If you’re a UX designer, product manager, or digital marketer, microcopy should be something that’s on your mind a lot this year.

Microcopy is the small bits of texts that turns buttons into CTAs, provides context on forms, and tells you what to enter into search bars. It’s primary role is to make the user experience more clear by providing clarity in moments where people might get confused or feel uncertain.

This is important because the many of the world’s largest applications are starting to follow a similar set of experience design standards. Specifically, the experience is minimally designed, there’s lots of whitespace to emphasize the content, and there’s less marketing copy on the page.

This UX design trend is often referred to as creating “content-focused experiences” and there’s a decent amount of evidence that it may be a good thing.

In their annual app retention study, Localytics reported that app abandonment has decreased every year since 2015.

Truth be told, microcopy has always been important. For example, when Veeam added one word to their CTA microcopy, they saw a 161.66% increase in clicks.

But with the minimalist design trends currently taking the UX industry by storm leaving less room for gratuitous marketing copy, microcopy is playing a more important role than ever before.

If you want to provide the best user experience for your audience — and retain them as users — then you need to make sure your microcopy is at the top of its game. Here are a few of the most important times to use microcopy.

Microcopy Use Cases


Just think about onboarding. It’s one of the key determinants in whether someone keeps using your app or discards it. And microcopy is central to the experience.

New users have little to no idea how to interact with your app, so they rely on prompts and microcopy to help them build a better understanding. One of the most common examples of Microcopy in this context is in the search or message bar.

Because these design elements are blank, users often don’t what to write. They’re intimidated by the blank space. So microcopy gives them an example of what to put there.

Lyft’s app is a classic example. All that’s required to explain the functionality is “search destination.”

With the rise of voice search and conversational design, this problem has a new perspective. Rather than have to figure out what to put in a search bar, users must puzzle through what to ask a friendly AI, like Alexa.

Amazon understands this is a daunting, and often confusing task, so in the Alexa app, there’s microcopy explaining what types of questions you can ask Alexa.

Opt Ins

Localytics annual study also found that almost 50% of people will use an app more than 11 times if they opt in for push notifications.

Asking someone to opt in for push notifications isn’t something that you want to oversell. So the best strategy is to time your ask right and make sure your microcopy is compelling.

After creating an account with SeatGeek, you’ll be prompted to sign up for their push notifications.

The value is obvious: sign up so you’ll know when shows in your area are coming up. But it’s the puns that really make this copy stand out.

Random Usage

Even are people complete their onboarding, there will still be times when they need a reminder on how to use certain parts of your application.

Slack provides a great example. When you’re writing a message to yourself, the message bar says “jot something down.” In three words, Slack is able to explain that you can message your own profile and use it as a note taking app.


There’s a simple truth happening across both marketing and design: people’s attention spans are decreasing, so you have to do more with less. When it comes to content, that means your microcopy has to be a point of focus.