Mark Scott is a senior copywriter at AKQA. He studied for a BA in graphic design at Central St Martins, but focused on advertising, copywriting and art direction. He had a spell working in advertising, then landed a job at AKQA after presenting a series of mock banners.
Scott says that his background in advertising helps him see the difference between old and digital media. He says, ‘On the Web, everybody acts and interacts with the site. This means when you write you have to think about response.’ Although the skills stay the same, advertising on the Web is divided into different stages of communication. ‘If you are a writer,’ says Scott, ‘it’s important to keep in mind the bigger picture.’
Different from above-the-line advertising, Web copywriting is not only about creating awareness, but encouraging interaction. With the ability to calculate how many people have clicked on the sites (impressions), response to each page is actively monitored. Other ways of detecting the effectiveness of copy is to count how many people may have signed to newsletters or joined initiatives like free e-mail. ‘As a Web copywriter it’s much harder,’ he muses, ‘because you are under scrutiny and your performance can be measured on a day to day basis.’
Working on sites such as the Mini (www.mini.com) and Durex (www.durex.com) allows Scott to think about copy not just stylistically but also in content. ‘I think copy on the Web is becoming much more editorial,’ he says. ‘We now include features, especially in newsletters and that allows the writing to develop.’
Another characteristic of Web copywriting is its use of interactivity. ‘You start with a banner, and then you click and enter into different stages,’ he says. ‘There are different levels of detail, and information is unrolled through stratification, so you can segment that information by grades and allow people to go deeper and deeper [into the website].’