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How to Write Winning PPC Ads

We ended last week by talking about how copywriting is a vital part of marketing and advertising – and that’s about to change anytime soon. This week, we’ll look at specific areas that were copywriting is essential to the success of our campaigns, starting with writing PPC ads.

Writing PPC advertisements is similar to constructing tweets – you have limited characters to capture the attention of searchers and entice a click based on your copy. Anyone who has tried to write short, engaging copy knows that this is no easy task. And it requires a skill set that needs to be practiced and honed over time.

Today, we take a step in that direction and talk about crafting PPC ads that are engaging, eye-catching, and – most importantly – convert. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to PPC success, it takes practice, tracking, and testing to get the most out of your PPC dollars; but hopefully, we can point you in the right direction here.

Anatomy of an Advertisement

Before we dig into the writing tips, I should talk about the anatomy of a PPC advertisement. I’ll focus on AdWords because Google – no need to explain much beyond that. Bing and Yahoo offer some alright services and often less competition, but let’s not kid ourselves about the big boy in the room.

In 2017, the vast majority of ads are going to look something like this:

Picture of Google Ad

There are four main elements to consider when writing PPC ads: the headline, display URL, description, and sitelinks.

  • Headline: As with all marketing, a catchy headline is essential to capturing attention. With a Google ad, you have a headline and a sub-headline with 30 characters for each. In the example above, the headline is ‘ASICS Running Shoes’ and the sub-headline is ‘Get the Latest Styles for 2017.’
  • Display URL: You don’t have a ton of control over the URL, but you should know that Google will only display the first 20 or 35 characters (depending on the device). Most times that won’t matter – but it is important to keep in mind.
  • Description: Here’s where your writing skills can really shine. The description gives you 80 characters to stand out, make an offer, or entice an action. Writing descriptions is truly an art form, but we’ll get into that later.
  • Sitelinks, etc: In our example above, the ad uses four sitelinks – these are additional clickable links that add some depth to your advertisement. This place can also be filled with a click-to-call button, callout extensions, and structured snippet extensions. These additions have a character limit of 25.

That’s it. If you’re using all four sitelinks, you only 240 characters to deliver your message. That’s 40 characters less than the newly updated Twitter limits. That’s not a lot of room, so you have to focused on trimming the fat when you’re writing PPC advertisements. (Just for reference, this paragraph has 270 characters excluding the parenthesis)

Writing PPC Ads

Writing PPC ads takes practice. You won’t be great at it your first time, so don’t get discouraged when you struggle to craft the perfect copy for your advertisement. There’s no substitute for practice, but there are some tips and tricks that can make the process easier.

Include Targeted Keywords

Understanding PPC keyword strategy is well beyond the scope of this article. But keywords play an important role in crafting your copy as well. Any search terms that appear in your copy will be bold – making it more likely to grab the searcher’s attention and result in a click. Including keywords in your copy will mean an in-depth segmenting of your campaign – but it is worth the effort.

Ad/Landing Page Consistency

Maintaining consistency between your ad and its landing page means two things: (1) stylistic cohesion between the two and (2) accurate information between ad and landing page. Regarding the first, maintain a consistent voice to ensure a seamless transition from search to landing page. And regarding the second, avoid accusations of a bait-and-switch by making sure your ad and landing page are updated with your latest information.

Competitor Research

Before you begin the writing process, take a stroll through your competitor’s advertisements. The goal here isn’t to copy what they are doing, it is to see what they are missing. What gaps do you see in their copy, headlines, and calls-to-action? Use that to craft your own ad and out-perform your competitors.

Special Offers

This is advertising 101, but special offers and discounts get people to act. Don’t overlook the possibility of special offers in your PPC ads – you only have 240 characters so why not use a tried-and-true advertising method? The bottom line is that special offers generate clicks and clicks generate leads and leads generate customers.

A/B Testing

All good digital advertising is A/B tested – and that needs to extend to your ad copy as well. A/B testing is an extensive subject – but the basic idea is easy to grasp. Create two campaigns with a single difference and track their results. When it comes to writing copy, you can try different offers, calls-to-action, or headlines to see what resonates best with your target audience.

Highlight Your Uniqueness

This tip is easier given than accomplished, but it should be the foundational goal of your ad copy. There are most likely hundreds or thousands of businesses that do what you do. You’re paying for searcher’s attention, so make the most out of it by highlighting what makes you stand out from the competition.

PPC Advertising Services

PPC advertising is a powerful tool for reaching potential customers where they are searching for answers and services. But understanding the depths of pay-per-click advertising can take years. That’s why we offer PPC ad management services – so that you can focus on your business and leave the nitty-gritty to us. Contact us today to see how Fusion Group USA can help you with digital and PPC advertising.

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