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Posts Tagged ‘Match’

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.


Moving Beyond Keyword Match-Up

Friday, May 17th, 2013


Before we do anything else, guess which ad outperformed the other:

Answer: Ad B outperformed Ad A by 817%. Let that sink in for a minute — Ad B created an 800% increase in Click-Through Rates!

So what’s the big difference? Here are the obvious ones:

  • Shop vs. Find
  • Modern & Unique vs. Eclectic
  • Containers & Tools vs. Canisters, Jars, & Tools

So which elements are the crucial ones?

Frankly, with that much of an increase in CTR, I think there’s plenty of credit to go around and I think that all of Ad B’s changed words represent an improvement, but if I had to weigh one change more heavily than the rest, I’d put it on the last one: moving from the more generic “containers & tools” to the much more visual and imaginable “canisters, jars, & tools.”


First because vivid, imaginable words almost always do better. But mostly because I think that “canisters” and “Jars” are really what searchers are looking for when they search for kitchen storage and tools. And, really, creating a significantly better match-up of searcher intent is pretty much the ONLY way to get over an 800% improvement!

So what’s the take-away?

Testing, really. When seemingly small, but smart word choices can make an 800% difference in response rate to your ad, you’d be foolish NOT to test those kinds of changes, wouldn’t you?

And if I had to give another, I’d say always look further than mere keywords to the buyer intent expressed by those keywords, because matching-up with buyer intent is the real key to extraordinary PPC Ad performance, which is why this contest was this week’s Win of the Week.


The Power of Consistency? It’s Worth Testing!

Thursday, April 25th, 2013


Ok, first, look at these two ads from a “Designer Wallpaper” campaign, and pick the ad you believe performed best:

This one is kind of tough. Ad B has a better keyword match-up in the headline and it places the savings offer up-front at the very beginning of the first line of copy. And yet, Ad B lost. It was Ad A that more than doubled Click-Through Rates, boosting them by 143%

So what does Ad A have going for it?

While there are a few nuances of language in the headline and first line of body copy — “on sale” vs. “sale,” plus the claim of “Exclusive” — I think the real driver is the fact that Ad A doesn’t make the online store’s membership requirement explicit in the way that Ad B does.

Ad B says “Join Now,” which sets off alarm bells if you’re just shopping and don’t want to join a membership site. Ad A doesn’t. And I think that ups the Click-Through Rate.

But then, when people DO click through, wouldn’t they bounce once they see the registration requirement? Not in this case. Once the searcher commits to seeing what the e-tailer has on offer, she gladly delivers up an e-mail address to browse the website — she’s already made that commitment.

But when that same searcher is actively sorting through offers and ads, she has no commitment, and the idea of a membership gets rejected.

Will it always work this way? Don’t count on it. But is it worth testing? Absolutely! And that’s why this contest is a win of the week.


Lightning and The Lightning Bug

Monday, April 15th, 2013


“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” — Mark Twain.

That quote explains everything you really need to know about this contest:

Why do I say that?

Because the difference in performance between these two ads — representing a boost of 63% in Click-Through Rates — comes down to nothing but a few choice words, as there really is no difference between he offerings. Here’s specifically what I mean:

  • The writer of the winning ad focused on kids clothing rather than clothing in general — mostly out of a hunch that adults don’t usually search for ladybug-themed clothing for themselves. So what’s the difference between “Ladybug Kids’ Clothes” and “Ladybug T-shirts”? A much better match-up between searcher motivation and ad — leading to a 63% increase in response rate.
  • What’s the difference between “Ladybug Design Clothing” and “Ladybug T-Shirts”? Well, the first sounds a whole lot nicer and higher quality than the second phrase, doesn’t it?
  • And aren’t “Adorable” and “Cute” exactly the right descriptions for what moms are looking for when shopping for little kids clothing? Notice that the winning ad uses those words, while the losing ad doesn’t.

So what’s the tip you can take away from this and use on your own ads?

The right words (as opposed to almost right words) almost always come from the customers themselves. They’re the words THEY would use to describe what they’re looking and hoping for.

Sure, some of those customer-words get typed into the search engines — and those are obviously super important. But not all of them become search terms and these non Keyword customer terms and including them in your PPC copy can significantly boost performance.

And that’s this week’s Tip From The Boosters.


Clarity Up-Front

Monday, March 11th, 2013


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.