Financial Marketers: Top 5 Tips For The Best Native Ad Headline

Data shows that the quality of digital ad creative is directly tied to digital ad performance. The better the creative, the better it performs and the less it costs a marketer.  Marketers reap a better ROI by developing multiple iterations of an ad, testing and tweaking it – a tried and true process that the TV space has used for years, but that digital has de-emphasized much in favor of targeting.

Certainly all of digital can benefit from optimization and testing, even native advertising.  As David Ogilvy wrote in his 1963 book, Confessions of an Ad Man, “A change in headline can make a difference of ten to one in sales. I never write fewer than 16 headlines for a single advertisement.” To this day, David Ogilvy’s advice remains wise and true. Data show that the better the headline, the better a native ad performs. The best performing headline that we’ve seen at Dianomi performed at 650% more than the average. In native advertising, certainly the headline is the best chance for a quick win to drive more sales.

Here are five surefire tips to master your headline creative in your next native ad:

  • Write for the time poor reader.  According to data from Microsoft, people lose concentration after eight seconds. This is why the best headlines are 70 characters or fewer and get straight to the point.
  • Use high performance words.  There are 49 words that best perform in headlines. Some of them are:
    • Numbers and years: 5, 7, 9, 10, YYYY, “The No. 1”
    • Questions, e.g. What, Why, When, Which, Will
    • Adjectives, e.g. Top, Exclusive, Essential, Critical
    • Benefits, e.g., Ways, Rules, Tips, Facts, Lessons, Reasons, Secrets
    • Opportunity, e.g. Free, New, Easy, Now, Quick, Last and Chance
  • Qualify the audience.  We did this in the headline of this article and you should also qualify your reader in your native advertisement. Words like advertisers, marketers, moms, investors and students are all great examples of words that qualify the reader. Here are a couple of good examples:
    • “Day Traders: Top 7 FX Trading Mistakes – Capital at Risk”
    • “Advisors: 7 Essential Principles to Selecting Income Funds in 2017”
  • Do A/B testing.  There is no reason why you cannot and should not test your native ad content. In one situation, we tested two headlines for an online trading platform, by making small tweaks to one headline, it generated a 48% higher click-through rate than the other one.  Note: make sure your A/B tests are statistically significant with less than a 5% chance of random error.
  • Get into your customer’s head.  Key to any marketing is knowing what is important to your customers. A/B testing will only tell you how one ad performs against another. Spending time with your sales team, and understanding what’s important to your customers, should be key to informing any content strategy. The more meaningful your communication, the more likely a reader is to take notice.

This article was written by Cabell de Marcellus, co-founder of Dianomi.