Writing A Winning Ad Headline

Headlines so good your customers stop scrolling

Native ads can be tricky – they’re designed to match the look and feel of the platform they’re on, so to be successful they have to simultaneously fit in with the surrounding content and stand out enough for your customer to stop scrolling and click. 

For this reason, what works for your search ads or PPC will not be as effective in a native format. Instead of recycling your copy and hoping for the best, to truly get results from your native advertising you need to take a more creative approach. 

At Sprocket Digital, we’ve been creating successful native ads for our clients for years. These are our best tips for writing a compelling headline for your native ads – a headline that’s so good your customers can’t help but click.

1. Choose your words wisely

In any digital ad format, you’ve only got a limited amount of characters to use to make an impact and convince your customer to click. Every word counts. 

Write what you want to say, then start cutting: cut out any fluff or unnecessary words, look for shorter ways of saying the same thing, or a different word that captures a bit more emotion. 

Keep going until you have a clear, concise headline that perfectly expresses your message – don’t be afraid to be ruthless. 

It may take some time, but finding the right combination of words can mean the difference between a passable click-through rate and a great one. Once you have a few contenders, A/B testing can help you to narrow down which one is the most effective for your market.

2. What’s in it for your customer?

Too many businesses are still focusing on products and features, and not enough on benefits and value to their customer. 

A product and feature-centric headline can come across as sales-y – more interested in making money than doing anything for your customers. On the other hand, a benefits and value-oriented headline makes it clear that you understand what your customer wants and needs, and you’re there to help them live better. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – what would make them want to click on your ad? What would they get out of it – how would it make their life better? You need to know your target audience well, so you can ensure your ads will be relevant to their interests.

3. Use emotions for a stronger response

Emotions are a powerful trigger in the decision-making process, and can be especially effective when you need a fast reaction, i.e. to stop someone from scrolling past your ad. 

What emotion are you trying to activate with your headline? Fun playfulness? Inspiration and motivation? Shock? Envy? Intrigue? 

Whatever emotion you choose, make sure it’s relevant to your company and consistent across your campaign for a seamless user experience when they click through from the ad to your content or offer.

4. Authenticity and honesty go a long way

To win favour and trust from your customers, avoid over the top claims or clickbait-y headlines – these will only damage your reputation and disappoint your customers after they click. 

Be authentic and be honest, using data and evidence to prove whatever claims you make in your ad. Internet users are becoming more and more sceptical, and more distrusting of advertising in general – to win over their trust, especially with native advertising, you have to work harder to prove that you are genuine.

5. Don’t forget a call to action

Every good ad needs a good call to action, directing your customer as to what you want them to do next after seeing your ad. 

Do you want them to follow your social media page? Sign up for a free product or trial? Find out more about your services? Subscribe to your newsletter? Make it easy to follow with a simple, concise call to action at the end of your headline. 

Writing successful ad headlines is a combination of art, science, and practice. Once you know the guidelines, you can begin to experiment and test your copy in the real world to improve your results piece by piece. 

If you’re still having trouble, or feel it’s time to let the experts take care of your ads, get in touch with our team – we’ve had years of experience crafting compelling ads for a variety of clients across New Zealand and internationally.

Ready to take your ads to the next level? Contact the Team at Sprocket Digital.


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