Win of the Week: Keywords vs. Mental Imagery, Science vs. Emotion

August 22, 2016

Take a look at the two ads below. Imagine you're a middle-aged man or woman who's interested in sharpening your memory and increasing your brain power. You go to Google and type in "brain games." Which ad do you click on?

PPC Ad #1Brain Games - Ad #1PPC Ad #2Brain Games - Ad #2

Of course, the ad YOU click on may not be the same ad the majority of people click on. So perhaps a better question is: Which ad do you think would generate almost twice as many clicks?

And THAT is not an easy question to answer. On the one hand, you've got a matter-of-fact keyword-rich ad. On the other, you've got an ad using mental imagery and emotion. Two distinctly different approaches.

Alright, made your decision?

The winning ad is ad number two. It was written by BoostCTR writer "Cult Classic," and it increased CTR by 95%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 1.95 clicks, nearly twice as many as before.

So why did the new ad win? And why did it win by so much? Let's take a look...

1. The losing ad gets the job done with a straightforward cerebral approach. It leads with strong benefits ("Sharpen Memory and Attention"). And it reveals the mechanism through which these benefits are achieved ("Scientific Brain Games and Tools"). The core keyword phrase is used in the title and the body. Overall, it's a strong ad, but not too exciting.

2. The winning ad leads with a strong benefit instead of the thing being searched. In this case, the benefit "Boost Your Brain Power" gets more attention than the actual thing being searched, which is "Brain Training Games." Yes, they're searching for brain games... but what they really want is to boost their brain power.

3. The winning ad also employs a strong visual and emotional approach. The first line of body copy states "Every Brain Needs a Gym." This is a powerful metaphor that implies I need to "work out" my brain. If I accept this metaphor as being true, then I'm automatically predisposed to agree with what comes next.

4. What comes next in the winning ad is an appeal to emotion. And thus the ad cleverly blends two very different concepts: 1) That I must exercise my brain, and 2) that this exercise can actually be fun! Think about it. What sounds more appealing? "Scientific Brain Games and Tools"... or... "Fun, Web-Based Training Program!" If you're like most people, the idea of having fun is the more appealing approach.

5. To make up for its lack of keywords in the title and body copy, the winning ad includes "BrainGames" in the URL.

6. Last but not least, the winning ad uses punctuation at the end of line one (which takes advantage of Google's extended title format), and includes an exclamation point at the end of line two. The exclamation point is especially relevant since it concludes a sentence that is talking about having fun. This enhances the enthusiasm of the ad.

The bottom line: The new ad wins because it abandons a keyword-heavy approach in favor of strong visuals and emotional language. What was originally a strong ad becomes a great ad.

Question: Have you been relying on facts and keywords to write your PPC ads? If so, it may be time for you to experiment with some strong images and emotional copy. Who knows... you might just crush your control ad without much effort!

And, of course, if you'd rather not write new PPC ads yourself, you can always call on the BoostCTR writers. 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 95% or more.

ryan-healy About the Author: Ryan Healy is a direct response marketer 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 lifestyle design.

Sign up to get our top tips and tricks weekly!