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Posts Tagged ‘Immediacy’

Don’t Ignore Best Practices

Monday, July 1st, 2013


Best practices have been identified and labelled as such for a reason — because they’ve been found to boost Click-Through Rates often enough to make them a good rule-of-thumb for inclusion in your ad writing habits and to make testing them a go-to part of your optimization process.

That doesn’t mean they’re fool proof, or that you shouldn’t test alternatives to them, just that their worth remembering, worth testing, and, when possible, worth combining and stacking for maximum effect. This recent contest is a great example of “stacked” best practices, successfully tested as part of an optimization campaign:

Use of Registered and Trademark Symbols and/or “Official Site”

This one is interesting because it pits the winning ad’s use of the copyright symbol for the hotel name against the “Official Site” language in the losing ad’s first line of copy. But what’s better, to establish credibility with one character/symbol in the headline or to do it with 14 characters in the first line of body copy?

The winning ad takes the credibility factor and elevates it up to the headline (which itself is a best-practice for optimization testing) and manages to accomplish the same task with less than 1/10th of the characters.

Promoting Key Persuasive Information “Up”

This PPC Ad is trading on matching keyword terms for “Gulf Shores Hotels” with a powerful appeal to price. So the headline deals with keyword match-up and then the body copy deals with price. So where do YOU think price should go: at the bottom of the ad or as close to the top as possible?

The BoostCTR ad writer understood that persuasive information should be pushed higher up in the ad, and further to the left, when possible, so he raised the “$69 per Night” info to the first line of copy (and made room for it by using the Registered symbol in the headline rather than “Official Site” in the first line of copy.

Promise Immediacy and Instant Gratification Whenever Possible

The losing ad closes with a CTA to “Book Rooms Starting at $69/night!” but this makes no explicit claims as to how quickly or immediately the searcher can check availability and book the rooms. But the winning ad foregrounds the immediate nature of the Call-to-Action by closing with “Book or Reserve a Room Online Now.” In this case the “or Reserve” and the “Online Now” phrases are key to promising immediacy.

Stacking 3 Best Practices = 89% increase in Click-Through Rate

The sub-head says it all, by combining these three best practices, the author of the winning ad scored an impressive win in a tight and competitive keyword bracket, falling just a bit short of doubling CTR. So take a tip from the boosters and see if you can’t apply some or all of these best practices to your own ad optimization efforts.


Two Steps Too Many

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013


The overwhelming expectation for the online and virtual world is one of immediacy. As — a service that lets you send digital files right now — used to say “Overnight? Are you kidding me?”

And this spills over into PPC Ads, as well. Whatever your ad is promising searchers, they’re expecting it to be delivered NOW. Or are suspicious if you don’t promise immediacy of some sort. Which is exactly why this contest ended as it did:

When the losing ad promises “8 Free Quotes in 2 Steps,” it instantly loses most of the audience, which assumes that 2 whole steps involves them providing too much information, and probably a payment of some sort.

In other words, they assume that two steps is two steps too many. Why not just show me the quotes now?

The winning ad, on the other hand, promises to provide the quotes “Now,” on the first line of copy, and then further reassures searchers that the service is “Free!” on the second line of body copy. Perfect. Is it any wonder that this more than doubled Click-Through Rates, boosting CTR by 115%?

So take a tip from the Boosters and make sure your ads promise as much immediacy as your service or store can deliver.


Where Are Your Seachers in their Shopping Process?

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012


Every now and then, I’ll look at a contest and think, that makes no sense whatsoever — that losing ad should have won!

Then I’ll stop to think about it, look through other contests to see if I can find any patterns, and the answer will pop out at me. This contest is one of those stumpers that required that kind of reflection:

Really, if you think about it, the losing ad is a much stronger ad, as it has:

  • A more engaging headline written in the language of the customer
  • A larger, bolder promise of benefit
  • And an explicit “what to expect” call to action promising immediacy of results

How could that go wrong? How could that lose to what reads like a bland and relatively week ad?

And then two factors hit me between the eyes:

  1. Scent Trail
  2. Buying Stage

Scent trail means “what exactly were the search terms and search intentions of the prospect and how well does the ad match those terms and intentions.”

If the actual search term was for “Transport Reviews” orr “Auto Transport Reviews” then guess which ad REALLY has the better headline…

Right! The winning ad’s headline provides an exact match for the search terms and search intentions, while the losing ad fails to use the actual search terms AND botches the intentions.

And searcher intentions brings up buying stage. Because if you’re intending to search for reviews on auto transport providers, you’re probably not READY to get price quote because your intention is to figure out:

  • Who to use
  • Who NOT to use
  • Who might be worth paying a premium to if you want to baby your car

And if those are your intentions, then you’re not yet ready for a price quote.

So again, looked at from that perspective, which ad is REALLY the stronger ad? Yup, the winning ad is the stronger ad — strong enough to power a 317% increase in Click-Through Rate!

No, this is great analysis AFTER the fact. Great because now you can look at your ads in terms of buying stage, and maybe test out some winning variations.

But perhaps the real lesson is that if you’re not actively testing ad variations written by writers with fresh eyes and solid training, then that super strong, effective ad you think you have could be just as underperforming as the losing ad in this contest…


If Your Prospects Are Urgent, Your Ad Should Be Too

Friday, September 21st, 2012


Copywriters are no strangers to the idea of urgency. We’re encouraged to build a sense of urgency into our sales letters, landing pages, and, yes, even our PPC Ads — if not in the copy itself at least in the final Call-to-Action.

Unfortunately, the way most PPC Ads attempt to generate “urgency” is to use a “Buy Today” or “Download Now” style imperative. And, frankly, most readers ain’t falling for it.

But what happens when your readers are ALREADY anxious for what you sell? What if there’s a certain amount of built in urgency around your product? For example, test preparation is usually done right before exam. So how can you take advantage of that to improve response?

Well, before we answer that, take a look at the following contest, and take a guess at the winner:

So which ad really won?

The same ad that more effectively echoed and responded to the searchers’ felt urgency! So which do you think works better:

  • “CFA 2012 Ready to Ship” / “products are now ready to ship!” OR
  • “2012 Mock Tests Online” / “CFA tests are Ready to Ship!”

Well, my money is on the “Mock Tests Online” ad. But, of course, that’s sort of cheating since I already know the answer: Ad B blew the other ad out of the water, with an ASTOUNDING 451% increase in CTR

Nothing conveys the sense of immediacy as something that’s “online” right now. So having “mock tests online” perfectly echoes and responds to that felt urgency felt by anyone in the beginnings of test preparation. Sure, there’s other stuff that you’ll have to have shipped to you, but they’ve got mock tests ready to go, online, right now.

Any wonder why that re-written ad absurdly out-produced the old champion?

It just blew that test out this world — no test prep needed : )