One of the most important elements of any paid search campaign is the ad copy. With all of the proper keyword targets you can add, great bidding strategies you can think of, and tight geo targeting or day parting, copy can still make or break an otherwise great campaign’s efforts.
No matter how imaginative or accurate your copy may be, there are several missteps that many of us make that hopefully, can be avoided.
1. Blending in – It’s unlikely that you have no competition in the ad space. Remember that if you’re advertising the same products or services as your competition, you’re ads should stand out. Are you offering a better price point? Do you offer a greater variety of products or brands than they do? All of these should be added into your copy to stand out. Many case studies exist that show that when people are faced with too many identical or overly similar choices, they’re less likely to make a choice at all. When your ads serve, be sure to use copy that stands out from the pack.
2. Using a weak call to action – When users scroll through search pages, they don’t “read” so much as they tend to scan. With this in mind, be sure you use good, direct calls to action. Copy such as “free estimates” may be good and direct, but “schedule a free estimate online” is much stronger copy and makes it clear to the user that scheduling can be handling immediately and online with no need for a call. Also keep in mind that since you’re likely serving mobile preferred ad copy as well, a more mobile-friendly CTA could help performance such as “call for free estimates”.
If the user is already on a mobile device, a click to call action is much more likely than an onsite conversion, so it might be a good idea to add copy that invites one.
3. Forgetting the details – Now you may have a great call to action, but what else can you tell me in 35 characters or less that will make me click your ads over your competitions?
Remember to add a quick detail or two to your copy where appropriate. This plays back into my first point, so after adding a unique CTA, use any of those details that weren’t used in the CTA. Prices, selection, product features, anything to make the ad more appealing to your target audience.
4. Ignoring your data – One of the biggest mistakes we SEM folk are guilty of is taking advantage of all of the testing tools we have and stopping them from giving us enough data. What I mean is, we’ll either use AdWords own testing or third party tools to run A|B testing and end tests before we have a statistically relevant amount of data to base decisions on. For example, you have ad A in an ad group with 0 conversions this week, and ad B with 10. On the surface, there is a clear winner here.
However, you should also consider other factors such as impressions for one. Did the two ads serve with similar frequency? If ad A served 100 times yet ad B served over 2,000, this is hardly the apples to apples comparison needed before deciding to pause or remove ad A. Do what the data tells you to do, just be sure you’re not jumping the gun and getting rid of potentially good copy before it has a chance to shine. Don’t forget, the larger the campaigns, the larger the data pool you’ll need.
In closing, remember, ad copy is essentially the life of your campaign. It’s the only part of your efforts that your target users will see and interact with, so make it the best you can. Don’t be afraid to test new copy as needed, as long as it stands out from the rest. And lastly, remember that “as needed” means when you have enough data to throw in the towel on any given ad or ads.
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As always, good luck, and good marketing!
Dale Harley is a PPC Strategist at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia area advertising agency.