There have been a lot of changes over the last couple of years when it comes to something as basic and fundamental as ad copy. In my almost three years at Hanapin, we’ve seen the major shift from two ads split tested to now a Google recommended 3 to 5 ads in each ad group.
That means a lot more characters that we get to play with, a lot more ideas that we can use but are you really taking advantage of it? I believe it’s paramount to shift away from changing small things from ad to ad and to think larger.
Everything on Google is pointing towards better and smarter utilization of AI. We can use this to our advantage as we shift to a new way of thinking about ad copy.
Something that I’ve started doing is testing themes rather than shifting words or phrases. If you’re currently running 5 ads in each ad group with a couple words or phrases shifted in each one, this article is for you.
The testing of themes allows us to test new ideas, reach audiences differently, and learn about what drives our customers.
As digital marketers, we’re likely often surprised by what the data tells us. It’s a lesson in not stereotyping or using generalizations to drive decisions. First, we’ll dive into some general thoughts and then some more specific ways we can make informed decisions and come up with new ideas.
One easy place to start thinking about testing your product or service is pitting a promotional heavy piece of copy vs. something that speaks directly about the product’s benefits. Sure, everyone likes promotions but do we know if it’s fundamentally better?
By running these broader themes against each other because it may surprise you. While you may see higher CPAs or a lower CVR, you may actually be more profitable and not so bound to constantly having to run promotional copy.
Another thing to test out, and something we often don’t test because we’re all cold, data-focused people is the inclusion of very emotionally charged copy. Rather than talking about direct benefits, focusing in on how this makes you feel. These are all broad but let’s jump down to a couple of ways we can get the ole’ brain churning and pair the data to a creative solution.
By now, you should have some good data on who your customer is (or you have a to-do to add to your list). While detailed demographics don’t always have the excitement of in-market audiences, you can still harness these.
It does depend on the product but people have different problems that can be solved with the same product. A renter is likely looking for different things than a homeowner, Parents vs. people who are single, even something as broad as men vs. women.
Use these lists to target underperforming groups with ideas that speak directly to them. Let Google’s AI match this ad copy to them as they search. This is the sort of incremental growth that can come from some creative thinking and knowing your product.
One added bonus, you can take this messaging and add it to the landing page. Not only do you get the technical benefits but you’ll be improving the performance of the website for these underperforming groups.
One example that many of us probably relate to is IKEA. Great for someone renting in college but they also have some very expensive, well-made furniture for homes. Thinking even deeper, first time home buyers have different needs than more established owners. All of them are going to the same store but have different reasons why. Your ads should reflect that and try to relate to each type of person.
In a similar respect to detailed demographics, take advantage of your remarketing lists and add language that speaks directly to them and their journey. Hit them with language that drives them to a stronger action (maybe shift from learn more to buy now), additional benefits that only a more “informed” customer may be interested in, or any number of creative ways to reach these people.
A Print Approach:
This combines with the lists above but takes it a bit higher level. I like to think of it as a traditional print advertising approach. Let’s pretend we’re a mattress manufacturer like Casper and looking to advertise in Bon Appetit, Road & Track, and the New Yorker. While you can run the same ad across all three, doesn’t it make sense to tailor your ad to the underlying demographic or interest of the people reading?
While paid search is much less contextual (everyone is on the Googles), you can use this approach to push your creativity to the next level. Try that same approach to target different buyer profiles. We know not everyone is ubiquitous searching for similar keywords, so why not try and unlock those different market segments.
While there is always a need to make sure we cover the basics (ad relevance, landing page congruency, etc.), we don’t need to be so bound to lifeless, technical headlines and description lines.
I challenge you to shake up your ad copy and start thinking more about the person behind the keyword rather than how technically sound you can make your ads. People are more complex than simple CTR and CVR metrics or hitting all of the checkmarks for great quality scores. You’ll want to make those small incremental changes to continue pushing performance in the right direction but you’re likely going to find those big gains by thinking outside of the box and thinking of something new.