Ads and Copywriting

Ads are the gateway to your campaign.

If no one clicks on your ads, then your landing pages, offers, and the rest of your funnel don’t matter.

You’re not entering a competition for the cutest or most creative ad – This isn’t the Superbowl!

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Your goal is to profit.

You know what’s the biggest downside of advertising on TV or magazines?

Large companies will spend millions of dollars and have no idea how much money they made or lost with it.

They can’t track it. If they spent $5,000,000 on a commercial, they can’t measure if they got a return on their investment.

With the internet, we’re able to track exactly how effective our campaigns are. Spend $1000, and you’ll see:

  • Which ads made or lost money
  • How many times people clicked the ad (clicks)
  • How many times the ads were shown (impressions)
how to write sales copy that converts

We are direct response marketers. We write sales copy with the intent of the customer taking a specific action.

In affiliate marketing we’re trying to get the visitor to click on our ad, read our landing page, and sign up for the offer we’re promoting.

What makes an ad great depends strictly on how many people you got to take the desired action.

Your ads / copywriting has three goals:

1. It needs to get attention.

Which one of these ads grabs your attention more? Which one is more likely to get clicks?

copywriting that makes $$

Straight away people are thinking “Wtf is that yellow stuff?”. It pulls them in. Then the copy explains the image. It’s someone from a specific location (Eastbourne), that has “botox in a bottle”. It’s engaging.

The other ad is plain and kinda boring (but you never truly know which one will convert better until you test them).

If no one clicks your ads, then you don’t have the chance to sell to them.

2. It has to be relevant.

If you want to get better at golf, which ad makes you want to click on it more?

how to create ads

The point of the ad is to get people to click, but you don’t want EVERYONE clicking on your ads. (Because each click costs money)

Another example…

What happens if you have an ad about the Kardashian’s latest gossip, and you send anyone that clicks to an offer for car insurance?

You’ll get a high click-through rate and plenty of attention. But the car insurance offer is not relevant. People will quickly leave your page and you just lost your money.

3. It helps sell / convert the offer.

Which ad prepares you to pull out your card?

how to write sales copy for banner ads

The one that tells you to “Try This”, and has an image of an action step right?

It also looks weird and gets attention (who puts duct tape on their feet?)

And it’s relevant (if you have cracked feet, you’ll be looking for a solution)

Types of Ads and Examples

Traffic sources specialize in different styles of ads. Some traffic sources may offer multiple styles of ads.

I’m going to cover some of the most popular types of ads and show you some

Text Ads

The speciality of Google/Bing ads.

How good your ads perform depend on your ability to write sales copy.

Image Ads

These are the banners you see everywhere.

Image ads some in all shapes and sizes.

The most popular sizes on desktop are:

  • 720 x 90 (Leaderboards)
  • 300 x 250 (Medium Rectangles)
  • 120 x 600 (Skyscrapers)

Focus on the most popular banner size to test the campaign. Add in other banner sizes when you want to scale.

Protip: Some traffic sources allow animated banners. Always use animated over static images if you can because it catches the user’s attention more.

Hybrid Ads

These ads have images and text. You wanna focus on optimizing both the images and the headline.

Social and native ads feature both.

Think Facebook newsfeed ads, or the native ads at the bottom of news websites.

Further reading on native ads: Affiliate Marketer’s Guide to Native Ads

Pop Under Ads

This is when you use landing pages as ads.

John (the customer) is visiting a website. Your landing page is in another browser and pops “under” his current website. He isn’t aware of this.

It’s when he closes his main window that he sees the landing page.

The two major types of traffic sources would be Pay Per View on Desktop, and pop unders on mobile.

Here’s an example of two different mobile popunder landing pages on mobile:

Further reading on popunders: Affiliate Marketer’s Guide to Pop Traffic

Ad Metrics and Formulas

You only care about two things when it comes to your ads: the click-through rate and the conversion rate.

Ad Metric #1: Click-through Rate aka CTR

If your ad is shown 10,000 times ( aka 10,000 impressions) and 200 people click on it, your click-through rate is 200 / 10,000 = 2.0%

It’s in your best interest to increase the click-through rate of your ads.

