5 Search Ad Copy Resolutions For 2015


It’s that time of year again! Time to set some PPC New Year’s resolutions! And what better item to start with than ad copy?

Done right, re-writing your ad copy is one of the most impactful changes you can make in an account and a sure-fire way to improve PPC performance.

Unfortunately, ad copy is sadly overlooked. Even by me — as you can see by the topics I choose to write on! It’s the usual “leave the old in favor of the new” PPC tactics and strategies. I hope this article gives you a fresh perspective on ad creative and helps you set some soaring ad copy resolutions.

There are many ways to go about improving ad copy. It takes time to craft excellent ads, but it’s well worth the effort. Following are some tips:

1. Commit To Your Ad Copy

Focus on ad copy. Don’t get distracted by all the other shiny PPC objects (levers) in advertising accounts. It’s work to create compelling ads but you’ll see it’s worth it for the boost in conversions, conversion rate and more.

From ad copy changes alone, I’ve seen 30-50% increases in conversions and serious reductions in CPA — like 50% plus.

These are amazing increases for ad copy that’s already pretty far along. You’d obviously see greater increases if you were starting from scratch of if ad copy was pretty crappy to begin with (3X increases are not uncommon).

Overhauling your ad copy is one of the ripest and most overlooked low-hanging fruits around. And there are obviously plenty of opportunities in accounts to fine-tune and change ad copy.

2. Throw All The Spaghetti At The Wall

When I use this tactic, I brainstorm specific ad copy components like USPs, value propositions, calls-to-action, descriptive copy/elements, etc. The idea is to toss things out there without thinking –  throw all the spaghetti at the wall. You can pick and choose specific elements you want to move forward with later.

For this, schedule a brainstorming meeting or collaborate on a spreadsheet. The goal here is to brain dump ideas for as many segments as you can. Set a goal (like 100) and don’t stop until you get there.

Get creative in generating ideas. For example, talk to customers in your target market, run focus groups, etc. And don’t forget to chat with sales reps and call-center folks. Their contact with customers gives them the opportunity to hear objections; misconceptions, and they know what customers are looking for.

Knowing common objections is powerful as you can work to overcome them (sales 101 strategy) in your ad copy or on your landing pages. Here’s an ad copy option (for brand terms):

  • XYZ Store
  • We don’t only sell tools!
  • Come visit us for so much more!

3. Think Specifically About Your USPs

Even if you don’t have any Unique Selling Propositions, this is an important exercise to do so that you may generate some.  USPs will help your ad stand out from those of your competitors. And PPC is a perfect way to empirically find out which one of your USP and/or value propositions is resonating most with your audience. Here’s a sample list:

  • Same Day Shipping
  • Biggest Selection Around
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • 24/7 Customer Service

If you want to get super sexy, try incorporating USPs into calls-to-action. Here is an  example:

  • Download White Paper vs.
  • Download Our Free Marketing Tips

Make a list and commit to keep updating and revising your list — say every Monday. Make it a routine and you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

Note: you won’t be able to try all elements in one ad so run different tests to see which elements work best for you. Use multivariate testing if you have enough traffic to see what combo of USPs gives you the best bottom line. If not, run the test in your highest volume campaign and/or ad group. There are many tools available for this.

4. Now Do Something Different!

I always hear comments like “my ads are no different than those of my competitors” or “my ads aren’t really that unique,” or the worst excuse ever: “it’s impossible for me to make my ads stand out.”

There’s always a way to craft unique copy and make your ads stand out. There are obviously thousands of ways to change your ads up. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Can You Change Your Wording Slightly?

Of course you can, and below are some examples.

Example #1: Same Day Shipping

  • Ships Same Day
  • Ships Now
  • Ships In 2 Hours
  • Ships Immediately

Example #2: Sale Incentive

  • Sale For 2 More Days
  • 2-Day Sale
  • 24-Hour Sale

For this one, don’t stick to your usual sale length. Try testing different ones. If you want to get super sexy with this last example, you can use the new Google AdWords ad customizer countdown feature that tells your prospective customers exactly how long your sale will last.

Can You Change Your Tone?

We’ve had ad copy competition at work (this is obviously another way to generate ideas for PPC ad copy). Those below were written by my colleague Scott who won:

  • Popcorn Kernels To Pop
  • For Large & Fluffy Perfect Popcorn!
  • 9 Tasty Varieties At Great Prices.
  • PopcornStore.com/

It’s light and fun, right? It certainly stands out among all the other popcorn retailers.

5. Think About Specific Ad Components

My overall philosophy is to test bigger elements and then to move on to testing smaller elements. Here think of specific ad components like headlines; display URLs and description line 1 and 2. Here are some examples:

Headline Changes

Changes to headlines are powerful as it’s the first place that people look when they’re looking at an ad. Here are some ideas:

  • Use A Percentage Vs. A Number. For example, 30% off vs. $50 off.
  • Ask A Question In Ads. For example, Looking for XYZ?
  • Plural Form Vs. Singular Form In Ads. For example, Looking for Washing Machines? vs. Looking for a Washing Machine? Note: you can combine any number of strategies to come up with unique headlines

Display URL Changes

Changes to display URLs can have an impact. This is the second place that people look at when looking at ad copy.

  • Try www vs. no www. For example, adcopy.com vs. www.adcopy.com
  • Try including trademarked terms. For example, adcopy.com/
  • Try including your keyword terms. For example, adcopy.com/GoodStuff

Ad Copy Description Lines

One thing I like to do is to flip description line 1 and description line 2 around. Sometimes, you get absolutely fantastic results with this. The reason: description line 2 is read before description line 1. I often include the call-to-action on description line one for this reason.

I also like to play with implication. Here’s an example: “Watch our How-To video today” vs. “Watch our How-To videos today.” The second example implies you have more than one video in your video catalogue. There’s something to be said about a company that can produce videos. Among other things, it paints a mental picture of a successful company with a strong online content strategy.

Closing Remarks

There are obviously many changes you can make here. Just be sure that the changes you’re making are worth testing. For example, “shop early and often” vs. “Shop Early & Often” is not a good test to run. There will be very little lift from this type of test. The garbage-in garbage-out principal works here.

The opportunities are countless if you dedicate time and energy to this endeavor.

Added Bonus: all successful variations of wording can be incorporated into website copy, social campaigns and more.

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