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Ad Copy That Focuses On The BENEFIT Is Always Better

I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t like cliffhangers. Sure, the excitement and anticipation to keep watching Game of Thrones or reading the Harry Potter series is appealing to some, but for me, I’m like a kid at Christmas. Give me the goods. Don’t even bother wrapping my gifts.

This can be paralleled to the way advertising works.

When you craft an ad for your audience, there are so many other things they could be doing than consuming your ad; mainly they could be continuing to scroll past your ad. 

So how do you stop that? It is simple in its description and complicated in its execution, as we will see. 

You share the benefit with your audience from the first crack of the bat.

Your ad copy and creative needs to share what the benefit of clicking through will be. No wrapping paper, no cliffhanger. What is in it for them? What free value can you provide that compels someone to click through? 

Master this, and your results will speak for themselves.

For example, imagine yourself sitting at the helm of a Bobcat. You know, one of those staggering yellow behemoths built for excavation and construction.

Look down.

At knee-level, a slew of levers lie dormant, awaiting your command. One lever pivots the loader at the end of the arm, one accelerates the vehicle, one operates the joint of the arm that allows it to extend further forward.

The same concept of innate power can be said about digital marketing ads (Facebook ads, Instagram ads, etc.).

Changing the length of ad copy affects engagement levels; altering the ad image affects how many viewers stop scrolling and pay attention; choosing different buttons affects the intention of your ad.

Take Rockin Monkey Stickers for example.

Their ad excels in providing logistical information. Pricing is clearly stated in the overlay text on the creative. We know that 15 custom stickers cost $25. Full color, die-cut stickers can be all yours for half the price of half a Benjamin.

Got it.

But we’re talking about powerful, compelling ads. Ads that make people stop scrolling. Ads that convert, and ads that add benefit.

Be more creative.

Think of the thousand angles they could employ.

Perhaps a nice video.

How about unique use cases for stickers?

Maybe a mention of how stickers can be placed anywhere, or the quality and stick-ability of their stickers. Rockin Monkey’s differentiation from all other stickers out there needs to be apparent here. Perhaps they gleam or shimmer with particular luminescence, or their colors are vibrant and pop against certain surfaces like wood or stone or fiberglass.

Their customer service might be stellar. They might respond to queries within one hour with professionalism and kindness. 

We have no idea. All we know is the price.

And unfortunately, the price alone does not carry this ad.

In my opinion, I would spend less on ads that generate the most impressions and really invest in an ad with amazing creative. Something that blows my mind away. That’s what it takes.

Now let’s take another example from Ooma Office, as it approaches engagement by winning with uniqueness, and lacks in a clear message.

In this ad, my hat goes off to them for a really solid job with their creative. Pardon the pun. It will pay off for them really well. The woman is clearly wearing many different hats to represent that business owners operate multiple sides of their business at the same time.

Even with no audio, this makes sense to everyone and when you do it in a quirky, charismatic way it makes the messaging even more powerful.

One highlight that is important to note would be the copy. Before clicking “See More” as on Instagram, all you can read is “Let Ooma Office’s Enterprise Grade…” 

In my opinion, I would take better advantage of the preview text. This seems quite bland and disjointed, like any normal ad I might come across on any given day.

Further, the second sentence, which states “Manage your calls easily with a virtual receptionist,” could be better utilized.

After the fabulous creative with no audio, a really powerful headline or first sentence to get your audience to stop scrolling ought to say something like “Let us take this off your plate.”

Or even moving the second sentence to the beginning. This creates a clear and compelling statement that moves the viewer into the action.

The point being that direct messaging will transport our minds out of the clouds with all of these fabulous colorful hats worn by a good-looking woman and back into reality; back into something we can grab a hold of. 

When you ensure all of your copy works well together, then combine it with fun and interesting creative, your message sings through to your audience like an opera on a clear, cool night.

Unfortunately, companies don’t always all absolutely smash it with their ads. Frankly, if they did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation and I would be halfway out of a job.

There’s a lot to be said about cohesiveness. When your mom cooks a signature dish, each ingredient works in cadence with the next. Or a theatrical performance that evokes a sense of fulfillment or awe will employ costume designers, light engineers and stage managers so in sync, so in flow that they could be Swiss train conductors. 