The traffic source will reward you with lower cost per click.


Think about it. Some of these traffic networks only make money when someone clicks on your ad.

If you bid $5 per click but no one clicks on your ad, then the network doesn’t make any money.

Rewarding you with a lower CPC is their way of motivating you to shoot for higher CTR’s.

Lower cost per click means your campaigns can become more profitable.

Ad Metric #2: Conversion Rate

Ads can affect the entire conversion rate of your flow.

There’s an art to balancing the CTR vs conversion rate. If you say the word FREE you might get a higher click-through rate.

But you could LOSE money because people won’t convert when they find out it isn’t free.

Advanced Tip

You could lose more money if your payout drops because the quality of your leads are low

How to Write Sales Copy for Affiliate Marketing

Oh man I LOVE copywriting! It’s one of my favorite parts of affiliate marketing.

Copywriting is the ability to write in order to persuade people to take action.

It’s easier for me to demonstrate with examples.

Which ad do you think will perform better?

  • Lose 10lbs in Two Weeks
  • How I Lost 11.2lbs in 16 days

The second one will perform better because it’s more specific. It looks as if someone did a scientific experiment.

Which paragraph do you think would perform better?

  • “Your phone may have a virus. Download now to see”
  • “Warning: Your phone may contain a virus. Everyday there are at least 589 new viruses targeting Android phones. These viruses have the ability to steal your passwords, private photos, credit card information, and even cause your phone to malfunction.”

The second one!

Here’s why:

1. I got specific with the numbers. There are 589 viruses. If I said “500 viruses”, it sounds too vague.

2. I talk about the pain points if they don’t download the app. Nobody wants their credit cards, photos, details etc to be stolen.

Here Are My 3 Biggest
Copywriting Tips


People buy based off benefits, not features.

Tell people exactly what’s in it for them.

People don’t care that a bed has 26 different coils. How does that help them? “Our coil technology means you’ll get a great night’s rest no matter what position you sleep in.”

5,000 people join our dating website everyday. How does that help them? Thousands of people in the Miami area join our site everyday, that means you’ll never run out of people to meet.


Use the Life Force 8 from Cashvertising

There are certain things almost everyone wants in life. If you can target one or more of these, you are targeting a true human need.

  • Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension.
  • Enjoyment of food and beverages.
  • Freedom from fear, pain and danger.
  • Sexual companionship.
  • Comfortable living conditions.
  • To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.
  • Care and protection of loved ones.
  • Social approval.

Ideally use more than one.


Keep a Swipe File

It can be hard to get creative with ads sometimes. Whenever I come across an awesome ad, I save it into my Evernote.

If I need inspiration on creating ads / headlines, I’ll go through all my files in my swipe file.

My Top 4 Headline Formulas

I had no idea how to write ads when I first started.

My understanding of writing sales copy was basic, and I was pretty much copying my competitors’ writing.

This didn’t work out well because I created duplicate headlines, which were competing against the existing headlines (sorry, guys).

I was at Barnes & Noble one day browsing through the magazine section. I figured I would look at magazines for inspiration since they use professional copywriters.

I had a big “A-ha” moment when I realized most of the headlines were similar to each other.

Although the magazines covered vastly different topics, ranging from cars to women’s issues and fashion, I noticed I could break their headlines down into formulas and create headline templates.

I asked myself, “Could I apply some of these formulas to affiliate marketing?”

I had to adapt the headlines to match my goals and to accommodate a limited number of characters, but finally I was able to get higher click-through rates on my ads. Better ads meant lower click costs and more profitable campaigns.

Here’s a look inside of several proven formulas I’ve used and the psychology behind them.

1. A Big Promise Without the Pain

Everyone wants the benefits without paying for them. In other words, we all want gain without pain.

What’s the pain of losing weight? People HATE going to the gym or dieting. Everyone knows what the solution is, but implementing it is a different story.

Promise your readers they can achieve their goals and tell them it doesn’t involve their biggest pain or fear.

