By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
An often-asked question marketers consistently hear from management is “Which is more effective: long ad copy or short ad copy?” Usually, the question is raised when response rates are low, executive bias kicks in, or other extraneous factors come into play.
Copy length, in my experience, depends upon one point, summed up best by Howard Gossage, the advertising innovator, and iconoclast during the “Mad Men” era. He said: “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.”
Based on that adage, an ad should have as much copy as it takes to keep the readers’ interest, but no more. What are the points to make that persuade people to buy your product or to ask for more information? How many of these points are necessary to make your case?
On the other hand, at what point does even the most curious reader lose interest with a litany of facts? The points may excite your internal team, but do they weaken your case to outsiders?
These questions highlight the need to dig into a publication’s readership. A CFO probably won’t have the time nor inclination to get too deep into a fleet-related product or service story. A fleet manager might be more likely to seek more proof.
Many managers generalize that younger managers don’t have the patience to read a lot of copy. However, think of the millennial ready to spend his or her hard-earned savings on a car, a home, or another big personal expenditure. Do you really think research isn’t a critical preliminary step in this age of internet searches? Unlikely!
The long and short of effective ad copy length is that one or the other may be the best approach. To provide management with a comfort level, the smart marketing manager will conduct some A/B testing to compare response rates. Your trade publication sales representative can help with this testing.
If you have any questions, comments or opinions that you’d like to share, write to me at edpierce@ITAcommunications.com.