The style of a Nike shoe just seems like it belongs in the design of a Nike store, where Nike ads play on the wall and they simply make sense being there. Whether it’s their thorough work developing a style guide, or sufficient time spent tweaking and perfecting their craft, it all fits together like the seams of a jet airplane.

Ergotron has a couple holes in their boat unfortunately when it comes to their ad.

Come on guys.

Your creative barely represents relevance to the ad copy.

Clearly, your claim is that standing desks are the next best thing.

Sure. Okay. I don’t mind standing desks. Put a treadmill underneath it even.

But having NO standing desk in your creative?! Please. Tell us how we will benefit from buying your product. Give something away for free in your ad. Statistics or snippets from use cases work fabulously. Maybe employees spend 30% more time working when using a standing desk, or a startup founder who bought standing desks for their office saw 10% faster turnaround times on client orders. 

Leveraging the names of big companies is a free and easy method to gaining traction as well.

Google, Facebook and Apple are actively redefining what it means to work in an office. This completely and utterly includes standing desks! 

The options are endless.

Beat the customer to the punch. Don’t make them click through to get the first gem. Tell them why they need this item.

And please. If you’re selling standing desks, kindly insert a standing desk in your creative. Thank you.

Another issue that’s an easy solve? Swap out the product details for end-point solutions.

Here’s an ad from Coleman University. They speak to solutions briefly (albeit quite vaguely) by saying “exciting career.” However, it creates little impact for the audience or viewer when you tell them what they’ll be doing at your university. We know what learning takes. Classes are straightforward enough. 

Switch out the “doing” with the “have.” Share the benefit with me.

When I buy a concert ticket, I don’t want to be sold on the fact that I’ll be driving to the concert, putting on a certain wardrobe, and sitting in the audience. 

What gets me excited is the band! Their lights, what albums they’ll be playing, special guests, backstage passes giveaways, or a free signing at the end with the performers.

So, for Coleman University, don’t tell me what I’ll learn.

Tell me what I’ll gain from taking your classes. Give me tangible stats like hiring rates or average starting salaries when I graduate. Maybe mention any strategic partnerships you have with companies looking to hire graduates from your university. 

Simply put, focus more on the benefit and less on the feature. 

Or, let’s take a look at an ad that leaves much left to be desired. 

Visual IQ employs a question in their copy and like USPS during the holidays, it just doesn’t deliver.

Right off the bat, a few things become clear. Firstly, the name, Visual IQ, is vague. Are they a design firm? Are they a business that tests your sight? I’m afraid “Visual IQ” gives absolutely nothing away and if anything, creates confusion. 

Secondly, if they are targeting advertisers, which if I were to guess was their goal, then asking them if they want better marketing intelligence is less than helpful. It is rhetorical. Of course we want better data.

What’s more, advertisers already have a grasp on their marketing intelligence. It’s abundant, in the form of free analytics from Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. A few dedicated hours of studying these analytics already makes someone at least somewhat proficient in marketing intelligence, as metrics like cost per click, views, impressions, and budget aren’t difficult to get your head around. 

So if you want to provide a service to your customer, and neither your name nor the copy provides any benefit, then what is the benefit? 

Why would I want to buy your product?

Why do I want to click through? Because right now, I don’t want to click through.

This seems like an ad that would want to spoon-feed their audience the answer instead of coming at it from a 30,000 foot view. Tell me what the better marketing intelligence is. Is it an add-on or plug-in to my existing tools? Is it a consultant I’ll hire from your firm who brings fresh insights to numbers I’ve already analyzed, such as cost-per-click or impressions?

I as the audience member am left baffled and ultimately uninterested by this ad.

The creative reminds me of one of those ads on TV that you have no idea what it’s for until the end, when they say “buy a Nissan today” or something similar. An unsolved Rubix cube, with clouds photoshopped onto one side.

Poetic, yet ultimately ineffective.

When, on the other hand, you can capture the imagination of your audience in one word and turn them into a qualified click, then you have something great on your hands.

Neoreach has an ad that does just that.

Hats off to them. This is a dynamic, creative and well-thought-out ad for a few reasons.

Firstly, right when you look at this ad you can tell what it is and decide if you want to click through. The copy and the creative allow for a refreshing clarity.

“We have your next influencers.”

OK great. I know right away that this is a search engine for social media influencers. 

Not only that, but with the plethora of SaaS tools available today, the word “intelligent” automatically sets them apart from the competition. Sometimes it really is as simple as adding one word. Becuase now I’m thinking, “what is intelligent about it?”

