Double ad click through rate (CTR) with surprising copy
Sales & Marketing

Double ad click through rate (CTR) with surprising copy

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Today we'll cover a cool trick to spice up your copy and make your audience do a double-take. Ready to add some zing to your words? Let’s dive in!


Write your ad copy like you're telling a joke with a twist ending. The key? A surprise element in your sentence structure, but not so wild that it reads like a riddle.

The art of the surprise 😲

Imagine you’re selling an everlasting lipstick. Instead of the usual “Our lipstick stays on all day,” try “Sunset or sunrise, our lipstick stays put.” It’s like adding a twist to a familiar tune.

Examples 👀

Longer examples:

  • "Kiss the day hello – our lipstick won’t quit until you do."
  • "From sunrise to moonlight, our lipstick’s got you covered."
  • "Lock in your look – our lipstick stays put from coffee to cocktails."
  • "Outlast your longest day – our lipstick is here to stay."
  • "Stay bold, not re-applied: our lipstick lasts through every smile and sip."
  • "Survives the day, slays the night: our lipstick’s a true 24-hour wonder."
  • "From your first selfie to your last snap, our lipstick never fades."
  • "Morning meeting to evening date, our lipstick sticks with you."
  • "Dare to wear all day: our lipstick stays fierce, not forgotten."
  • "All-day allure, zero touch-ups: that’s our lipstick promise."

Shorter, punchier examples:

  • "Wake up, makeup, no retouch."
  • "One swipe, all day hype."
  • "Morning applied, evening admired."
  • "Stick to lips, not cups."
  • "Sun up to sun down, still on all day long."
  • "Lasts longer than your longest day."
  • "24 hours, zero smears, no tears."
  • "Outlasts your energy drink."
  • "Survives coffee, kisses & chaos."
  • "Day-long drama, no panda eyes."

Try coming up with your own that showcase your brand's style and voice.

Alright, let's get back to it...

The research rundown🧑‍🔬

  • Ad magic: An ad tweaking a sentence to a passive voice saw a whopping 74% higher click-through rate. It’s like saying, “The burgers are grilled by us,” instead of “We grill the burgers.” Tiny change, bit results. Other catchy phrases a burger joint could use: "Fire-kissed, flavor-blissed" or "Where char meets charm" or even "Grill lines, fine dines" for an upscale joint.
  • Beauty break brilliance: A beauty salon’s Instagram ad doubled its clicks with a more surprising sentence structure. It’s like asking, “Coffee, anyone?” instead of “Who wants coffee?”

Why does it work? 🤔

Our brains love a good puzzle. When a sentence takes an unexpected turn, it’s like a mini brain teaser that hooks us in.

But remember that balance is key: Too much surprise, and you'll confuse your audience. Too little, and it's just blah 😑

How to do it ✅

  1. Twist & shout: Play with your sentences. Flip them, twist them, but keep them clear. Try using an AI app like ChatGPT to generate ideas.
  2. Surprise-o-meter: Use the free Syntactic Surprise Calculator to hit the sweet spot between 1.9 and 2.3.
  3. Test the waters: Try different versions and see what resonates with your audience.

Remember, the goal is to make your copy pop without turning it into a brain buster. It’s like adding a dash of hot sauce to a dish – just enough to wake up the taste buds.

That's it for today! Go ahead, give your words a little twist and watch the magic happen.

Want to learn more? 🤓

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can dig into the nerdy details in the original marketing study.

Quote of the week 💬

"Surprise is the most powerful marketing tool."

- Harvard Business Review

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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