Effective pay-per-click (PPC) advertising doesn’t need to be complicated. By using a few simple sales tactics and helpful technology like Dynamic Keyword Insertion, your PPC ads can achieve higher clickthrough rates and far lower CPCs.
To advanced PPC advertisers, the techniques outlined in this guide might seem too simple and straightforward. To beginners, however, they’re the difference between a highly optimized PPC ad campaign and an expensive, ineffective experiment.
Writing Great Ad Copy: Stating the Benefits
Before we get into testing one ad against another, let’s cover the basics of writing a good search ad. Search ads appeal to people’s needs, but their needs depend on the keywords that they’re searching for.
Incorporate the benefits of your product or service into your ad copy, using the type of keywords you’re targeting as a guide to the best needs to target. Keywords based on a comparison (i.e. “best running shoes”) are great targets for stating the benefits of your product against the competition.
Keywords based on a less specific need (i.e. “how to run with flat feet”) are excellent opportunities to focus on your product’s specific benefits. Think about which part of the buying cycle your customers occupy and use this to influence your ad copy.
Testing Your Ad Copy: Simple A/B Split Testing
Using Adwords, you can test one ad copy against another in a controlled and easily adjusted environment. Choose one element of your advertisement (such as the title, description lines, or display URL) and modify this for a new ‘test’ advertisement.
Create the test ad within the same ad group as your existing advertisement, and set the Ad rotation setting to “Rotate indefinitely” to prevent Adwords from optimising your campaign based on clickthrough rate.
You may need to leave your ads for several days (for low-volume keywords, you’ll need at least one week) to see which provides the best return on investment. Look at the Cost Per Conversion metric to detect ROI, instead of CTR or average CPC.
Early in your campaign, you can afford to be more creative when testing your PPC ads. Instead of just changing one element of your search ad, try changing the entire concept and testing one advertising idea against another.
Testing Variables: Adjusting CTAs, DKI, and Other Elements
Adwords gives advertisers a huge amount of control over how their ads appear on the search engine results pages. One of the best ways to make your ads seem more relevant for searchers is by incorporating Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI).
Dynamic Keyword Insertion is not for beginners – in fact, without a clear strategy, it can have a negative effect on the performance of your campaign. Leave this until the end of your campaign, when you’ve exhausted other forms of optimization.
Before turning to DKI, you can experiment with switching around the order of your benefits and call-to-action. Instead of listing benefits first and call-to-action second, try listing your call-to-action at the beginning of your ad and key benefits after.
The key to effective ad testing is action. Never stop finding new ways to test your ad copy and work out how it could be better. Search for your own keywords and look at what your competitors are doing if you’re stumped for creative inspiration.