How Customer Research Helps You Write Better Ad Copy

Dmitry Fesenko
5 July, 2021

Customers are the core of any business.

But knowing details like: What your customers want, when they want it, and how they want it, are key to creating profitable ad campaigns.

Because when you understand the motivations that drive your customers to buy, and you learn to speak their language—using their words—you can reflect their feelings back to them in your marketing.

So the closer you get to conveying your target market’s challenges, needs, wants, and desires, the closer you get to convincing them that buying from you will make their lives better.

But how do you figure this out? And what’s the best way to capitalize on it when you do?

This is where solid customer research comes in.

Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.

David Ogilvy

Let’s use customer research to your advantage.

If you’re wondering where to start, here’s a look at the research methods we use at AdTribe to help with finding the right key messages for your Facebook and Instagram ad copy.

Method #1 – Amazon Review Mining

Amazon is more than the world’s largest ecommerce platform—it’s also a goldmine for discovering the exact language your customers use.

Hint: it’s all in the reviews.

Want to learn more about customer problems or concerns?

Eager to hear how a product has helped someone?

Curious to see new recommendations or suggestions?

Read the reviews.

Also known as “Amazon review mining,” this is the first place we start our research at AdTribe.

Because no matter how niche, specific, or quirky you think your product is, you can find almost anything on Amazon (which means there’s an incredible amount of language, thoughts, and comments you can draw from).

Don’t know what your prospects are thinking or saying? All you have to do is find customer reviews for products that are similar to yours.

For example, here’s a customer review for an ecommerce store that sells yoga pants:

A few phrases that jump out:

“Leggings can suck. Honestly, between the jiggle factor, the cellulite showcasing, the no pockets, the roll down top that rolls down along with your fat rolls and the peekaboo-panty-thin-material, it’s hard to find leggings that actually work.”

“Well, my mom loves them because they support her bad hips and they help her walk straighter without her cane.”

“But we all love them because they’re not see through, have 3,(count them)! 3 pockets that do not make you look fatter when full, they work if you’re short or tall”

This review alone has a wealth of valuable thoughts and feedback, right? Feedback you can use to help write your marketing and advertising copy.

Here’s another customer review of a silver skull ring:

The phrases that stand out:

“I paid like $15 for a large works pizza tonight, I got this ring for the same price.”

“Really good weight, fit my finger perfectly.”

“It’s unique, people ask where I got it from, because you never see rings this cool in stores.”

Marketing gold, right?

Here’s another one for a waist trainer product:

The phrases to pay attention to here:

“Not only does it cinch my waist but it is SO COMFORTABLE!”

“It keeps my mid-section so warm and offers excellent back support.”

“I do not have a sore back after workouts or other physical activity.”

There’s plenty of value to be gained from the words of real-life prospects.

But if the thought of sifting through hundreds of reviews sounds daunting, we get it.

The amount of reviews out there can feel overwhelming and bring up questions like, what information am I actually looking for?

This is what our AdTribe specialists do for our clients.

We’ll search through as many product reviews as it takes to gather the best, customer comments and feedback applicable to your business.

Then we’ll compile it all into an easy and digestible document like the example below.

We’ll take it a step further to identify the emotional triggers that made customers buy, and tag them as a positive or negative experience.

Once the research is done, we’ll pinpoint the exact wording and phrases from these reviews to write the copy for your Facebook or Instagram ad.

But what if you can’t find enough valuable reviews on Amazon? Or any other platform for your product?

Here’s where social media research comes in handy, which is the next method we’ll explore.


Method #2 – Social Media Research

There are 2.7 billion users on Facebook and 1.2 billions on Instagram.

In 2021, this represents about 49% of the world’s population and contributes to a massive amount of data being published and shared on a daily basis.

Some more fascinating stats to give you a better idea of what this looks like:

If every comment, post, or tweet is technically a piece of data, that’s a lot of information out there to not only consume, but to analyze.

So how do you actually extract value from all this data? How do you use this info to improve your messaging for your ad campaigns?

At AdTribe, we look at three main social media approaches:

  1. Content/Comment Analysis
  2. Social Listening
  3. Polls & Questions

We’ll look at each of these in more detail.

Content/Comment Analysis

One of the easiest ways to start your social media research is to go through each comment or reply left under the posts of your business or competitor.

Any comment that stands out can be written down, collected, and used to guide your ad copy in the future.

Here are the types of comments to look out for:

Even though this research is straightforward, there are two bottlenecks:

  1. It’s time consuming. You could end up scrolling for hours on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook if you’re not finding the right insights or comments.
  2. It can be difficult to find brands or businesses with an engaged audience leaving comments that go beyond, “Love it!”

So if spending hours like this on social media doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, let’s move on to the next approach.

Social Listening

Conversations are happening 24/7 on any social media platform or forum like Reddit. News and stories are constantly being shared along with endless debates on any topic you can imagine.

