To say that advertising has changed throughout the past century is an understatement.
Defined as “a marketing tactic involving paying for space to promote a product, service, or cause,” advertising is more broadly reaching and deeply motivating than ever before. However, despite a huge advertising “space,” innovative technologies, and clever new tactics, it’s more difficult than ever to get your message to stand out.
This is where writing effective advertising messages, or “ad copy,” comes into play.
Defining Ad Copy
“Ad copy” refers to the copywriting of advertisements—the combination of headline, main body, and call to action written to form an ad.
It’s daunting to select from various advertising methods or channels. Should you use a video or an infographic? Should you post to Instagram, Google, or YouTube? These are important questions, but by far the most crucial consideration is what your ad actually says; the words you use underly all of these options and make or break your message.
So, before you blow your advertising budget on the latest trending outlet, make sure you become familiar with writing effective ad copy.
Types of Ad Copy
Short-Form Ad Copy
Short-form ad copy, or short copy, is often used in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as sponsored social media posts, display ads, and Google ads. Typically made of just a headline and call to action, short copy must quickly resonate with audiences and, in the least amount of characters possible, compel prospects to take action.
Choose clear and persuasive words. As a rule of thumb, focusing on just one key customer benefit helps create compelling, concise copy.
A form of short copy, “clickbait” intends to do as its name implies—bait audiences into clicking, regardless of how reputable a product or service is.
While controversial for salacious or even guilt-based headlines, clickbait is often an effective way to capture online attention when other short copy tactics aren’t doing the trick.
Responsible and effective clickbait ad copy incorporates lists, numbers, and questions.
Long-Form Ad Copy
An alternative to short copy, long copy allows you to include more details in your ads, such as additional benefits, company stories, anchor text, and testimonials.
While people might seem to not have the time or desire to read paragraphs, recent studies have found that longer copy sometimes outperforms short copy, since it paints a better picture for customers.
Testimonials are vetted reviews of your products or services. Testimonial ad copy humanizes your message and brings social proof to support your offerings. Meant to build consumer trust and drive personal connections, testimonials motivate customers in ways that other forms of ad copy cannot.
Keep in mind, testimonials perform best when you include the reviewer’s name and photograph. These details make your ad copy more relatable.
Writing Effective Ad Copy
Beyond providing information about your product or service, ad copy is meant to drive action.
Before you begin to write, think up a strategy to determine how to best reach your audience. There are three steps to developing one that will work for you:
1. Get to know your audience.
- Who is your audience? Where is your audience? Should your ad copy target a more local group of readers?
- What are their likes and interests? What topics will best grab their attention?
- How can I write an enticing headline for this audience?
2. Determine the most important aspects of your product or service.
Never mislead your customers. Consider:
- What makes your solution unique, or better? Does it fulfill a certain niche?
- How can your product solve customers’ needs or challenges?
3. Determine the action you want your audience to take... Then make it easy.
For instance: “Buy Now”, “Learn More”, “Book Here.”
With a thorough understanding of your audience and an effective strategy, your ad copy is sure to promote action and drive sales.
PPC Ad Copy Examples
Here are a few helpful examples of compelling pieces of ad copy.
Facebook Ad Copy
Skincare and makeup retailer Thrive Causemetics expertly combines its product's features (“hydrates”, “nourishes”) with promised health benefits (“your healthiest-looking glow”). The focus on one key benefit (“Formulated for sensitive eyes”) appeals to health-conscious niches, and an actionable “Shop Now” message makes purchasing a breeze:
Google Ad Copy
JBL chooses vivid phrases like "immerse yourself" and "superior pro sound" to capture readers' attention in its Google ad copy:
No matter the industry or the type of advertisement, effective ad copy is fundamental to driving consumer action and increasing revenue. By keeping this in mind and learning from successful examples, your ad copy is sure to stand out, no matter the medium.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Brittany Lucey.