Smart paid search marketers have learned the importance of continually testing ad copy. Improve results by 5% here, 10% there, and the changes add up fast. Every now and then, a new approach may even double or triple results. Test enough paid search ads, and patterns emerge.
Over the last decade plus, we’ve tested hundreds, if not thousands, of paid search ads. Here are some techniques we’ve learned for improving performance:
Echo the Keyword. When people see an ad that includes precisely the words they searched on, the ad seems more relevant to them. Don’t run a single ad for a huge number of loosely related keywords. Take the time to tailor your ads to exactly what people are searching for.
Paint Word Pictures. Active verbs paint word pictures and create emotional connections. An ad that starts “brighten shady corners” is likely to outperform“big selection of shade plants.”
Use Specifics. If you offer an impressive number of choices, be specific.“347 varieties” will almost certainly outperform “many varieties” or “over 300 varieties.”
Focus on Benefits. Pack in as many benefits as you can, and leave the features for your landing pages. For instance, “large plants establish fast” will likely sell more than “shipped in 5-inch pots.”
Provide Proof. Are you selling award-winners? Top-rated products? Do you offer an exceptional guarantee? Incorporate proof elements like these in your ads, and you’ll help build believability and trust.
Ask a Question. Asking a question that readers respond “Yes!” to can often attract your audience. For instance, “Doing Battle With Deer?” is likely to stand out in a sea of ads that read, “XYZ Brand Deer Repellent.”
Change One Word. You may be surprised at how big a difference a single word can make. Don’t assume that synonyms will yield similar results. Keep testing, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Reverse Sentence Order. Sometimes, you don’t have to change content at all to improve results. Try flipping the order of the sentences in your ad, and responses may be amazingly different.
Add Urgency. Advertising limited availability (“Less than XX left”) or limited time (“Free shipping today only”) can create a sense of urgency that spurs people to action.
Keep Testing. As with most direct marketing, the best paid search results come from continually testing, refining, and testing again. One of the beauties of paid search is how quickly you can learn what works and what doesn’t — information that can usually be applied to other marketing efforts, too. If you’re running a paid search program without regularly testing ads, you’re virtually guaranteed to be leaving money on the table, so start testing now!