When we are thinking about digital campaigns, and even traditional offline advertising, the first thing that comes to our mind is coming up with brilliant and creative ideas for our visuals.
Posters, banners, billboards – yes, they are all essential for our campaigns, but our job doesn’t really stop there. In fact, this is just where it starts! The key element that will actually give life to your visuals is having a great marketing copy. In this article, we will see how to write the best ad copy for your campaigns.
And today, we will see some awesome tips on how to write one!
So, without further ado, let’s just dive right into the tips!
1. Know the channel limitations
Of course, the first and most important thing when it comes to writing the best ad copy for your campaigns is to have a good understanding when it comes to the limitations of your chosen channel.
Some advertising channels will offer less space than others, and you will have to adapt to it. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular examples:
- Google Search Ads – responsive search ads can have a maximum of 4 descriptions of 90 characters each, or 180 in total;
- Twitter – a promoted Twitter post will give you a little bit more space to express yourself – in other words, 280 characters;
- LinkedIn ads – for Sponsored Content, you can unleash your creativity with a LinkedIn ad copy of the whopping 600 characters;
- Facebook – a Facebook campaign will only give you 125 characters for the primary text of your ad;
Of course, these are just some examples, as each digital platform will have its particular limitations. When it comes to offline advertising, things might be a little bit different.
It will depend on the type of campaign and initiative, and in case it’s a billboard – you might have to consult the particular vendor. As the available space might differ from vendor to vendor.
2. Keep it short & simple
The next tip on how to write the best ad copy is to keep it short and simple. Just because you have a lot of space doesn’t mean that you should use all of it. On the contrary!
Keep in mind that the attention span of people on the Internet (myself included) is the one of a gold fish. And no, I don’t mean it as a bad thing. It is a normal consequence of being bombarded with too much content all the time, from everywhere, so we get easily saturated with us.
Anyways, the point is, the less words you need to express your message, the better. On the most channels, typically a copy of 2-3 lines, or the equivalent of 180-250 characters, is absolutely more than enough.
Of course, I am not saying to not put any effort in your Marketing copy, and simply write the first few words that come to your mind. Just make sure that you don’t take too long to explain yourself. Otherwise, you risk losing the attention of the audience.
3. A/B testing
Now, this section might come off as a little contradictory compared to the previous one, but bare with me for a second.
Although rules and best practices exist for a reason, there are always exceptions to the them. In some particular cases, especially if the product or service is more complex, or people need more information to get convinced before purchasing, you might need a longer Marketing copy.
How do you know if your business or product happens to be one of these cases? Just A/B test! Write copies of different lengths, run them simultaneously within your campaign, and let the audience decide instead of you on the best ad copy for your particular context.
If you see that they are interacting more with a particular copy length, you can remove the other ones.
Of course, some platforms will give you more space than others when it comes to testing copy lengths. However, you always have enough space to try at least two variations. And I definitely recommend that you take advantage of it!
4. Know your audience
Another essential element for writing the best ad copy for your campaigns is to have a good understanding of your target audience.
Start by asking yourself questions such as:
- Who is my actual target audience? What are their characteristics?
- What is the tone that they expect to see from my message?
- How can I truly draw their attention through copywriting?
Obviously, you will not speak the same way to executives as you would to teenagers, for example.
You need to know your audience in order to write the best ad copy
The more specific you get, the better. Define your target audience with as many details as possible. For example, instead of targeting “all professionals in Germany”, specify the details of your segmentation a bit more.
Let´s say, you can target “all professionals with 5 years of experience in the finance industry in Berlin”. This will help you adjust the tone of your Marketing copy even more. You can even mention keywords related to finance in your copy so that professionals from the finance industry resonate with your message even more.
But we will see that in detail later. Additionally, you can use this free tool from Hubspot to create a buyer persona.
