The Best In Ad Copy – How to Write Winning Ad Copy That Sells

Ad copy can determine the success of your SEM campaign because it provides that crucial first impression for your potential customer and has a colossal effect on click-through rates (CTR), which directly impacts quality score and cost-per-click.  There are 5 things that you really need to consider when creating ad copy:

1. Is my ad relevant to the search term?

The most important thing in achieving a high CTR is ensuring your ad copy is relevant to the search term.  The best way to do this is to have granular campaign structure with very tightly knit ad groups and within them, highly targeted and specific ad copy. It is essential to include the keyword in the headline and then if possible within the description lines and display URL.

2. Look at what your competitors are doing

A good starting point when creating SEM ad copy is to see what your direct competitors are doing.  Do a few searches on their brand terms as well as the terms which you are writing ad copy for and make sure that your Unique Selling Points (USPs) are actually unique and excel over your competitors.  There are also a number of competitors tools available that can help you track competitors ad copy on a regular basis. Get in contact with your account manager for more information on this.

3. Understand the Buying Cycle

Consider the five stages in a buying cycle; Awareness, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision, and post purchase behaviour. Understand where in the buying cycle your user is and reflect this in your ad copy with specific terms.

For example, if your user is searching using more generic, top funnel keywords, they are most likely to be in the awareness or information search stage.  Reflect this in your ad copy by promoting  comparison information or reviews of the product on your landing page.  It is important that you send your potential customer to a relevant page that provides them with the information they are expecting.  Otherwise, it is likely to result in high bounce rates and a low ROI.

In the evaluation stage,  where the potential customer has already completed several informational searches and is considering specific product options, it is important to highlight your Unique Selling Points (USPs) to provide a reason to continue through to the next stage in the funnel.

In the purchase decision stage, when the prospect has decided to do business with you, you need to provide them with a sense of urgency to seal the deal now.  Promotions, special offers, deals and discounts work very well. For example:

4. Tell Your Customers What You Want Them To Do

Always have a clear call to action in your ad and make it obvious what action you want your customer to complete, whether it is making a purchase, filling out a lead form or picking up a phone and calling. Keep it simple and direct is best.

5. Test, Test and More Testing

It is often difficult to identify which USPs, call to actions or headlines will generate the best results straight away so the best way to incrementally increase your CTR and ROI is to continuously test different variations of ad copy simultaneously. It is important to take a highly structured approach to testing and only choose to test one variable at a time. It’s also important to make sure your data is statistically significant and consider conversion rates as well as CTR.

For example, test the following two against each other to determine which description line 1 performs better:

    

If the second variation performed better with  significant data, then the next step would be to create a new ad that tests the call to action in description line 2, for example:

Some variables that you can also test include:

  • Call to actions
  • The placement of the call to action
  • Description lines – synonyms, adjectives
  • Headlines
  • Urgency messaging – including or excluding end dates
  • Display URLs
  • Different USPs

Ad copy optimisation is an ongoing process that requires continued methodical testing with significant data sets.  You only have 25 – 35 – 35 characters and a display URL to work with so you need learn how to make your ads concise and effective in driving ROI.

By following the 5 steps outlined above, you will be well on your way to a successful and rewarding SEM campaign!

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