The faster your PPC ad shows the prospect how what you’re selling matches up with what she’s searching for, the better your ad will perform.

Obviously, message credibility, deal sweeteners, and other ad elements play an important part, too, but ultimately your ad has to tell searchers how you’re selling exactly what they’re looking for. And your ad’s ability to do this early in the copy is a bigger success factor than most people think.

And this recent contest represents a perfect example of this dynamic at work:

Notice that the losing ad actually has a rather powerful offer element that the winning ad doesnt: a claim of 55% savings. Yet the ad still lost this contest because it doesn’t tell the searcher what’s for sale until later in its copy, and because it never explicitly shows the searcher how what’s for sale matches up with the searcher’s desire.

In other words, the winning ad says “NY Botantical Garden Pass” right in the headline. People searching for New York Botanical Garden tickets immediately see that and know they’ve got a great match-up between the product for sale and what they need.

The losing ad, on the other hand, mentions the botanical gardens in the headline, but doesn’t say anything about tickets or passes until the first line of body copy. And then the searcher has to make the connection between the pass that’s for sale, and the botanical gardens.

In other words, in reading the losing ad, it’s implied that the botanical gardens are one of the “50+ New York Attractions that can be seen for 55% off,” but it’s not nearly as explicit or clear as it is in the winning ad. And even the implied message doesn’t get fully pieced together until almost the end of the ad.

The winning ad, on the other hand makes it clear directly from the headline and then further clarifies that the pass is also good for other attractions INCLUDING the searched-for Botanical Gardens.

So savings-schmavings — even without the 55% off claim, the winning ad boosted Click-Through Rates by 151% simply through clarity up front.

Like a lot of tips from the boosters, clarity up front sounds easy, but it’s a lot less easy when it’s your business you are writing about — things that are perfectly clear to you, may not be clear to an outsider. The Curse of Knowledge is hard to overcome!

That’s why it pays to have your PPC ads written by an outside copywriter trained in PPC Ad writing techniques.