9 practical tips for writing ad copy

Writing Ad Copy: 9 Practical Tips for Higher Conversions

By Jason Carroll · Updated Aug 28, 2023

The leading element in every digital marketing strategy is ad copy. Writing ad copy that converts involves more than putting a collection of persuasive words together. It's about understanding what makes the audience click and using that knowledge to shape your message.

When crafted with intention and understanding — ad copy can intrigue the audience, answer their queries, alleviate fears, and so much more.

Today, you’ll discover tips for writing ad copy that translates business objectives into resonating language to improve advertising outcomes.

Understanding the Target Audience

The first step in writing ad copy is to understand your audience.

This is the foundation for crafting compelling copy. Even the most eloquently written ad will fail if it doesn't resonate with the intended audience. It's like speaking fluently in a language your listener doesn't understand.
So you must understand your target audience's pain points, interests, and desires.
To do that, you should use a structured approach or framework that simplifies the process.

Various approaches to visualizing your intended audience exist, but developing buyer personas is the best.

A buyer persona is your fictional representation of the ideal customer, encompassing their demographics, interests, behaviors, and motivations. It's like creating a character for a novel, but in this case, the story is about your product or service solving the audience’s problem.

You can think of it as a way to step into your audience’s shoes. What are their daily challenges? What motivates them? What language do they use? What media do they consume?

Such insights will allow you to grasp their pain points, mirror language, and tone to write impactful ad copy.

Here’s a minimalistic example of a buyer persona:

example of a buyer persona
Image by Freepik

You can glean the information from multiple sources, including the following. 

  • Customer surveys and interviews provide direct insights from existing clientele. 
  • Your website analytics and social media insights offer data on who engages with your content. 
  • Market research, such as studies and reports, can provide a broader view of your target market.
  • Feedback from your sales team can provide insights into customers' questions, concerns, and preferences. These people directly interact with existing customers and potential ones. 
  • Online forums and review sites can provide a wealth of information about your target audience, including their thoughts about your products or services.
  • Performing a competitor analysis can offer valuable information. Look at your competitors' marketing and sales tactics to understand what’s working.
  • Analyzing customer service emails and chat interactions for patterns in topics and emotions that frequently arise can be invaluable.
  • Attending industry-related events may help you understand the needs and interests of your audience.

Further, as you gather more data and insights, refine and update your buyer personas to ensure they continue to reflect the target audience accurately.

And publishers benefit through a commission whenever a reader makes a purchase of one of the mentioned products after reading an article.

9 Top Tips for Writing Ad Copy That Converts 

Writing ad copy that’s compelling requires a delicate blend of strategy, creativity, and psychological understanding. 

People only engage with what interests them, and many see tons of other companies' ads. Acknowledging and writing ad copy based on these facts can help your business stand out. 

Here are some top tips to guide you:

1. Start with A Powerful Headline

Your headline’s primary function is to capture attention. Think of it as your opening act and first impression. 

Most compelling headlines are specific, promise value, and have emotional appeal. However, the following elements are also common in great titles.

  • Conciseness: Keep your title straightforward, avoiding unnecessary words or complex jargon. 
  • Unique: Try to make your title different enough to catch the reader's attention among other ads.
  • Accuracy: Your title should accurately represent the content, product, or service. Misleading titles may generate initial clicks but can damage a brand’s reputation.
  • Urgency: A sense of urgency can significantly increase engagement and click-through rate. For instance, you could make your offer only available for a limited time. Similarly, some brands imply limited availability.
  • Numbered Lists: Titles with numbers (like "8 Ways to...") often perform well since they set clear expectations for what the reader will get.

For example, "Boost Your Energy in Just 7 Days" is much better than "Improve Your Health." The former is specific compared to the latter, and the value is clearer to the target audience.

This example also elicits some strong emotions, including the following.

  • Excitement: The promise of increasing energy levels in such a short period can cause excitement for the potential benefits and results.
  • Anticipation: Readers may feel a sense of anticipation as they look forward to experiencing boosted energy levels in just seven days.
  • Hope: The headline offers hope that there’s a solution for those struggling with low energy.
  • Curiosity: The headline can spark curiosity about how the energy boost will occur within the timeframe.

The goal is to make the audience stop and engage. But remember to ensure your headline is honest. Only promise what you can deliver. 

