Got a question? Call us at +1-800-771-9415

Posts Tagged ‘Phrases’

Yes, A Little Thing Like That DOES Matter!

Thursday, December 27th, 2012


Sometimes people look at a small tweak and think, could a little thing like that really matter all that much?

Well, yes. Emphatically “Yes!” Little things like:

  • Moving keywords form the end to the front of phrases
  • Moving key persuasive elements from the second line of body copy up to the first
  • Moving key elements from the first line up to the headline
  • Adding or removing small adjectives and modifiers
  • Including a Call to Action vs. skipping the CTA
  • Fitting in an extra use of a key search term, and
  • Swapping out synonyms to spin spinn different connotations

These things can all matter a great deal. Sometimes not, but on average, yes, these little things improve performance, but you won’t know until you test them. And here’s a perfect example:

Here’s what you should notice:

  • The key search term “VX Pro” is at the beginning of the headline for the winning ad, and at the end of the headline for the losing ad.
  • The key term “VX Pro” platform is repeated again on the first line for the winning ad, and a more generic, related set of terms is used on e first line of the losing ad.
  • The winning ad ends with an imaginable Call to Action while the losing ad is totally missing a Call to Action.

Of course, if you’re really an ad copywriting pro, you won’t even consider these things “Little” anymore. They’ll seem more like proven best practices, instead, which is actually what they are. And testing them out on your ads should form a key part of your ad optimization strategy.

So, yeah, these “little” things really do matter!


Total Effect vs. Individual Elements

Friday, October 12th, 2012


Colors aren’t absolute; how you see them is profoundly affected by the other colors around them. Take a look at this picture:

See how markedly different squares A and B look? Well, they’re the same shade of gray. They only look different because they are surrounded by different shades of gray themselves and one of the shades appears “In the shadow” of the green cylinder. Here’s proof:

This matters because words are just as affected by their surroundings as colors. When you are writing PPC Ads, the words you use in the title will “color” the way the readers will “see” your first line of body copy, which will, in turn, affect how the last line of body copy is interpreted. This is one reason why split tests can show inordinately large performance differences between ads that contain the same information and phrases in only slightly different order.

Today’s Win of the Week is a perfect example of that:

So which ad has the right ordering of phrases to create the right word images and colors for maximum conversion?

As it turns out, Ad A, penned by booster mcdavis1982, won by producing a more-than-respectable 141% increase in CTR. Let’s take a look at why on a line-by-line run down.


If a searcher is looking for dating sites for middle-aged singles, she is most likely thinking about it in exactly that order — dating site (1st) for middle aged singles (2nd). Which headline follows that order? The winning ad’s headline, which establishes dating, and then introduces the idea of (40+) to indicate age compatibility. Perfect.

The losing ad blows it by rushing to put (40+) first, which comes off as incongruous.

1st Line of Body Copy

The winning ad’s phrase, “Local Affluent Singles Looking to,” establishes a much more attractive image in the mind of the searcher than the ad’s copy. Specifically it creates the image of a group or community of single men and women who are looking to meet and date. Other potential dates are using this service to find someone who is a suitable match for them in terms of age, background and desires. It’s a nice image that casts a very beneficial halo around the rest of the ad copy.

Compare this to the losing ad’s first line of copy: “Private ‘Compatibility Matching.’” Ugh. It makes it sound as if some borg-like computer algorithm is going to see if you measure up and them try to play “matchmaker” with heaven only knows who. It’s an image that leaves the searcher feeling as if she will be giving up control and maybe even made to feel as if she doesn’t measure up. Not so good.

2nd Line of Copy

The winning ad’s 2nd line of copy reads: “Meet & Date. Only Serious Singles!” Awesome. Even though the “Meet & Date” part is an enjambment from the previous line, continuing that first thought of “Local Affluent Singles Looking to Meet & Date,” it is also understood in terms of the 2nd line of copy itself. And that second line — meet & date only serious singles — is rather attractive, both on its own and as colored by the previous line. A big win.

The losing ad, on the other hand, says: “Meet & Date Affluent Local Singles!” And while the line itself might not be so bad, it is colored by the image created by the previous line. So the person worried about having some algorithm take their “measure” is now confronted with the “Affluent Local Singles” bit and maybe wondering whether she’s “affluent” enough to measure up. Not such a great feeling, is it?


After looking at all that, is it any wonder that the winning ad more than doubled click-through rates? Of course not. And that’s the point. When writing PPC Ads, you have to be aware of how all the elements of the ad influence each other. You have to look at the total effect.


When In Doubt, Kill the Cliches

Monday, October 1st, 2012


Every advertising medium has them. Those threadbare turns of phrase, transformed into ignorable “blah blah” filler from overuse and utter lack of credibility. In traditional broadcast advertising, they include such “gems” as:

  • “For all your ____ needs”
  • “Serving YOU since 19XX
  • “Fast, Friendly Service
  • “Competitive pricing

And, yes, the relatively new platform of PPC Advertising also has its own overused and patently un-believed claims and phrases. Just take a look at these two ads. They both feature a cliche, but one does so fare more prominently than the other. you should be able to pick it out immediately:

Yup, “Huge Selection” is almost the quintessential PPC Advertising Cliche.

