Ever wanted to see how a conversion copywriter improves a startup’s web copy? Well, you’re about to get a front-row view.
In this blog I’ll critique the website copy of Snaptivity, a technology designed for sports venues. Whether you’re in a similar industry or not, the lessons here should strike a chord with you if you’re marketing a new invention with no direct competitors.
I’ve chosen this startup’s website because it’s selling a really clever product, but the copy doesn’t do it justice (no disrespect to this company intended—it’s a complicated product and not easy to create messaging for).
This copy critique will shine a spotlight on:
- Evaluating and improving headline + introductions
- Making copy more specific and clear to improve selling power
- Transforming 'white noise' sub-headings into ones that entice + educate
- Good and bad use of jargon
- Getting copy and images to work together
See a quick before and after
First things first—what is this product?
Snaptivity is a system that takes photos in sports stadiums, but it takes photos of the crowd rather than the players. This allows the venue to create unique marketing/branding opportunities for its event sponsors (more on that in a second).
The system works by using AI-controlled cameras to take photos of the crowd when the excitement is peaking. People in the crowd can then download the free Snaptivity app, find the pictures of themselves, and share them on social media.
But what’s really clever is that the venue can add its sponsor’s branding to every photo. So when fans share the photos, the sponsor gets lots of extra exposure even after the event finishes.
There are 3 key benefits here:
- Sports fans get amazing photos of themselves (and don’t need to take selfies)
- Event sponsors get more exposure, even after the event finishes
- Venues get better relationships with sponsors and can charge them more money
Keep in mind that this website is aimed at the venues who’ll be installing and using this tech. Let’s get on to the copy!
Reviewing the headline and introduction
Here’s the copy that we see when we initially land on the site. The headline is just a single word that changes to other words like ‘Snaptivity’, ‘emotions’ and ‘engagement’ every few seconds.
So what’s wrong with this?
Well, ideally a headline and introduction for this kind of product needs to answer 3 basic questions:
- What’s on offer here?
- Who is it for?
- How does this solve a problem/fulfil a desire for the audience?
Let’s look at this again with those questions in mind.
Does it tell us what’s on offer? It vaguely mentions AI-controlled cameras, but this system is MUCH more than that, it doesn’t explain what it actually does. So no.
Does it tell us who it’s for? The primary audience is sports venues, but it mentions teams and sponsors, so it’s misleading. Another no.
Does it tell us how this solves a problem? We get a vague description of ‘interacting with fans’ but nothing about the key benefit the venue cares about (getting the sponsor more exposure).
So how could we improve this?
Trying out a feature-based headline:
From a purely descriptive perspective, this headline would tell us a lot more about what’s going on here. It doesn’t tell us the whole story, but at least we get a better sense of what the product's features do(thus answering the first fundamental question).
But maybe there’s a way we can dial up the hype here!
Switching to an ultra-specific, outcome-based headline:
This headline is a lot more impactful and attention-grabbing because it’s specific about the outcome. If I’m a venue looking to make more money from my sponsors, it immediately tells me how this website fulfils that desire.
And because it says ‘your sports venue’, it shows exactly who this is for, thus answering the second question.
However, this headline doesn’t answer our first question (what this actually is), so we need to be careful to explain exactly what Snaptivity is in the intro.
Filling in the information gap with new body copy
Here's my new version:
Remember, before now we haven’t said what this actually is —so I start by declaring this is ‘sports venue technology’. There’s no room for confusion here, and nobody could mistakenly think Snaptivity is a service provider or a PR agency.
The second line goes into more detail about how Snaptivity works. We’re not telling the full story of this complex technology yet, but the reader at least knows roughly what the tech does and how it achieves the promise in the headline.
The reader might be wondering exactly how fans find and share these photos, so we need to prioritise answering that question later.
Below the main headline and intro, we see this 'how it works' style section:
Let's start with the sub-heading and body copy underneath:
In general, this section is sacrificing clear storytelling for the sake of fitting in business buzzwords.
The headline uses fancy marketing jargon—sponsorship activation—that your average person wouldn’t understand.
However, given that this website is aimed at a very niche audience who probably would understand this phrase, this term isn't a problem (sponsorship activation is a fancy way of saying brand exposure).
The real problem here is the word ‘transform’. Transform could mean to make something better, but it could mean to make it worse. So it’s just not specific enough.
Another problem is that the copy doesn’t fit well with the image underneath:
The reader’s eye will be drawn to this image, so it makes sense to discuss the app (especially as it's a core part of the technology).
How can we make the copy more straightforward while complementing the image underneath it?
Now we’re cooking with gas. This copy focuses less on the business outcomes, but the audience gains a faster understanding of what this technology does.
What's more, the mention of the app ties in nicely with the image below this copy (see it in context below.)
