Winning PPC Ad Copy 5 Best Practises

Search Marketing isn’t only understanding users and their way of searching and being there ready to be found. Search Marketing is also knowing how to write an Ad. Said this, please keep in mind that knowing how to write an Ad isn’t a matter of being a Search Marketing or Copy writer Guru. There is no vademecum that will give you the perfect “know how” for creating a successful ad copy. If there was a perfect Vacuum for this, it should only say: TEST, TEST, TEST.

Once I started my article with this introduction, this post should not go further, you would say. Anyway I want to try to be useful and give you some tips, only 5, but fundamental.

Tip number 1 – Remember the perfect Vademecum

Test, test, test. Doesn’t that sound so simple? Well it is, but Search Marketers too often forgets this simple “best practice rule”.

AdI have been working too often with colleagues that presumes to run PPC campaigns with almost standard ads, or just one ad for each ad group. They usually spend hours on expanding keywords – nothing to say on this – but forgetting the ad bit. Remember, you should never have only one Ad in a group. Always test 2 or 3 of them. More ad you test, the better is.

As David Rodnitzky says on his article on Search Marketing Standard: “Ad copy is the bridge between a search engine and your website.” Doesn’t this already say all? So why do search marketing experts neglect to spend more time on Ads?

The first step is to seek for competitor’s ads. Be careful, I didn’t say copy your competitor’s ads. Use them just to understand where to start. Once you got some ideas start writing down two or three ads and test them.

Tip number 2 – You target to people, stimulate their emotions

This is the basic of copy writing and it’s nothing new that Search Marketing is inventing here. In advertising, it’s important to stimulate those that are the four hot emotions in marketing: fear, desire, vanity and exclusivity. Years of study have proved that stimulating those emotions in the mass works.

Let’s say we need to create four ads for a campaign targeting fancy umbrellas. The four ads playing with the four above emotions can be:


Scared of getting wet?

Get a new fancy umbrella.

It can save your dress. Order Now!


Fancy umbrellas of your dreams

Don’t get whet any more.

20% Off only this week


Fancy umbrella for a wet fall

Makes you look elegant

under the rain – order now


The best Umbrella out there

Have it yours – limited edition

Order your fancy Umbrella

It’s obvious that in some cases we can’t use all four emotions, but at least some of them can always play an important role. Test which one works better for your campaign.

Tip Number 3 – What do you want them to do? Call it.

In marketing it’s called “call to action”. And indeed it’s important that you use it. You will see that most of the times an Ad with a call to action will be more successful than the one without. But as I said in the introduction of this article, there is no sure rule – in some cases this could be contradicted.

Use phrases like: order now, book now, get your free brochure and so on.

Aggressive ad copy are always a good solution, but as I said always test more strategies.

Tip Number 4 – Bold and Geotargeting

This tip is only for campaigns on search engines. If your ad contains keywords that are used in a search query from the user, that keyword will be bolded by the algorithm. This will help enhance the click through rate. So with this in mind, remember to use keywords in the ad.

To be sure to have most of the times bold in your ad, use very targeted ad groups with set of keyword very relevant.

Another trick to have a bold keyword in your ad is to use the DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion). This works by putting the syntax {KeyWord:Alternative phrase} in any line of your ad – better if placed in the first line. This will tell the search engine to add in that line the keyword the user searches. If the keyword is too long or not usable in an ad it will use the alternative phrase you write in the second part after the two points.

The problem with DKI is that most search marketers uses this trick. This way it could happen that all ads are similar, and only who has a unique one will stand alone and win the click. So before using DKI make sure that not to many competitors use it for the keywords you are buying.

Tip number 5 – Use the right KPI’s

All search marketer are aware that the click through rate is the KPI that should have a special attention in a search marketing campaign. But remember that a high CTR doesn’t mean the ad group is successful. The correct KPI is the mix between CTR and conversion rate. It’s relatively simple to achieve a good CTR, but a hard task to achieve a reasonable conversion rate. This is where you distinguish a good marketer against the mediocre marketer.

We all know that business needs revenue – CTR won’t give you any if there is no conversions.

My Conclusion

This article can be briefed in one word: test. Without testing you will never know it the campaign you are running could perform much better.

Simone Luciani

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