When you’re writing an ad, the headline is the most important component. This is true no matter what type of ad you’re running, online or off, but it’s especially crucial for online advertising for two reasons.
First, with online advertising, you’re typically contending with limited space or character restrictions. This holds true whether you’re using banner ads, Google Adwords, Facebook ads, or whatever.
Second, when people view your online ad, they’re probably in a hurry (in fact they’re most likely viewing your on their mobile device, which means they’re on the go), so you only have a FRACTION of a second to capture their attention with a powerful headline.
Get this. If your headline doesn’t catch your prospect’s attention immediately, they won’t read the rest of your ad. Typically, 80% of people will read an ad’s headline, but only 2% will read the rest. That’s why your headline is so important — if it doesn’t strike like lightening, you can kiss your prospect goodbye.
So you can see how your headline can determine the success or failure of your ad.
How do your write a great headline? It’s not easy. It takes practice. But as a general rule, the best headlines provide a benefit to your prospect, generally answering their question, “What’s in it for me?”
I always suggest writing the copy (text) of an ad first, then writing the headline last. Why? Because often times you’ll find your headline hidden in your ad copy, which you didn’t even know was there until writing your ad in the first place.
Your headline can be long or short, but keeping it to 15 words or less is a good general rule of thumb for a print publication. For online banner advertising, seven words or less is good (depending on the size of your ad), and I believe Google Adwords and Facebook both limit your headline to 25 characters.
Here’s a list of the 100 best advertising headlines ever written if you need some ideas. When you write your next ad(s), you might try to adapt these into your print or advertising campaign.