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Extreme Ad Makeover: 5 Classic Tips and 1 Makeover

  |  September 23, 2011   |  Comments

Take average ad copy to advanced ad copy and improve overall performance of your PPC program.

Are your ads suffering from structural damage not fit for PPC? Over time, if not optimized, your ad copy can become ineffective and fail to perform as competitors continuously update their ads and implement the new technologies.

Now is a good time to review your current ads, their performance, and potential to improve your program results.

Not just a quick fix, use the best practices below to makeover your PPC ads and get a fresh start.

  1. Understand the objective. From branding and awareness to sales, as your objective moves closer to the purchase decision, it will need to compel the searcher to act. Consider how the overall messaging is meeting your goals.
  2. Create compelling copy. Many people study their competitor's ad copy just to emulate them exactly. Take a look at all of the components of the ads - both good and bad - and create a unique, compelling way to stand out from the crowd.
    • What are the unique features or benefits you want to communicate? Including benefits or features that communicate selling points like "next day delivery" or "fast treatment" can help searchers to see how you are differentiated from competing ads.
    • Don't forget to include your offer. It may be something you offer everyday such as "free delivery" or part of a special seasonal promotion like "10 percent off." Make sure the offer is prominent in the headline or test inclusion in the headline vs. body copy.
    • Does including a call-to-action with sense of urgency, "limited time so act now!" remind you of a late night infomercial? Direct response writing is the old-school base from which we want to build our PPC ads today. "Buy now" or "sign up today" are classics that never stop producing results.
  3. Know the editorial guidelines. Crafting the perfect message in 35 characters or less, then being rejected by the advertising platform can be disappointing and slow your progress. Common "gotchas" people tend to forget include excessive capitalization (all caps), multiple exclamation points, or trademarked terms in ads.
  4. Include your keywords. Ads that include keywords appear more relevant to the searcher and have the added bonus of showing up in bold. While this is a basic to know about ad copy for PPC, I see PPC managers get lazy about this by copying the same ad over and over, not editing it, and letting it run for multiple keyword groups. Stick with tight keyword themes and you will have no problem incorporating the keywords. Or better yet, use some dynamic keyword insertion.
  5. Tricks and treasures. Dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) utilizes a small bit of code in the ad copy to automatically replace the code with the keyword that triggered the ad, making it more closely fit the searcher query. Using a custom display URL also helps to make the ad appear to fit the query more closely; for example, www.example.com/Food-Processors could stand out more in a crowded marketplace. Lastly, a new favorite in AdWords, ad sitelinks are a great way to get more bang for the buck in your ads. Google allows up to four additional links in your ad if it appears in the top positions. These links can be used to communicate special offers, new products, and more.

From Drab to Fab: Ad Makeover

Using some of the tips above can take average ad copy to advanced ad copy in minutes and improve overall performance of your PPC program. Try these tactics yourself and optimize to improve performance as needed.

The original version is missing opportunities to stand out:

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The new and improved version includes a product benefit "prep faster," custom display URL, offer, and call-to-action:

Mixama Food Processors
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Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.

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