Excellent tips for creating successful ads on Google AdWords and other PPC platforms
Over the years, in which I managed many ‘pay per click’ (PPC) online advertising campaigns, I’ve accumulated quite a few tips and recommendations for maximum leverage of text ads, along with tricks that can be used, and are even recommended for use, to make the most out of your ad copy in AdWords.
In this post I tried to concentrate the best tips I know and explain them.
If you have anything to add or ask – I’d appreciate your comment or question at the bottom of this post.
— Please note – the order of tips is random – all tips are important! —
Tip: Focus on the relative advantage of my business
The sponsored links advertising can deliver exposure in enormous scales. From within the sea of options, from the endless potential of users/clients – we can filter leads that are most relevant for us – if we emphasize a comparative advantage we have in hand.
If you are active only in a specific district or county, or a single city – you have a geographic advantage that should be highlighted in the ad text.
If your business has certificates/authority documents – you should include a reference in your ad copy – as well as show the relevant documents in a conspicuous place on the landing page, or other pages within a click or two away from the landing page.
If you have years of experience – write that you have [X] years of experience, or at least indicate ‘experience’, ‘seniority’ and so on.
If you have customers that are well-known, brands or celebrities – it might be a good idea to specify their names in your ads, simply because other’s success is appealing. But make sure you don’t violate any laws regarding the use of listed trademarks without permission.
If your service or product is designated for a specific part of the population – for example only for a certain age range, or just for women – it will be wise to specify exactly which kind of people you want to turn to, as part of your ad text – this will filter all those who do not belong to your designated crowd.
If you offer something “prestigious” Write your text with “Prestige” – to avoid clicks from people who want something cheap.
And if your advantage is low prices – Your main message should include words like ‘cheap’ or ‘low cost’.
If you’re an importer, manufacturer, or exclusive source of a product or service – emphasize this fact – because your competitors (all or most) can’t say the same!
And people also prefer buying from the source, so they can avoid brokerage or additional commissions.
If you have a video in your landing page – if your videos provide illustration, explanation or any cool surprise – Use your ad text to invite users to watch videos.
If you have received recommendations, and they appear on your landing page – Include an invitation in your ad for people to read the recommendations.
Tip: Strengthening you call-to-action by using an exclamation mark (!)
The term “Call-To-Action” is an important concept in PPC advertising;
When we explicitly TELL the user WHAT TO DO – this will generate higher click rates (CTR), because it will create more interaction of users with the ad. A call-to-action that ends with an exclamation mark is usually even stronger – it actually affects people – adding a powerful, immediate determinative manner to you ad.
Google AdWords rules do not allow the use of an exclamation point in the ad title, but we may use one exclamation point in our ad text (in one of the two lines of description in our ad). In many cases the most powerful effect of the exclamation point will be when it is located at the end of the second line, but that does not mean that you should avoid using an exclamation point in a different part of the ad – it might have proper textual context and give good results as well.
Tip: Using capital letters (uppercase) at the ad’s text
According to Google’s rules, we can not write whole words in capital letters (uppercase), or use capital letters in a ‘visual gimmicky’ manner – but we ARE allowed to use capital letters at the beginning of words.
In the past, it was possible to use capital letters at the domain name itself – for example: ’www.WebsiteName.com‘ instead of ‘www.websitename.com‘.
You can see the difference – the use of capital letters definitely gave an edge for advertisers, in terms of client response/interactivity with ads.
But in early 2011, Google came to the conclusion there is a need to ‘soften-up’ the usage of capital letters in the ad URL’s, and changed the policy – and from that point on it is impossible to use capital letters in the domain name itself (even if the advertiser used capital letters when editing the ad – the actual text will be in small letters when the ad appear in the search result page).
Yet few people know, we are still able to use capital letters (uppercase) in the green address line in our ads – if the text is a sub-category inside our domain, for example:
Tip: Use the ‘Display URL’ line to enhance or specify your message
Following the previous tip, I can recommend ‘excessive use’ in the display URL (the green address line in your ad) to further extend your message to the user.
For example, if we want to promote a seasonal marketing campaign for the month of April, a display URL such as the following could be of benefit:
This can potentially attract more relevant visitors to click your ad, while expanding the user’s idea about what to expect when he/she enters your website after clicking your ad.
You should note that such display URL usage might not be approved by Google, unless it is supported by an appropriate landing page address – so you might need to create a specific webpage in you site with the words ‘April Sale’ in the URL.
Tip: Stay relevant to your seasonal business activity
Many businesses have seasonal fluctuations – both in terms of demand for products, or in terms of actual products or specials proactively promotion actions. Correlation between your seasonal business activities and your PPC ad copies is highly recommended, if you can stay tuned and keep the relevancy to specific promotions and time-limited or seasonal advertising.
