Win of the Week: Are You Showing or Telling?

August 26, 2016

Take a look at the two ads below. Imagine your current business logo is feeling a bit dated. Or imagine you've started a new company and you want a sharp logo to represent your new business. So you start looking for a logo designer. Which ad do you click on?


PPC Ad #1Logo Design - Ad #1PPC Ad #2Logo Design - Ad #2


Notice that the ads have much in common. The title text is identical. The URLs are almost identical. The primary difference between the two ads is found in the body copy. Which ad do you think generated more than twice as many clicks?

Made your decision?

The winning ad is ad number one. It was written by BoostCTR writer "cartmetrix," and it increased CTR by 111%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 2.1 clicks, more than DOUBLE the original ad's performance.

So why did the new ad win? And why did it win by so much? I think it's pretty clear...

There are two different approaches here. One ad talks about a "unique process"; the other ad actually describes it!

The Original Ad

I can imagine that the author of the original ad was trying to invoke curiosity by mentioning their portfolio and "unique process." Unfortunately, it's simply too vague to create much curiosity.

Lots of businesses and freelance designers want to show you their portfolios. And many of them probably have unique processes, too. Ultimately, viewing a portfolio and learning about a unique process are just not that enticing.

What's more, notice how the original ad is me-focused instead of you-focused. Do you see it? The copy talks about "our portfolio" and "our unique process." There's no mention of you -- the searcher.

The Winning Ad

Where the original ad fails to generate curiosity, the winning ad succeeds. And it does it by actually describing the process instead of merely talking about it.

The body copy says: "Our Designers Compete to Design Your Top Logo. You Pick the Winner!"

The copy is clear.

The copy is focused on the searcher -- and how the searcher maintains control over which logo wins the design contest.

The searcher doesn't need to be told that this logo design process is unique... they know it just by reading the ad. And they want to learn more about how it works.

Show, Don't Tell

In fiction, there's a rule that says: "Show, Don't Tell."

The idea is that you want to show what's happening through your characters' actions and dialog instead of telling what's happening from the narrator's point of view.

And although writing fiction and PPC ads are quite different, this particular rule is relevant here. The original ad tells; the winning ad shows.

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 111% or more. Best part: You can put 'em to work... risk-free for 30 days!

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.

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