As usual, pick your winner first, then we’ll reveal which ad won and why:


reassuring the searcher


Have you picked your winner? Good.


The actual winner is Ad B, which boosted Click Through Rates by a full 50%. Here’s why:


1. The Winning Ad Addressed Quality Concerns


I frequently say that PPC Ads are one of the few mediums where unsubstantiated claims can actually boost response. In most other advertising mediums, you have to substantiate your claims, but with PPC Ads, merely having the confidence to make relevant claims like “top quality” or “unique” can drive a huge increase in Click-Through Rates.


And for this contest, Ad B made two such a claims: one in the headline with “Affordable,” and one in the first line of body copy with “Top Java Developers.” So these (unsubstantiated) claims addressed price and quality, respectively, which I’m sure drove an increase in CTR.


2. The Losing Ad’s Reassurance Unwittingly Cast Doubt


The line, “Pay Only If Satisfied” raises the spectre of NOT being satisfied. And it really almost makes it sound as if it’s not that unusual for the client to be unsatisfied. You try it out, and maybe you’re satisfied and maybe you’re not, but you only pay IF you are satisfied, so it’s all good.


Except it’s not good, because of all the time and opportunity costs you lost with this unsatisfactory developer.


The winning ad, on the other hand, tells you that the Java developer is a “top” talent, and lets you try the developer out for two weeks on a 100% risk free basis. That speaks of confidence, and manages to convey the risk-free guarantee without raising negative mental images in the mind of the searcher.


In fact, the idea of NOT raising negative mental images lies behind the common copywriting advice to highlight the positive instead of negating a negative. So “soothing” or “confidence-inspiring” or “100% done-for-you” is better than stress-free. Stress free negates the negative, but it still raises the image of stress in the mind of the reader.


And the winning ad’s ability to understand and successfully navigate this little bit of copywriting psychology is what makes it our win of the week.