2. Mirror the Target Audience Objective

Write ad copy with the user's intent in mind. What do they want to accomplish? 

Shape your message around that goal. 

Also, it's not about how witty or cool your ad looks when writing ad copy. It's about how well it resonates with the consumer. You must make it clear that your product is the solution to achieving their goals.

The following ad copy from Microsoft is a great example.

example of a PPC ad copy for microsoft

The title and description mirror the consumer’s objective, are clear, and address any doubt that the product is genuine. 

And last, but not least, a product review typically includes a call-to-action where the reader can learn more – through an affiliate link.

3. Use Numbers or Statistics

Try to add numbers or statistics in your copy. They are great for providing concrete, easily digestible information that catches the eye and convinces people to engage. 

They also set clear expectations, helping potential customers make a decision.

Consider the following ad by Intact Insurance:

intact insurance google ads screenshot

The company immediately sets the expectation by including, “Save up to 25%.” 

That makes sense, as the ad targets consumers thinking of switching insurance. Plus, the reason most people change insurance companies is to save money.

However, remember that you can use various types of numbers or statistics.

For example, you can leverage the product price, the number of satisfied customers, or a compelling industry statistic.

Numbers provide credibility and tangibility. 

4. Appeal to Sense of Entitlement

We live in a society where many people feel they deserve the best, and you can leverage this sense of entitlement in your ad copy. 

More specifically, you can suggest that your product or service is what the user deserves. For example, an airline can appeal to the notion that the prospect deserves a vacation for all their hard work. Similarly, a divorce lawyer can lean towards protecting the prospect's interests.

Appealing to the sense of entitlement is especially effective in industries where people feel they are owed something.

5. Add Emotional Triggers

Emotions drive decisions. So write your ad copy to provoke an emotional response that can spur the audience into action. 

You can draw out positive emotions such as joy, amusement, and anticipation to negative ones like fear, anger, or disgust. Just remember that:

"With great power comes great responsibility" — Uncle Ben, Spiderman (2002)

In addition, ensure you balance the emotional response with your business objective. You don’t want the emotional reaction to negatively affect perceptions of your product or brand. 

Here’s an excellent example of writing to elicit an emotional response:

example of a google ad

As you can see, the law firm’s marketing team included “You pay nothing unless we win” and “Local father-son team” in the ad. These are texts aimed at eliciting an emotional response. 

The fact that the prospect pays nothing unless they win elicits the emotion of relief, providing reassurance that they won't lose money unless a favorable outcome occurs. 

The “father-son team” text elicits trust. People generally have a sense of confidence in family-run businesses. They often see them as more dedicated and committed to their craft. The text can also elicit the emotion of connection, as the prospect may feel connected to the company if they live in the same area. 

In general, people feel good about supporting members of their community.

6. Make Use of the Display URL

Your display URL is the one that appears in your ads. Advertising platforms often allow you to modify them to look different from the landing page URL. 

However, some neglect to capitalize on the feature, which is unfortunate — because you can use it to improve advertising outcomes.

Consider the following example from Nike:

screenshot of nike ad copy

They made the display URL relevant and even included a compelling call to action. When the prospect reads “/shop/shoes,” they typically won’t read it with the slashes. So it reads “Shop Shoes.”

7. Frontload Your Best Copy

Always put your most compelling copy first because of display space limitations on mobile devices. You can see this limitation in some of the Google Ads examples shared earlier. 

By frontloading your most persuasive messages, you ensure people see the best elements of your ad copy.

8. Address Common Objections

When writing ad copy, address anticipated objections to help you overcome potential barriers. For example, if a common complaint is the price, mention it in your copy. 

Here’s an example:

facebook ad copy screenshot example

To most people, the company is only offering a discount. However, they are also addressing the price objection immediately. Anyone who clicks the ad will know and be ready to pay. 

This ad also does an excellent job of conveying how the benefits or results from acquiring the offer outweigh the cost. 

9. Write Your Ad Copy to Be Benefit-Driven

Highlighting the benefits of your product or service is vital. That’s because people are generally self-interested. They want to know what’s in it for them or how your product can solve their problem. 

So don't waste valuable ad space bragging about your organization. Instead, write your ad copy with a focus on the consumer’s needs, wants, and interests.

