Win of the Week: Tough Rules Create Breakthrough Ad

August 17, 2016

Take a look at the two ads below. If you were looking for a hotel on the beach, which ad do you think you'd click on? Better yet, which ad do you think you'd act on?

While many contests conducted on the BoostCTR platform are designed to improve CTR, some are set up to improve conversions. This contest used conversions as the metric, which is why I added that second question: Which ad would you act on?


PPC Ad #1Beach Hotels - Ad #1PPC Ad #2Beach Hotels - Ad #2

The titles are completely different. This is because this particular advertiser did not permit BoostCTR writers to use DKI in their ads even if the original ad used it. This was an obvious disadvantage, but the writer worked around it.

The body copy is also very different. With that in mind, which one do you think outperformed the other?

Made your decision?

The winning ad is ad number two. It was written by BoostCTR writer "wordisborn," and it increased conversions by 259%. Where the original ad was producing 1 search on the client’s site, the new ad is producing 3.59 searches, which is a massive improvement.

So why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...

The Original Ad

The original ad is already a strong ad. The DKI in the title gives the original ad a clear advantage. The appeal of saving time is a good one. And the description of using "location filters" to find hotels near the beach is believable.

The entire second sentence of the body copy is technically a call to action ("Find Lodging"), but it lacks urgency. I also wonder if "location filters" makes people think too hard. It makes sense to me since I spend hours online every day, but what about the 60-year-old woman who doesn't know the difference between Google and a search engine?

I also feel like leading with "Save Time" is a little premature. It doesn't mesh well with the title, and it's confusing since I don't yet know how I'm going to save time. This feels like a "speed bump" as I read the ad -- it's just out of place.

The Winning Ad

The title of the winning ad says simply "Beachfront Hotels." I imagine this is more in line with what people want. They want a hotel that fronts to the beach, not one that is merely "near" the beach.

The winning ad also asks the searcher to "Compare Beachfront Hotels" instead of "Find Lodging." Comparing is something buyers do; finding comes before comparing and is therefore one step removed from buying.

Furthermore, the winning ad reveals that you can compare beachfront hotels in a single search that is fast and easy. I don't get anything about "location filters," but that's okay. All I need to know is that it is a fast and easy search.

And last but not least, the winning ad concludes with a punchy benefit-driven call to action: "Save & Book." This creates a frame for the searcher. He knows the point of clicking is to:

  1. Compare beachfront hotels
  2. Save time
  3. Save money
  4. Book a hotel

Ultimately, the winning ad wins because it speaks more directly to what the searcher wants; it promises more benefits; it uses simpler language; and it ends with a clear call to action that sets up the frame for booking a hotel.

Tough Rules Force Fresh Thinking

As I mentioned earlier, this particular advertiser does not allow DKI, which makes it more difficult to write a winning ad. But this constraint eventually produced a breakthrough ad.

You might want to try a similar approach with your own ad writing. Ask yourself: "What would I write if I couldn't say _______?" And then let your mind run with it and see what you come up with.

Very often breakthroughs come not from slight changes, but from radical changes. What's more, creativity thrives under constraints. So give yourself some artificial restraints and watch what happens.

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 259% 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 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, business growth, and product creation.

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