What Do Ads with High Click-Through Rates Have in Common?

July 23, 2018

When analyzing the performance of your pay-per-click ads, one of the main factors you'll want to concentrate on is click-through rate (CTR). Ads with high CTR are desirable because they drive more traffic to your site in less time. In addition, a high CTR contributes to a good Quality Score, and that helps lower your cost per click. It's also an indication that you're targeting a relevant, qualified audience, which can improve your conversion rate as well. (Of course you'll want to keep an eye on both metrics and make sure you're not sacrificing one in favor of the other.)

Recently I scanned through the ads in our own AdWords account and identified some patterns in the ads with the highest click-through rates. Note that I've changed the examples so I'm not giving away our best creative, but here are three clear elements that our high CTR PPC ads have in common.

The Word "Free"

Free PPC Ads

Surprise, surprise – people like getting something for nothing! Of course, you can't always use the word "free" in your ads with 100% honesty – you've got a product to sell after all. But here are a few situations in which you can fairly use the word free and benefit from the extra click-through it earns you:

  • If you sell software or a service, consider offering a free trial (or free demo), and be sure to mention the free trial in your ads
  • If you offer any free tools or products, use them to draw in traffic, then entice the visitors to stay and convert in other fashions once they're on your site
  • Consider offering free guides, white papers, and other learning content as a form of lead generation

Provocative Language

Another way to grab people's attention is by being provocative. Obviously you don't want to go so far as to offend anyone, but a subtle challenge can get people interested – especially considering that people who are searching for new solutions probably have some doubts about themselves or whatever products they're currently using.

Here are some examples of ways to work direct, provocative language into your ad copy:

  • Email Isn't Dead
  • Your Credit Score Should Be Higher
  • You Need This Software!
  • Your Backup Process Is Wrong
  • Your Doctor Isn't Good Enough
  • Stop Wasting Time

And so on.

The Word "Best"

Best PPC Ads

This one is slightly tricky – Google can ding you for using the word "best" in your ad if there's no evidence that you're actually the best at anything. But Google frequently does approve ads that include the word "best" – no harm, no foul, right? Here are some examples of ways to use "best" (or the related "perfect") in your PPC ads:

  • Best-in-Class Call Management
  • The Web's Best Domain Name Tool
  • Get Perfect Eyelashes

Have you noticed similar patterns in your best-performing PPC ads?

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is WordStream's Director of Content and SEO. Likes include wine, karaoke, poker, ping-pong, perfume, and poetry.

Sign up to get our top tips and tricks weekly!