This blog provides real-life examples and insights from one of our clients in the luxury fashion industry.

How can you cut through the noise on a saturated platform?

Aside from an increase in competition, ads are, in general, becoming more advanced and innovative, capitalizing on the rapid developments in AR, Chatbots, and Immersive Experiences. However, not everybody has the budget to invest in groundbreaking innovation.

If you fall into that category, you can still make considerable improvements by focusing on the fundamentals, like the length of your ad copy.

The Theory

A recent blog post I penned for Brainlabs provides actionable insights for ad copy testing. One of the principles we explored in the blog was ‘cognitive fluency’. In a nutshell, it is the idea that the shorter and simpler a message is, the more likely it is to yield action from your customer. So, we thought we’d test it.

The Test

From January to March 2022, we ran a series of tests between short and long ad copy for a luxury fashion retailer. The first campaign advertised beauty products, while the second’s messaging centered around Valentine’s Day gifts.

Each campaign had two copy variations where the sentiment was kept the same, meaning the only difference between them was the length, where the shorter ad copy fitted into one line, while the longer variation fitted into three. 

The experiment was set up as a side-by-side, observational test. This means that the ads were placed into the same ad set, allowing Facebook to optimize the budget between the ads based on their relative performance.

Beauty & Valentine’s Day Products Campaign Results

As can be seen in the graphs below, the Beauty prospecting audience didn’t show a significant preference between ad copy length, but the retargeting audience exhibited an inclination towards the shorter copy, with 64% of clicks being driven by it.

Similar to the Beauty campaign, ad copy length didn’t make a difference for the Valentine’s Day Prospecting audience, with the shorter variation driving 51.6% of the traffic. However, for the retargeting audience, the shorter copy drove 63.9%, signaling customers’ proclivity toward the shorter version.

When looking at other metrics, we see that the CTR, CPC, and CPM were all very similar across the variations. So, what explains the difference in traffic?

This is a prime example of the Breakdown Effect. To put it simply, the Facebook algorithm aims to achieve the best overall results by delivering different ad variations to different portions of the targeted audience. In this case, The Breakdown Effect suggests that, in the case of the retargeting audience, considerably more users resonated better with the short version.


The test highlighted an interesting link between ad copy length and consumer intent level. Specifically, for this client, when a consumer has higher purchase intent, a shorter, snappier copy length will perform better.

Contrary to the principle of cognitive fluency, the short ad copy variations didn’t perform better in every instance, rather, the results were more nuanced. As expected, the short version performed better, however, the extent of its impact depended on the intent level of the audience. 

Based on these experiments, the Cognitive Fluency-Intention Hypothesis emerged, proposing that short messages perform better when the audience has greater purchase intent or has pre-existing brand awareness.

It is often the little things that can level up performance and capture valuable insights. So, in your next campaign, try testing something simple such as the length of the ad copy or tailored ad copy – the results might surprise you.