When most PPC Ad Writers aren’t quite sure what to say about the stuff the advertiser is selling and they’re too afraid to make a claim of quality for the goods themselves, they can always fall back on promising a large selection. As in, “You’re sure to find what you’re looking for with our HUGE SELECTION”

Professional PPC Ad Writers know better. If you’re going to make an unqualified claim, make sure the claim matches what the searcher is really hoping to find. ‘Cause no one is hoping to find 1000s of, say, t-shirt designs; they’re hoping to find UNIQUE or DISTINCTIVE t-shirt designs. Just as brides-to-be don’t want to sort through a HUGE SELECTION of bridesmaids gifts — they just want to find gifts their bridesmaids will actually like.

So, heck, as long as you are slinging un-proven claims around in your PPC Ad, why not claim something the buyer is actually interested in, right? You better believe that’s right, because scores of PPC tests prove this rule of thumb to be a sure-fire CTR-booster.

And that’s the case here. Notice that the changes in the winning ad were small. The booster changed the claim of “Huge Selection” of round wool rugs to one of “colorful” round wool rugs. This also pulled the keyword phrase of “Round Wool Rugs” entirely onto the first line rather than splitting it over two lines of copy.

And other than shortening the final call to action a smidge, that’s it; those are the only changes made to the ad. But think about it, if you’re looking for a round wool rug, which is a more promising claim: that the rugs for sale are colorful, or that they online store has a “huge selection”?

Well, most people picked colorful, to the point where the winning ad (penned by booster wordisborn) more than doubled Click-Through Rates, boosting CTR by 181%

And that’s a tip you can take to the bank


AIDA works for PPC Ads Too

Monday, July 9th, 2012


Most PPC Ads are made up of multiple informational and persuasive building blocks and phrases. Even ads built around only one central offer or proposition usually contain multiple info bits and framing elements.

And this is important to understand because once you see the building blocks in a PPC Ad (or potential ad), you can:

  1. Swap out and test differing bits, persuasive elements, and deal sweeteners to find out which elements are most important to the searcher and prospective customer
  2. Move the most important elements to positions of emphasis
  3. Change the way a given element is worded or presented within a phrase, and
  4. Test different sequences of elements to optimize persuasive momentum

This week’s tips from the boosters is going to focus on fourth element in that list: sequencing. So, first, take a look at this contest and notice the number of similar elements between the winning and losing ads:

The Common Elements

Here are the info and persuasive elements common to both ads:

  • Alternative/Comparison Headline
  • “you pack, we drive”
  • “save”
  • “Free Quote”
  • Same URL

And the changes made within the elements consist of:

  • Your UHaul Alternative vs. Compare to UHaul Rental
  • You Save Big vs. Save On Your Out Of State Move
  • Get Your Free Quote vs. Free Quote!

The only consistency about the changes is the winning ad’s increase use of “You” and the addition of the “Don’t Wait” persuasive phrase to the 2nd line of body copy. And yet, the winning ad increased CTR by a substantial 195%

Persuasive Sequencing = The Difference that Makes A Difference

That’s because the real difference is in the sequencing. See, in the losing ad, they claim an unsubstantiated savings and then they mention the convenience. So the first two lines give the impression that this is an ad for a discounted rental truck, rather than a move convenient alternative to renting a moving truck. Only in the 2nd line of body copy did the ad mention anything about convenience.

The winning ad, on the other hand, starts off by positioning the offer as an alternative to UHaul, focuses in on the convenience of the offer, and only after hooking the reader on the convenience does the ad promise savings, followed up by an offer for a free quote to substantiate the savings.

AIDA is an Ad Writer’s Friend

That, folks, is what we call persuasive momentum, following the classic copywriting formula of AIDA:

Attention — Headline keeps searchers’ attention by matching their keywords
Interest — 1st line of copy earns searchers’ interest by matching their intentions
Desire — Follow-up copy makes offer as irresistible as possible
Action — Ad ends with a Call to Action

If you look at winning ad, you’ll see how well it follows this sequence compared to the seemingly jumbled mess of the initial ad.

So if you’re looking for something to test on your PPC Ads, why not try out a few re-sequenced, AIDA-friendly challenger ads?


Win of the Week – 581% Increase in CTR for Textbook Rentals

Monday, September 26th, 2011


Today, I’m featuring what may be the biggest win in BoostCTR’s brief history. It’s certainly the biggest win that’s been featured in a Win of the Week column.


Since the difference between the two ads is so big, it should be easy to pick the winner, right? Well, maybe. Looks — and gut-level responses — can often be deceiving. Nevertheless, take a look at the two ads below and see if you can pick the winner.


PPC Ad #1

Ad #1 - Textbook Rental
PPC Ad #2

Ad #2 - Textbook Rental


To help make your decision, suppose for a moment that you were a college student looking to rent some college textbooks. Which ad would you be more likely to click on? Which one reaches into the mind of the college student and gets her to click?


In this case, (more…)