How to… Manage Ad Copy Testing & Optimisation
October 8th, 2015 by Jenny
Ad copy, how to write it and how to get the best CTR is a topic which has formed the bedrock of PPC campaigns since Adwords was launched. As the competition for the same ad spots has increased, so has the importance of writing killer ad copy.
So how do you write PPC ads to get the biggest bang for your buck?
The best ad copy (in terms of CTR) have three things in common:
- What are the USP’s of your product / Service
- Any specific features that set you apart
- Why should the searcher click through?
- What is in it for them?
- A Call to Action
- The prompt / instruction for what you want the searcher to do next
- Get / Buy / Order etc
- The persuasive “Click through to our site, not the other guys”
- Try multiple variations to see what resonates best with the specific demographic / industry – what works best for one campaign will not necessarily work for another
There are so many ways to write ads, but all commentators agree on one key fact – the copy must be as compelling as possible.
Small ad changes can reap the biggest performance changes…
Sometime small, seemingly unimportant changes in ad copy testing can make the biggest difference to CTR.
By changing one word, one prompt or even just the order of the test in the ad, the change in CTR can be huge.
Never assume that you have tried all variations or that your campaigns are at their CTR ceiling – there is always space for improvement.
Also use the space and character limit sensibly – avoid repetition to avoid sounding spammy – you can further emphasise killer deals in sitelinks to give further info if needed.
Ad Copy, Ad Rank & Quality Score
When Google is determining where in the search results your ad will show, it uses ad rank to place your ad. The main components of Ad Rank are your bids and the quality of your ads and website plus the expected impact of ad extensions.
When estimating the expected impact of extensions and ad formats, Google consider such factors as the relevance, click-through rates, and the prominence of the extensions or formats on the search results page. So even if a competitor has a higher bid for the same keyword as you, you can still win a higher position at a lower price by using highly relevant keywords, ads and extensions.
By increasing quality (the “quality score”) of keywords by optimising ad copy to make it relevant, along with adding relevant and useful ad extensions to your ads it makes achieving higher positions at a lower cost possible.
There are three factors which affect your quality score:
- Ad relevance
- Expected CTR
- Landing Page Experience
This demonstrates the commercial importance of ensuring when you are writing ad copy, that it is not only relevant to the keywords in its ad group but that it continues to achieve the highest possible CTR.
Keep testing (continuously)!
A/B testing ad copy is a best practice and one that you should adhere to in every ad group for each and every campaign you run.
Subtle changes to the copy can have a huge and potentially unexpected impact on the CTR of the variation. It may look like the ads aren’t that different, but the results can vary dramatically, highlighting why relying on hard data is always better than making assumptions.
A/B testing PPC ads is simple:
- Write at least two, preferably three ads per ad group
- Run them simultaneously
- See which ad has the higher CTR
- Remove the ad with the lower CTR, replace it with another
- And repeat
If you are running campaigns on both mobile devices and desktop you should be following the same process with separate mobile ad copy which can run in the same ad group as desktop ad copy.
This process will never be a test and done task – the testing should continue on an ongoing basis forever and should form part of your ongoing account optimisation.
How much data is enough to gauge which works best? You know your own accounts and understand the traffic volume + the impact of a lower CTR on the bottom line but as with any test, the copy will need time to deliver enough data to assess the actual results.
Other Quick CTR Wins
- Use Ad extensions – always!
- Structured Snippets
- Trial ad copy variations with Dynamic Keyword Insertion for extra relevance
- Look for opportunities based on competitor copy and create copy to stand apart from the rest – If all other titles read the same, make yours different to stand out immediately / give you an edge
- Switch the offer or wording of an offer to increase its appeal – there are many ways to say the same thing and a small change can go a long way