Case Study: Writing Effective Sales Ads

In my experience with PPC, I’ve always had great performance outcomes from running sales ads. They typically outperformed generic product or DKI ads, but I had never tested different elements within sales ads themselves. When one of my clients was running a Spring sale, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to dig deeper and find out what makes a great sales ad.

I decided to test two elements, mentioning the specific sale in the headline and including an expiration date in the description. Below are the four different ads I tested.

PPC Sales Ads


I first compared the performance of the generic vs. specific sale headline, whether it included an expiration date or not. A yellow cell represents significantly different data.

PPC Sale Ad Headlines

The ads with the Spring Sale headline received significantly more clicks than the generic Save On headline. However, although the Spring Sale ads had a higher conversion rate, it was not a significant increase from the Save On ads.

Next I compared ads with or without expiration dates, regardless of the headline. Below are the results.

PPC Ad Descriptions

The ads that included an expiration date had a significantly higher conversion rate. They also had a significantly higher impression to conversion rate— .01% vs. .002%.

The next question I had was whether combining these two elements together would create an ad that outperformed all the rest in both clicks and conversions. Below are the results when I compared the specific headline ad with an expiration date to the three other versions.

PPC Ad Performance

When the ad headlines were the same, the conversion rate was significantly better for the ad with the expiration date. The click-through rates, however, were roughly equal. When the ad headlines were different, but each included an expiration date, the specific headline won out in terms of clicks. However, the conversion rates were not significantly different.

The only time a specific ad with an expiration date performed better on each metric was when the competing ad had a generic headline and no expiration date. What this showed me was that for this client, headlines had a significant impact on CTR, but not on conversion rates. In contrast, the expiration date significantly increased conversion rates but had no impact on CTR.

PPC Ads Comparison Chart

I was able to gather extremely useful information from this experiment. Since this client values conversions more than clicks, I always include the expiration date in my description. I’m continuing to test different headlines to see if I can create a winning combination that outperforms all other ads.

If you have any experience with testing different sales ads please post below!