PPC Ad Copy Writing For Beginners

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You asked for it—we responded. A recent response to our “What to write next survey” brought the topic of “Ad copy writing for beginners.” So, while sitting here at the offices of PPC Hero, I decided to take a break from writing ads and address this request, although I was tempted to write about some of the more obscure survey requests. And by obscure, I mean WTQ irrelevant, such as “hardcore peanut butter churning,” or “the banana vendor down the street.” I am not quite sure how to address such pertinent PPC issues, but I’m sure we can accommodate those requests as well, some day. Anyways, back on topic, PPC Ad Copy Writing for Beginners.

Me, writing ads today.

To start, you need to identify the relevant keywords in your ad group. Consult the data compiled from the last couple weeks or months, and find the most traffic-heavy keywords. These will be your clean up batters, your Franchise Tag players, or your first round draft picks. In short, you will build your ad around these keywords. So, depending on whether you want your ad to have this keyword or keywords in your description lines or headline is your call.

Personally, I like putting this high traffic keyword in the headline of the ad. If the keyword matches (or nearly matches) the user query, it will appear bold to the user, standing out more than the other ads lined up against yours. So, to capitalize on this phenomenon and also capitalize on the scant time you have to grab a users attention, put the popular keyword in the title. It is the first thing a user will typically see, and having their search term in the title gives you a leg up on the competition.

That being said, if you put the keyword in the description lines of your ad, it will also appear bold. But like I mentioned above, the headline is typically what generates attention with a potential customer. So, in terms of how to best utilize your description lines, first identify the best aspects of your product or service.  Realize that the description line is 70 characters, so you aren’t going to be writing poetry here. Being concise yet thorough is the name of the game—find the shortest ways to get your best aspects across. Yes, this is easier said than done, but some common practices involve including prices and promotions in the copy, using compelling calls to action (Sign up now for savings! Free Quote! Great Deals! Etc.), or telling customers how they can act (Call Today, Get a Quote, Sign Up, Etc.).

This brings me to my next point—test your ads. This is often overlooked in the ad writing process. There are no concrete answers as to how to write knockout ads—if there were, all of us advertisers would be using them. It is different for each advertiser. So, to try and bring some order to the seeming chaos of this process, assign two ads to each ad group. Pick one aspect of the ad to test, so as to keep the ad testing single variable, and let the test run for a couple weeks at the least. For example, you could test the headline text. Keep the body text the same or similar, but change the headline of the two ads. The winner shows you what kind of headline to use in your ads. Then, test body text. Test individual words, phrases, or different types of message (Call to action, benefit driven ads, prices/promotions). Really, what to test is up to you, but remember to keep the variables from becoming too multiple per test. This is so you can best identify what works for your product. Most importantly, a top performing ad is ONLY top performing for that test. Continuously test your ads! You never know what text/keyword could open the flood gates for you. But, be sure to let your tests compile data—don’t be overzealous, but always be planning the next test.

Now for some more in depth strategic options. Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a game changer for the beginning ad writer. In short, this option allows you to alter your ad text based on a search query to exactly match what a user is searching for. So, for instance, lets say you are advertising candy. You have a “Chocolate” Ad Group, with the keywords Chocolate bar, Hersheys kisses, and M & Ms. This is a tightly themed ad group, but you want all of your keywords to be advertised, without having to write specific ad text for each one (a time consuming process). So, to do this, you would utilize Dynamic Keyword Insertion. First, identify where you want this keyword to appear. Dynamic keyword insertion can appear in the headline, the description lines, the display URL, or the destination URL. Then, pick your default text to use.  This shows in case the search query is too long for character limits. An example of a default headline would be {Keyword: Chocolate}. This way, if someone searches for a term that matches the aforementioned keywords, they will appear in the headline as Chocolate Bar, Hersheys Kisses, or M & Ms. Or, if the query doesn’t match the keywords, it will simply appear as Chocolate. Why is this a game changer? Because it allows you to write ad text for multiple ad groups and tweaking the high traffic keyword to match that of the user’s query, ultimately driving up relevancy and CTR. This strategy ultimately will help to make any ad you write have a better chance of resonating with a potential customer.

So, you spoke, we listened. This is a good start on how to write ad text for you beginners out there. Take a look, feel free to comment if you have any questions, and keep reading! We like to be relevant to your requests, so also keep answering our survey. And in the meantime, we will do all that we can to answer your requests. Speaking of which, “hardcore peanut butter churning,” you puzzle me no more. Voila, below is your answer. Two blog answers in one blog? That’s an epic win kind of day.

Peanut butter churning. "Hardcore" status yet to be determined.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/noahjbrooks Noah J. Brooks

    Wow, at first I thought I was just reading a good article, but then the South Park graphic made it better, then learning there is such thing as a peanut butter churner!?  My life will never be the same!

    P.S. Dynamic keyword insertion can be a tricky game and Target Inc. may be the worst at it.  I have taken plenty funny screenshots of their errors.

  • http://twitter.com/Doppelpager Doppelpager

    Noah,

    Any post with a South Park reference is defined as “winning.” I feel like the chosen graphic resonates too well with our niche…ha. And I can only imagine–maybe a future blog post? DKI Fail Blog? Think about it…

    Thanks for reading, and for the comment!

    Bryan

  • Bryan Watson

    Noah,

    Any time I can throw in a South Park reference, I do. No questions asked. Ha! And idea–DKI Fail Blog. Think about it…

    Thanks for reading and the comment!

    Bryan

  • Scott Laffin

    Don’t forget the most important part of any ad content writing. Split-testing.  Always test several (at least two but not too many) variations, to see what performs the best. I am never amazed to find the ad I liked the least turn out to be the best performer.

  • http://twitter.com/PPCTherapy PPC Therapy

    Great tips. I would add the following tip though: Keep it short. I think too many PPC ads are just too long and windy, even if they have keyword insertion. You have to get straight to the point with people. 

    I have seen One word ads that had amazing CTR although they can look spammy of course.

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  • http://www.seopositiveltd.co.uk/link-building.php Sarah

    Informative post.These tips are really important.It is quite interesting to read about this very rare topic.I really like the concept of this post .

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  • http://twitter.com/j_camarena Julio Camarena

    Those are very good tips, I try to don’t use dynamic keyword insertion because can be tricky, i remember to see a Dominos pizza ad with the headline “pizza hut delivery” .. you can have a bad time with that feature.

    Also, i think what Google is missing is a tool to help us quantify the quality of our ads, sure we can test, but could be a good idea to have something like a “do this, don’t do that tool” for noobs.