Take a look at the two ads below. If you lived in Baltimore and you wanted to start training in mixed martial arts (MMA), which ad do you think you'd click on?
The titles are completely different. The body copy is mostly different (the phrase "Professional Facility" is the same in both of them). And the URL is the same in both ads. Which one do you think outperformed the other?
Made your decision?
The winning ad is ad number two. It was written by BoostCTR writer "wordisborn," and it increased CTR by 70%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 1.7 clicks, which is a significant improvement.
So why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...
The Original Ad
The original ad is fairly good. The title "Mixed Martial Arts" is straightforward and mirrors what searchers are looking for. I'm not sure how many keywords this ad group targets, but using DKI in the title could have lifted response a bit.
The body copy that follows is good, not great. "Qualified Instruction" is a mouthful. Out of the four words on the first line, three of them are three syllables: Qualified, Instruction, Baltimore. Generally speaking, shorter words perform better in PPC ads.
The detail about the location being a "Professional Facility" is important. If you're interested in MMA, you probably want real training in a real MMA facility.
Up to this point, the ad is okay. But it's the last part of the ad that confuses me. What does "No XP reqd!" mean? I searched my mental database and kept thinking "Windows XP," but I knew that couldn't be right.
Turns out "XP" sometimes stands for "experience." Ah... I see. "No experience required." But I had to go search Bing to figure that out.
Of course, the ONLY reason I searched Bing is because I'm writing this article. If I were a qualified prospect, I'd probably skip the ad and click the next one -- because I'd be confused!
The Winning Ad
The winning ad uses MMA instead of Mixed Martial Arts. This is good because most guys refer to it as "MMA" anyway. Plus, MMA is shorter, which leaves space for other details.
The DKI title with "MMA Training" is, in my opinion, clearly the better title. Then the body copy starts strong with the imperative, "Get Real MMA Training In Balitmore." Good use of short, punchy words -- as well as the targeted keywords. Can you see how much better this line reads than the same line in the original ad?
For the last line, the winning ad includes the "Professional Facility" detail, then closes with a clear call to action: "Learn More!" Whereas the original ad confused me right at the moment of decision, the winning ad gives me a simple instruction to follow. Click.
Ultimately, the winning ad wins because it uses a better title and short, punchy words that are easy to digest. Most importantly, it ends with a clear call to action that does not confuse the searcher.
Don't Assume Your Target Will Understand You
You can't assume your target market will automatically understand the abbreviations you understand. "MMA" is a good abbreviation because it is commonplace. The target market hears and uses this term all the time. But "XP" is a bad abbreviation because most people associate it with a Windows operating system.
There's a reason most newspapers and magazines are written to an 8th grade reading level. If a searcher is confused by your ad, he'll just move on to the next ad. You must always be crystal clear in your ads.
What do you notice about this ad contest? Feel free to leave a comment below.
By the Way...
The BoostCTR writers are chomping at the bit to improve your ads. They've collectively spent thousands of hours improving pay-per-click ads on both Google and Facebook. They increase CTR and conversions by 30% on average, sometimes as much as 70% or more. Best part: You can put 'em to work... risk-free for 30 days!
About the Author: Ryan Healy is a direct response copywriter and BoostCTR writer. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Alex Mandossian, Terry Dean, and Pulte Homes. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, business growth, and product creation.