On one hand, I can generally say that an ad that talks about something ‘relevant for now’ will bring relatively high click-through-rates, but on the other hand you must remember to always provide the right message – for example:
do not forget to update ads that talk about a ‘summer-sale’ when the summer is over;
And pause ads that talks about ‘X-mas sale’ before Christmas-eve arrives.
Tip: Use the Sitelinks ad-extension
‘Sietlinks’ is an excellent option in AdWords, which little people know of:
Each advertiser can add up to four additional links that will appear under his ad. The advertiser controls the text in the link and also the link URL itself (usually it will be a more focused link, leading deeper into the website, rather than the site’s main page).
These additional links will show only for ads that receive high ranking, and are eligible to appear at the top of the search results page (at the yellow/pink background) – and not on the side.
‘Sitelinks’ do not always appear – but when they do appear – they provide a more detailed info to the user regarding what we offer, and allow us to receive highly focused quality traffic to our website. When done smart, the ‘Sitelinks’ yield a very high CTR.
Tip: Use the locations ad-extension
Depending on your settings in ‘Google places’, your business info can appear in geographically relevant search results, including your business description, your website address, physical address of the business, telephone number and a selected picture (e.g. logo of your business).
Tip: create a ‘natural selection process’ or ‘evolution’ between multiple ad versions
In general, you should NOT use only a single ad-copy in PPC advertising, whether in Google AdWords or any other PPC platform.
You should always test at least two different ad versions, and if there are more ideas for additional texts – testing more variations is even better – as long as you keep track of statistics along the time.
In the professional jargon we call it ‘A/B Testing’ – Comparing two or more ad copies, and accumulate statistics to see which ad brings relevantly higher Click-Trough-Rates (CTR), Better Conversion-Rate, or improved Return On Investment (ROI).
Once we have accumulated enough statistical information – we can decide which ads are ‘weaker’ than others, or deliver relatively lower results – and optionally pause these ads, allowing ‘survive of the strongest’.
If a new idea for and ad text comes along the way – we can always test it against the ‘winning ads’ to see if it is ‘stronger’ or not.
In the end of this ‘evolution’ process we usually end-up with one ad version or maximum of very few individual ad-copies that ‘won the competition’ against all other ad alternatives.
Different variations of ads can be examined by using different headlines, different messages, different emphases on specific business offers, specific benefit focuses etc.
A reliable statistical analysis will not be possible, when relying on a small amount of data. Consider 100 as a minimum number if you want to make major decisions – otherwise the data you rely on is not statistically significant!
A well-based decision-making will have to rely on a large volume of data. Remember that if your daily budget is relatively low, you will need to wait more days until you can draw significant conclusions about ad performance.
And another important note:
You should also consider the Average Position your ads received along the tested time period, because if your Average Position is low, the ad would have naturally collected less clicks – so your statistical data gives you a relatively blurry and not-so-reliable picture.
Tip: differentiate yourself from competitors
An effective strategy, especially (but not only) in highly competitive fields – is re-examining my message in comparison to other advertiser’s messages, by viewing a variety of ads that appear in the search result pages for keywords that interests me.
For the preliminary tests I recommend you use the special Google *Ad Preview Tool* to display your competitors ads, while preventing unnecessary impression to your ads.
Run searches for keywords that interest you; Try to find out ‘what everyone does the same’ – this way you will find ways to stand-out and be different – to enhance your noticeability. The key element here is DIFFERENTIATION. After recognizing what all your competitors ‘do the same’, you can move-on to planning your special and different message.
In light of the similarities between competitors – you can find creative ways to ‘turn the tables’ and offer a message opposite to your competitors, or even create a ‘dialogue’ with other ads.
Tip: Useful alternatives to the banned word ‘Click’
But Google decided it is not fair to use a strong word like ‘Click’ in ads – So, if you write an ad that contains this word – the ad will be automatically disapproved.
Fortunately, this is a completely automated rejection (It takes place during the first ad examination stage, ans it’s done by an automated algorithm, before the ad is passed-on for human inspection) – so we can use similar words with a similar effect, such as:
‘Press here’, ‘Enter’, ‘Enter Site/Website’, ‘Go’, ‘See more’, ‘More details’, etc.
That’s it for my current list of tips.
I’d love your remarks about additional tips and ideas – please post a comment down at the bottom of this article.
And if there is a certain topic you would like me to address more specifically – I’d be thankful if you write what interest you – I promise to read all comments and reply as best as I can.