If you’re having trouble getting engagement from your native content advertising, it’s worth taking a hard look at the headlines you’re using. Other than a captivating image, the most important way to get engagement (and click-throughs) with your native advertising is the headline.
It’s true that headline creation can be an art form in itself, but regardless of whether you use a copy-writer or not, your headlines should not include spelling errors, excessive punctuation or outrageous claims.
With over 10 years of experience, we’ve seen our fair share of headlines. Here are some common mistakes advertisers make and tips on how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Spelling Errors
The amount of misspellings and grammar errors in native headline writing is astounding. Utilize a spell checker that is built into your web browser or consult a peer to review your content.
Mistake #2: Poor Grammar
Publishers don’t want headlines with grammatical errors on their sites.
Incorrect: “There’s an Easiest Way to Look Young Than Taking Pills”
Correct: “There’s an Easier Way to Look Younger Than Taking Pills”
Mistake #3: Words in All Caps
Unless it’s an acronym like LOL or NFL, using all caps is not compliant.
Incorrect: “WAIT, WHAT? You Won’t Believe These Celeb Photos”
Correct: “Wait, What? You Won’t Believe These Celeb Photos”
Mistake #4: Incomplete Headlines
Headlines should be complete thoughts without random punctuation such as ellipses.
Incorrect: “Cut! 32 Terrific Stunts in Home Videos That…”
Correct: “Cut! 32 Terrific Stunts in Home Videos That Went Viral”
Mistake #5: Excessive Punctuation Marks
Incorrect and overuse of punctuation is distracting.
Incorrect: “You Won’t Believe It!!!! These Actors Look Completely Different”
Correct: “You Won’t Believe It – These Actors Look Completely Different”
Mistake #6: Character Count
Keep headline character count to 60 characters or less. This includes spacing, punctuation and letters, and it also applies to ads in RSS feeds. Trust us — longer headlines rarely translate into more clicks.
Examples of Top-Performing Headlines in Content.ad
- “Wedding Attendees Saw More Than They Wanted” (43 characters)
- “Skinny Pill Sweeping the Nation” (31 characters)
- “How To: Stop Tinnitus” (21 characters)
- “This Simple Skin Fix May Surprise You” (37 characters)
To get the character count in Excel or a Google spreadsheet, type your headline into a cell. In the next cell, type this function code:
=LEN(cell where your headline is written) and press Enter.
Mistake #7: Making a False, Misleading or Unverified Claim
There’s a big difference between pushing the truth and making false claims. Federal law says an ad must be truthful and not misleading.
Incorrect: “Do This One Trick to Lose 20 Pounds in Three Weeks”
Why: You can’t guarantee a loss of weight within a specific time period.
Incorrect: “Fact: Herpes Can Be Cured (In 14 Days) Try It Now”
Why: Herpes can’t be cured.
Incorrect: “Destroy Your Diabetes Overnight with This One Trick”
Why: You can’t technically “destroy” diabetes and very few health issues can be fixed overnight with a “trick.”
Mistake #8: Attacking Another Product, Service, or Competitor
Bashing or disparaging another company or product with attack ads is against Content.ad’s compliance policy.
Example: “Don’t Purchase Anti-Aging Creams from Chanel – They Don’t Work”
Mistake #9: Vulgar Language
Headlines referring to sexual acts, words used in an explicit context, and racial slurs are also noncompliant.
• “These Moms Are Total MILFs”
• “What the F*ck Were These Lottery Winners Thinking?”
• “One Thing All Goddamn Cheaters Have in Common”
• “Jesus! What Happened to Her Wrinkles?”
Mistake #10: Headlines That Don’t Relate to Landing Page
Example: “See Inside Taylor Swift’s Home” should only go to images of Taylor Swift’s home.
We hope you enjoyed these tips!
If you want more insider information on profitable ad categories or tips on how to be a successful advertiser, contact us.