For the uninitiated, “ad copy” refers to the written portion of an advertisement. It’s a combination of headline, body, and CTA written to form an ad.
Why is it important to write good ad copy?
Advertisements are awesome tools for your business. When done well, ads help increase website traffic, engage users, and promote action.
At the core of every well-crafted ad is compelling ad copy.
Ad copy connects readers with your advertisement’s imagery and encourages readers to visit your website. It serves to guide people, telling them where they need to go to solve their problems and satisfy their needs.
Whereas poorly written advertisements push people away, the best ad copy hooks readers and engages them with enticing content.
Whether you want to learn how to write effective Facebook ad copy, how to write Google ad copy, or simply how to write good ad copy in general, this guide will provide you with the tips you need to become an ad writing master.
1. Pick a keyword.
To write effective ads, you must do your keyword research.
Decide on a suitable keyword or phrase for your advertisement—one that’s relevant to your product, service, brand, or industry. Then, when drafting and editing your copy, be sure to weave in this keyword or phrase naturally throughout your ad to:
- Help your readers connect with your message
- Improve your ad’s search engine optimization (SEO) rankings
To get a sense of effective or appropriate keywords,
- Test a few queries in search engines. Ads that accompany search results display highlighted or bolded keywords and will help give you a sense of keywords that work.
- Use Google Trends when conducting keyword research to gauge the popularity of search terms or topics of interest.
Don’t forget to optimize your display URL. As with written content, strategically chosen keywords in your display URL will boost your ad’s search engine ranking. Even if your destination URL doesn’t contain your target keywords, your ads can still appear in search results if you include keywords in your display URL.
This example advertisement’s display URL includes keywords that help both search engine algorithms and readers understand that the link leads to a product page dedicated to home theater speakers that are on sale. It’s more specific than a generic homepage web address and is a great example of an advertiser strategically inserting keywords.
2. Determine your target audience.
Before you start writing, you must find your target audience. To determine your audience, you have to know what problems your product or service will help to solve.
Creating marketing personas with ideal client profiles is a terrific way to identify who you want to write to and what problems you will help solve. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to help identify your target audience:
- What needs will your product or service meet?
- What pain points will your offerings solve?
- Who is most likely to use your product or service?
- Who gains the most from using your product or service?
- Who misses out by not using your product or service?
Answering questions such as these will give you insight into the problems your business helps solve for its clients. If your ad copy doesn’t offer solutions or lacks a target audience, you’ll have a hard time convincing folks that your product is worth their time.
3. Focus on benefits, not features.
It’s not the product that sells, it’s the solution.
As a marketer, you face significant competition. Various businesses compete for the same keywords, produce similar products, or offer similar services. So how will you write your ad to make your offering stand out?
Make the benefits of your offer crystal clear. Avoid focusing solely on features. When you’re not only competing against other marketers, but also racing against your readers’ short attention spans, features just don’t sell products the way that benefits do.
Your competition likely offers similar features anyway. To set yourself apart and elevate your business, focus on how your offerings will benefit your audience: "Charge all your devices at once" (benefit) stands out much more than "8-surge charge protector" (feature).
Consider how this LinkedIn ad leads with a benefit statement. The ad hooks readers with a compelling statement of benefits before listing specific features.
4. Determine your call to action.
What action do you want your audience to take once they see your ad?
You can have the perfect keyword, know who your target audience is, and offer the best benefits in the world, but they're all for nothing if you don't have a compelling call to action (CTA).
Mix in creativity and emotion to spice up generic CTAs.
- Instead of "Call today," try "Call now to schedule your music lesson."
- Instead of "Sign up now," consider "Sign up to help."
Although it might be tempting to include several CTAs, don't. Stick with just one simple CTA to avoid confusing your audience or giving them analysis paralysis.
Make sure your CTA design aligns with the rest of your ad copy. It should stand out and motivate readers, but also be modest and reassuring—not jarring or flashy.
Remember, the ad is a guide for the reader—you want to make their journey as smooth as possible.
5. Capture emotion.
Nothing drives click rates and website visits like powerful emotional responses.
You might think advertisements that try to elicit emotions like excitement or guilt are cheap clickbait tactics, but research has shown that marketing campaigns that rely mostly on emotional appeal perform almost twice as well as those that focus on rational persuasion or information.
People are emotional by nature, and this makes emotion in your ad copy one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
People will make emotional connections with your product or brand. Whether positive or negative, people respond to their emotions.
- Positive emotional connections with your brand will subtly encourage readers to see your offerings in a more favorable light.
- Negative emotions such as anger, disgust, and fear will generate more repulsion toward your brand and turn readers off from your products or services.
Look to elicit positive emotions when discussing your offering’s benefits or crafting a CTA.
For example, instead of writing, “Save time and money with online shopping today,” focus on emotions with something that reads like, “Spend more time doing what you love. Skip the line and buy online today!”
6. Anticipate and refute objections.
To get a leg up in a market full of stiff competition, anticipate objections and refute them.
When you preemptively address concerns, you not only reduce excuses to buying your product or service, but also boost your brand authority and trust by showing audiences that you understand them.
Price is one of the biggest objections. To clear the air right away for your audience, consider including some pricing in your ad header, as the ad for car insurance does below.
By leading with “$19,” this ad addresses audience concerns over price and immediately offers a benefit (savings) without wasting space on a wall of text.
"This looks too complicated" is another common objection. To preemptively address this, provide links to tutorials or include information about how your product is easy, quick, and efficient.
7. Introduce urgency in your copy.
People would rather not lose a dollar than gain a dollar. This tendency to care more about loss than gain is known as “loss aversion,” and it applies to ad copy. If you introduce urgency into your advertisement, people will be afraid of losing an opportunity and missing out.
- Display available quantities. By writing that there’s only a limited number of goods available, more readers will take action.
- Include a countdown as part of your ad copy. When a reader notices that an interesting product is on sale only for a few more days, they are much more likely to take action.
8. Keep it simple.
When it comes to ad copy, your ultimate goal is to craft text in an ad that’s as compelling as possible using as few words as possible. This is harder than it sounds.
It's tempting to cram an ad full of copy to include every last feature and benefit, but the last thing you want to do is give readers a massive block of text.
- Keep your ad copy simple and to the point. Don’t include too much text or use ambiguous terms. You want your readers to know exactly what they’re getting into when they see your ad.
- Avoid "wasted" words. These words appear so frequently that they no longer offer meaning—words like “very” and “really” will only take up copy space without adding value.
Ad copy is at the core of every compelling advertisement. The best-written ads drive conversions and sales.
Masterful ad copy takes significant time and energy to craft but is certain to make your business, product, or service stand out. If you need a little inspiration to put these tips for writing ad copy into practice, take a look at these examples of effective ad copy.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer William Miedema.