Set it and forget it doesn’t work when it comes to ad text. Whether in Google Adwords, Yahoo! Or MSN Adcenter, creating attention getting and effective ad text is critical to the success and growth of your account. Below I’ve listed the top 9 common mistakes advertisers can make when it comes to writing ad text.

  1. No call to action: Never leave the customer hanging! Its best practice to lead the customer onto the action you want them to perform. Buy using action words you can guide the customers down the path to signing up or downloading a white paper or potentially purchasing your product or service. Key action words can be: Read more…download the whitepaper now…Shop now…Request more info today, etc.
  2. Not differentiating yourself from your competition: This was a mistake I made when I first began PPC advertising. I would look at my competitions ads and make mine identical. What a mistake! Check out your competitors ads and have something different to say. It will make your ad stand out more, hence potentially creating a higher click-through rate.
  3. Not using Dynamic Keyword Insertion: DKI is a great way to test ad text. By using DKI, some words within your ad text can be in bold, which will make your ad stand out a little more amongst your competitors. Using DKI can also serve your customers with a more targeted ad, depending on what the customer types in search is typically what you have in place for your ad title or description.
  4. Not having your top keyword phrase somewhere in your ad text: When I’m looking to re-write some ad text for an ad group that’s been live for a while, I will look at my top performing keyword phrase and enter that phrase into my ad title and description if possible. If that’s the phrase most people are typing in, it’s best to use it to your advantage.
  5. Not testing: I think most advertisers would agree that not ad text testing is a huge mistake. I know it can be difficult when adding new ad groups to add multiple ad text per ad group. But you must! By ad test testing you can determine which keyword phrases and descriptions best influence your target customers.
  6. Deleting ad text before it’s time: Two days of testing is not enough time to accurately test your ad text. Make sure you give your new ad text at least a week of testing for accurate results. For accounts that don’t get that much traffic, give it even more time. Also, your results may show different stats depending on the date range your using, be sure to watch that carefully. Example, one ad may show better performance within the past seven days, however that same ad is the worst performing ad for the month. Always use longer date ranges before making decisions.
  7. Not setting your campaign settings (Adwords) to Rotate: Display ads evenly: In Adwords there is an option in your campaign settings to either Optimize your ad text to display the best performing ad automatically or to distribute ads evenly. By setting your ads evenly this will allow you to test your ad text more efficiently. By setting it to optimize your ad text, it will continue to show one ad over the other again and again, not letting you test appropriately. Note: when you first set up a campaign in Adwords, your settings are automatically set to optimize ad display, be sure to go back and change it to display ads evenly.
  8. Not using your ad text to qualify your customers: If you have a client who is extremely picky about the type of customers you bring into their site, and lets face, we all have at least one, then think about ways you can deter that “I’m just window shopping customer” from clicking on your ad and costing you money. Have a clear idea of the kind of customers you don’t want, and write ad text to ‘weed’ those people out. This will lower your spend by not allowing people who won’t benefit from your product or service from clicking on your ads. Some people agree that putting prices in your ad may be a good way to way to qualify your traffic. It’s definitely an option that you would have to test.
  9. Not stating the benefits: This goes back to looking at your competitors ads. What do you have that your competitors don’t? What benefits the customer from clicking on your ad versus your competitors and what is most important to your customers? Are you promoting a sale or Free Shipping offer? Do you have 100 items to choose from versus the 5 that your competitors have? Or it is the convenience factor: Fast, free delivery 24 Hour customer service, Cost effective Whatever the benefit may be, make it clear in your ad text.

Now Adwords and Yahoo! have released tools to help you write ad text. I would not rely entirely on their suggestions as a whole for your ad text. But you can use the tools and take away ideas to help improve your existing ad text. There is also a lot of studies and tips out there on how to write better ad text. Read them, use them, and don’t forget to test! What may work for someone may not work for you. So it’s always important to do your own testing.