How to write the best ad copy: use Hubspot’s Buyer Persona tool to understand your audience
5. Have a clear goal in mind
Now that you have identified your target audience, the next step to write the best ad copy is to ensure that you have a clear goal in mind. What are you trying to achieve with your copy? Maybe you want to:
- Promote your product or service;
- Announce a new product feature;
- Offer a promotion or a discount;
- Invite your audience to an event you are organizing;
- Encourage people to download your ebook;
And so on. The possibilities are endless! The goal is an essential element of any Marketing copy because it will help you establish the right message. After all, if your goal is to encourage your audience to purchase a product, it should become clear to them as soon as they start reading your copy.
How can you make your goal even more clear for your audience? Well, this becomes easier with our next tip for achieving the best ad copy for your campaigns:
6. Include a Call to Action
You can’t write the best ad copy without incorporating a Call to Action. A Call to Action is pretty much what you would expect it to be – a phrase or a word that encourages people to take a particular action once they’ve seen your campaign.
Let’s take a look at the following two examples:
- Example 1: “We are organizing the most exclusive event of the year for all our customers! We will celebrate it on Saturday, 30th of June, at 18:00 in Conference Hall X.”
- Example 2: “We are organizing the most exclusive event of the year for all our customers! Seats are limited, so make sure to reserve yours today! We will see you next Saturday, 30th of June, at 18:00 in Conference Hall X.”
The first example doesn’t include a Call to Action. As you can see, it is merely informative, and doesn’t feel very personal, so the audience will not resonate with it. Nor they will know that you are expecting a certain action from them – which, in this case, is to register for your event.
The second examples includes a Call to Action: “reserve your seat“. It indicates to your audience that you are expecting a specific action from them once they see your Marketing copy. And, it feels much more personal, like if you were talking directly to them.
7. Do not make the ad copy about you
Another important tip for writing the best ad copy is to not make it about you. Don’t focus on how great your product is, how much you have achieved with it, and how much other people loved it. Your audience will not really care about that.
Instead, focus on delivering value to your audience. How can you solve an existing problem that the user has? How is your product going to make his life easier? Again, let’s take a look at two different examples:
- Example 1: “We are one of the leading US companies in Email Marketing automation. Our award-winning tools have an overall rating of 4.8, as ranked by 15,000 happy customers across the globe.”
- Example 2: “We are a leading Email Marketing automation company that helps businesses grow without compromise. Because “good for the business” should also mean “good for the customer.”
The first one sounds more company-oriented, while the second one is definitely more customer-centric. In fact, the second one is from Hubspot (affiliate link), one of the leading companies for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service.
8. Test different sentence types
Another very efficient way in which you can find the sweet spot and write the best ad copy is to test different sentence types:
- Interrogative – or in other words, asking questions within your copy. They can be either rhetorical – “Did you know that…” or asked directly to your audience – “Do you want to master the skills of coaching?“. Some people interact more with this types of sentences, and they are also more attention-grabbing.
- Exclamative – another type of sentences that tend to draw the attention and create an emotional response to your post is the exclamative one. Of course, don’t have to make your copy hyper excited and full of exclamatory signs, this is not the point. However, adding an exclamative sentence, for example for your Call to Action, is a great way to stand out.
- Declarative – needless to say, these sentences are already the main ingredient of practically any Marketing copy. And this is definitely not a coincidence!
9. Create a sense of urgency
Another great tactic for writing a compelling Marketing copy is to create a sense of urgency. If your audience feels that it is missing out on something, they will be more encouraged to act in the moment.
Here are some sample phrases that create a sense of urgency:
- “Enjoy 20% off only this weekend”;
- “Order now to have your gift delivered by Father’s day”;
- “Order within the next 2 hours for next day shipping”;
- “Reserve your event ticket today; only 10 left for this price!”
Additionally, there are some time-related words that you can use within your copy to achieve the same effect. Such as Now, Fast, Rapidly, Hurry, Quick, Never, and so on.
10. Base your decisions on data
Write the best ad copy by leveraging existing data
Unless you are barely starting with digital campaigns, the chances are that you have some accumulated historical data to base your decisions on. Let’s say that you have already ran campaigns on Facebook, and you are trying out LinkedIn.
Or maybe, you have had campaigns on all social channels previously, and you want to try out Google. The point is, you can take a look at your copies, and get some valuable insights on what makes your users engage with your content the most.