Combine this with an ingenious piece of creative that clearly shows the product or service, which in this case is an example search for influencers starting with the letters “Fas,” and there is absolutely no guesswork left to the viewer.

Share the benefit. 

By showing the use case in the creative and using literal copy, Neoreach tells a story that anyone can grasp. 

Solve the user’s problem with the words “we have your next influencers.” That’s the way you do ad copy. Stellar job.

Unfortunately, when you ask questions in your copy, it can either go really well or really bad, and this next example is one that starts off strong and fails in its execution.

Fin Exploration is a company posting an ad that begins with the question: “What do you think of when you hear Fin?”

A question in your ad can be very engaging. 

But after the question is asked, everything falls apart for me with this particular ad.

The three testimonials they include have absolutely horrendous audio quality. If you’re like me and you had to listen four or five times before fully grasping what each person said, chances are you’ve already moved on and kept scrolling.

If your company is a virtual assistant offering, the last thing you want is for it to seem unprofessional. Unprofessionalism is exactly one of the main complaints of virtual assistants! They may not know what they’re doing, you may have to over-explain everything to them… 

Give me an ad that is really clean, crisp, perfect, and absolutely outstanding in its quality. Then I can safely say to myself, “OK, this virtual assistant company knows what they’re talking about. Maybe I should give them my attention and click through. I see the benefit here.”

Unfortunately, Fin Exploration shanks it on this key component and ultimately won’t win my business because frankly, I don’t think they know what they’re talking about.

Seriously guys. If you’re spending your money on producing video ads, hire a videographer with a high-quality camera and audio capabilities. You owe at least that much to your audience. At the end of the day, you’re the one with the service. 

Share the benefit by demonstrating it through your ad, not some piece of filming that could have been done on a flip phone.

Next, we’ll revisit something we’ve already spoken about, and that is combining your creative and copy to compliment one another and make an ad that’s synergistic.

Spotify Brands first off strikes me as the type of company that would know what they’re doing, or at the very least have the resources to hire people to do ads really well.

With 100 million Spotify Premium active monthly users in Q1 2019, you’d think Spotify would have the funds to not use a stock photo.

And yet, they still used a stock photo. After the overlay text says “Reach real people.” There’s nothing “real” about a stock photo, Spotify. Come on.

The copy is less than redeeming, and it comes back to whether the copy compliments the creative, which in this case, it does not: “Make audio ads in minutes.”

How does making audio ads quickly relate to reaching real people?

It’s like a very distant near rhyme; one where you think, “Wow, that’s a stretch.” It’s a huge stretch for me to think that making audio ads has anything to do with reaching real people.

What are they selling? 

What is the benefit? 

How am I as the viewer at all engaged by this ad?

Sometimes it’s ads like this that make me laugh. Spotify is a household name, and yet no one is immune to blunders, even household names. A stock photo and the word “real” should never be used in the same context.

Moving on, let’s have a look at an ad from Pinterest Business. This ad has me both impressed and confused at the same time.

I’m impressed because of how straightforward the overlay text is on the creative: “Advertisers see $2 in profit for every $1 spent on Pinterest.”

Now that’s a claim! 

If you have a claim to make, then make it, and Pinterest Business does a fabulous job with this. No fluff, no hidden meaning, no vagueness whatsoever.

Further, the creative is well-done. Sure you could get nit-picky about it but all in all the creative is well-done, featuring a nicely lit photo of a good-looking woman using her phone. I’d take a stab and say she’s on Pinterest.

Simply put, the benefit is right in front of your face and done in an effective way. Reach your marketing goals. A 200% return on ad spend sounds like a spectacular marketing goal for any firm.

The audience is specific, too. They’re speaking directly to marketers who want to use Pinterest to get their product or service out there. Really well done.

And yet, I will say that I’m a bit confused and maybe you can help. How can they even make this claim?

Maybe I’m overlooking the fact that they provide a source in the fine print of the creative text overlay. Is that enough to warrant such a bold claim like this?

Wouldn’t Pinterest Business want to add in a disclaimer stating that these results aren’t guaranteed?

Anyway. Overall, great job. Clear, engaging, intelligent, and they share the benefit very powerfully.

Keeping with the theme of household names (Spotify, Pinterest), let’s talk about an ad from Amazon about their influencer program.

