Advertiser's Blog

The anatomy of an advertisement part 1: how to captivate your audience’s attention

Writing a good headline for your advertisement is a make or break. It counts for 80% of your advertisement as it determines whether your audience will continue to read or not

The importance of a good headline

An advertisement is made up of three main sections being the headline, body and call to action. The first one is considered to be the make or break of your advertisement. As David Ogilvy once said, your headline is 80% of your advertisement. Based on that people will decide whether to care, or not.

In a world full of noise and advertisements it’s hard to make yours stand out, let alone be remembered. That’s why starting off with an attractive headline is so important to making your ad successful.

How to create a compelling headline

Your headline should be an attention-getter. After reading this consumers will decide whether to keep reading or not. To stand out you need a headline that sticks. You have to create interest in one sentence. Below you will find some tips to do exactly that.

  • Ask a question that sparks curiosity

By asking a question you get prospects thinking and possibly raising more questions. Which will cause them to take a look at what you are talking about.

  • Use humour

People will always be more likely to be attracted by an advertisement that makes them laugh. It will also be remembered and shared more. Think of the last time you saw a funny advertisement and how much you wanted to share it with your friends.

  • Use data or social proof

You could start your ad with a piece of relevant data that proofs the effectiveness of your product. For example: “find out how we helped our clients increase revenue by 50% in 6 months”. Only use real data and proof as using fake data will only put you in a position of distrust.

  • Leave out the buzzwords

Always keep it simple, even if you work with a sector that uses a lot of jargon. People know when you use buzzwords just for the sake of it so don’t go overboard when using these.

  • Show off your Unique Selling Point

After all this is what your USP is made for. Do you have something unique to offer that will instantly make you stand out of the crowd? You could use it like: “We’re the number one XYZ company with over 1000 helped clients”.

  • Make a promise

Think of your buyer’s goal and how you help to achieve it. Why would they be doubting to take action? Perhaps they fear it will take too much time? In response you can make a promise. A great example is car insurance company Geico. Their brand promise is: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on care insurance.”

  • Start with the outcome

The reason customers buy is because they want to achieve a certain end result. So why not start with that? Let’s say that you own a gardening business that specializes in colourful gardens your headline could be “Live in a garden where colour comes to life.” Basically, you have to mirror the objective of your buyer. Therefore you have to know what your audience wants to achieve.

  • Transform a cliché in your own way

Just like the million dollar shave club has transformed the endless marketing cliché of saving time & money into their own brand-central tagline: “Shave time, shave money”

Depending on your headline you can also add a subtitle or tagline explaining more on the products or services you offer and how it can help your potential client. After you have created a few headlines for yourself, determine the top 3 that your wrote down.

Test your advertisement with the different headlines to see which of them has the highest opening and/or conversion rates. Based on that data you can learn which advertisements work best for which particular audience. Now all you have to do is combine your headline with a persuasive body and a captivating call to action to make it all work together.


Zerocopy enables students to print their courses for free because of advertisements targeted to this young and hard-to-reach audience. We have created a community where companies and students connect to create a win-win situation for both sides. Feel free to take a look at our website or contact us for more information!

Leave a Reply