“Some say, ‘Be very brief. People will read but little.’ Would you say that to a salesman? With a prospect standing before him, would you confine him to any certain number of words? That would be an unthinkable handicap.”
Those words were not written in the age of the Internet. They were penned by Claude Hopkins, over 100 years ago, in his book Scientific Advertising (get a free copy here).
What held true then still holds true today. Use the number of words, amount of benefits and features, and the information you need in order to make your sale. No more. No less.
Tell your whole story. Consider that your reader is someone who knows little or nothing about your product. The people already using your product are unlikely to read your ads. Instead appeal to prospects; people who either don’t know you, or know little about you.
Tailor your appeal to those people and those people only. The readers you want are the people who are interested in your offer. Nobody reads ads for fun, regardless of their length. Think of your readers as prospects, standing in front of you, looking for information. Give them what they need to take action.
Seek to persuade, and gain sales (not applause or awards). Have a picture of your ideal customer in mind; her likes, dislikes, habits, and problems. Then create your advertisement based on what you would do face to face. Don’t write your ads to please yourself. Write them to please your customer.