Telling the ‘how it works’ story: a lesson in specificity
Underneath the intro body copy, there are six blocks that explain Snaptivity's features:
These blocks have two recurring issues.
First, the copy assumes visitors will figure out how certain aspects of the tech work on their own. This is a serious mistake, especially for a new invention with no direct competitors.
Secondly, it’s not specific enough in how it describes features, benefits and outcomes.
OK, let’s look at the first sub-story:
There’s a couple of problems here. Again, we have some jargon that’s better suited to a very technical audience.
Secondly, ‘how it works’ is ok, but it’s purely functional—it doesn’t do anything to draw the reader in.
We want to replace the vague sub-headings in this section with ones that are specific to the story being told in each paragraph. And we want to phrase them in a way that educates the reader as to how this works, or that entices them to read on with the promise of a benefit.
This sub-heading would sell the benefit more:
The new sub-heading draws us in by talking about a unique benefit of the tech, and we clarify exactly how it achieves it in the body copy. And because I’ve removed the unnecessary jargon, it’s easier to understand what’s happening.
The sub-heading and body copy are now working in harmony to tell one coherent (and jargon-free) story.
Moving on, the next story has a 'white noise' sub-heading:
The sub-heading doesn’t clarify how, why, or who’s being engaged, so it’s not telling us anything—it's the copy equivalent of white noise.
The body copy is also too vague. It’s talking about how the venue can use Snaptivity’s existing content to advertise the Snaptivity app to fans, e.g on social media or on screens at the event. However, it leaves too many questions unanswered, e.g. how and why is it engaging fans?
Here’s what I’d say instead:
The sub-heading now, at the very least, clarifies who is being engaged—event attendees. Plus we’re now describing what we mean by ‘engaging’, and starting to tell the story of how the fans access their photos: with a free app.
(And we’ll keep the tech jargon ‘API’ in as it’s fairly common in the marketing world, and not a huge distraction here.)
Next, another white noise sub-heading:
This is the first mention of targeting on the website. So, it is not clear who is being targeted or how.
The body copy talks about brand messaging, but gives us no clue as to where this messaging is being shown, or who is seeing it.
I think the body copy is actually talking about how the venue can show targeted advertising to fans inside the app—for example, fans watching an Arsenal game might see Arsenal-related ads.
Let’s make it more specific:
The new sub-heading now introduces the fact that there’s in-app advertising. Even if our readers just scan-read the sub-headings, they get a clearer picture of what’s happening.
What’s more, the body copy explains specifically how fans encounter this targeted advertising/brand messaging.
Moving on, more jargon and slightly misleading copy:
First, the technical jargon of this sub-heading falls flat. It doesn’t educate us or entice us to read on.
Also, the copy is misleading because it implies that the app will send the fan his/her photo which is not the case.
And again, we need to ask ourselves, what is the story being told here? The story isn’t really about the content generating engine, it’s about how every fan can easily access their own photos.
Let’s change the copy to reflect the real story being told:
Both the body and sub-heading now reflect the same story, that fans can easily access the photo. And instead of the previous jargon-based headline, we have one that sells the interactive element of the technology (which is important for our sponsors/venue).
Next point: lost opportunities to sell
Here we have another jargon-y sub-heading that seems to be using graphic design technology. This does nothing to sell us on the features or the benefits of Snaptivity.
After reading the body copy, I think the story really being told here isn't about dynamic filters. It's about how the venue can add any branding to the crowd photos, without manual work. This is a unique selling point, but the copy doesn’t make it clear.
Let’s break out the unique selling points here:
The sub-heading is now simple, direct and clear about this unique feature. And the body copy enhances makes it clear that the branding process is handled automatically (another unique selling point).
In the final point, we have a great statistic with a weak sub-heading.
As we’ve seen before, this sub-heading is vague and doesn’t tell us what is being exposed (or who it’s being exposed to).
So let's make the sub-heading sell a key benefit:
This new sub-heading is clearer and really speaks to something that we know our audience cares about (getting exposure for sponsors).
The body copy was OK, so I’ve left it alone this time.
What's next? A contact form that's crying out for conversion optimisation!
Next on the page, we have a form that lets fans request Snaptivity at a stadium they like.
So what’s wrong with this? Well, so far, the website has been primarily speaking to venue teams. So any sports fans who land on this page may not realise this form is for them.
The use of ‘vote’ is also a little confusing, because it’s not clear what the result of the vote is. Not immediately, anyway—so we are forcing our readers to think.
Lastly, the call-to-action (CTA) button doesn’t sync well with the copy above it, because we haven’t talked about a request yet.
How can we make this form clear and conversion-friendly?
We start by using the first line to make it clear we’re speaking directly to fans.
In addition, the second headline now makes it clear what happens when fans fill in the form.
