It may seem trivial, but it is a very important truth for all copywriters. It does not only matter what you say, but also how you say it. Maybe even more important than content, especially in the digital environment. All advertisements are called upon to go beyond the reach of the recipient, and this can only be achieved by paying close attention to the language in which they are used.
Especially the ads that are made in digital environment have to face this challenge to a huge extent, since the abundance of information makes the user easily pass them. It is not easy to distinguish when the prospective buyer is overwhelmed by messages, but you are clearly more likely if you have the right tools.
The science of psycholinguistics has been studying for years which linguistic structures influence the recipient of the text the most, which ones attract attention and are easier to understand, but also which ones are memorized more successfully. Read below the most interesting and indisputable conclusions that this multi-year research has reached.
Frequent or rare words?
High-frequency words in various textual genres, such as newspapers or radio, are more easily understood than the rarest words. Therefore, it is obvious that a copywriter should generally avoid difficult or very rare words. However, this rule is not without exceptions. Often, the goal is not easy recall, but the immediate recognition of one word without the user confusing it with another. For example, in the name of the brand the uniqueness and rarity of the word can make the difference. In addition, when addressing a more specialized or educated audience in a field, then the vocabulary should be more impressive and rare.
Avoiding abstract words
A more interesting observation is the distinction between abstract and concrete words. These words refer to places, objects, persons and things that one can see, touch, taste, hear or smell. Instead, abstract words refer to things and ideas that we cannot perceive with our senses. These words help to visualize the meaning, which in turn helps to better memorize and recall them.
For example, they are much more convincing and impressive language structures of the type: “the number one beer in sales in Greece”, “the wine that has won 5 international wine competitions for its taste” in relation to structures such as “the best beer in Greece “or” wine with a wonderful taste ““.
Word games and metaphors
The use of rhetorical means is not uncommon in advertising. The metaphor helps us to connect a familiar feature, which we know well, with a less familiar one, which is more difficult to understand. Respectively, with puns we can connect two ideas in one word, so that they are better impressed in the mind of the recipient. However, these semantic games are not always as beneficial as we imagine. This is because both with the metaphor and the pun we make it difficult to understand, hoping that the reader will receive the message exactly as we imagined it.
But this is not always the case. For example, suppose we write a text for a Facebook ad about diet supplements for muscle strengthening and our goal is to suggest that with these supplements the process of increasing muscle mass is something simple and easy to do. If we use a metaphor, such as “by taking this protein, you will build a sculpted body with strong muscles”, we will do it to emphasize that creating a sculpted body is a clear and controlled process that leads to a specific result, such as building. However, there is always the case that the recipient subconsciously adopts another meaning of the word build, the one that indicates the intense effort and sacrifices that must be made, in order to complete the “building”. In this case, the use of metaphor will have a negative instead of a positive effect on the success of the ad.
The problem of denial
Refusal is best avoided because it makes it difficult to understand the sentence. Thus, it is better to say “Our online curriculum is the most efficient of all” than “There is no more effective online curriculum than ours”. An additional problem with denial is that it draws attention to something exactly that we want to cancel out through denial. The slogan that advertises an orange juice with the sentence “Orange juice is no longer just for breakfast” is exactly what the advertiser wanted to avoid, that is, the recipient turns his attention to the breakfast and connects it with the orange juice.
Active and passive voice
The passive voice is more difficult to understand than the active one. Things get even more difficult when the perpetrator and the person or object receiving the energy belong to the same semantic group. For example, in the sentence “The olive oil packaging machine is subject to control by the quality control system”, it is difficult to understand, because both the underlying and the poetic cause are categorized in the group of production machines. Instead, a sentence in an active voice “Quality control system controls the olive oil packaging machine” becomes easier to understand because the emphasis is on the perpetrator. On the other hand, if the purpose of the ad is to emphasize the action being taken and not the perpetrator, because that is self-evident (eg in a water heater ad “Water heats up in just 5 minutes”), then the passive voice may well be preferred.
In any case, dozens of factors play a role in the success of an ad. Therefore, a holistic approach is required that pays attention to all the critical details separately.