As we discussed last time, pay-per-click (PPC) ads can be a great way to send a steady stream of visitors back to your website. However, it can also be an easy way to lose your shirt if you aren’t carefully tracking your budget and the ultimate ROI of your advertisements.
So today, let’s focus on how to get the most out of your PPC ads by choosing the best wording and the most persuasive calls to action. You might be surprised – even the smallest tweaks in your ad’s content can make a dramatic difference in your overall conversion rates!
The first challenge you’ll run into when drafting your paid ads is that the character limits on popular PPC engines are notoriously short. For example, if you decide to advertise with Google’s Adwords program (by far the largest provider of these services), you’ll be held to 25 characters for your title, 70 characters for your ad text and 35 characters for your display URL. These limitations mean that each and every work you include must be carefully chosen in order to be as effective as possible. Let’s look at each element in your PPC ad to make the most of them.
Element #1 – Headline
Effective PPC ad headlines generally are built around an attention-grabbing call to action and use of keywords. Building a “call to action” into your PPC ad headline helps your advertisement stand out from all the other advertisers who are bidding on your same keywords. For example, if you run an auto repair shop in your area, the headline, “Save 55% On Oil Changes” could help your ad get more attention as a result of both the promised savings and the inclusion of specific, measurable savings. You could also use keywords that your searchers are likely to use such as “Oil Change Atlanta” or “Cheap Oil Change”.
Element #2 – Your Ad Text
Once your headline is out of the way, you can breathe a sigh of relief – now you’ve got a full 70 characters to write the bulk of your ad message. Unfortunately, when you actually sit down to write your ads, you’ll likely find that these characters don’t go nearly as far as you’d like them to!
Because of these limitations, PPC ad text must be as concise and engaging as possible. Encouraging someone to click through to your website in this small number of characters can be challenging, but you can increase your chances of success by following standard accepted PPC strategies:
- Include a sale or promotion in your ad text – No matter what industry you’re in, people love to save, which makes including specific sales figures in your ad text a powerful way to get their attention.
- Add a call to action to your ad – Don’t expect readers to put all the pieces of the puzzle together on their own! Instead, eliminate confusion by telling readers what you want them to do by including phrases like, “Act Now,” “Get A Free Estimate Today” or “Sign Up Now.”
- Focus on benefits, not features – This standard piece of copywriting advice applies to PPC ads as much as any other type of copywriting. Instead of telling readers what specifically they’re going to get, tell them how they’ll benefit and what they stand to gain from working with you. It can be tricky to do this in such a limited amount of space, but if you get it right, focusing on benefits can be extremely compelling!
Element # 3 – Your Display URL
Of all three elements you’ll need to address when writing your PPC ad, your display URL will be the easiest by far to write, as you likely won’t have a lot of different options to consider. Simply enter your web address into this section and launch your ad.
Of course, you’re not finished yet! Given how much of a difference subtle tweaks to your PPC ad copy can make, you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t go ahead and create a second ad version to split test against your original. Split testing means running two ads at the same time and the audience is split randomly so half see one ad and half see the other. The following are a few different elements you can experiment with in your split test campaigns:
- Different headline variations
- The placement of calls to action or promotions in your ad’s body copy
- The specific type of promotion you run
- The features and benefits you focus on in your body copy
- Geographic targeting within your headline and body content
- Different capitalization schemes throughout your ad
- Unique landing pages for each ad group you develop
In order to split test effectively, you’ll also need to change a few elements that control how your ad is displayed. In Google Adwords, specifically, campaigns are set to display the most successful ads more frequently by default. Obviously, this won’t work from a split testing perspective, so be sure to set your campaigns to display ad variations more evenly to determine which ad converts better overall.
Once you’ve run a single split test long enough to gather statistically significant data about which ad variation results in better overall conversion rates, eliminate the losing ad and replace it with yet another variation. By continually testing and improving your campaigns, you’ll ensure that your ads are as effective as possible in terms of generating increased traffic and revenue for your website.