Last week we went through the left brain’s parameters and limitations of paid search ads. Frankly, you have to have a deep understanding of what’s allowed by the search engines in terms of copywriting to allow the creative juices to flow. Most people understand the character limits (25 character title, 35 character display URL, etc.), but there’s a lot more to successful search advertising than understanding the rules. Check out last week’s post just to make sure you’re really up to speed on specific editorial policies or even better, review the engine help guides on this topic.
Now that you understand the rules, let’s dive into how to write great text ad copy. When I was doing research for this piece, I came across Google’s six best practices for creating paid search ads. I think they’ve really hit the nail on the head here:
Create simple, enticing ads. What makes your product or service stand out from your competitors? Highlight these key differentiating points in your ad. Be sure to describe any unique features or promotions you offer.
Include prices and promotions. The more information about your product that a user can gain from your ad text, the better. For example, if a user sees the price of a product and still clicks the ad, you know they’re interested in a potential purchase at that price. If they don’t like the price, they won’t click your ad, and you save yourself the cost of that click.
Use a strong call-to-action. Your ad should convey a call-to-action along with the benefits of your product or service. A call-to-action encourages users to click on your ad and ensures they understand exactly what you expect them to do when they reach your landing page. Some call-to-action phrases are Buy, Purchase, Call today, Order, Browse, Sign up, and Get a quote; while ‘find’ and ‘search’ may be accurate verbs, they imply that the user is still in the research mode, and may not encourage the user to perform the action you’d most like them to take.
Include one of your keywords in your ad text. Find the best performing keyword in your ad group and include it in your ad text, especially in the title. Whenever a user types that keyword and sees your ad, the keyword phrase will appear in bold font within your ad on Google. This helps draw the user’s attention to your ad and shows users that your ad relates to their search.
Choose the best destination URL. Review the website you’re advertising and find the specific page that has the information or product described in your ad. If users do not find what is promised as soon as they arrive, they are more likely to leave your website. Be sure that any promotions and particular products mentioned in your ad are visible on your landing page.
Test multiple ads in each ad group. Experiment with different offers and call-to-action phrases to see what’s most effective for your advertising goals. Our system automatically rotates ads within an ad group and shows the better-performing ad more often.
Here are some other pro tips and tricks:
Remember the intent! You should have a pretty good idea of where in the buying cycle searchers are using specific keywords. Are they at the top of the funnel or ready to buy at the bottom? Make sure your address user intent in your creative. If they’re just looking for information, your ad should reflect that—you’ll have a quite different ad for people ready to buy and simply browsing for the best deal.
Stand out from the crowd. If all of your competitors are touting price, try a different tactic such as listing the benefits from your product/service or some awards you may have won. Eyeballs are drawn to differences on the search result page, not similarities.
If you’re all about price, stay on top of your competitors. If your entire strategy revolves around an offer, such as a percentage off or a low cost deal, then you must monitor your keyword landscape closely. If your bid is at $20, someone might come in at $19.99 and make off with your customers.
Include local terms for your top markets. If you’re a local business, this is a no-brainer. Make sure someone who is nearby realizes that you are too. It immediately creates a trust factor if they know they can drive out to see you. For national (or international) advertisers, you can let potential customers know that you have a focus in their area and that you are addressing their specific needs. Make sure, however, to back this up on the landing page. Many large advertisers split up their campaigns by region, state or even DMA. That can mean a lot of unique landing pages, but the increased conversion rate due to the relevancy factory may justify the cost.
“Official site” is golden. If you are indeed the official site for your product or service, using the words official site works really well. I haven’t seen any research for it, but I’ve used this tactic time and again for clients, and it’s never let me down.
“Free shipping” also is a crowd pleaser. This is something you definitely need to test, but it seems to work really well as a general marketing technique, especially on the internet where shipping costs sometimes negate the benefit of ordering direct. But don’t go this route unless you have done the math that free shipping won’t be too costly for you either.
Use www. in your display url. This comes from AdGooroo’s best practice list for ad copy. According to their research, they found that:
“…including “www” in the display URL tends to boost clickthrough rates. 80.6% of the ads in our database also included it, leading us to believe that this is a general rule. If you are among the nearly 20% of advertisers who are not including “www” in your URL, you should consider testing it.”
Use language that turns away the “wrong” users. Not every paid search click is a valuable one. Make sure to spot trends and tailor your ad copy accordingly. For example, if you sell car parts in bulk, and find that your ads are attracting users who just want to buy one or two individual parts, you may want to indicate that you only sell in large quantities. Remember, you pay per click, so getting the wrong users to not click your ads is as important as getting the right ones to do so.
Next week, we’ll go through Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) and how you can utilize some automation in your ad copy. We’ll also examine a strategy of building specific concepts for your ads which can help you pinpoint the right direction that works with your target audience.
This week’s question: “What are some other good tips and tricks for righting creative ads?”
PPC Academy is a comprehensive, one-year search advertising course from beginning to end. Starting with the basics, PPC Academy progressively explores all of the varied facets of paid search, and the tactics needed to succeed and become an advanced paid search marketer.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.