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Key Phrases Leverage the Mystery in Marketing Ad Copy to Boost Performance

When writing the perfect ad copy, it’s important to reveal just enough information so that our audience clicks, but we also want to leave enough to their imaginations — we don’t want to give away all of our tricks at once!

Key Phrases Leverage the Mystery in Marketing Ad Copy to Boost Performance

However, writing mysterious ad copy that still aligns with the social media platforms’ policy guidelines is a delicate balance. Too much withholding in your copy can result in disapproved ads, which is why we’ve decided to outline just how to master the art of subtle withholding in your ad copy.

These key phrases will help you establish just the right amount of mystery.

Content Summary

But First … What Is Withholding?
Why Does Withholding Matter?
The Right Way To Withhold In Your Ad Copy
Key Words and Phrases to Use in Ad Copy
Withholding And The Power of FOMO

Any publisher promoting content on Facebook, or other social platforms, knows that not abiding by the platform’s rules can have adverse effects on a campaign’s performance. If you take a look at the specific guidelines for each platform, you’ll see what particular words, phrases, images, and types of content are best avoided in ads.

However, these compliance guidelines aren’t always black and white. One main disapproval reason — withholding — can be an effective tactic to use in our ad copy. But there are compliant ways to go about it. Ways that can even boost your performance. Here, we’ll discuss when withholding gets flagged, how to write mysterious ad copy that’s policy-compliant, and how this tactic can actually help lift CTR and conversion rates.

But First … What Is Withholding?

Let’s talk about what platforms officially consider withholding. For these purposes, we’re going to use Facebook’s policy guidelines. An ad disapproved for withholding will be labeled as a “low-quality ad,” and Facebook defines these creatives as:

“Ads that purposefully withhold information to entice people to click in order to understand the full context.”

Catchy phrases such as “You’ll never believe …,” “Try to guess …,” and “You’ll never guess,” will most likely trigger a disapproval by the algorithm, but there are ways to achieve the same intriguing and enticing tone in your copy — without violating Facebook’s compliance guidelines. Swapping these phrases for ones like “Here are …,” “See how …,” or “This is …,” can keep the mystery alive, while keeping things compliant.

Why Does Withholding Matter?

It’s important to not give away too much about the article’s content and still play by Facebook’s rules. Why? If Facebook finds anything that goes against its policies, the ad is disapproved.

And racking up too many disapproved ads over time can have serious consequences on performance and your standing with Facebook. The platform can decrease the reach your ads and posts get, and in some cases, too many disapprovals even results in the entire ad account being shut down.

So if you are thinking about using this tactic often in your promoted content on social media, it’s best to remember to be smart about it. How? We’re here to help.

When done right (and safely,) we can see a boost in performance from using withholding tactics in your copy. Let’s take a look at a few copy examples and how they performed in their respective campaigns.

Copy CTR
Find out which flower is associated with your zodiac sign. 10.9%
Copy CTR
Here are the prices of gas, beet, booze, makeup, and more. 26%
Copy CTR
Some of the merchandise isn’t worth the buck. 17%

Using these more subtle ways of keeping information from the user can boost clicks and conversions and can also help keep those disapproval numbers down.

Why do we consider the copy above to be compliant? Phrases like “Find out”, “Here are”, and “Some of” keep the mystery in your copy, but aren’t over-exaggerated to the point where Facebook or any other social media platform would flag the ads.

What should you watch out for or avoid in your ad copy? Here’s what not to do when practicing the art of withholding:

  • “You’ll never believe what these celebrities had to say about the situation!”
  • “Check out these life-changing makeup tutorials!”

Key Words and Phrases to Use in Ad Copy

Okay, so we know what to avoid, but now let’s discuss how to actually withhold the safe way. Here, we’ve compiled a list of specific words that will help you (safely) keep an air of mystery in your copy. Use these in your headlines, ad copy, or even in any image text — wherever you see fit!

Key Words Avg. CTR
New 2.7%
Good 5.1%
Find 3.0%
Know 5.9%
Get 6.5%

And to narrow this down even more, we found that these specific content categories work best with these words:

  • Health (Avg. CTR – 4.8%)
  • Automotive (Avg. CTR – 3.1%)
  • Fashion ( Avg. CTR – 5.8%)
  • News (Avg. CTR – 3.0%)

Withholding And The Power of FOMO

Any professional copywriter knows that the key to inspiring action among customers is evoking strong emotion. There are several different routes to take with this strategy — excitement, nostalgia, desire, curiosity, concern, empathy. This list goes on and on. But one key emotion to play on is FOMO — or, the fear of missing out.

Writing copy that sparks FOMO creates a strong desire in your audience to act. Whether that be to simply read your content or make a purchase. FOMO creates a sense of urgency because you make the reader feel like they are missing a key part — they aren’t involved … yet. But they still can be. FOMO is a great tactic to use when you want to incorporate subtle withholding in your marketing copy because it naturally sparks that air of mystery.

However, it’s also important to tread carefully when using FOMO, because there is a possibility that your copy comes off a little too sales-y or pushy.

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