text. 

Alternately, ads that mention free or news performed 3% and 8% below average, respectively.

Our thinking is that ad viewers require more details when looking at sales, shipping, or competition ads. 

For instance, they’ll want to know more about the specific discount, which products are on sale, shipping and delivery times, return information, etc. 

So by using less text in these ads, you’re essentially leaving out information viewers want to see. 

On the other hand, when talking about new products or free offers, viewers don’t need any additional details to understand the context of the message. 

When it comes to news, curiosity and novelty are likely enough to motivate a viewer to click through and learn more. 

And when talking about free offers, who doesn’t love free stuff? The word free is often enticing on its own. 

So when the message is already quite clear, including more text can actually hurt performance and decrease your overall conversion rate. 

In story ads, 4 lines of text in the ad body performs 52% better than 1 line

When it comes to story ads, it’s not only the text inside your content that counts. 

The text in your caption or ad body also plays a pivotal role in the performance of your ad campaign. 

Our research found that four lines of text in the ad body performed 52% better than using only one line of text.

However, the ad body is a great place to include additional information for your viewers. 

If they’re intrigued by your ad and want more information, all they have to do is click on the ad body to learn more. 

However, it’s important to keep your text as enticing as possible. 

And since the first line of text is always visible, even before clicking to see more, you need to use an attention-grabbing message for that first line. 

Then, in the following three lines, you can include other pertinent information, technical details, product features, specs, etc. 

This practice is particularly beneficial when promoting news or free offers. With these types of ads, you don’t want to use too much text in the content itself. 

But you can still include additional information in the ad body so viewers will still have all the information they need.  

How to optimize story ads with text

To ensure your story ads are optimized for maximum performance, you must focus on getting all essential elements right - especially when it comes to text. 

Even when it came to ads that mention “free” or “news,” the decrease in performance from having more text was not all that significant. 

Therefore, we found that including more text information is better than not including enough. 

And we also found that using four lines of text in the ad body performed significantly better than using only 1 or 2 lines. 

So in the end, and based on the data we’ve collected, it appears that using more text can increase the performance of your story ads! 

More to read

This article focuses purely on the impact of text in story ads. Keep optimizing with the following insights:

Data section

The dataset from this article is based on 1B impressions and 13.6K pieces of individual content on Meta (Facebook) platforms. It takes into account data from all countries and industries, with the campaign objective of Conversions. The period is from 1. September 2021 - 16. September 2022. The content was filtered based on the aspect ratio to separate 1:1 (square) from 9:16 (vertical).

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.