So what’s social listening?

Social listening, or listening on social media, is taking conversations and getting meaningful insights and data from them.

It’s also the process of collecting the data from these platforms and looking at or analyzing the trends.

And doing this can influence a wide range of processes and content like business operations, product updates, marketing messages, and advertising copy.

Social listening is beneficial since some of the most valuable insights can come from those who don’t follow your business.

There’s a theory that 96% of those who discuss brands online don’t actually follow the brand’s profile or social accounts.

In this article, Kristin Smaby explains that customers still want to share their stories and experiences about brands, even if the conversation is indirect.

“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better.”

Another thing to keep in mind while doing your social listening research, is to look at brand mentions and passive feedback like this:

Keeping track of mentions and threads is possible with social media monitoring tools like Mention, Brandwatch, Digimind Social, Brand Mentions, and more.

So besides getting data and insights to better understand your customers, you’re also connecting with your audience this way, learning more about their preferences, and getting to the core of what they’re saying—all hugely valuable when creating better ad copy for your ecommerce store or business.

Polls & Questions

Another approach to look at when crafting successful ad copy?

Polls and questions on social media (like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram).

Polls can be fun or thought-provoking, and open ended questions are ideal for gathering opinions and feelings.

For example, Bambu Earth does a great job at engaging their audience by asking a targeted question about their product.

With this one simple question, Bambu Earth was able to get some actionable and insightful responses like these:

So no matter how big of a social media audience you have, polls and asking your audience questions are easy, simple, and a powerful way to start a conversation.

Sounds like a win-win, right? You get helpful feedback and data while nurturing your following and audience at the same time.

Let’s move on to the final market research method.


Method #3 – Customer Surveys

When designed and implemented well, one of the best ways to gather the valuable information you want about your audience is by using customer surveys.

There are many benefits to survey your customers such as:

  • Helping you to make a better product that people want;
  • Improving your marketing message, content, and copy;
  • Getting a clearer understanding of your buyer personas;
  • Collecting case studies and other forms of social proof, plus more.

For this post, we’ll talk about post-purchase customer surveys and how you can use this information to craft better marketing copy for your ads.

The main thing to pay attention to in these types of surveys? How the information is worded.

Notice how the customer describes the problem, the solution, and the benefits.

Here are some tips when designing your post-purchase customer survey:

Tip #1 – Ask the right questions

Keeping your surveys short and sweet are more likely to give you higher quality responses.

Also, make sure the information you collect is actionable. Don’t ask questions just because you’re curious.

Every survey should have an actionable goal.

Here’s a sample list of questions you can ask:

  • What made you buy [the product]? What convinced you that it was a good decision?
  • Did you consider alternatives? How many websites did you visit before buying from us? Which ones?
  • What do you like about our product the most?
  • How is your life better thanks to [the product]?
  • What else would you consider buying from us?
  • Anything else you would like to tell us?

If there’s anything specific to your business (that’s actionable!) ask those types of questions too.

Tip #2 – Timing matters

If your survey questions are about the customer experience with a particular product, or if you want to ask about the shipping process, it’s important the survey reaches the customer after they’ve had the time for it to happen.

Similarly, if you want more feedback about customer support, send a survey after an issue has been solved and not while the case is still open (or even worse, sent out randomly to customers who haven’t even interacted with the support team).

Tip #3 – Add an incentive

Well designed surveys often use open ended questions, which can take more time to fill out.

People are busy, easily distracted, and the motivation to write paragraph after paragraph can quickly wane.

So to avoid half-written and unsubmitted surveys, offering an incentive like an Amazon gift card or a discount on their next purchase doesn’t hurt.

Tip #4 – Don’t overthink it

There are thousands of ways to design your survey.

You can spend days googling the perfect tool or searching for the perfect layout. And in most cases, they’re all the same.

So don’t overthink how you’re going to create your survey. Simply email your recent customers and collect their feedback using platforms like Typeform or Google Forms.

Here are a few examples of post-purchase survey emails:

It’s also wise to keep in mind that not every customer will reply to your email or be 100% honest in their responses.

But even if you receive a couple of long form answers, you’re already gaining a better understanding of your customers and their language to help with improving your future ad copy.



By rounding up new customer research in tandem with the facts and data, you’ll get an in-depth look into what really triggered your customers to buy from you.

Knowing the nuances of what your customers are thinking about (and how they’re describing their challenges, wants, needs, or experiences) all contributes to writing compelling ad copy that targets the right buyers at the right time.

So start communicating and interacting with your prospects, create a market research plan of action that you can stick to on a regular basis, and get to know the voice of your customers.

Because once you do—once you know what your customers want, when they want it, and the form they want it in—the ad copy will write itself while sounding that much more natural and relatable.

If you want to scale your ecommerce business using Facebook or Instagram ads (while maintaining a profitable ROAS), let’s talk! Connect with our AdTribe team here.

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