5 min to read
How to Write Ad Copy: 10 Tips for a Killer Campaign
Although (obviously) nuanced, the buyer's journey is quite simple.
1. They read something.
2. That 'something' resonates.
3. They buy.
Whether it happens right away or 3 years from now, the only reason they're buying your product is because a copywriter wrote words that struck a chord with them.
In today's article, we'll show you our 10 favorite tips for doing just that.
There's no ~right way~ to write good ad copy...
Tricky. We know.
The subjective aspect of copywriting is the hardest concept to grasp, especially if you're trying to start freelance writing with no experience.
It helps to think of copywriting as a mix between science and art.
The "science" part is about understanding your target audience, the reasons behind their behaviors, and how to elicit those behaviors using your words.
The "art" side is where you have to be inventive. To use words in a way that resonates with people on a deeper level, you have to be witty and creative.
While it's easy to teach yourself the technical side of things by learning sales, marketing, and psychology, the creative aspect is what truly sets great ad copy apart.
You can study frameworks all you want. But at the end of the day, it's all about applying them to real people and appealing to human emotion.
10 Tips for Writing Compelling Ad Copy
Whether it's in-store advertising or a tiny block on the side of a blog post, all copywriters use these 10 strategies when creating ad copy.
1. Present a solution to their problems.
Every successful ad focuses on pain points or gets readers to focus on them themselves. At the most simple level, your customers only care about a few things:
In one way or another, your product solves at least one of these problems. Perhaps the most important part of ad writing (and, really, digital marketing as a whole), is communicating that.
Take a look at this LinkedIn ad for Eversource, a residential energy provider in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire:
Not only do they present a massive problem (freezing weather = high energy bills), but they also present the solution (Eversource can help you save).
"How can I possibly save money when I'm using the energy anyway? It's freezing outside!"
Well, if you click, maybe you'll find out.
2. Use "power" words (and emphasize them).
Power words trigger an emotional response in your audience. They have immense psychological influence.
Generally, power words revolve around one of the following:
A deadline or limited-time offer
A deal, such as a discount or freebie
An emotion, like happiness or fear
These are the words your readers care about most. So, they should be front and center.
In this ad, the word "FREE" is the first thing they'll see. A few split seconds after, they'll notice the food in the background and see the beginning of the sentence.
They'll put two and two together, realize the product benefits them, and sign up to claim their reward.
3. Tell them what your product does in plain, simple English.
Nobody will click your ad if they have to play guessing games to figure out what you're offering. People want to know what they're getting before they invest their time.
To boost sales and click-through rates, you have to be straightforward and clear about your product's features and benefits.
Here's a look at a Google search ad that uses the right keywords straight away:
By saying straight away that "Wondrium is a subscription video service," it only takes your reader a few seconds to figure out they should click.
4. Tell a story.
If you're running a basic Facebook ad campaign, you probably can't tell a whole story. You have limited space and only a few words. Storytelling is mainly for video ads.
Here's a TikTok ad for Spotify's Car Thing (a name that quite literally embodies tip #3):
From one slide to the next, this ad accomplishes three things:
Addresses a problem
Proposes a solution
Adds a tangible benefit
5. Remember that your copy is the first step in the conversion funnel.
The primary goal of ad copy is to get your foot in the door with a customer or subscriber. Some buyers will convert right away, but they'll still land on your website before they do.
So, your goal isn't to outright sell your product or service. Your goal is to move them through the conversion funnel (i.e., get them to click on your ad).
That's all you want. A click. Your landing page will handle the rest.
"Buy," "Add to Cart," "Sign Up Today" — these CTAs are boring. They work well for functionality purposes (e.g., adding an item to your shopping cart), but they don't maximize your CTR.
The ad above knocked it out of the park because it's speaking directly to the reader. The word "my" in "Lock in my free account" subconsciously implies ownership over the product and, oftentimes, convinces undecided readers to act fast.
6. Show proof of your claims.
Sometimes, the best ad copy is something your customer wrote. Social proof sells — 88% of customers trust user reviews as if they were personal recommendations.
You can piggyback off someone else's success with your product by highlighting it in an ad. Pick a review that shows your product's benefits or ability to solve a problem, and put it front and center.
7. Be conversational.
You wouldn't use words like "thus" or "therefore" when having a conversation with someone. Don't use them in your ad copy if you want to make an intimate connection with the reader.
You want your customers to feel like they're talking to a human, not a robot.
In this example, everything from the ad headline to the call-to-action button is casual. We use phrases like "hush-hush" and "give me the deets" in real life, so it's easy to feel like the ad is speaking to you.
8. Use numbers.
Numbers are eye-catching and stand out amidst a sea of text. You might use:
A jaw-dropping statistic
A percentage increase or decrease in some area
Specific numbers to show your reader what you offer (e.g., "10% off")
A timer or countdown
Something specific to your product (e.g., a calorie amount or price)
9. Use contrasting words.
Less/more is the best way to use contrasting words in your ad copy. It's a vivid way of saying "you're going to get X and you won't have Y."
For example, this Popchips ad highlights the difference in calories between its product and competing ones (traditional and kettle potato chips).
By saying, "Less guilty more pleasure," they're doing a few things we've touched on:
Using a play on words (‘guilty pleasure’ is a common expression)
Highlighting the "100" as the calorie count
Appealing to people who want a taste of junk food, without the heaviness
Emphasizing their singular selling point — you can snack on more of them while eating fewer calories
10. Rhyme words together.
When we hear things that rhyme, we keep them in our heads. We repeat them subconsciously.
Apple's iPhone 14 ad does a great job at this, while highlighting a key benefit. Cropping a photo means zooming in and, therefore, reducing its quality.
4x resolution? "Jaw-dropping cropping" indeed.
Copywriting is highly nuanced.
One thing you'll notice about these ads is that, despite using a few basic principles, they're all different. Despite its main principle being simplicity, digital advertising is complex. That's why the best way to learn how to write ad copy is to read it as much as possible.
In the end, it's all about knowing your product and audience, while finding creative ways to communicate its benefits quickly and effectively.