More than ever, it’s incredibly important to spend your marketing money wisely. This means for PPC, writing ads that not only increase your click-through rates and relevancy, but also qualify each click to make sure that every visitor is highly likely to purchase your products or services.

When I write new ads for a client, I research their competitors’ sites so that I can separate my clients’ ads from the rest. What is frustrating as an educator and even more so as an internet shopper, is that every day I see my competitors advertising in their ad text something they can’t offer on their sites or landing pages.  It’s called false advertising!  And for PPC people, it means writing an ad that promotes something so great to get users to click through, but instead they fall short and lose the customer.  Especially for PPC, this makes the rest of us look bad and may potentially force us to lose clicks.

Here are the top false advertising PPC ads that I see today and what you shouldn’t be doing:

  • Ads that say, “discount” or “cheap” when really the products/services are nowhere near cheap or discounted for that matter!
  • Ads that say, “Huge Sale” when really there is only 1 or 2 items that are on sale among many that are full priced.
  • Ads that say, “Huge Selection” or “Tons of X to choose from” when they really have 5 products to choose from.
  • Ads that say, “Free Shipping” but don’t qualify it by saying how much you have to spend to get free s hipping. Then when you get to the site it’s only Free Shipping on orders of $150! Now depending on the kind of product you sell, $150 could only be one item purchased. But I’m talking about the sites that sell $20 items and you have to buy several in order to qualify for the free shipping.
  • Ads that contain your keyword in the title or description but obviously don’t go to the right landing page. Like Target or Ebay – they advertise for nearly every keyword out there, but don’t take you to a page where those products are actually listed.

By writing ads that are misleading to the end user just end up costing you more money because you’re not delivering what you initially promised.  Instead, try writing correct and truthful ads that stimulate and differentiate you from the rest of your competitors.

  • First off, if you’re going to promote free shipping, add in the qualifying amount in your ad text. It can be short like, “Free Shipping on $150”.
  • Instead of saying, “huge selection” or “tons to choose from” be more specific and list out the types of products you have. For example: Instead of saying,

Wedding Supplies
Hundreds of Wedding Supplies Sure
to Make Your Wedding Day Special.


Unique Wedding Supplies
Candles, Decorations, Favors, Gifts
& More. Free Shipping on $100 Order.

  • When promoting a sale or discount products, make sure that you highlight the before and after price. This will eliminate any skepticism of a user thinking, “is this really on sale?” Also, check to see if your products are really “cheap” if you’re going to say so. Do this by checking out the prices of your competitors. Are you really cheaper than the rest? And remember, if you’re products aren’t really that cheap, then you’re not likely to convert anyone who clicks on that ad. This ends up costing you more money in the end. Doing this over long periods of time can cost you thousands of dollars in unqualified traffic throughout the year.
  • When writing ads, think of the benefits your company offers. If you sell expensive products, perhaps you can call out a payment plan or special financing to help during the tough economy. You could even offer “lay-away” or “buy now,” “pay later” options from companies like Bill Me Later that make it easier to purchase from your site over a site that doesn’t offer special payment plans.
  • Also think about how to solve your users’ problem. People today are in a hurry, they need things fast and painless. Perhaps you could say in your ads:

Quick & Easy Email Marketing
Sign Up, Build Email, Upload List
& Send!  Register Now, Free Trial.

Send Bulk Emails Today
A Quick, Painless, Cost Effective Way
to Send Bulk Emails. Register for Free Trial!

  • As always, include a call-to-action in your ads. A call-to-action will tell a user, “hey, don’t just read my ad, click on it and do this”. Why take the chance and not tell a user what you want them to do? Try to be specific with your calls-to-actions and make them more meaningful. Here is a good list of specific and meaningful calls-to-actions:
    • Register for a Free Trial
    • Sign Up for Tutorial
    • Register for Consultation
    • Call Today to Save a Seat
    • Request More Info
  • Here are some examples of general calls-to-actions that may not trigger great results:
    • Start now
    • Buy today
    • Get Info
    • See more
    • Read More
    • Save Today

What all of this boils down to is that during a tough economy or not, spend your advertising dollars wisely. Sure, everyone wants to drive as much traffic to their site, but think quality over quantity. This way of thinking can surely get you a higher return on your investment.  You’ll generate more loyal customers that will keep coming back because you had exactly what you offered in your ad text which makes a positive impact on the end user.