I don’t want this to sound too scandalous, but it’s a natural mistake for most copywriters, including PPC Ad Writers, to assume that they’re writing non-fiction — that’s a huge mistake.

Of course, a decent ad should be non-fiction in that it should adhere to factual, substantiated claims to achieve truth in advertising.

But the ad writer with the heart of a dramatist — the one who understands how to paint word pictures, create a scene, and tell a short-form story with maximum clarity — will consistently outperform the “just the facts” writer focused on reporting features and benefits and deal sweeteners while cramming in keyword phrases.

And one of the keys to painting vivid mental images in the minds of prospective customers lies in what modern fiction writing calls “active description.”

What Is Active Description?

While a Victorian novelists might have easily spent several paragraphs or pages describing a street or a house or even a character, the modern writer understands that his audience will simply stop reading or start skipping pages after a sentence or two (or less!) of static description.

The modern writer has got to keep the action going with characters doing things, speaking to each other, etc.  So description has to be worked into the action and dialogue.

And the same holds true for PPC Ads, with active description routinely beating out static reporting.  Here’s an example:

PPC Ad Descriptions

Compare the static description on the first line of the old champion, “Bold & Clear — No Cell Phones,” with the action-packed, image-inducing language of the New Champion, “Post Your ‘No Cell Phone’ Policy.”

The winning ad causes you to see yourself using their signs in exactly the way you’re hoping to use them.  And so that bit of active description helped it boost CTR performance by 155%

And then there’s this ad:

PPC Ad Description

Again, the winner uses action-packed, image-inducing language — “Get Exposed to College Scouts” — while the losing ad uses static adjectives and nouns: “College Basketball Recruiting.”

This time, the active description helped boost CTR by 39%

And finally, there’s this recent win:

PPC Ad Headlines

“Rip Your Music into MP3 Quickly” — yeah, I can see myself doing that.

“Free [software] download” — um, it’s just a static thing.  No action. No imagery.  No way to see yourself doing anything, really.

And again, the active description wins, this time by 34%

So take a tip from the fiction writers of the world, and keep your PPC ads action-packed with active description.