Writing ad copy for PPC can be a tough feat. The good news is, you don’t have to be a super-creative copywriter to whip up competitive ad text. In fact, following a pragmatic approach can be advantageous.
Here are a few simple steps that will help you to assess the competitive landscape and write ad copy that will stand out against your competitors’, regardless of your ad rank.
Do Some Competitive Research
Do some research to hunt down your real competitors. With paid search, it’s easy to put up your blinders and forget who you’re really up against. Don’t take the easy route and assume that your competitors are parallel companies within your space. With PPC, you may actually be facing a whole new crew of competitors.
Take a high-end shoe designer like Christian Louboutin. The typical competitors are other super high-end, luxury shoe retailers like Stuart Weitzman or Manolo Blahnik. For a print advertising campaign, Louboutin is probably focused on creating ads to compete with these companies. With PPC, however, they may actually find that they are up against discount sites that sell luxury shoes, department stores and even design-your-own shoe sites like shoesofprey.com.
For example, you might have a customer that remembers Louboutins have red soles but can’t remember the brand name. Googling “red sole heels” is going to hook them up with a bunch of knock-off brands (notice how many include words like "cheap," "affordable" and "savings":
It’s a very different landscape.
Don’t believe me? Try Googling your top five most visible keywords (based on number of impressions). Since these words are getting the most eyeballs, they will give you some insight as to who your true competition is.
Identify Your Differentiating Characteristic
Now that you’ve assessed the competition, use your knowledge to become the leader of the pack. Consider your page-mates’ ad copy and identify a differentiator that will make you stand out. This is your opportunity to sell yourself! Tell the searcher why you are providing them a better product or deal than your competitors.
Following through with the above example, Christian Louboutin might want to use phrases like:
- The Original Red Sole Heel
- Only Authentic Red Sole Louboutins
- No Knockoffs, Just Real Louboutins
And so on.
Write a Killer CTA
To complete your ad, include a call to action that gives your searchers an incentive to click. You can opt for the standard “buy now,” but if you really want to step it up a notch, consider a more creative alternative. If you need some inspiration, check out Billy's 7 tips for writing a great call to action, Dan's post on call to action examples, Meg's post on CTA button best practices, or Elisa’s post on unusual but effective CTA’s, like this one:
How about "Go to the Party in Louboutins"?
Enable Ad Extensions
Once you’ve nailed down your body text, throw in an ad extension or two (check out our Ad Extensions Cheat Sheet to figure out what extension best fits your needs). Ad extensions pump up your ad so they cover a little more real estate on the SERP. Let’s be honest, when it comes to ad text, bigger is better. They’ve been shown to increase CTR by an average of 30%!
Take a look at the new Enhanced Sitelinks (available only in Enhanced Campaigns) – it’s like having five ads in one!
Check Your Ad Metrics
Your ad may be complete, but don’t throw in the towel quite yet. Let it get a few impressions and then assess your success! It’s tough to predict the performance of a new ad, so ad copy testing is critical. Often, the ad copy you thought would win out ends up losing. There’s no way to know what will work until you try something out.