The Formula: How to [desired goal] without [common, painful method]


1. How to Lose Belly Fat Without Dieting or Going to the Gym

2. How to Make $438.99 a Day without Selling

3. How to Look 7 Years Younger without Botox

2. The Comparison Headline

People make judgements based on something they are familiar with. This is called the anchor effect in psychology.

The Formula: [Your Offer] is Better than [Known Product]


1. This Game is Better than Angry Birds

2. Our Acne Cream Works 250% Better than Proactive

3. eHarmony Is for Old Guys. Our Website Works!

In this scenario, we’re claiming the product we’re advertising is better than the product your audience is familiar with.

Apple said they are better than Windows. The cheap cereal brands claim to taste the same as the name brand. People are always trying to improve what they’re already using.

3. Promise Instant Gratification

We lack patience. That’s why we always crave instant gratification.

Domino’s promises your pizza to be delivered in 30 minutes or less. Progressive promises you a car insurance quote in 15 minutes or less.

The Formula: [Get Desired Result] in a [Time Frame]


1. Get Your Credit Report in 2 Minutes or Less.

2. Single? We’ll Find You a Date by This Weekend.

3. Repair Your Android Battery in 60 Seconds.

4. Rebel Against the Experts

I saw a commercial a few years ago for a drain cleaner product. The company’s slogan was “Plumbers Hate Us.”

Plumbers are the experts, and they hate this product because it’s so good that it’s taking business away from them.

What if you implied your product was so good, the experts in that field didn’t want others to know about it?

The Formula: The Secret the [Experts] Don’t Want You to Know


1. The SEO Tool Matt Cutts Doesn’t Want You to Know

2. The Weight Loss Trick That Personal Trainers Are HIDING

3. Dentists Hate Her. Mom Discovers Teeth Whitening Trick

Extra reading on how to write sales copy:

How to Create Ads

Sooner or later you’re going to have to design some banner ads. Don’t freak out! I got you!

“But I’m not a designer….I don’t know how to make banners”

Ironically that’s a good thing!

Thousands and thousands of tests have shown me that professional looking banners perform worse!

Here’s a simple template for a 300×250 ad

Here’s me turning the template into an ad for a battery saving app.

1. You don’t need a designer. We create ads in-house by my media buyers who have zero design skills. (And zero is being generous).

2. You don’t need to be too creative. Your job isn’t to be “clever”. Your job is to get them to take action.

Components of a Typical Banner Ad

  • Headline
  • Image
  • Border
  • Benefits
  • Call to Action Button

Here’s an article with some Photoshop tricks to boost your CTR.

Spy Tools

If you can see what other affiliates are doing, you can steal what’s already working.

Then if you can improve on that, you’re breaking new ground.

I talk about spy tools in the Resources section.

If you value your time and love to use hacks in life, this is a huge win to help you learn making money right now.

Key Takeaways

The goal of an ad is to make money.

The most important metrics to keep track of are the CTR, CPC, and the profit of each ad.

There are different ad styles depending on the traffic source.

Always be testing to improve your ad


1. Do some spying and pay attention to the ads you see.

Here are some sites you can manually spy on

Keep a note of every site you see that runs ads in a file somewhere so you can go back in the future to spy. Spy tools scrape a lot of data, but they don’t get everything. Plus it’s good to see campaigns “live in the field” because it shows you people are running it right now..

If you wanna spy on mobile ads and don’t want to use Adplexity I suggest grabbing a cheap Android phone. Download different “free” apps and you’ll see a ton of affiliate ads.

2. Build a swipe file

Take a few ads and save the images so that you can get your creative juices flowing. You can use Evernote to save cool images you find.

3. Create an ad in the following ad formats:

  • 720×90
  • 300×250
  • 120×600

It’s important not to overthink this the process. Remember, “ugly” works. My best performing ads were always ugly.

Don’t over think and just take action.

Further reading:

Order the book Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman.

This is the #1 book I recommend affiliate marketers buy, and I required all my employees know it like the back of their hand.