How to A/B Test Your Ad Copy

A/B testing (split testing) is an experimental approach where you compare two versions of something to see which performs better. 

Advertisers show each version (A and B) to a different audience subset under similar conditions. Then the version that yields a higher conversion rate is deemed the winner.

When writing ad copy, testing your assumptions is a good idea. It can help you easily know what works and allows you to refine your ad copy based on real, quantifiable data. But keep in mind that you need to drive lots of traffic to your ads to run A/B tests properly. 

Here are the general steps to conducting A/B tests:

  • First, identify the goal. What would you like to achieve with your test? This could be to increase click-through rates, conversions, or other measurable user behavior.
  • Next, come up with one or more hypotheses. For example, "if we incorporate a sense of urgency ('Limited Time Offer'), the click-through rate will increase." 
  • Identify the variables that need to change in your test. You can change any part of your ad copy — headlines, body copy, CTAs, or formatting. 
  • Make the desired changes to create another version of your ad copy. Be sure to alter only the selected elements while keeping everything else constant.
  • Divide your audience into two groups. One group will see the original version (control group), and the other will see the new version (treatment group).
  • Run your test, exposing the audience to both versions simultaneously. That way, you account for any time-based variables. Ensure the test is statistically significant by running it until you've reached sufficient views or interactions.
  • Analyze the results, comparing the performance of the two groups. Which version achieved your goal more effectively? Implement the winning version if your results are clear.
  • Consider if you require further testing. If your results were inconclusive, refine your hypothesis and test again. If there's a significant improvement, update your advertisement accordingly. 
  • Document and share the results with your team. Do this regardless of the outcome, as every test provides valuable insights that can inform decision-making.ny part of your ad copy — headlines, body copy, CTAs, or formatting. 

A/B testing allows brands to navigate uncertainties and make data-driven decisions that amplify ad performance. 

When writing ad copy, testing your assumptions is a good idea. It can help you easily know what works and allows you to refine your ad copy based on real, quantifiable data. But keep in mind that you need to drive lots of traffic to your ads to run A/B tests properly. 

Writing Ad Copy for Different Platforms

Advertising platforms are diverse, with each having its unique environment and rules of survival, so to speak. 

You should write your ad copy to fit the platform’s audience. That means adjusting your tone, style, and content to match their expectations. This is crucial to campaign success. 

You should write your ad copy to fit the platform’s audience. That means adjusting your tone, style, and content to match their expectations. This is crucial to campaign success. 

To illustrate, here are some top advertising platforms today and how they differ.

  • Google Ads: Google has a diverse audience because of its wide reach. People from all demographics use the search giant, making it a good choice for almost any type of business. But what sets the platform apart is that users are more intent-driven. That means people who see your ad are likely searching for your products or services.
  • Facebook/Meta Ads: This audience is also diverse, but its real strength lies in detailed targeting options based on user interests, behaviors, and demographics (despite challenges caused by Apple’s iOS updates). Meta (including Instagram) is a great platform for businesses whose offerings can relate to people's lifestyles or interests. Ad copy here should be more personal, friendly, and engaging.
  • Twitter Ads: Twitter's user base is more likely to be younger and more tech-savvy than audiences on other platforms. These users are interested in quick, bite-sized information, so your ad copy must be concise.
  • LinkedIn Ads: This is the go-to platform for B2B advertising because its audience comprises professionals, industry leaders, and decision-makers. Users on LinkedIn are more likely to engage with content that is industry-relevant, educational, and professional in tone.
  • TikTok Ads: Younger demographic, and requires a catchy product that appeals to the Gen Z crowd. Typically less of a purchase ready group compared to Meta/IG.

Wrapping Up

Writing ad copy that engages the audience and drives conversions can be challenging. But applying the tips and examples shared here should help you significantly improve the impact of your advertising efforts.

Focus on understanding your audience and conveying the benefits of your offer, and remember to consider A/B testing. Experimenting with different ad copies to identify what truly moves the needle can skyrocket your returns.

Lastly, tailor your message to fit the advertising platform's audience for the best results. Happy writing!

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Jason Carroll

Jason is the founder of JC Digital, a lifelong storyteller and performance marketer who has helped add $100M+ in revenue to consumer brands over a decade in the industry.

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