Today, I'm featuring another contest from the ongoing optimization of the BoostCTR campaign running on AdWords. I'm doing this for two reasons:
Reason #1. It's important that you know "we eat our own dog food." Which is to say, we follow the same ad optimization process that we recommend to our clients.
Reason #2. We have now completed a few BoostCTR contests. So I can show you how the ads have evolved over the last couple months.
With that in mind, let's take a quick look-back at the very first contest we ran in this campaign ...
In this first contest, the long copy destroyed the short copy. Ad #2 was written by "chewiness," and it increased CTR by a stunning 326% -- more than triple the original CTR.
We then ran a second contest, which produced a new winner. And now we have run a third contest that has produced yet another new winner. This third contest is featured below. It's your job to see if you can pick the winner.
So: Which of the two ads below got a higher CTR? Make your decision and scroll down to discover the answer. (By the way, these ads ran on Google's Content Network -- not search.)
As you can see, the ads use a similar approach in the title. The question is, Which approach worked best? The question or the statement?
In this case, the winner was ad number one. It was written by "wordisborn," and it increased CTR by 52%.
So what made the difference between these two ads? Let's take a look...
1. The winning ad takes a more direct approach in the title. Rather than asking a question, it very bluntly states, "Your CTR Sucks." Many people who advertise are insecure about the results they're getting, so this title capitalizes on that insecurity. This change alone is probably the single biggest factor in the higher CTR.
2. The first line of body copy in the winning ad flows naturally out of the title copy. If you agreed with the title copy, then you'll quickly agree to the next statement: "Time to try something new." Well, of course! If your CTR sucks, it is time to try something new.
3. The winning ad closes out the body copy with a specific claim... that this "new" thing boosts CTR and conversions by 30%. At this point, the potential client is intrigued enough to click. If he has agreed to the first two statements, he'll want to find out HOW he can get 30% higher CTR and conversions.
4. As a point of contrast, the losing ad mentions only CTR -- and does not say anything about increased conversions. This omission may reduce the appeal of the ad. Advertisers are generally most interested in improving their conversions.
5. The losing ad ends with a good call to action, but it's not enough to overcome the momentum that's built in the winning ad. Again, we see an exception to a good ad writing principle: The ad with the call to action loses to the ad that doesn't have one.
The bottom line: The new ad wins because it uses a more arresting headline, builds momentum quickly, and promises a specific benefit that all PPC advertisers want (higher CTR and increased conversions).
What's your takeaway from this contest -- and the contest that preceded it? How will you apply what you learned to the next PPC ad you write? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.
 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, advertising, and business, and is the creator of the world's first trust seal for affiliate programs.