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Posts Tagged ‘Keyword Terms’

Don’t Neglect the Obvious

Thursday, July 11th, 2013


Because we often focus on PPC Ad Writing tips and techniques that go beyond the basics and the obvious, I sometimes feel that we might unintentionally send the wrong message — that readers might feel like we don’t believe the basics to be fundamental.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The basics are indeed foundational and it’s always worth circling back to them when it comes to PPC Optimization, and this Win of the Week is a nice example of that:

So which ad won? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the ad that better conformed to basic PPC Ad Writing Strategy.

Ad A won because it repeated the keyword “Gifts” in the first line of ad copy, and because it did so within the context of buyer motivations: “Popular Gifts forr Friends & Family!”

The losing ad, on the other hand, gives me information, in terms of size of selection, but neglects buyer motivation, focusing on the word “Dolphin” rather than “Gifts.”

And that’s why this slight change was able to generate a 72% life in CTR. We’ve had larger wins this week, but none illustrated the PPC Ad Writing Basics like this contest did. So by all means, employ all the advanced techniques you can, but don’t neglect the obvious basics:

  • Make liberal use of keyword terms within the ad itself (and not just in the headline), and
  • Focus on addressing buyer motivation rather than on simply info-stuffing the ad


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.


The Basics Aren’t So Basic At Scale

Thursday, March 7th, 2013


First some context: this PPC contest is for the ad group labeled “Down Comforter.” So, which ad do you think won:

If you’ve been paying attention at all, or even if you just know the first thing about PPC Ads, it’s pretty easy to guess the winning ad — it’s the one that actually uses the keyword term IN the ad.

The other ad fails this very basic step. So it’s no wonder that the winning ad boosted Click-Through Rates by 348%! But the losing ads failure isn’t quite as inexplicable as it might seem.

What you have to understand is that this client has an incredible number of keywords and SKUs that they are advertising on. So they use ad templates to cover similar keyword terms. If you look at the losing ad, it’s pretty clear that it could be used for almost any ad group targeting bedding, sheets, and so on. It’ll work for all of them — just not very well.

And that’s the compromise you make when you move to templates. Yes, Dynamic Keyword Insertion can help, but not as much as you might think.

So what’s the answer?

Outsourced PPC Ad writing and Ad Testing.

Because good enough no longer seems good enough when you realize you could be doing 350% better!


The Language of the Dog

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012


“Speak to the dog, in the language of the dog, about what’s important to the dog”

— Roy H. Williams

The very first rule of good PPC Ad Writing involves SCENT — people look for information online like dog’s searching for food: they follow one scent trail until it leads to food or stops. If it stops, they then go back to the beginning of their search to pick up another scent trail to follow.

When people search on keyword terms they are expecting results that carry the same “scent” as the keywords they put in. In other words, your ad has to match the search in terms keyword usage. This is why the default headline for most ads involves mirroring back the search terms, and one reason why Dynamic Keyword Insertion can work so well for headlines — it allows the ad to mirror back the exact terms used by the searcher.

But keywords aren’t the ONLY thing that carries scent, and good ad writers have to deal with these other factors, too.

And what are these other factors?

  • CONCERNS, and

People can conduct the same search with different motivations, and therefore markedly different expectations. Given two ads with equally good keyword scent, the ad that best matches the motivations and expectations of the searcher will win.

Also, even if people have similar motivations, they can have different levels of concerns regarding the product or service they are shopping or the information they are seeking. Two ads with the same level of keyword scent and same reflection of motivations can perform radically differently if one better addresses key concerns than the other.

Lastly, there’s word usage. If the language your ad uses better reflects the natural language of the searcher, than your ad will outperform a competitor, even if her ad equals yours in terms of keyword, motivation, and concern-related scent.

Given all of that, is it any wonder why the winning ad won in the contest below?

Of course not. The winning ad better reflected keyword scent in the headline by exactly matching the keyword term, while the losing ad only approximated the keyword. So there’s an advantage on keyword-related scent.

The winning ad also addressed Do-It-Yourselfer concerns regarding ease of use, calling the blowers “Reliable” and “Easy.” The losing ad addresses no such concerns. So there’s an advantage on concern-related scent.

And the winning ad also uses easily understood terminology for describing the performance of their blowers (2500 lb/hour) vs. jargon (Force 1 2 3 & Wasp). So there’s an advantage on CONNOTATIONS.

That’s three strikes and you’re out for the losing out which was outperformed by the winning ad by a mighty 126% — more than doubling CTR

So remember, make sure your ad talks to the searcher (via keyword match), about what matters to the searcher (via expectations & concerns match), in the language of the searcher (via words with the right CONNOTATIONS), and your ads will outperform the competition.


What’s The End Goal?

Monday, July 30th, 2012


People might be searching on information on this or that degree program, but getting information isn’t their end goal.

Their end goal is to BECOME a working professional in whatever field to which the degree serves as an entryway. This isn’t a merely academic (pun intended) distinction when it comes to PPC Ads because ads that fullfil searcher motivations tend to beat out ads that only focus on keyword terms. Case in point, this recent competition:

The winning ad’s headline focuses on “Nursing Assistant Course” whereas the losing ad focuses on “Free CNA Courses Info.” Which one of these puts you closer to the goal of becoming a nursing assistant?

The course puts you closer than merely having courses info, right?

I think it’s also important to note that aspiring Nurse’s Assistants talk about becoming a Nursing Assistant rather than becoming a CNA. People within the medical community may use the handier CNA acronym, but that’s not what searchers probably use in their internal dialogue.

In other words, the language that better matches the searchers language usually wins.

So how much of a difference do these things make? In this case, the winning ad boosted CTR by a truly astonishing 417%

Yup — it matters big time!

What about your ads? Are you just matching up keywords or are you looking at searcher motivation?