Writing effective pay-per-click(PPC) ad copy is more of an art than it is a science. Great ad copywriting catches your attention on deep level (remember “Got Milk?”). It causes you think and react emotionally.
World class copywriters spend years learning to massage words into tantalizing ad copy. When I first started in marketing I didn’t realize how much performance and proper messaging mattered. Without speaking directly to the audiences we were targeting, ads would continuously underperform and I would be left scratching my head. So I spent time improving my copywriting by learning from the experts and gathering up tips to speed up my results.
Even if you don’t have years of experience, you too can create Ads that will get click-throughs and results.
In this article I’m sharing what helped me improve. I’m sharing 4 ways to help you master PPC ad copy and take your campaign performance to the next level.
What makes PPC Ad Copy different?
PPC Ad Copy is what you write to entice searchers to click on your ad.
Your Ad Copy is comprised of:
- Headline – Your Headline is what shows at the top of your ad. It’s in blue. You have 25 characters (including spaces) to write this prominent first impression.
- Display URL – Your Display URL is what searchers see as the page you’re enticing them to visit. It does not have to be the exact landing page web address your ad links to, but it should be relevant. You can, for example, include your website with the top keyword in your Ad Campaign.
- Description Line 1 and Description Line 2 – You have 35 characters per line for the ‘body’ of your Ad Copy.
As you can see, you need to be concise and precise to motivate a person to click-through to your site. Especially since Google limits your character count, you’ll need to make sure each word has impact.
Additionally, your text Ad in search will generally be displayed both as a Top Ad and as a Side Ad.
Google mixes these up to change around its ads, and give benefits of the Top Ad to more advertisers. This changes how your Headline and Descriptions are seen.
So, now that you know the basics, let’s get to the creative Ad Copy best practises and useful tips to improve performance.
PPC Ad Copy Tip #1: Build Trust to Gain Clicks
Like any good marketing campaign, you need to build trust with your prospective consumer. The better you can show that you are who you say you are, and that your product/ service/ offer is what that person is searching for, the more likely that person will be to click on your ad.
Think about it, if you see an ad that tells you straight-up what you’ll get when you click, and what it tells is exactly what you’re searching for – you’re going to click-through to the landing page, right?
Here’s a few tips to increase your Ad Copy trust:
1. Use your top keywords – Write in at least one of your top performing keywords into your Ad. This will match the search query your customer is looking for. The more fitting you are with what your customer wants, the more likely they’ll choose your link to click through.
Example: I did a search for “all inclusive Mexico”. These are two of the Top Ads that were shown:
As a consumer, I’d be more inclined to click through on the “Mexico All-Inclusive” Ad, because it is more relevant to what I’m looking for, and therefore (in ad psychology stuff) it feels more trustworthy. What do you think?
2. Use a relevant Display URL – Your Display URL is what shows as your website in your Ads. Google lets you kind of choose what link to display. You should use this to show your homepage domain, and the specific landing page you are directing traffic to. Make sure your link includes a keyword (i.e. from your landing page) to develop trust and show you are who you say you are.
3. Be clear and up-front – You have a total of 95 characters in your Headline and Description Lines. Use them to clearly show who you are, and what it is you’re offering. Use your company name (particularly if it’s well known), and what a consumer will get from you. Confusion and mystery are your enemy here, avoid them at all cost.
Example: This Ad for a search of “shoe discounts online” clearly indicates what I’ll get when I click. They include their business name, and succinctly tell me their offer.
PPC Ad Copy Tip #2: Use a Call to Action They Can’t Refuse
You have about 10 seconds (or less) to get someone to act on your Ad. You need to write clear, concise, and irresistible Call-to-Actions (CTAs) that entice your consumer to take action now.
Show that your offer is the most beneficial to your searcher’s want, and that they must click your Ad as soon as possible to get it. Solid CTA’s increase conversions once they’ve clicked through to your landing page too.
Here’s a few tips to writing effective CTA’s:
4. Keep your CTA short, focused and actionable – Use short, one syllable words to get a quick reaction. Make it really easy to understand your ask, and use action words to provoke consumer initiative to click on your link immediately.
Use scarcity tactics too, such as limited time or product availability, to induce a quick reaction.
Action-getting CTA words to use in Google AdWords include:
- “Book Now”
- “This Week Only”
Example: This Ad from a department store uses the CTA “Shop TheBay.com”. They also include “This Week Only” and “30% Off” to motivate an immediate click from people searching for their products right now.
