One aspect of marketing or advertising that plays a huge role in making it effective is the copy. Copywriters or marketers in general, especially those who’re just beginning to enter the advertising world, it really is a hard debate when it comes to finding out whether short copy or long copy is better for advertising. Getting an audience’s attention is not an easy feat and it’s definitely not easy to effectively curate both short and long copy.
But here’s the truth: There’s no definitive right or wrong. What matters is that the copy suits the product or brand and caters to the right target audience. Nonetheless, this blog aims to give a little peace of mind and help you determine what length of copy goes best with what kind of advertising, ultimately how to strike the right balance for maximum impact.
Why Is Copy Important in Marketing and Advertising?
As mentioned before, it plays a huge role in delivering a message to your targeted audiences. The copy written for your brand needs to incorporate the tone and voice of your brand personality so that it attracts the right consumers. Once you’ve attracted the right audience with the right words in the right platform, this gives you the opportunity to convince them to take action. Copy in advertising and marketing, when done well, can tell a story, explain a product, its features, and most importantly, it can encourage people to click or purchase.
Less is More
So, what is a short copy? Well, as the name suggests, it’s a copy that’s concise and very minimal, accompanied by a call-to-action (CTA). The info within the copy should be just enough to make people feel intrigued and interested enough to click in and find out more.
People would think that short copy is easy to write, but it’s not just the length we’re focusing on; it’s the quality and content of the copy as well. Since it’s short, the copy should contain clear info that you want your reader to know while grabbing the reader’s attention, so you get the opportunity to convince people to stay, continue reading, or purchase your product.
Pros of Short Copy
- Concise & Clear: With short copy, you can get straight to the point without the need to ramble and provide a long explanation. It’s meant to be concise and this makes it especially useful for bigger and more well-known brands. For instance, brands like Apple or Nike wouldn’t have to necessarily provide much copy for anyone to click in and purchase.
- Convey Message Quickly: Consumers who regularly browse online are mostly Gen Z. This is an important point to note because Gen Zs are infamous for having a short attention span. Alongside that, generally being able to convey the message quickly will help grab people’s attention enough for them to take action. Plus, this comes in handy during big discounted sales where you have to get consumers to make impulse decisions.
- Increased Readability: Thanks to the short length, readers won’t be overwhelmed and scroll past without bothering to read. It’s especially beneficial for ads meant to be on social media platforms or other mobile apps.
Cons of Short Copy
- May Not Provide Enough Info: Since there’s limited space for info, sometimes the provided copy may not be that efficient for products or services that require a longer explanation. One solution that may help is to include a CTA to a landing page that contains the rest of the info.
- May Not Be Effective For Complex Content: On the other end of the spectrum of impulse buying, we have planned buying. So, this usually comes with products or services that are more complex such as cars, insurance and so on. For that, consumers would need a more detailed copy for them to make informed decisions.
The Fine Print Matters
On the other hand, what defines a long copy? When a copy is more detailed and comprehensive, it’s considered a long copy. It can include a brand overview, consumer benefits or testimonials and other specifications. So with a longer length, the writer now has a bit more freedom. However, writers must remember not to ramble. The challenge that comes with creating a long copy is not only grabbing the reader’s attention, but also keeping it, so they read to the end and take action.
Additional advice: If your brand calls for it, don’t shy away from writing long long copy. Keep in mind that long copy is meant for you to be able to fit all necessary info. This being said, just because a reader clicks off without reading the whole thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean the copy isn’t good, it may mean they weren’t the right audience for you anyway.
While we have you here, this article about Short vs. Long Videos might be helpful too!
Pros of Long Copy
- More Detailed: Thanks to there being almost no limit to how long a copy can be for advertising, it can be very useful when you need to be more detailed and informative about a certain service or product. For instance, fast food chains are constantly creating weird or unconventional items or unique taste creations.
Take KFC when they released their Chizza. Just by the name alone, we wouldn’t be able to tell what exactly it is. So, they made the smart move of publishing a press release to introduce their new item which turned out to be a pizza but instead of a dough base, its base is chicken. In short, more info addresses consumers’ questions and concerns.
Source: KFC – News
- Builds Trust: Long copy is especially helpful when a new brand or business is stepping into the scene and needs to build a loyal consumer base. Providing more info to your targeted audience will essentially help them get to know you more and this builds their trust and can potentially turn them into loyal consumers.
- Emotional Engagement: When you want to create longer copy, this gives you more opportunity to be creative and tell a compelling story so consumers are more attracted. This potentially taps into their emotions and allows them to connect on a deeper level with your brand, strengthening brand-consumer bonds.
- Beneficial for SEO: Longer copy makes it easier to fit in more keywords. This can be good when you’re trying to boost your SEO. Not only does it help with your site’s ranking, but it also helps with driving organic traffic and ultimately allowing more exposure.
Cons of Long Copy
- Time-Consuming: Even the best writer needs time to curate long copy. Not only that, it’s also time-consuming for consumers to read since they’d prefer quick info. Thus, in order to curate good quality copy that keeps the consumer reading, there’s going to be longer time consumption on both sides.
- May Not Be Effective for Impulse Purchases: As mentioned earlier, about planned buying, long copy isn’t really meant for products and services that require an impulse decision such as getting a dress on sale or buying coins when you’ve almost died in a game.
Things to Consider When Deciding
- Target Audience: It’s absolutely essential to understand your audience’s reading tastes and habits. Some people enjoy reading longer copy for the information and some prefer the briefness of short copy. What you can do is determine your target audience first and study their online interactions using analytics.
- Product or Service Complexity: As mentioned in previous points, you have to consider the complexity of your product or service. More complex products and services that require some thought need more information and thus, longer copy would be more suitable. If it’s the opposite, then go for a shorter copy.
- Platform & Medium: Each platform has its own audience and how they interact with lengths of certain content. For instance, if it’s blogs on your own website, then you can opt for longer copy to provide more info. On the other hand, for platforms like Instagram and TikTok where everything is so fast-moving, shorter copy is better for the readability.
So, What Did We Learn?
There’s a time and a place for any length of copy. One is not ultimately the better choice than the other in all situations. Short and long copies are helpful depending on what message you’re trying to deliver or what product or service you’re trying to offer. On top of that, each of them has its own pros and cons. The main solution should be to find the right balance. Analyse what you want to deliver, your target audience, and the platform you’re advertising on. From there, you can decide whether a shorter or longer copy is more suitable. If there’s still a debate, then reach out and leave it to us! We’d be happy to help with any copywriting need you may have.