So much of what we talk about when planning PPC campaigns is to do with cost and the perceived metrics of success. But in reality, the ad copy you use is just as important as every other element of your campaigns and contributes heavily to their ultimate success.

Your ad copy is the first, and last, thing your audience sees of your PPC campaign. It impacts click through rates and can be used to bring your USPs, brand identity and product offers to the fore. A good first impression is, therefore, absolutely essential.

Writing great PPC ad copy isn’t easy. It needs to be short and succinct, while also engaging your audience and encouraging them to do what you want. With that in mind, here are our top 15 tips for writing outstanding PPC ad copy.

15 Tips for Writing Outstanding PPC Ad Copy

1. Know Your Audience

First and foremost, you need to know your market - ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s the nature of your industry?
  • What exactly is your target audience looking for?
  • What tone of voice is most appropriate for this?

For example, if you’re a law firm dealing with serious and sensitive legal issues, it’s probably best to avoid flamboyant and overly creative copy, e.g. “Hate your husband? Splendid Separation Agreements & Dazzling Divorce Settlements. Drop Us A Line!”

On the other hand, if you’re selling party accessories then you probably want to appeal to the customer’s fun side, e.g. “From Pirates to Princesses, Make Your Little One’s Birthday Magical With Our Range Of Party Decorations”.

2. Include the Keyword in the Headline

For the perfect transition from search term to ad, make sure the keyword you’re bidding on appears in one of your headlines. It sounds obvious, but many people don’t do it.

If someone is searching for ‘custom made photo frames’, the chances are that if your ad states the exact thing they’ve searched for, they’re going to click through. The inclusion of your keyword in your ad will also help with your quality score, which will improve ad rank and CPCs.

3. Maximise Character Limits

Google enables you to input up to 30 characters per headline and up to 90 per description line (recently increased from 80). Best practice is to use as many of these as you can to ensure you’re making the most of the real estate Google are offering.

We all know how difficult it is to get everything you want to say, and in the way you want to say it, into these description lines, but see it as a challenge. Nothing beats the satisfaction felt when your perfect ad copy is bang on the character limit.

4. Make Use of Landing Page Copy

When you’re writing ad copy, think of the landing page you’re sending the traffic to, and use it to help populate your ads. The path to conversion should be as seamless as possible, from keyword to ad, and from ad to landing page.

Use your ad as an introduction to your landing page, so when users click through they know what they’re buying into and feel reassured when they land. If your ad says one thing and your landing page says another, the chances are the user will feel somewhat misled and bounce back to the search results page, ending up on a competitor website. Consistency is key.

5. Be Clear and Concise

Don’t waffle and don’t use overly long and pretentious words or sentence structures. You have a very limited time to capture the user’s attention before they scroll past you and onto the next ad or organic listing. Make sure your ad copy is clear and easily digestible.

6. Include Your USPs

Ad depth is constantly increasing, meaning whichever industry you’re working in more and more competitors are joining the fight for a top 4 position and a chunk of that impression share you’re after.

With this ever increasing competition, why should the person searching click on your ad over the brand appearing above or below you? Why are you different? Why are you better? What makes you stand out? Make sure all of this is outlined in your ad and extensions to draw people towards you and away from your competition.

7. Use All Extensions Available

Make use of all applicable ad extensions. Ad extensions don’t always show – Google chooses as and when to serve them – but build them out so that they’re there and ready to go.

Extensions allow you to include more information in your ads and make your ads more tailored to your customers. They also make your ads bigger, which means more real estate for you (and therefore less for your competitors) and makes your ads more clickable.

8. Follow Google’s Guidelines

This is a fairly basic one. Don’t overdo it on the exclamation marks, don’t go trying to advertise any of Google’s prohibited content and don’t be dishonest in your ads. These are just a few of the rules - the full policy details can be found here...

Breaking these rules will result in disapproved ads and could result in account suspension.

9. Start the Customer Relationship in Your Ad

It sounds very cliché, but use your ad copy to talk to your potential customer. Use personal pronouns and questions to address the user and their needs right from the get go.

For example, ‘Looking To Book A Ski Season In France? We’ve Got The Perfect Offer, or ‘Expert Personal Injury Lawyers - Get The Compensation You Deserve’.

Addressing the user directly and starting that conversation through your ad copy will help to make them feel like they’re already somewhat connected to your brand, subtly enticing them through to your site. Give your digital media a human touch.

10. Empower Customers to Take Action

Once a potential customer has clicked through to your site, what is it that you want them to do? Highlight this in the ad copy and tell them what to expect, e.g. Buy Now, Call Today, Download Our Free Guide, Book A Consultation, etc…

11. Consider Different Stages of the Funnel

Following on from the above, be mindful of where your user is on the path to conversion. Are they searching for extremely broad terms indicating they’re likely to be in the research stage of their journey?

In this case, be gentle with your copy and call to action. Don’t drive the hard sale as this user is likely to be in research mode, so copy such as ‘Learn More’, ‘Find Out More’, or ‘Download Our Guide For More Information’ is more suitable.

On the other hand, is your user a previous site visitor and/or looking for a specific product or service of yours? In this case, a call to action along the lines of ‘Buy Now’, ‘Shop Now’ or ‘Enquire Today’ is much more appropriate and likely to drive the conversion.

12. Test Your Ad Variations

Best practice states never to run only one ad per ad group. We always recommend running at least three variations - this allows you to test different copy against each other and learn which performs best.

For example, keep headline 1 consistent as the keyword, e.g. ‘Environmentally Friendly Cookware’, but test headline 2 between ‘Free Delivery On Orders £50+’, ‘Free Click & Collect’ and ‘Go Green In The Kitchen Today’.

Once you have a winner, be it in terms of CTR or conversion rate, stick with it and add in a couple more to start a new test. We are constantly testing our ads against each other to find the best combination of copy.

13. Use Emotional Triggers

Play on the user’s emotions (in the nicest way possible). For instance, you can use countdown ads or ‘Limited Time Only’ and ‘Last Chance To Buy’ copy to instil a sense of urgency in your customer.

14. Don’t Forget Your Mobile Users

Everyone knows that searches on mobile are increasing at a rate of knots, so it’s more important than ever that your site is quick to load and mobile friendly. If your site is up to speed then make sure your ads are too.

Mobile specific ads allow you to highlight this in the copy, to encourage and reassure users about the functionality of your mobile site. For example, include a mobile specific call to action such as ‘Buy On Your Mobile With One Click’.

15. Be Consistent and Proper

Last, but by no means least, please please please be correct and consistent. Your ad could well be the first impression your potential customers get of your brand, so it’s vital that this is a good one.

Number one things to avoid include spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistent capitalisation and incorrect or absent punctuation. The presence of any of these in your ad could be damaging to your brand and act as a deterrent to potential customers. Proof read your ads and ensure consistency across your campaigns and account.

If you heed the 15 tips above when writing your PPC ad copy, you should end up with something both easy to understand and utterly compelling to the user conducting the relevant search. It should inspire the action you desire from the audience you've targeted.

Of course, if you're in need of any further support and guidance on any aspect of your PPC campaigns and ads, one of the team will be more than happy to chat and help. Just drop us a line here >>>