Key Ad Copy Principles | Search Scientists

Day 16 of 100 Days of AdWords Help: Key Ad Copy Principles

I like to look at ad copy from the perspective of the searcher.

Why Do People Use Google?

People head over to Google for a very simple set of reasons, to either:

  • Get answers to questions
  • Find a solution to their problem

Good ad copy tells searchers, “We can help you answer that question, or solve that problem.”

Even better ad copy makes the promise, “We can help you answer that question or solve that problem…better than anyone else.”

So here are three of my favorite ad copy tips:

Ad Copy Principles to Live By

  1. CTR is Secondary, A/B Test for Conversions
  2. Stand out from the Crowd: Your USP
  3. Utilize Features & Benefits

1. CTR is Secondary, A/B Test for Conversions

When people spend too much time on CTR, I go on rants about the value of CTR.

What’s better? A Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of 10% with low conversion rate? Or a CTR of 5% with high conversion rate?

If you’re in the business of making money, then it’s likely you’re going to want your ads to focus on conversions, not CTR. While CTR is important for keeping your costs low, an even better way to keep your costs low is to prevent anyone unqualified from clicking on your ad in the first place. Include a call to action or qualifier that prevents users who aren’t interested in taking that action from clicking (and costing you money) in the first place. The classic example of this is to include a price in your ad copy. Anyone unwilling from purchasing at that price won’t click, bringing you only qualified visitors.

a:b ad copy testing
Optimize for Conversion Rate, not CTR.

It bears repeating, if you are only optimizing for CTR, you may be rewarding ads with high CTR, but low conversion rate, like in the example below:

optimizing for conversions with ad copy
Don’t optimize for CTR here, or you may be reducing your profitability.

An exception to this rule: awareness or media campaigns. If you are trying to maximize page views or awareness, then it’s possible that optimizing for CTR is going to be the right move. This rule applies to businesses that make money from converting visitors, not simply getting page views.

2. Why Should We Click on Your Ad? Your USP

USP stands for “Unique Selling Proposition.” It’s the reason why visitors should trust you to solve their problem better than your competitors. If your ads are generic and blend in with the competition, expect position-based CTR’s only. (Position based CTR’s are simply the fact that the higher your position, the higher your CTR – great ad copy can boost your performance regardless of your position).

I was recently shopping for a Standup Paddle Board (SUP). I was confused by a few things when I landed on the results page.

Two stores were having 40% off sales?! (And the UPS store needs to add some negative keywords on their broad match types).

USP ad copy
Stand out from the crowd with your USP.

When you’re creating ad copy, remember to:

  • Analyze the Competition. At least once a month, analyze what your competitors are doing on their core terms. For dedicated advertisers, use a competitive research tool.
  • Ask Yourself: Why Should Users Do Business with Us Instead of the Competition? This is one of the questions on our introduction questionnaire we send to our clients. It lets us know what is truly unique about their business. Stand out from the crowd, serve the market better, and you’ll find success on AdWords.

3. Use Features and Benefits

AdWords doesn’t give you a lot of room to win customers over. You get 25 characters in a headline, and then two 35 character lines. You have just about a second to convince someone to convert. Great ad copywriting helps, and one of my favorite books on the topic is Ca$hvertising.

There are a few ways to win customers over quickly on AdWords. One of my favorite ways to do this is by incorporating features and benefits to my ad copy.

Follow a simple formula:

  • Headline: Search Query Benefit
  • Description Line One: Feature
  • Description Line Two: Call to Action (CTA)

The benefit pulls them in, the feature confirms the benefit, and the call to action lets them know what to do next. There are variations to this, but these are the broad strokes.

For example:

adwords ad copy feature benefit
The Benefit, Feature, USP, and CTA? Now that’s a solid ad. Let’s go surfing.

It’s an art to create ad copy that really stands out from the competition, connects with searchers with benefits and features,  and tells them what to do next.

As a rule of thumb, the more effort you put into your ads, the better your results. Take your time, it’s worth it.

Create ads that strike fear into your competitors who haven’t been optimizing their accounts.

Create ads that connect with your users so well, you get the highest CTR from targeted users on the page, all the way from position 3. Earn more money in position 3 than your competitor paying more than you in position 1.

It’s possible, and now you’re one day closer to a better, more profitable AdWords Account.

This post is part of a series: ‘100 Days of AdWords Help

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Michael Erickson

Michael Erickson

Emailing my clients and telling them I helped increase their return on ad spend by 300% never gets old. I love rising above the technical jargon and providing your business with online marketing momentum to reach new heights. Enthusiast for all things science, surfing, and Search Scientists.

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