According to Smart Insights, the average Click-Through-Rate for online advertising across all ad formats and placements is less than 2% – but this shouldn’t come as a surprise to most marketers.

Getting people to engage with advertising is harder than ever before, as most of us have a tendency of ignoring adverts that aren’t relevant or don’t grab our attention within the first few seconds.

But one of the many ways of optimising the engagement with your ads is writing high-quality, persuasive ad copy. Choosing your words wisely is important if you want to compel people to act in a certain way.

In this article, I’ll be sharing my personal insights into the ad copywriting process – and whilst this post doesn’t teach you how to be creative with words, it does provide guidelines to help map out your approach.


  • Set objectives

Before you begin to plan your ad copy, it’s important to remind yourself of what you want to achieve with your campaign. Do you want more followers, subscriptions, sales or brand awareness? Your objectives will influence your style of writing – so bear them in mind throughout the process.

  • Audience

Planning your copy starts with identifying who you’re targeting in your advert. Begin with drafting a fairly broad profile of your target market. Define their demographic characteristics such as gender, age, location, occupation and income strata.

You may also opt to dig deeper into the psychological profile of your target market by thinking about their psychographic characteristics too. This includes social status, religion, values and beliefs, personality traits, lifestyle choices, interests and behaviours.

  • Segmentation

Once you’ve created a profile of your target audience, you may choose to segment them based on the said demographic and psychographic characteristics. These variables will formulate the basis of what we call ad groups or ad sets.

Segmenting your audience is a crucial step in planning your ad copy, as each audience segment may have different wants, needs and desires. This is likely to influence the type of language you adopt in your writing.

  • Channel

The next thing to consider is the placement of your advert. If you’re planning on using a social media channel, familiarise yourself with the typical user demographic on each platform.

Another thing to bear in mind is that a number of restrictions can apply to text usage on a given platform. For example, Facebook only allows 10% of text in image-based media, whilst AdWords titles are limited to 25 characters.


  • Tone of Voice

Whether you choose to adopt an informal or formal, professional or relaxed, serious or humorous, and a conversational or authoritative tone will mostly depend on the objectives of your ad campaign, coupled with your brand’s persona. The audience segment that you’re writing for should also influence your tone of voice.

  • Personality

Injecting a bit of personality into written words is something that a lot of marketers are placing more emphasis on, given the need to avoid coming across as mundane or too ‘corporate’. Again, this will partially depend on the characteristics of your brand identity. Click here to read a case study on brand personality.

  • Language

The type of language that you use in your ad copy largely depends on the objectives you’ve set for your campaign. Ask yourself: how will I create the desired action from my audience? Will you use powerful language that appeals to emotion? Or will you use code words to subtly influence people’s perceptions?


  • A/B testing

Once you’ve got a few ideas for your ad copy set in stone, you’ll need to test each piece of copy to find out what gets the best response from your audience. A/B testing is a popular method of measuring the effectiveness of your ad copy – giving you a better picture of what works and what doesn’t.

  • Call to action

It’s imperative to wrap up your campaign with a strong call to action. In other words, you’ve got to explicitly tell your audience what you want them to do. Providing them with an incentive to do so can help your cause – limited offers and discounts are a good way of creating urgency.


Need help getting the creative juices flowing? Get in touch today and let’s sell some stuff together.