Also, the call-to-action button now ties in with the headline about. Using CTA text that is highly relevant to the offer, as opposed to something generic like 'submit', has been shown to increase conversions.
However, having lots of form fields, as you can see above, can actually reduce form submissions. Ideally the form would be reworked to have less fields.
Improving the ‘how to get started’ section
As we scroll down the page, we come to a section that describes the process of starting to use this technology. But once again, the sub-headings are pretty vague.
Taking a closer look at the blocks
This sub-heading should really introduce the 3 blocks and speak to anybody who’s thinking about using Snaptivity, but instead it just drops business buzzwords.
The body copy does an OK job of introducing what we’re reading in the next 3 blocks, but it’s missing an opportunity to really hype things up.
Here’s a better version
The new sub-heading now lets the reader know that this section explains how they can get started. And we’re adding a bit more oomph to the body copy too.
Is the ‘install’ block telling the right story?
We’ve already talked about the robotic cameras etc, so we don’t need to do that again here. Instead, since this whole section is about how easy it is to get started with Snaptivity, let’s be specific about the installation timeframe.
This is more helpful:
With the 7-day detail added, we’re now clearly telling the story of how easy this is to get started with.
Also, because these copy blocks are indicating a sequence, I’ve added a number to guide the reader.
The next block is telling two different stories
Here we’re indulging in tech-y talk that doesn’t relate to the word ‘engage’.
Remember, we’re still convincing our audience to take interest in this product, not giving them technical instructions. So instead, let’s focus this section on how venues get their fans engaging with Snaptivity.
Let’s get it all working in harmony:
Now we’re more effectively telling the story of how venues would get their fans using this.
Finally, the ‘measure’ block is also telling the wrong story
This block seems to be talking about how Snaptivity lets venues measure how many people are using the app etc.
But in my opinion, that’s not the final part of the process. Nor is it the most interesting thing about what this tech can do.
Instead, let’s focus on a more important goal, in both the sub-heading and body copy:
The most important outcome is really that the venues can offer sponsors more exposure. And that (presumably) means charging them more! So let’s focus on that instead of the measuring aspect.
I did consider changing the sub-heading to ‘profit’, but that’s perhaps a little too on-the-nose. With ‘win’ we hint at a satisfying ending, while keeping the sports theme.
Moving down the page, we see this banner/link next
This looks like a sub-heading but is actually a link. However, it doesn’t tell us anything specific about what’s on the next page, so it’s not doing much to attract clicks.
(The link actually goes to a page that describes more general benefits of Snaptivity)
Let's make it more click-worthy by being specific again:
This is much more ‘click worthy’, and the arrow at the end makes it look more like a link.
Almost at the bottom of the page, we see this (badly titled) ‘how does it work’ section
But taking a closer look at the copy, we see that the story being told here is really about how Snaptivity takes crowd photos at just the right moment.
This is an important USP of the product, so it’s worth bringing attention to it properly.
Let’s make the sub-heading more specific again:
The sub-heading now fits a lot better with the story being told, while also hyping up this USP for anybody who’s scan-reading.
I’ve also tightened up the body copy, fixing some grammar mistakes and making it a little more descriptive.
The last copy we’ll look at is in these statistics
Statistics can be one of the most powerful ways to improve credibility and demonstrate an outcome.
But if they don’t make sense, they come across as….well, bullshit.
Let’s take a closer look at one:
Again this stat isn’t specific enough to be meaningful, as we don’t know what ‘engagement’ really means.
This would improve its selling power:
We don’t know that this is what they meant by ‘engagement’ - but this is an example of how being more specific is more compelling.
OK, by now you get the picture, so let’s stop there and go over what we’ve seen.
Key takeaways from this copy critique:
First, we’ve made some changes that are very important to new technologies/products with no competitors:
- Focus on describing what’s unique or interesting about your product, i.e. what it does and how people use it, rather than its technical components.
- Be specific about the business outcomes it generates. If your product is a new invention, your audience may not even realise they need it. In Snaptivity’s case, venue owners might never have thought about getting sponsors more exposure in this way. It’s our job as marketers to make them see the possibilities.
- Don’t assume the reader will just figure out how your product works. The copy we looked at never explained how attendees access their photos. Some visitors will join the dots themselves—but why not just make it easy for them?
Secondly, we’ve seen some other changes that are generally helpful for websites:
- Check that your headline + intro answer fundamental questions (what is this?, who is it for? how does it solve a problem/meet a desire?)
- Ensure subheadings and body copy are telling the same story
- Write sub-headings that educate or entice the reader.
- Use jargon, but only when it’s jargon your audience actually uses and understands
- Make statistics, claims, and descriptions of benefits as specific as possible
- If your copy speaks to more than one audience, make it clear who you’re speaking to
I hope you found this copy breakdown helpful!