Paid Search Marketing

Acting on Good Advice: Using Symbols to Get an 89% Lift in Conversions

February 16, 2011 Posted In: Paid Search Marketing Comments: 8


How many PPC blog posts do you read in a week? How many do you actually take action on? I’m guilty of reading a lot and acting too little. Much of the information published on optimizing your PPC campaigns is very interesting and insightful, but maybe not particularly actionable (or it can be difficult to take action easily). So when you see something that's actionable and easy to try, don’t just read and tweet! Actually try it!

Slow down and ask yourself how you can leverage this new knowledge in your own campaigns. That’s what I did, just a few weeks ago when Tom Demers wrote this article about using symbols in PPC ad text

Was this the first time I’d ever heard of using symbols? Nope. But the last time it was on my mind, I didn’t take action, so I didn’t reap the benefits. It’s too easy to get distracted and forget to try those great tips you come across every day.

Here’s what Brad Geddes had to say about the using symbols back in 2009:

Honestly, I wish they hadn’t written the post. I tested out adding symbols with a company in 2002 and found that in highly competitive industries it can definitely help CTR. In highly researched industries (such as b2b), it can make a critical difference in your ad copy success.

It was easy to see that using symbols is a great tip, so this time I immediately took action and added the “®” symbol to all of the text ads in most of my campaigns (where it made sense). I just copied the existing champion ads and added the symbol. I didn’t write any new copy—it was just one simple change.

After 30 days of monitoring my results using my PPC ad testing spreadsheet, my entire brand campaign is up in total conversions by 12.6%. That’s a big deal for a campaign that’s been tested and optimized consistently for several years. It also proves that you should always be testing, even when you think you’ve got the perfect ads.

About 2-4 hours of work for 12.6% lift and not having to worry about any complicated analytics, etc. = awesome, enjoyable ROI.

Here are the results for one ad group in my brand campaign with an 89% improvement:

Here’s what the cumulative totals for CTR, Conversion Rate, and Conversions-per-Impression look like:

As you can see, the treatment with the “®” symbol pulled ahead nicely. I am still analyzing the results from my other campaigns, but I have already seen some very positive results.

Check out my guest post over at the Certified Knowledge blog if you want to learn how to make cumulative metrics charts for PPC ad testing like the ones shown above.

Acting on good PPC advice can make a big difference in your campaign’s performance, especially when it comes to ad testing. Pay attention to great advice like the BoostCTR’s Text Ad Win of the Week. Don’t just read and tweet, take action.

AdWords Performance Grader

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Wednesday February 16, 2011

Justin Freid (not verified) Said:

I tend to use dashes and parenthesis to highlight certain sections of my ad text. This is often very effective in in the ad title. I have found this to greatly affect CTR as well. Things like (1 Hour) or -1 Hour work very well.

Wednesday February 16, 2011

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thanks for sharing this tip, Justin!

Wednesday February 16, 2011

Tom Demers Said:

Great stuff Chad - I use the ad text testing spreadsheet you mentioned ALL THE TIME anyone who hasn't grabbed it yet definitely should.

Thanks for the shout out!


Wednesday February 16, 2011

Daily Digest for February 16th | A Blog by John A. Lee (not verified) Said:

[...] @WordStream: Using Symbols in PPC for an 89% Lift in Conversions by @ChadSummerhill [John_A_Lee] Share and [...]

Friday February 18, 2011

Using Symbols in PPC Ad Testing | PPC Prospector (not verified) Said:

[...] latest guest post over at the WordStream blog.  I explain the benefits of acting on good PPC advice from the community.  I go into [...]

Wednesday June 22, 2011

Praveen Kumar (not verified) Said:

Wow, so nice & useful thanks for sharing.

Wednesday November 02, 2011

Tasman Hayes (not verified) Said:


Excellent tip!  Thanks for testing this. I want to try this in page titles as well to see if it improves CTR in organic search results.


Thursday November 03, 2011

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thanks for your comment, Tas, I hope it works out for you!

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