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Boosting Search Ad Copy Response

Posted on 1.16.2017

In the digital world, there's a limited amount of space for advertisers to convey their message. Both display and search advertising have their limitations and each their own challenges - as well as opportunities.

While display is more visual and best used in campaigns where awareness is the priority, a successful search ad, on the other hand, must do more than just impress with its cleverness; it must also produce a return for the advertiser. That means ensuring it is in a premium position and with the lowest possible cost-per-click so that a return can be seen from the advertiser's spend.

The secret is most often tapping into the logic or emotion of consumers. In many ways, people are either mostly logical or mostly emotional (fluctuating between the two depending on intent) and ad copywriters are able to capitalize on this. From a logical standpoint, those that can clearly communicate the value proposition (better price, greater utility, simplified processing) are those best positioned for success. From an emotional standpoint, however, those that are able to evoke passion, signal alarm, create a mystique, display power, or convey trustworthiness or prestige are those most likely to elicit clicks.

Ad copy writing is an art form, but today, it's also very much a scientific endeavor. Take a look through the results on different search engines to see how those within your industry are promoting their brands and offers, identifying similarities in appeal (logical or emotional), voice, style, approach and even length of the copy.

Let's also take a look at a few "basic" ideas to help search advertisers optimize their ad copy and boost response.

Include Primary Keyword in Headline
It seems like such a small thing, but it's really important. Including a keyword in the headline (see the "marketing automation software" examples below) increases the relevancy of the ad and also makes it easier for consumers to notice. Advertisers can improve their efficiency and coverage by using keyword insertion features at their advertising network of choice but be careful as it is important to ensure that ads read cleanly and not as if they were auto-generated.

Maximize Description Line Use
You know how important a page description is in the organic search results, but it may be even more important for advertisers. This is the opportunity to show how and why your product offering or service is different, and indicate why purchasing from you is better than doing so from the competition.

Focus Attention on the Call to Action
The most effective ad copy writers know that the secret to a successful campaign is a strong, relevant call to action as it encourages consumers to click on it. Include anything that indicates to the user the desired course of action - from calling to clicking, requesting or booking (see image).

Just Test It Already
The best way to continually improve on ad copy is to continually conduct split tests. Testing can be overly complicated if you let it, so consider keeping the same headlines and description lines that have been shown to outperform other ads in the past, and make small adjustments to the rest of the copy. Even small changes can help reveal possible performance boosts in search ads.

Address the Elements of Style
One of the reasons that advertisements (and ad campaigns) fail is because copywriters didn't address the stylistic elements and components of the ad. Search engines including Bing and Google, for example, make it possible to include ad extensions. Copy for campaigns that include extensions should differ in style from those that don't as the space changes as well as potential content of the ad itself. What's more, with the use of ad extensions, advertisers need to take care not to repeat information in such a limited digital real estate as it's repetitive and appears spammy. 

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