In today’s day and age, influencers have taken social media by storm. If you’re using Shopify or Amazon, you can advertise your products through influencers. If you’re a major brand with the clout to spend thousands on the Kendall Jenner’s of the world, simply reach out and boom, your Chanel perfume can enjoy literally millions of impressions.

Influencers demonstrate a positive and entrepreneurial shift in our economics and how marketing is done effectively. I’m a fan of the ability to become an influencer.

So in that sense, I really like this ad.

Unfortunately, this ad is too broad and doesn’t quite resonate with me. 

In the creative of their high-budget video showing the behind-the-scenes of influencers, Amazon speaks to unleashing the power of your influence and leveraging the affiliate program. 

But I know about those things.

Share the benefit with us. The video is OK but it’s not that exciting.

What’s the one new thing that I didn’t know about before that I now can get excited over? What’s going to make me click through? What benefit or free value did I get from this ad apart from being entertained?

Unfortunately, although the production quality is high, because this crucial piece is missing, I am just don’t think their audience will be very “wowed” or compelled to click through.

Likewise, if your copy is long-winded and boring, like with the next ad from Diversyfund, your audience will just keep scrolling and forget they ever saw your ad. 

Think about it like an article. If the beginning isn’t captivating, either through a story, a powerful quote, or even an impressive statistic, then you’re likely to stop reading and get your information elsewhere.

People want short, impactful messages they can relate to. 

When there’s just too much information, it gets overwhelming very quickly.

Additionally, if you take a look at the video quality, it’s subpar. If this guy has had as much experience as he says he does, then he should have known to hire a professional. It’s great that you’ve found wealth and success in business, but just because your buddy has a Canon and a mic that doesn’t mean your ad will perform.

Shorten the video on the ad, get it professionally shot with great lighting and a powerful message, and then place a two, three or four-minute video on your landing page. You’re just looking for the click-through in this case, and if these methods were employed, then he would enjoy double or triple the traffic because the message resonates.

Remember that in ads, your job is to capture the attention.

After that, let your landing page do the heavy lifting in terms of providing information.

Avochato has an ad that, on the other hand, does a spectacular job with its pacing.

Immediately, they grabbed my attention with their video stating that customers aren’t reading emails anymore, and shows the email counter ticking up.

Then, messages are opening up and I can clearly see great statistics about SMS versus email with faster response rates and how you can shower offers via SMS.

In our age of information overload and short attention spans, the pace of this ad is extremely well done. Very engaging, fun creative, and it keeps my attention.

Next they showcase their beautiful interface on both PC as well as mobile, and I’m left really impressed by their offer to close sales faster (which is a clear benefit they share), as well as increase open rates and text customers one-on-one or to a group.

The creative with its speed and statistics, couples wonderfully with their copy. The video ends with a free trial and although that could have been a part of the headline, it’s such a solid ad that I don’t even mind that much.

This is an example of clearly sharing the benefit with their audience. Well done, Avochato.

Finally, we have an ad from fastcompany, and unfortunately, the benefit is not apparent in this one.

Their copy starts off with an invitation to join them for five days of innovation and insight. Uh… OK.

I want you to come to a party. It’ll be fun and cool.

Hey, check out my website. It’s really great.

Yo! This concert I’m going to will be loud and colorful.

It’s like, come on guys. Innovation? Insight? 


Oh, so people got something out of your last event? That’s fabulous. Good for them.

Where are the statistics? Where is the benefit? What will I gain from coming to your event?

They could have done any of a million more impactful things to keep people from scrolling along. They could have shared a testimonial from someone who had their big breakthrough and now they own a business or consult for Fortune 500 companies. They could have given free value by quoting the amazing takeaways that attendees will learn from coming along.

When I see this ad and its boring copy and cartoon-y creative that ads no benefit, I think of that MTV show from the mid-2000’s.


At the end of the day, when you’re creating an ad for your company, share the benefit. Also, keep in mind these important tips that we’ve covered:

Make it professional. No one wants to watch a video where they can count the number of pixels.

Create synergy between your copy and your creative so that they complement one another.

Keep your overlay text and copy impactful, short, and loaded with value so your audience clicks through.

Speaking of clicking through, this is what you want someone to do; to click through. Don’t overload information or you will risk losing people.

If you are looking for powerful ads that convert more clicks, contact me to schedule an appointment.

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