In 1963, David Ogilvy wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man. No doubt you’ve heard of it. More than likely, you have a well-worn copy on your desk right now.
Ogilvy would have been the first to tell you that he wasn’t a particularly talented copywriter. His genius shone through his strategy—his strategy was to find out what worked and use it. Much of what he wrote in 1963 still applies today.
Native Ads > Banner Ads
This infographic from Sharethrough showcases the power of native ads. In fact, native ads outperform banner ads in nearly every category: 52% more views, 18% higher purchase intent, a 13% increase in word-of-mouth sharing, and so on.
Of course, David Ogilvy said the same thing in 1963: “There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.”
Today the principle remains the same, even if the statistics have evolved.
Generally speaking, prospective consumers don’t like ads. But if you can make your ads look like editorials, you’re going to see a much higher success rate. Back in 2013, native ads led banner ads in viewer frequency, views overall, and brand favorability to name a few.
In short, native ads will get you more eyes and more conversions more often.
This Section is About Descriptive Headlines
Recently, Facebook declared war on click-bait headlines. It turns out, 80% of Facebook users want a descriptive headline. They want to know what they’re actually clicking on.
Back in 1963, Ogilvy told us a few things about headlines. First, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” According to Copyblogger, this statistic is still true. The reason for Facebook’s change is simple: click-bait headlines take readers away from substantive content. Sure, you might get a million eyes on your “Guess What Happened Next” headline, but you won’t get conversions or subscribers.
Descriptive headlines, on the other hand, tell the reader exactly what they’re in for. If you make readers guess what the ad is about, you’re wasting time and money.
Second, “Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines… People read too fast to figure out what you are trying to say.” This style works for outlets like The Onion, but most of the time it won’t work for your Senate election or your product promotion. Your headline should draw people to your content because they want to go there. This consumer intent is key to strong conversions and loyal subscribers.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” — David Ogilvy
Make your headline about something. Don’t alienate or upset customers you haven’t even won over yet.