Black Friday ad writers can learn from Cyber Monday lessons

As shoppers look forward to incredible holiday deals this week, advertisers are pulling out every strategy to grab your attention and make you take action.  SpyFu’s new Convertasaurus has uncovered surefire ad copy lessons that could put these Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertisers on top.

Think your great offer is exciting enough to make everyone look as shocked as Taylor Swift at an awards show? Of course you do, but here’s our surprising hint.  Don’t add an exclamation point.

It turns out that shoppers respond better to offers like “50% off” or “special offer” when the line ends with nothing. Forcing excitement like “50% off!” with an exclamation point is likely to fall flat with your audience.

Really, Toys R Us?

Two of their 4 exclamation points caught our eye for the use of “ever.”  That turns “lowest prices” into an even bolder claim, but it still works best without the forced excitement.

Add any urgency, though, and that hard rule takes a sharp turn.  Phrases like “act now” or “don’t miss out,” score big with exclamation points.

It’s fitting that we give “urgency” the spotlight here. It is a major theme of Black Friday sales.  Every year we get a video of shoppers fighting for the last doll on a display, but how does limited supply build up that kind of frenzy in your ads?

Walmart’s choice to run “while supplies last” may come from a logistics stand-point, but it still doubles as the Urgency Signal.  Not a bad choice, but they could do better. Here’s why:

“While supplies last” beats “limited supply.”  But you know what drives home the scarcity and performs even stronger with readers?

Limited quantities.

Moving up the urgency chain, the short-time phrases start to dominate. Even better than “limited quantities” are “by tomorrow” and “limited time.”  But give vagueness the crown, because the big winner that makes audiences respond better than other phrases is:

Before it’s too late.

So what’s the theme here that makes one urgent phrase make people camp in parking lots and pass up pumpkin pie to jump in line at the doors? We’re starting to see a pattern emerge down the lines of time vs. supplies.  Sounds like a future blog post.  Stay tuned.

We caught a peek at Best Buy’s 2012 Black Friday ad, and their ongoing theme made us curious about their ad copy. Throughout their ad, we spotted repetitive use of “exclusive.”  Let’s see if they could have stepped up their word choice for this section.

Let’s give it to them; “exclusive deals” is the better choice over “exclusive savings.”

While “specials” resonates better than “savings, that might be the next suggested phrase that they try.  That is, until we see how “exclusive offers” mows down similar phrases to stand out to consumers.

While Best Buy is banking on exclusive deals, Walmart has adopted “special buy” to promote its Black Friday doorbuster deals.

If Walmart had come to us, we would have suggested a better route. Not only does “special price” beat out “special buy,” but “special savings” clicks so well with shoppers that it stands out above similar phrases.

That might not kill the deal for someone who’s thrilled to land an Xbox game bundle for $149, but for future ad copy writing guidelines, it’s important to learn what becomes an ad’s tipping point when you have to choose just the right phrase to connect with an audience.

And finally, speaking of the Xbox game bundle, it is notable that manufacturers and advertisers are investing in that term a lot this season for value-added products.  It pays off.  “Bundle” wins out over “package” with a strong success rate.   Just don’t brag about it with an exclamation point.



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