“The Difference Between Image Ads & Direct Response Copywriting Ads!”

As a copywriter and marketer, business owners ask me all the time, what’s the difference between an image ad and a direct response ad and what type of ad is best for them?

So before you decide which ad is for you, let’s go over a few of the copywriting and marketing basics to point out the differences.

Overall, there are 2 types of ads on paper and the web and each has its own purpose!

#1. “Image” or Brand Ads

The sole purpose of image ads is to create a positive picture in the mind of people that your company, product or service fits in with their lifestyle, desires or needs!

They are usually flashy ad agency ads and are not created to attract attention, communicate benefits… or even sell a product or service, however, they are fantastic for building brand and image over a period of time!

#2. Direct response ads are totally different with a different purpose!

Classic lead generation or direct response ads are written by lead generation copywriters like myself and are created to encourage and inspire people to take action TODAY!

A great direct response ad will attract your target audience’s attention with a headline and overcome their yes, buts with benefits. (Yes, but is when you want to buy something and the emotional voice in you says Yes… but the logical voice in you says but.)

Direct response ads will also have a call to action, maybe an order coupon and will create sales or qualified leads by offering a free report, a free gift or added value bonus offer with your product or service!

OK, so which is best… image ad or direct response ads?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. I don’t know what business you are in, what your marketing strategy is or was or if your brand is well known or not!

The only advice I will give based on my 13 years writing direct response copy is to define want you want your ad to do first i.e. build your brand through image ads or create qualified leads! If you want to create leads, use a Direct response ad written by a copywriter.

Here’s a classic image ad example!

Imagine that you are Mariah Carey for a moment! To promote your new perfume line, you don’t need a direct response ad with benefit-driven copy and a headline… you need an image ad!

All you have to do is create an image ad with you (sexy- looking Mariah) holding the bottle of your perfume and your perfume’s name at the bottom of the ad.

If you made this ad a direct response ad you kill the mystery, sophistication and perceived image that people have of you and your new perfume!

However, in the real world…

Most of us run on lean marketing budgets, so most ads online or offline are about creating qualified leads, educating people and converting people into buyers right.

That’s why image advertising for most of us without a strong and easily recognisable brand already established can be a waste of money, and why you should at least test doing a direct response ad to create qualified leads and ultimately sales for your business.

Good luck with it and best wishes in life, love, business and health and feel free to leave a comment.


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