Ever wondered why marketers call it an “ad copy”? There’s just something so uninspiring and unoriginal in the term for something that is meant to sell. Regardless, ad copywriting is a necessary part of the business. They’ve graced massive billboards, hustled us during game-time breaks, and now seem to pop up on every corner of our device screens. Then there are those ad copies that are so compelling we’ve never wanted a product more. If you’re a marketer, a brand agency, or an enterprise, lend some hearkening ears. This article will give you the latest scoops on ad copywriting best practices and how you can apply them to your brand.
This post has been updated in September 2021.
Ad Copy Definition
An advertising copy is a piece of written content used in marketing products or brands. It is designed to foremost increase brand awareness, but with the end goal of increasing conversions. In other words, the content is intended to spur or persuade the audience, usually a consumer, to take action. Such action could be in the direct form of purchasing a product, sharing the content, or visiting the landing page mentioned in its content. Written advertising copies can be transformed into:
- Print ads: Magazines, newspapers, brochures, and catalogs.
- Audio ads: Jingles, radio ads, and programmatic audio ads.
- Video format commercials: Television, streaming platforms, and pop-ups.
- Search engine optimized (SEO) content: Search engine results and long-form articles.
- Social media content: Posts, feeds, and ads.
- Email ads: EDMs (Electronic Direct Mail), email marketing, and campaigns.
- Large-format ads: Billboards, banners, backdrops, and posters
Frequently, ad copies are relatively short and are usually written by a copywriter. Professional copywriters are a specific group of writers trained to write an ad copy that addresses the needs of a target demographic. Hinging on the beneficial prospect of taking action, the copywriter pitches the content by compellingly appealing to the audience. With the surge in digital content consumption, copywriting is evolving into other long-form formats. These include white paper, educational, and blog-type articles.
The Origin of “Copy” in “Ad Copy”
Why does an ad copy have a “copy” if it’s actually original, you ask? While “copy” refers to a duplicate in the dictionary, it also refers to publications. For example, you could purchase a copy of a book. In truth, the word copy originates from a combination of the French and Latin languages. It translates to a written account or a reproduction of a transcript. Because ad copies are reproduced over and over again through various media channels, it’s called an ad copy,
Ad Copywriting Best Practices
Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of producing an effective ad copy. Herewith, we discuss the best practices an advertising copywriter should follow in order to drive conversions.
Objectifying Your Ad Copy’s Goal
Just as too many cooks will spoil the broth, being too ambitious with your ad copy will also result in its ineffectiveness. Ask any business owner, and they’ll tell you that the end goal of every marketing campaign is to increase revenue. Although so, every marketer knows that a successful sales transaction doesn’t just happen with the snap of the fingers. Rather it’s an experiential journey that the consumer takes through a purchase funnel. Consequently, it’s crucial to map out the stages of your ad copy to prevent leaking Return of Investments (ROIs) through the funnel. Essentially, for every ad copy, decide which of the following you endeavor to achieve:
Increase product or brand awareness
As this is the initial stage of introducing your product to the consumer through visibility, ad copies in this category are usually not highly specific. The written content does not go into a product’s specifications but is framed briefly in a catchy and attention-seeking style. An example of an ad copy to increase brand awareness could be simply including your brand’s name with its catchphrase slogan.
Tip: Avoid lengthy and detailed content here as it can be overwhelming or off-putting to someone who hasn’t encountered your brand. Instead, distribute concise and compelling ad copies through billboards, posters, digital banners, social media, EDMs, PPC (pay-per-click) ads, audio ads, and more. The goal here is not to hard-sell your product but rather to drive traffic to your website. Should you be looking to produce an audio ad from scratch, AudioGO is an easy-to-use platform that can help you do just that. Campaign management aside, it provides scriptwriting, production, and distribution all under one hat.
Generate interest in your product or brand
Ad copywriting content in this stage focuses on increasing engagement. You go a little more in-depth here and include more specific content for a targeted audience. For example, talk about your company, its products, or the industry. The objective here is to position your brand in the market to build a relationship with potential leads.
Tip: Focus your ad copy content on nurturing leads. This may be through emails, newsletters, audio ads, commercials, social media content, and articles that strike a chord with your audience. Understanding ad segmenting your target demographic is critical. It helps to create a persona of your consumer so you can communicate your ad copy in a style and language that appeals to them.
Create a desire for your product
An ad copy in this stage of the funnel aims to funnel your existing leads into quality ones. This means including content on product information to appeal to your consumer’s consideration. Address your audience as prospective customers, and revolve your content around that in your ad copywriting.
Tip: Some compelling ad copy content includes a call-to-action for trial periods, research case studies, and email campaigns.
Motivate a consumer to buy the product
Now you’ve got your prospect customers’ attention and are looking to make a successful transaction. At this stage, it’s safe to dish out the details of your brand’s product or services and make a compelling sales pitch of your unique selling points (USPs). Your audience may already have an intent to purchase and evaluate the choices they have in the market. Differentiating your product’s benefits from your competitors will help you make a strong case on why you are the choice.
