Text ads in AdWords are made up from a headline, description lines and a display URL. Sounds simple, right? In principle, yes, however there are a number of things that we can do when writing these text ads to make our ad copy more effective.

Alongside the Editorial Guidelines from Google on what we can and can’t say in our ads, here are six simple tips for writing better PPC ads:

1) Use keywords in your ad copy

Try to include your target keywords in your ad copy at least once. Firstly, this helps show that your ad is relevant to what users are looking for, as the best-performing ads are usually the ones that people find the most relevant.

For example, if someone searches for ‘PPC agency’ and sees an ad that contains the keyword ‘PPC agency’ in the ad copy, they would probably be more likely to click this compared to a more generic ad about digital marketing. There is more chance that the user will find what they are looking for from the more targeted ad.

Secondly, relevance is also not just important for the user, but also for improving quality score within AdWords. Google takes relevance into account when determining the quality of the ads within an AdWords account and will reward more relevant ads with a higher keyword level quality score, as higher quality ads that are relevant to the person searching lead to a greater experience for Google’s users.

Having a high quality score can help advertisers in several ways. Ad quality is taken into consideration every time a user searches on Google and an ad enters an auction – this contributes towards a score called ‘Ad Rank’ which determines:

  1. Whether your ad is eligible to enter the auction at all.
  2. Where the ad will appear on the page.
  3. Your keyword’s first page and top of page bid estimate.
  4. How much you pay for a click on your ad (the actual CPC)
  5. Whether your ad is eligible to show ad extensions

Ultimately, having highly relevant ads can make it easier for ads to enter an auction and cheaper for advertisers to appear in a higher position!

2) Target a relevant landing page

As with including the keywords in your ad copy, it is also really important to consider the landing pages that your ads are targeting. If you match your keywords and ads to your landing pages, there is more chance that users will find what they expect when they reach your website – and consequently more chance of them becoming a lead or completing a purchase while they are on your site.

A highly relevant landing page also factors into the Quality Score and Ad Rank considerations mentioned above, so it is really important to think about landing pages to help reduce click costs and improve ad positions.

3) Consider your USPs

Another important consideration when writing ad copy is to think about what makes you stand out from the competition. What are your unique selling points?

Take a look at any search results page on Google and you will tend to see up to 10 or 11 PPC ads, occasionally Shopping ads alongside these, and then the organic listings. This is a busy space to compete in, and an effective PPC ad will need to stand out to encourage users to click through to your website.

Try to include information on prices, promotions and showcase anything else that makes your business or service stand out against the competition.

4) Include a call to action

Effective PPC ads will also usually contain a strong call to action that tells users what they can expect to do when they reach your landing page, and makes it clear what the next steps are.

For example, if you are selling a product, consider including CTAs such as ‘buy’, ‘purchase’, ‘shop now’, ‘order’.

If your goal is to drive leads, think about CTAs such as ‘enquire now’, ‘contact us’, ‘call today’, ‘sign up’.

5) Think about different devices

With the ever-growing dominance of mobile traffic, Google recently published a study highlighting that in a number of countries around the world more searches now take place on mobile devices than desktop devices. This means that it is becoming impossible to ignore mobile users, and if you are targeting mobile traffic using AdWords, it is also important to think about how these users might be different to users searching on desktop.

For example, users searching on mobile devices are more likely to want to call you or to know where they can find you if you have a physical location such as a shop. It would be worth thinking about enabling different ad extensions like location extensions (to display your address) and call extensions (to display your phone number).

AdWords allows you to create ads specifically for mobile devices, so you can customise your ad copy specifically for mobile users. For example, you may want to include a call to action such as ‘call us now’ in a mobile specific ad to appeal directly to these users.

You can also now create ‘call only’ ads in AdWords which are not attached to a landing page, allowing a user to call directly from the search results.

6) Split test different messaging

Perhaps the most important point of all is to remember that the best ad copy often comes with testing – the first ad you write will not necessarily be the one that works the best or the one that attracts the most customers or conversions. It is good practice to regularly test and experiment with different messages, promotions and landing pages to see what works best for you. There are however a few points to remember with this:

  1. Ensure that you have two ads running to test one against the other.
  2. Keep an old ad live (the best performing one) and create a new version to test alongside this – this helps to preserve quality score and also allows you to benchmark performance of the new ad copy.
  3. Ensure that your ads are set to ‘rotate evenly’. By default, AdWords will optimise ad rotation based on performance, however you can change this setting to rotate your ads equally. This will allow for a fairer split test.
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