Perfect PPC Copy: Crafting Text That Converts
Writing copy for the internet in any capacity is a daunting task, as the algorithms that govern what appears on search engine result pages (SERP) are constantly evolving and changing to keep up with the shifting behaviors of online users.
Writing advertising copy for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns is an even more daunting task because the window of both time and space that you have to catch readers’ attention is minuscule—studies show that on average, Google users only spend 3.4 seconds total considering the first five results on a Google SERP before acting, and their tendency to click on each of these results reduces exponentially as they scan the results page.
So while copywriting is challenging in general, creating copy that is measurable in how it converts can be even more difficult. In this guide, we aim to outline the best practices for writing PPC copy in order to improve your click-through rate (CTR) and your overall return on investment (ROI) of your PPC campaign.
Crafting a PPC Ad? This is Your Call to Action
With the ever-changing world of PPC ads, there has never been more of a focus on crafting the perfect ad copy. Since responsive search ads are becoming the new default, we want to be the people who help you adapt to the best practices of Google Ads:
1) Add more descriptions and headlines for the best response
Since you can test up to four descriptions and 15 headlines at the same time, it’s imperative to make the most out of your ability to select the best-performing results for your search ads. Try to get around 3 unique descriptions and 10 unique headlines in your ads.
2) Highlight something unique in every description and headline
Google hates boring and repetitive search ad variants; they might not even appear at all! While still including important keywords in at least two out of ten headlines, keep them fresh by using headlines that provide value to searchers. Rather than maxing out the character count, use your creativity to deliver your message in succinct style.
3) Don’t discard your expanded text ads just yet
Google will only be sunsetting expanded text ads at the end of June 2022, so you can keep running your best-performing ads. Google currently recommends running at least one ETA in each ad group to help test new responsive search ads and how often they appear.
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4) Pin descriptions and headlines to specific positions in your responsive search ads
Even though Google will automatically test headline performance, you can choose to make sure a headline or description always shows a particular message that highlights the message of your business by pinning it. You can select it to appear in headlines 1, 2, or 3 by choosing to show it in any unpinned position, or you can select a particular spot for it yourself.
5) Pin conservatively
While pinning a description or headline will guarantee that it always shows up, doing so too often will limit the automatic variant testing that Google conducts to maximize responsive search ad performance. To understand the significance of this impact, pinning only one headline will reduce Google’s test capabilities by 75%!
6) Limit responsive search ad testing to one per ad group
Google pits the separate elements of your responsive search ads with one another, so don’t bother with including multiples in the same ad group. Otherwise, your search ads will not be optimally tested.
7) Utilize the best-performing static ads for responsive ad assets
Using the Google Ads Grader, you can locate your best-performing ads and use those components as seeds for different descriptions and headlines for your RSAs. Look through the different value propositions, messages, calls to action, etc, that perform well for you already.
Front-Load Your Copy
Remember above that we talked about the format of PPC ads and the fields that might not be included depending on the device size? In conjunction with knowing how quickly users are scanning and assessing the page, it’s vital that you keep your strongest copy and CTA material at the top of the ad space.
Back to Basics: Foundational Principles of Good Writing
Now that we understand the landscape, we have to as writers find the best way to fill that space. Like with any copywriting gig, creating effective ad copy for any marketing campaign starts with great writing. However, online copy is tricky because of the unique ways users navigate online spaces. Users can transition from informal social media platforms to formal business product overviews and websites multiple times a day.
It’s important that we as writers take the above into account when working with any ad campaign. While we might be tempted to meet our audience where it lives, there’s nothing more powerful than strong, foundation-driven copywriting. Here are the best tips to keep your copy tight and on message:
Keep It Active and Engaging
Active voice is key in all forms of writing, but especially in search ad copywriting. Active voice shows momentum, inspiration, and forward motion, while passive sentence construction leaves the reader on the sidelines. Similarly, add action and a sense of urgency by using nouns as verbs where possible. In doing all of this, though, your goal is to keep the copy lean and uncluttered. If a single word can do the work of an entire explanation, remember that less is better.