Tip: Ad copies here can delve a little more into specifics, but the most important element here is a strong call-to-action (CTA). To up the motivational factor, include incentives such as discounts or promotional packages.
How to Write a Compelling Ad Copy Headline
When it comes to grabbing attention in a highly competitive world, headlines are everything. Take this article, for example. You’ve probably just skimmed through it while absorbing the sub-headers! Your headlines are the first thing your audience sees and will determine how well your ad copy performs when it appears on search engines. If you’re looking to write a headline for a search engine ad, this Google Ads tutorial might help. By and large, here are some hacks on how to make your ad copy’s headline more effective.
Focus content on a specific objective
Identify your objective and the subject (specific product or brand) of your ad. While it’s possible to sell ten different products through one ad copy, chances of successful conversion will be low.
Mind your character count
Google allows 30-character headlines, but presentation matters. Do a test across various devices to ensure your headline text is not cut off. Doing a Facebook ad copy? Research shows that a max of 5 words performs the best.
Include keywords in your headline
Keywords help to increase your ad copy’s visibility on relevant search engine results. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for print, audio, or digital channels. Including a keyword works in all cases as it helps you keep your content concise and on track.
Use numbers in your headline
Numbers and symbols stand out in a string of text. Including numbers such as promotional discount percentages, research numbers, or a statistical number in your case study helps.
Sell your click with relevant messaging
Even without reading the rest of your ad, your headline should be able to communicate what you’re selling on its own clearly. This sometimes means including a CTA in the headline itself.
Use appealing descriptive words
Never underestimate the value of putting “new,” “best,” “top-ranked” in front of your product. Alternatively, you can add other beneficially descriptive words such as “eco-friendly,” “affordable,” or “customizable. Simple as it might sound, research proves the strategy has worked for decades.
Communicating User Benefits in Your Ad Copy
No matter what ad distribution channel you use, ranting on about why you think your product is mindblowing isn’t practical. In a realistic world, time is a commodity, and if you don’t start selling how your product benefits the user, you’ll lose your audience fast. Follow the following tips to ensure an ad copy that converts.
The USP Tactic
You know your product best and can even vouch that it’s the best on the market. Communicating this to your clients, however, is altogether another matter. The old knock-on-door salesman technique no longer works, and you need to, as briefly as possible, capture your audience’s attention. You can start by concisely jotting down a couple of short-sentenced USPs on what makes you different from your competitors. Revolve your ad copy content around these points in a language that speaks to your target audience. Above all, remember that short and sweet is the way to go, so avoid droning on in long paragraphs unless you’re writing a blog or case study.
The Emotional Trigger Tactic
Emotions and memories hold a potent link. Statistics show that ads with emotional pull reel in 31% of successful purchases compared to 16% generated by rational ads. In addition to enhancing an intent to purchase and brand recall, it also makes ad content more engaging and sharable. Even negative emotions have proven their success when it comes to conversions. One frequently effective tactic in ad copywriting is addressing the frustrations or needs of the audience and offering a product solution to overcome those problems. The use of empathy in this tactic is what creates the emotional pull that subsequently can translate into the buyer’s intent.
The Overcoming-Rejection Tactic
This third tactic is a sure-fire way to address any wary consumers who might be jaded of negative product experiences that might be similar to yours. Go a step further and foresee any consumer concerns with the product in your ad copy. Using that, position your brand on top of your competitors. One example could be to offer a money-back guarantee policy.
Need some inspiration? Here’s are some Bunny Studio ad copies that use all three of the above tactics.
Bunny Studio ad copy: Find your perfect match
Bunny Studio ad copy: Find your perfect design
Bunny Studio ad copy: Find your perfect Video
Include a Strong Call-To-Action
You’ve sold your heart and soul into writing a resonating ad copy. Now what? An ad copy is moot and a waste of investment without a call-to-action, so remember to include one. When writing a CTA, provide clear instructions on where the audience can access information to your product. In cases of radio, print, or video ads, use a short and catchy phone number or URL. In other cases, such as programmatic ads, make sure you include a “click the banner” instruction in your script. To make things more enticing, including promotional codes or limited-time offers can motivate the audience to act on a purchase.
Outsource and Localize Your Ad Copy Content
Every made marketer understands the importance of knowing your target demographics. Only with this knowledge will you be able to speak personably to your audience. Such includes everything from the tone of language, the accent, style, and choice of words. For example, using a formal approach to address a B2C audience simply will not jive with them. Similarly, communicating in too casual a tone will not bode well in your favor when it comes to a B2B audience. This is because that might diminish the image of corporate professionalism and reliability.
If you’re going global and looking to penetrate new markets, hiring a professional ad copywriter who’s native to the region helps. Alternatively, if you already have an ATL (above the line) ad ready, you can also hire a professional translator to localize that content. You can click on the following link to learn more about how translation works as a part of content localization.
If You Can’t Copywrite, Then Copy
No, it’s not the best solution. But if you’re still struggling with your ad copy, have a look at what your competitors are doing. If you can’t beat them, join them. And if you do so, make sure you pitch your ad copy with what makes you stand out!