As I wrote in a previous article, you have to woo your customers. If you try to “sell” them too quickly, they get turned off in a hurry. In this series about paid placement or PPC ads, we’re talking about the different aspects of putting together your ads so they convert as many people as possible.
The ad copy is probably one of the most important elements in your PPC campaigns. If your ad copy doesn’t resonate with your potential customer, they won’t click on you and they’ll go somewhere else.
In the ad itself, you have room for a 25 character headline (including punctuation and spaces), and two lines of 35 characters long for the description area. You cannot exceed these character limits, but you should try to use every single letter if you can, so you can utilize as much as you can.
Before we get into the nuances however, let’s talk about the rules first. Google is pretty strict when it comes to ad copy, and there are many rules. If you violate any of the rules, they’ll turn off your ads until they’re fixed, suspend the website from being advertised, or remove your account completely. (Yes, they carry a big stick.)
Just remember that your ads have to be “G” rated or OK to be seen by anyone, including children. So no profanity or suggestive language of course. Basically, the grammar, punctuation and capitalization all has to be “standard” English. No gimmicky repetition, like “FREE FREE FREE!”. You can read about all their specific rules and see examples here.
The Structure of the Ad Copy
Now as I wrote above, you don’t have a lot of room to put in the headline (25 characters) and description (two lines of 35 characters). What do you actually put there?
Typically the headline should say something about the search term(s) that you’re bidding on. You can have hundreds or even thousands of phrases that you’re bidding on. The problem is that having a large list means that the farther afield you go, the less your ad copy will have to do with those phrases. It’s much better to have small, tight groups of words to bid on, and ads that go with those groups of words, so there isn’t overlap.
As an example, if you sell motorcycle parts, maybe one grouping is about engine parts, transmission parts, frame and handlebar parts, etc. Or you could group them by brand (Honda, Susuki, Yamaha, etc.).
Then the headlines should grab the person’s attention that their search term is relevant to the ad that’s being displayed, hopefully with the actual search phrase in the headline. If it is, Google will highlight it directly. (In the last article of this series, we’ll show you how you can change this dynamically, and not use static headlines.)
Finally, the description should have a benefit statement in the first line of 35 characters. There are two types of marketing copy you can have: benefit statements and features. A benefit is the “what’s in it for me” factor, and people ALWAYS buy benefits over features. Try to sell the benefit first over the feature, and you’ll have a higher click-through rate than if you do it the other way around. Tests have proven this to be true.
As an example, feeling free, sexy, attractive, cool, or rich while you drive a particular car is a benefit with an emotional influence. Good gas mileage, safety features, “best in class”, and heated side-view mirrors are all features. Features are not very compelling when it comes to the sale. I really like the clever benefit statement in this ad: “…so affordable, you can get a puppy.”
I created an ad testing tool to test out your ad copy to make sure that it fits within the 25/35/35 character limits (you need Microsoft Excel to use it). If you go over, the character count for one of the lines, turns red.
Always Be Testing Your Ads!
Always create two versions of your ads and have Google serve both up equally for 2-4 weeks. The one that gets more clicks in your console should be kept, and the one with the fewest should be discarded. Create a new ad to test against the one that’s working better, and let that run for a couple weeks or a month. Keep track of all versions. After a while, you’ll end up with an ad that works the best and gets the best click-through-rate (CTR). This one will get you the most sales, cost the least per click and be the one you should run with.