When it comes to copywriting, the common advice is to never leave claims unsubstantiated and to avoid generalities.  Copywriters are taught to always focus on specifics, proof points, credibility builders, etc.


And in general, this is solid advice.  Proof brings credibility, and credibility brings belief — and credibility combined with a relevant, motivating offer bring conversions.  And conversions are the name of the game, regardless of whether the actions measured are clicks, downlaods, leads, or purchases.


But in some instances — specicially in PPC ads, where space won’t allow for much substantiation and where further details and proof are implied “after the click” — unsubstantiated claims can work.


Especially when those unsubstantiated claims address an otherwise ignored buyer concern or motivation. This split test is a prefect example of that:




Unsubstantied Claims That Worked


Now, there are plenty of additional changes which likely contributed to the champion’s success:


  • The winning ad moved the “1000+ design” claim from the last line to the headline.

  • The winning ad ditched mention of “Hoodies & Polos” in favor of a “Get Yours Today” call to action


But the primary change seems to have been the inclusion of an unsubstantiated quality claim around the t-shirts themselves — specifically that the t-shirt designs where “Unique, Clever, Funny”


And really, if you’re searching for Lacrosse T-shirts, aren’t you primarily concerned with how good they are?  With how cool the designs are?  And since no other PPC ads for these keywords bother to address t-shirt design quality, this winning ad stands out.


Moreover, since a quick click can tell the visitor whether or not the designs live up to the hype, there’s no real downside to these unsubstantiated claims. Hey, at least Cafe Press seems confident enough to MAKE the claims, right?  Might as well check ‘em out…


When Unsubstantiated Claims Won’t Work (as well as they should)


But what if you DO have space to provide a bit of substantiation, or at leas the explicit promise of substantiation?


That’s when we run into this Facebook Ad for ProCamera for iPhone:




The Ad itself is pretty good in terms of a decent graphic and headline.  The strong colors and cool design of the photo catches your eye, and the headline definitely piques interest if your an iPhone owner interested in photography.


But then the body copy fails to make good on that strong beggining.


The question most peopel have is “how,” as in “how does this thing improve my iPhone’s already excellent camera?  And possibly “what,” as in “what is this thing? An app, a camera case with external flash/lens, or what?”


But the body copyfails to answer or even address these questions. Worse, it also fails to  promise answers after the click.


What you find out after the click is that ProCamera for iPhone is an app that provides some really cool added control and features for your iPhone’s camera.  Stuff like:

  • Anti-vibration control

  • Increased zoom
  • A self timer
  • Multi-shot capability, and
  • Advanced in-phone editing features


So why not have the body copy SAY something about all that, even if it was a short and sweet:


“$2.99 camera app provides anti-shake technology and 15 other amazing camera capabilities for your iphone – see them all in action!”


Yes, that copy is longer than what’s on the ad now.  But it also semi-substantiates HOW the app improves the iPhone’s camera while explicitly promising additional proof after the click.  And because Facebook Ads provide the room for that additional info, browsers likely expect it.


The copy also addresses a number of buyer concers, too, such as:

  • Does this thing cost more money than I care to spend?

  • Is it a bulky case that will make my slim iPhone a pain to carry?
  • How hard is it to buy?


Again, the name of the game with proof and substantiation is to increase confidence and conversions.  So don’t let your desire for ultra-short body copy keep you from giving prospects the info they need to click-through to your landing pages.