The direct response firm Tapstone is warning advertisers that headlines alone won't boost their bottom line. Tapstone's research shows that despite the current day focus on social media and 'less is more' design, long-form advertising formats convert up to 3 times better than their short-form counterparts. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

In a world that directs consumers to short, snappy bites of information and encourages advertisers to make everything 'Instagram' or 'tweet'-worthy to meet consumers' 'short attention spans,' the data from Tapstone's latest research study may come as a surprise.

Over the course of the last twelve months, Tapstone performed split tests across more than 40 digital media campaigns, monitoring the consumer responses to two different versions of an advertisement: the first is a simple display ad that links to a landing page, compared to a second display ad that links to i) an advertorial article and then ii) onto the same landing page.

The tests revealed that, on average, the long-form path through the advertorial article delivered a 150% higher conversion rate.

The research from Tapstone provides evidence that sales increase when promoted through long-form content such as a native advertorial. The long-form content provides advertisers with the opportunity to educate the prospective customer about their potential purchase, providing a sense of security and knowledge that promotes buying comfort.

The data suggests that this 'long-form sales uplift' is particularly strong in the vertical industries of automotive, travel, health and wellness, and finance.

Tapstone CEO Jonathan David says the success of the long-form native format comes down to customer education: "In the past we had infomercials on TV that took the time to explain a product and demonstrate how it could be a beneficial addition to the life of the prospective customer. It was very successful. That format and the medium via which it reached people has changed dramatically, but the core principle of its success, creating deeply knowledgeable customers - has not."

David concludes, "Despite our love for bite-sized info and social media posts, people still want to be educated during their buying decision making. Headlines alone can grab attention, but content is STILL how advertisers can best educate their prospects - not through TV infomercials but through their modern day equivalent - native advertising. Our latest research confirms that 'content is still king' and 'an educated customer' is still your most valuable customer."