You could look at metrics such as:
- Clickthrough rate (CTR) – out of all people who saw your ad, what percentage of them clicked on it? Pay attention to the copies with the highest CTR.
- Conversion rate – out of all people who saw your Marketing copy, what percentage of them converted? A conversion is someone who performs a valuable action on your website. The higher the percentage is, the better. Again, pay attenton to copies with the highest conversion rate.
- Cost per conversion – this metric is tightly related to conversion rate. Some copies might be more engaging and convincing, while others less. This means that you should look for copies with lower cost per conversion.
11. Talk to the user directly
To have a successful Marketing copy, you should make users resonate with it. One of the most simple ways is to talk to the audience directly.
For example, instead of saying “We offer customers the best prices on the market”, it is better to say “We offer you the best prices on the market”. Or, instead of saying “Our whitepaper provides key insights for businesses”, say “Out whitepaper will allow you to get key insights for your business”.
This way, you will make your copy more personal, and the audience will feel like you are communicating with them directly.
12. Use active voice
Another simple, but powerful tip for a writing the best ad copy that’s compelling enough to attract your audience is to use active voice. Active voice allows you to be more clear and concise, and it is also easier to process by your audience.
For example, instead of saying:
Our company is trusted by many businesses.
Many businesses trust in our company.
Much better, right? An active voice helps you express your message in a more clear way.
13. Incorporate storytelling elements
Storytelling is a great way to establish an emotional connection with your audience. Of course, whether you can or cannot incorporate storytelling elements will depend on the channel, and how much space you have for this.
A great storytelling example I can think of is Milka. The narrative revolving a purple cow eating grass in the green meadow of the Alpes, and giving the best milk to use for chocolate is perfect to get your audience daydreaming of chocolate.
14. Add a pinch of humour
The best ad copy almost always has a pinch of humour. Of course, this can also be a delicate topic as not all kinds of humour are accepted on the Internet. Especially coming from a business that has the intentions to look respectful and professional.
However, adding a pinch of humour can definitely draw the attention of your audience, and most importantly – keep it. For example, I loved this ad from Timberland in the context of the 2020´s COVID-19 pandemic, in which the whole world had to stay quarantined at home:
Best ad copy: example from Timberland
15. Leverage reviews & testimonials
Another good use for your copy is to highlight the positive reviews of your happy customers. This technique helps you build your authenticity and brand reputation as a trustworthy organization.
After all, if your target audience sees that you are already highly valued by your customers, this will definitely draw their attention and convince them to convert. I really liked this particular example from Hubspot:
The copy “Over 64,500 customers from 100 countries trust Hubspot” sounds quite powerful, right?
16. Avoid using cliches
Our next tip for the best ad copy has a different focus, and that is – what not to do. And that, using cliches that people are more than tired of hearing, such as:
- Content is king;
- Think outside the box;
- We have the perfect solution for you;
- We understand your business;
And so on! You get the point – those phrases that everyone has heard so much all over the Internet that they just don´t mean anything anymore.
Write the best ad copy: don’t use cliches
17. Grab the attention
A Marketing copy is often accompanied by visual elements such as banners, videos, infographics, and so on. And usually, it is easier to grab the attention of the audience with something more visual rather than with just some text.
However, this doesn´t mean that a copy cannot be as equally powerful as the banner that it accompanies. Especially if they are combined in a way that they cannot standalone with the same power, such as this awesome example from BMW:
The best ad copy should be able to attract the attention. Example from BMW.
In this case, the copy “Your know you are not the first. But do you really care?”, which makes a reference to the used cars that BMW is selling with this campaign, is absolutely awesome. In this example, we can also see that being slightly provocative is a great way to call the attention.
And that was all from me, folks! Thank you for taking the time to read my article, and I hope to see you in the next one! As you can see, writing the best ad copy definitely has its art, and even a little bit of science, so don´t be afraid to experiment and test different variations!
What are your strategies to write the best ad copy for your campaigns? Let me know in the comments below!