Writing Ad Copy for the Space and the Audience
Longer form explanations have a place in certain formats. Your ad copy is not in that format. Keep your sentence construction and words short, on-message, and specific. You’re trying to catch the attention of an audience already in the mindset of skimming and rapidly processing information, so help them do that with the right approach in your writing.
Reflect Their Search Back At Them in the Copy
Writing PPC ad copy is a practice in creating purpose-driven content. Your goal is to appear to your audience as the exact thing they are looking for. To accomplish this, your copy has to mirror the user’s search back at them by using targeted keyword insertion to parrot the search inquiry as a CTA.
Tricks of the Ad Trade
With the groundwork covered, and a better grasp on copywriting, we can dig a little deeper into some of the ways we can enhance and manipulate copy so that it appeals to viewers faster and on a more emotional level, both necessary approaches in improving click-through rates and overall improving your ROI.
Remember Your Local SEO
Localization of your advertisement is crucial in the modern ad space. Consumer usage of “near me” and city-specific inquiries has grown exponentially over the last four years, and it cannot be ignored in your ad copy. Make sure to include locational data in your copy and headlines to ensure someone looking for services like yours in your city will be sure to see your listing.
Be the Answer They Need
Your PPC campaign is going to consist of a series of targeted, purpose-focused snippets. Your copy should provide options that both focus on the benefits of your brand and service, and address any pain points, concerns, or objections they might try to lean into to convince themselves you might not have what they need. By thinking ahead and understanding the landscape, you’ll know the common concerns and what your target audience needs, and you’ll be able to preemptively and positively address both sides of the argument.
This strategy serves a secondary purpose of preventing less qualified leads from being filtered through. By being clear and concise in your messaging, you will have fewer clicks from casual browsers and more clicks from serious and interested searchers.
Lean Into Your Most Powerful Tools: Desire and Emotion
Potential customers are human, with very human needs and feelings. They want to be reassured that it’s ok for them to feel like they deserve the things they want, and they want to feel good about the products and services they consume. For some people, it goes as deep as incorporating their consumption into their core identity.
Use language that reassures and reinforces their position that they deserve your services and position your brand as a privilege. It’s important when leveraging emotion, however, to strive to maintain a positive emotional tone, regardless of what you’re selling. Positive emotions are powerful emotions and will trigger the click-through behavior you’re looking for, while negative emotions might inadvertently become tied to your brand and create an aversion reaction in potential customers.
Put the Facts To Work For Your Ad Copy
People will be drawn to headlines that appear to be factual and backed up by pricing and data, so one of the most important things you can do is front-load your headlines and descriptions with numbers to back up the strength of your brand.
Numbers and data create a quick shorthand reassurance for consumers that the claims that your services or products are in fact the solutions that they need. Make sure your data and figures enhance or strengthen your messaging; the last thing you want is for facts and figures to raise questions or concerns you don’t address in the remainder of the advertising copy space.
Create a Logical Bridge from CTA to Landing Page
The ultimate goal of your ad copy is to include a call to action to a targeted product or service landing page designed to convert this lead into a paid customer. This relationship exists in order to show that your brand is a solution to the problem the client is seeking answers to, and therefore you want to make sure that there is synergy and parity between the CTA language and the messaging they’ll encounter on the destination landing page.
With this in mind, you must treat your PPC campaign as a long-game solution, so that over time, page visitors will become brand consumers and advocates, knowing that they can trust your advertising efforts to truly solve their needs as consumers.
A Starting Point for Powerful PPC Ad Copy That Converts
In this piece, we’ve only scratched the surface of conversion rate optimization and lead conversion-focused PPC ad copy. There are so many variables in play, that you can’t leave your advertising copywriting to just any member of your digital marketing team that can string two sentences together.
Whether you manage your ad copywriting in-house or outsource to an agency or freelancer, it’s important to find a writer that not only understands how to navigate PPC advertising, but also one with a deep understanding and passion for your brand. The authenticity and knowledge they bring to the table will help to elevate your ad performance, improve lead quality, and maximize your conversion rates. Only with this quality-focused approach to building lead volume can you expect your overall return on investment in your PPC campaigns to start to increase over time.