Long vs short copy – which is more effective for modern marketing communication?


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We have finally got over the mad-men era debate – art follows copy or copy follows art? As principles of marketing evolved over 4-5 decades, brands have realized that campaigns need to follow a middle path where art & copy can be blended together in a collaborative spirit. This finally gave rise to some of the best campaigns in the history of marketing & advertising with brands like Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Adidas, Burger king on the forefront.

The evolution finally took shape of a revolution with Io T. Then came the biggest disruption known as digital marketing. The dynamics of digital marketing changed the face of marketing communication and started the longest standing debate in the marketing and communication circles – which is more effective, long or short copy?

Clearly, the debate is divided among two broad groups. The group which follows a traditional approach, tries to establish the fact that long copy is always better in terms of giving more information about a certain product or solutions. While the proponents of modern marketing argue that short copy is more effective, especially in this day and age of decreased attention span.

While these are just generalizations, the reality is somewhat different. Studies and reports by leading marketers revealed that there is actually a thin line between the two and real differentiation is subjective to the market scenario and changing consumer behavior.

One way to decide is to test the response rate of a campaign and to see which has a higher conversion rate – long or short copy?

Another thing marketing experts suggest is that long copy works well for new brands as it is an effective way to broadcast as much information is possible. Then subsequently the brand can shift to short crisp messages when people start to get well acquainted with the brand. For a well-known brand the copy can even be replaced completely with graphical representations or visual messages in certain instances.

Though there are no thumb rules, these few points will solve your dilemma if you are still thinking what works best for your marketing communication.

Objections are better handled by long copy

Every time customers come across some marketing campaigns or offers online, a lot of objections pop-up in their heads and stop them from making the purchase. Customers in general always have reasons to not buy a product or solutions and long copy can address this effectively to make a sales conversion.

Long copy allows brands to answer more objections and can eventually lead to more sales. Though it varies from product to product, it works best especially when the product or solution is technical in nature.

Short copy is better for call to action

While long copy can lead to sales conversion, especially for technical products, short-copy is effective for instant call to action. In this digital environment, most of the brands want their potential group to sign-up and hit the ‘submit’ button. After-all, data is the ultimate game changer and short-copy can help brands to achieve that.

Short-copy also works well for integrated digital campaigns and is the best way to leverage digital advertising. In a world dominated by analytics, short-copy can be very effective in measuring click rates and reading a customer’s preferences as per his/her online behavior. Its also easy to modify a campaign when the copy is short as minor tweaking can help change the strategy.

Videos – finding a common ground

While finding themselves amidst this debate, brands have discovered that video content can actually blur the line between long & short copy and can actually be leveraged as an effective communication tool. Some may take time to read a long-copy, or some may get motivated to act with a short copy, but video can be effective when it about engaging with the target group. Videos can also be used to blend certain aspects of both long & short copy. For -example long copy can be modified as engaging script and short copy can be used as supers and call to action. The visual elements of a video enhance the entire thing.

In this age of modern marketing communication, everything has its own importance. The main task for marketers is look beyond generalizations and be open to the changing preferences. This approach will let them build strategies in a more holistic way and craft communication which not just sounds interesting, but solves specific marketing problems.



Data Driven Integrated Sales & Marketing Company. A bunch of storytellers, technologists, and relentlessly curious minds, we’re committed to the cause of making a positive impact in your business growth. From creating awareness about your products to nurturing prospects and making them your brand advocates, we leverage enterprise grade marketing technology platforms to deliver integrated sales & marketing campaigns.

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