5. Promote a benefit, not a product – When your customer is searching for your product, they likely already know about it. As a marketer, it’s your job to compel that searcher to click on your link. Tell your consumer how they will benefit from your offerings.
Example: This Thai spa shows the consumer that their service will provide the benefit to “Rejunevate Your Mind, Body & Soul”. (It doesn’t tell, for example, about the techniques used – this is found on their landing page, to give the consumer more product/ service information.)
6. Always use Ad Extensions – You’ve likely seen these on Google Ads lately. Ad Extensions are links you can include in your Ads. They show up in blue, below your Description Lines. They’re free and provide extra links for your ads so be sure to make use of them. It’ll make your ad look larger and offer more selection for your target audience.
Example of Ad Extensions:
Ad Extensions can be used to include information about a coupon, other offers, locations, additional landing pages (site links), and even phone numbers. They’re a method to increase your CTA’s – and they don’t cost extra to use.
PPC Ad Copy Tip #3: Put Your Competitive Advantage on Display
Your Ad needs to stand out against your competitors. Why would someone click on your paid Ad results more than both the other Ads with your keywords, and the organic search results?
Additionally, the Unique Selling Point (USP) in your Ad is the starting point in your sales funnel. Clearly showing how you are better or unique will also get you more clicks from qualified customers (people genuinely interested in your promotion) and increase your conversions.
If you can hook your customer quickly and early, they’re more likely to stick with your through your landing page conversion, and ultimately – you get the sale.
Here’s three tips to improve your Google Ad Copy USP:
7. Research your competition – Check out your competition with a brief competitor analysis. Answer questions like:
- How are your competitors selling their services?
- What’s the missing gap in the market?
- What can you do better than your competition?
- What are some of the key words or phrases they are using?
Determine your business’ core strengths and look for the opportunity. Then list out your company’s USP. Use them in your Ad Copy.
Example: Here’s an Ad from an ebook company. They’re advertising their selling point: free books online. They word it simply, with easy repetitive language of “No Catch, No Costs, No Fees.”
8. Think like your customer – In marketing, your goal is to connect with your business’ consumer. In order to do that well, you’ve got to be able to think in the way your customer thinks.
Answer questions like:
- What do your customers want?
- What’s their motivation?
- Why do they need your product?
- Can I segment my market to generate more specific unique selling points?
- What words are going to resonate with each group of keywords?
9. Be specific – Now’s not the time to wax lyrical about your offers. Yes, you might have the most spectacularly delectable exclusively imported product that you know your customer simply can’t resist. Save the mouth-watering depictions for your landing page, blog, or product write-ups.
It actually take a lot of skill to write great Ad Copy. You have to know the mind of your customer, your business and your offer so well you can succinctly summarize the key feature that will get you the clicks.
Example: Here’s Ad Copy from a department store. In this Ad Group they’re promoting coats and jackets. Their USP is “Free Shipping” and “Easy Returns” (the addition of “Easy Returns” shows a selling feature many of their competitors don’t tell).
PPC Ad Copy Tip #4: Final Touchups
10. Check your grammar and spelling – There’s nothing so simple to fix, yet so detrimental to your Ad conversion rate than poor grammar and spelling! Incorrect spelling lowers people’s trust, and frankly just makes your business look, well, dumb. Spell Check, people!
11. Use punctuation (when you can) – Pay attention to Google’s Editorial standards. They’re pretty strict about what you can and cannot use with symbols, punctuation and capital letters. Do use exclamation marks, dollar symbols and capitalized words to increase views and click-throughs.
12. Review your Ad preview – Does your Side Ad look just as appealing as your Top Ad? When you’re writing your Destination Line 1, keep in mind that it might be shown together with your Destination Line 2. Check the Ad previews for formatting issues or for elements that look weird on the page.
Bonus tip: Never publish an ad campaign with one single ad creative. Never! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Always write more than one version of your Ad copy. Run two or three simultaneously, and split test your results. Keep improving your Ad, based on your measured results. Optimize your conversions and ROI.
Hopefully you will use a few of these tactics to improve your Google Ad Copy conversions. You are spending your business’ hard earned cash, so the more you increase your profits, the better.
- Why Does My Small Business Need Google AdWords? [Ultimate Guide]
- How do I make a Google Ad Campaign for my small business? [With a secret tip to make it simple]
- How Do I Optimize Keywords [and ROI] for My Small Business AdWords Campaigns?
- How Do I Optimize Budgeting and Bidding in Google AdWords? [Basic Edition]
- 21 Ways: How to Create Landing Page/ Google AdWord Combos That Convert
Written by Krista Bunskoek @ Wishpond