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Posts Tagged ‘Rule Of Thumb’

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.


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


Dialing In the Emotion

Monday, August 20th, 2012


All buying decisions are made based on emotion. That’s the common sales wisdom, and from my experience, it’s true.

But “based on emotion” ain’t the same thing as “emotional.” A buying decision can FEEL cool, logical, and deliberative and yet still be ultimately determined by an emotional weighing of the facts, issues, etc.

So some purchases feel more emotional than others. This is important because copy that mirrors the felt emotional state of the buyer routinely outperforms copy that misses the mark. BoostCTR writers often see this with their ads for CafePress.

When a person is in search of a t-shirt that will self-identify them as a member of a group — well, that’s a purchase that feels emotional. So copy with a hefty emotional charge wins the day.

Then again, that’s a fashion purchase; would this still be a factor in something like a B2B or larger-scale, considered purchase? It’s an interesting question. Here’s the answer:

Yessiree, permit expediting for construction is a pretty substantive, B2B-style purchase. And yet — probably for the very reason that a lot IS on the line with the purchase — the person making that buying decision feels quite a bit of emotion around it.

So the more emotional copy wins, boosting CTR by 52% based on nothing more than the emotional charge of its copy.

So What’s the Rule of Thumb?

I wish I could tell you the general rule of thumb that would help you figure out the exact level of emotion to put into your ad copy, but that’s just not possible. The only rules of thumb on this are:

1) To be aware that the amount of emotional charge in your copy matters

2) To know that different products, contexts, and ads call for different levels of emotional charge, and…

3) To be willing to TEST based on emotional charge

Yes, Virginia, your ad copy matters. Optimizing ad copy matters. And testing ad variations based on emotional charge is just one more element to test and optimize.