When Words Are All You Have: 3 PPC Ad Copy Philosophies

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When we communicate in the real world, it is estimated that only 7 percent of information is transmitted through words. The other 93 percent? Body language and other non-verbal cues.

What does this have to do with pay per click (PPC) advertising? In the world of search and contextual PPC ads, we only have words! And with a low minimum character limit, we don’t have much room to deliver our message and get our audiences to act.

A successful PPC campaign, above all else, encourages users to click. And this requires us to use the strongest, most relevant language for your audience. So do you need to hire a proven copywriter to accomplish this? Hardly.

By utilizing automation, sticking to your brand’s value points, and testing/revising throughout the process, digital marketers can develop engaging PPC copy that would make even Don Draper drop his highball in shock:

Focus On Details
The tiniest differences in your ad copy can yield large gains, especially over long periods of time. Always be tweaking seemingly insignificant factors like…

  • Punctuation: When faced with the decision to use punctuation elements, keep your audience firmly in mind. Perry Marshall, author of “The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords,” recalled A/B testing an ad group with the headline “How to Write a Book Fast.” Targeted towards aspiring writers, the variation with a properly placed comma—”How to Write a Book, Fast”—unsurprisingly yielded a response rate 8 percent higher than the first version’s. This subtle change amounted to an extra $500 in annual revenue. When wrestling with commas, exclamation points, or any other punctuation, consider your how the copy will “flow” for your audience when you read it out loud.
  • Tone and CTA Matching: Along those same lines, tailor the tone of your copy to your audience, the industry, and at what point the consumer is seeing your ad. Although we generally want to reach the sales conversion quickly, carefully consider whether you should push to simply “get more info” or “read our case study” before you try and get them to “buy today!” Different industries have different buying cycles, decision making processes, and purchaser demographics—this should be reflected in the tone of your copy.
  • Verbs: Your goal in online advertising should always be to facilitate some kind of action on the part of the user. So, use action words! Either in your call-to-action or headline, try to offer a clear endgame, whether it’s to “watch,” “try,” “buy,” or “register.” In one WordStream study, CTR nearly doubled with verb-driven copy compared to more product-descriptive copy.

Leverage Your Keywords
Advertisers of yesteryear would’ve loved to have had Dynamic Keyword Integration (DKI) at their disposal. DKI allows advertisers to automatically include the keyword that triggered their ad within the ad’s text itself.

Keyword insertion is a great way to reinforce your ad’s relevance to customers, and it also makes it easy to create ad groups for lots of keywords at once. You can even use DKI to integrate highly specific, long-tail keywords that wouldn’t normally fit in the ad headline field.

The difference in results between static and dynamic ad copy can be striking. In a lead generation campaign run by PPC Associates, adding dynamic product brand names to the ad’s headline took one ad group from the bottom of the barrel to being the brand’s highest performing campaign, overnight.

To make the most of DKI, balance the automation with some good ol’ human judgment:

  • Compare the results of your dynamic keyword ads with those of static ads. Not all dynamic keyword campaigns will perform better than the static ones, so be sure to A/B test wherever relevant.
  • Don’t just test your results—make sure the ad itself looks good when you conduct test searches. The last thing you want is to see “{KeyWord:Brand}” in an actual impression of your ad.

Lead With Customer Benefits
As we’ve mentioned in the past, your customers are people, not pixels. So when crafting any  advertising copy, don’t just flesh out the product or service itself. Be sure to emphasize the primary benefits that your product or service will have for your target audience.

Similarly, emphasizing an incentive to purchase the product or service can yield substantial return. Earlier this year, Search Engine Journal looked at the difference between two ads for a signage manufacturer. The groups that focused on “avoiding hefty fines” and being “ADA compliant” generated a 164 percent CTR increase over the variations that emphasized the style of the signs.

Of course, the hallmark of any thoughtful ad copy strategy is a diligent testing strategy. Pit your ads against one another constantly, keeping only the best copy for long-term usage and further revision. Think of it as “survival of the fittest” ad copy, supporting your superb writing with great landing pages and a knowledgeable online advertising team. Because when words are the only tool you have, they’re worth a thousand pictures.

Since 2001, Advertise.com has offered competitive online advertiser and publisher solutions to companies around the globe. Our mission is to help advertisers achieve their best ROI with quality, cost-effective ad units, as well as provide our publishers with monetization tools that yield the most revenue. Contact us to learn more or get started with your advertising campaigns.