I found this article (Writing PPC Ad Copy That Delivers: 6 Best Practices) by David Rodnitzky in this spring’s Search Marketing Standard that gave some great “best practices” when working with PPC ad copy. I know this is a common issue to write about, but he gave some very detailed, yet simple explanations, along with some controversial ones, on how to go about crafting your ad copy.
1. Test, Test, Test. This is a very basic, but much needed concept to consider… Rodnitzky makes a great point in this section: “Never assume you can write effective ad copy just because you are otherwise successful or have been in SEM for a long time.” You need to constantly test and adapt to find what suits your particular client’s goals most effectively. He offers a few steps on how to do this. First, review competitor ads. Next, use themes to create at least 3 ads per ad group, making sure they all differ greatly; this will help test which type of ad resonates better for the particular audience. Over time, you will be able to narrow down the ads to the best performing, and replace the poor performers with new ads, for continuous testing.
2. Victory Is Not Determined By Clickthrough Rate Alone. Try not to simply focus on a high CTR. Although it is important, you also need to be measuring conversion rates. You could have a high CTR but a poor conversion rate, which could cause you to fall short of meeting your goals set up in the first place.
3. Ad Copy Must Not exist In A Vacuum. Instead of lumping several categories of keywords all into one ad group and attempting to create the perfect ad that will speak to all of them, try grouping the keywords into targeted smaller sections, splitting them into their own ad groups, and writing more targeted ad copy. The keywords will be more relevant to the corresponding ad copy, and hopefully you will have separate landing pages they lead to as well, resulting in higher CTR as well as conversion rate.
4. Make The Most Of Bold. By taking the advice in #3, you will have more targeted ad groups that will result in more bolded copy in your PPC ads. Rodnitzky also suggests adding ANY keyword into your display URL, allowing there to be one more occurrence of the specified keyword… I would recommend this ONLY if the page actually exists. Rodnitzky says to use this approach even if the page does not exist, and simply create a 404 error page and have the user directed back to the Home Page. Most searchers would find this to be an extra hassle that they don’t need, and you could be flirting with the outer boundaries of black hat practices. One last suggestion is to use Dynamic Keyword Insertion. He makes a great point that it could be a counterproductive tactic in that many people take this approach, and that could ultimately mean a page of ads all show the same title copy. To avoid this, simply create a unique title and remove the DKI.
5. Always Have A Strong Call To Action. Go the aggressive route instead of the subdued. The call to action is what you ultimately want the searcher to do, so make sure you use it to get their attention.
6. Use Basic Human Emotions. Use 4 basic human emotions to hook your audience. Use fear, greed, vanity, and exclusivity to reel in the audience. The example Rodnitzky gives for vanity:
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There are many people writing many articles giving suggestions on how to write your ad copy. In reality, you must try it out for yourself, taking their ideas into consideration, and test, test, test, test, and test again to find out what works for you. It’s the best kept secret that’s not really secret at all! It’s always #1 on these lists for a reason.