It’s one of the most important parts of marketing but it is often brushed to the side. In this article we look at what makes effective copy for a digital ad, why it’s so important to getting your message across and how you can make yours better:


1. Say it out loud

At its core, your copy speaks for your brand and is one of the first steps of a user’s journey. Whether it’s an ad in a campaign, a 500 word blog or the main body of text on your website, every word you write should take your potential customer one step closer to taking action. So how do you do that?

Keeping a consistent tone of voice is key. An advert should act as a teaser for the wider experience of your brand so if your website is written with a certain poetic flair, using elegant and effusive language, your ad copy should do the same.

If you’re struggling with getting the words down on the page, put the pen down and say it out loud. You are much more likely to develop a clearer message if the words are coming organically.

Get vocal

2. Headlines

Online platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can make great use of headlines, offering your digital ad a further dimension. But don’t think that a headline is a small add-on to give the main copy an extra push; if anything it’s the opposite. A user is 5 times more likely to read the headline than read the main copy - use this knowledge to your advantage and get your customer engaged. Ask questions, solve problems, convert users.

3. Know your audience

Maybe the most obvious tip: have a clear idea of who you are talking to. Digital platforms allow you to create detailed profiles of users that your ads will get served to, throwing the broad net of print marketing out of the window.

But that doesn’t mean that you can get away with ineffective writing - you still need to appeal to your audience.

Establishing the demographics of your target audience means you can tailor your copy around these profiles. Who are you aiming the ads at? What do they need? What do they want?

Let’s say one of our audiences are people who work in the City of London and we are running ads for property in Guildford:


Stunning homes, less than 40 minutes from London.’

This short phrase informs the user about a tolerable commute while still living in a ‘stunning home’.


Stunning homes in the quiet setting of suburban Guildford.’

With this version, you get a similar message but missing a crucial detail that would be important to a commuter.

4. Keep it short, keep it simple

Facebook’s character limit for ad copy is 63,206 which is roughly 10,500 words. There is a reason why Twitter’s limit is 280.

According to Microsoft, the average attention span is roughly 8 seconds. For all intents and purposes, let’s say that equates to 2 or 3 short sentences. Keeping your copy within this frame is key; any more than this and you run the risk of your reader losing interest and clicking away. This is where the battle of official-style vs plain English begins.


‘Richard Lanham maintains that constructing prose in a manner similar to this (typically known as ‘Official-Style’ with elegant language and a structure similar to that of more academic writing) an audience has difficulties in comprehending and retaining the information given.’




This sounds quite eloquent but at 41 words, that will not only look imposing but many of them might not even be seen. Depending on what you’ve written, if you write any more than 30 words your copy will fall victim to the dreaded ‘See more…’.

‘Richard Lanham believes that complicated text - “official-style” - won’t help your audience understand your message.’

This conveys the same message but with much less fluff.

5. Use numbers

Numbers are a hugely effective way of conveying information to your customers. The elements should be at the forefront of your messaging: 
Most buyers expect to see a price and will keep searching until they have it. If you can give them this information early in the journey, they will be less likely to leave and search elsewhere. A recent study showed that 73% of consumers value transparency over price.

  • How much does it cost?
  • How many are left?
  • When does the promotion end?

6. Test it out

With digital advertising, you can change just about every aspect of your campaign at any point. So why wouldn’t you? Run tests and see what works best for your campaign. Does omitting the price in your copy actually drive more conversions? Does one call to action yield a higher click through rate? It’s all about what works best for your customer and the only way to find that out is by running tests.

It is important to test your copy

Every consumer is different and brands need to be prepared for that. We wrote a 3-part series on micro-moments, the moment of immediacy that a consumer demands when they reach for their phone. This is where consumers are heading, a craving for information as quickly and hassle-free as possible and this begins with the right copy.

If you’re wanting to boost your digital advertising campaigns with winning copy please get in touch via our enquiry form or give us a call on 01372 749 200.