Content tipsPPC

5 Tips for PPC Ad Copy That Stands Out

By Bar Z. and Elad I.
Sunday, July 7, 2019

No matter what web page you’re promoting, chances are you’re playing in an incredibly saturated field where standing out from the crowd is a daily challenge. 

At Natural Intelligence, we run comparison sites across dozens of industries, and PPC ads are an integral part of how we promote them. Just how integral? Natural Intelligence is a top 50 Google Advertiser spending more than $150M annually. 

In marketing jargon, our target audience could be described as “high-intent users with low brand-consideration”—people who have a specific need, and are on the lookout for a product or service to answer it, without having their sights set on a specific brand. Instead of Googling a brand name, these users are searching for “best personal loans” or “top dental plans”. 

Since our first touch-point with these potential customers is on the search engine results page (SERP), our Content and PPC professionals collaborate regularly to come up with creative ad copy that stands out from other ads. 

Although we can’t give away all of our secrets, here are 6 tips and guidelines we always follow:

1. Don’t trade keyword stuffing for grammar 

With a 30-character limit on PPC headlines, there’s a constant tradeoff between stuffing as many important keywords as possible, and forming grammatically correct sentences. The problem is, that the former is often more tempting than the latter. This is how we end up with ads that sound as if a robot threw a bunch of keywords together: 

With a 30-character limit on PPC headlines, there’s a constant tradeoff between stuffing as many important keywords as possible, and forming grammatically correct sentences.

If forming real sentences means you have to drop a keyword or two, so be it. It might hurt your ad relevance, but could improve your CTR and eCTR. At the end of the day, you want to treat potential customers with respect and serve them with ads that are easy to understand. Mashing keywords together into broken sentences hurts your credibility, is annoying for users to read, and definitely won’t make your CTR go through the roof. 

Since so many ads out there sounding like they were written by a robot, sometimes all it takes to stand out is crafting ad copy that simply sounds human. Take this ad for medical alerts as an example:

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When all competing ads on the results page boast statements like “The Best Medical Alerts System” or “Get Medical Alerts in Real-Time,” this ad easily stands out because it is asking the consumer a question, just like a person would. “Worried About Your Parents?” is more engaging than a one-sided statement. It is as if a human is sparking a conversation, which then leaves the ball in the consumer’s court for them to make the next move.  

2. Don’t rely solely on empty adjectives 

“Best,” “Top,”  and “Leading,” are all positive adjectives that are always used to describe products and services, but they’re also empty adjectives. They sound good but don’t actually mean much. When you use these positive empty adjective, you waste space on “filler words” instead of utilizing it to share something meaningful about your product offering. 

Best,” “Top,”  and “Leading,” are all positive adjectives that are always used to describe products and services, but they’re also empty adjectives.

We can use our previous VPN ad as an example here as well –  “Get Best VPN For You.” A consumer who’s on the lookout for a VPN, is obviously searching for the best VPN for their specific needs. Therefore, telling them that they’ll find the best VPN for them, isn’t news whatsoever. 

A more effective way of using the space in our H1 would be to explain why this VPN would be good for them. Copy like ”Highly Secure VPN Providers” or “VPNs for High-Speed Streaming” tells consumers that a VPN could answer their specific needs.  

3. Describe the end goal

A way to prove to consumers that you have the answer to their need, is by describing their end goal. Here are a couple of examples from our Pool Loans campaign and our Wine Clubs campaign. 

Every good host knows how important it is to offer guests good wine. The problem is that keeping your wine fridge fully stocked at all times isn’t so simple—this is addressed in the following ad. In addition to obvious text like “10 Most Popular Wine Clubs”, we used “Always Have Good Wine at Home”, which is the exact desired outcome of those seeking a wine club to join.

In addition to obvious text like “10 Most Popular Wine Clubs”, we used “Always Have Good Wine at Home”, which is the exact desired outcome of those seeking a wine club to join.

“Help make your backyard dreams a reality” is the copy we chose to include in another ad for Top 10 Best Personal Loans. A large chunk of the site’s visitors is looking for the best loan conditions so they can attain their dream of a pool in their backyard. This ad suggests that the consumer’s dream can become a reality with the 10 Best Pool Loans. 

“Help make your backyard dreams a reality” is the copy we chose to include in another ad for Top 10 Best Personal Loans.

4. Reference your customer persona  

A Customer Persona is marketers’ way of looking beyond the numbers and zeroing in on the individual. The persona is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. PPC campaign managers can use their Customer Persona to describe the individuals targeted by their ads. 

The following ads, for healthy meal delivery services, address “people who want to enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals without compensating on flavor”, or “people who’s healthy lifestyle consist of the same old boring food.” Meal delivery services are well aware of the challenges faced by individuals trying to maintain a healthy diet. This type of ad copy proves to customers that brands are aware of their pain points and have a solution for them. 

The following ads, for healthy meal delivery services, address “people who want to enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals without compensating on flavor”, or “people who’s healthy lifestyle consist of the same old boring food.”
Meal delivery services are well aware of the challenges faced by individuals trying to maintain a healthy diet.

5. Tackle emotional/cognitive barriers 

Do you know what’s holding your customers back from placing an order, signing up to your service, or leaving their details? Let’s take the online therapy sector as an example.

Here’s an ad from our campaign for Top 10 Best Online Therapy Sites, which reads: “Skip the Awkward Moments.” This aims to appeal to users who feel the need to speak to a therapist, but are also  intimidated by their first session with a complete stranger. Skipping the awkward moments speaks right what to consumers would like to attain, and they can do so by trying an online session—a way less awkward and intimate experience than a face-to-face session.

Here’s an ad from our campaign for Top 10 Best Online Therapy Sites, which reads: “Skip the Awkward Moments.”

If you don’t know the cognitive or emotional barriers faced by your target audience, it’s well worth it to explore them to later use in your ad copy–and probably other site and marketing copy down the line. This will ease consumers into the next step in your sales cycle. 

Use Those 270 Characters Wisely

The SERP is like a field of beautiful flowers, all competing for the attention of a limited amount of bees. To increase their chances of reproducing, flowers must develop rare shapes and mesmerising colors—much like a PPC ad. If you want more users to click your ad over others, your copy must stand out. 

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