When it comes to creating ads, the objective is to get to the heart of what will drive a potential consumer to click over to your landing page, where they will convert and purchase your product or service. In a perfect world, this would happen at the first touch point. However, studies show that your audience experiences multiple touch points with your brand on their journey to a conversion.
With all the information provided by the search results page (SERP) that is tailored to each user’s specific search query, your ad copy better contain a slice of spice, or your consumers are going to scroll right past. Follow the best practices outlined below, and you’re sure to earn the click on your ads.
The expanded text ad is the new ad format that has recently been rolled out by Google. Rather than the standard two headlines and one description we’ve all grown accustomed to, advertisers may now utilize three headlines and two 90-character descriptions in the new expanded text ads. Wahoo!!
We’ve seen upwards of 212% increases in CTR after creating new expanded text ads in our clients’ campaigns. Utilizing three headlines and both descriptions of expanded text ads allows you to maximize your real estate on the SERP. While I don’t believe “the more the merrier” will always be the case when it comes to using expanded text ads, I do think it’s definitely worth trying out.
TIP: Don’t pause all standard text ads in favor of expanded text ads. Test the performance of the new ads by maintaining a variety of ad lengths: one expanded text ad utilizing all three headlines and both descriptions, a standard text ad with two headlines and one description, and an ad or two in between (three headlines, one description; two headlines, two descriptions).
Serving a variety of ads is a great way to determine which format works best for your particular campaign. Keep your options open.
Having the extra characters is useless if you don’t know what to do with them. An ad can only deliver so much sauce each time it is served; its content must win the fleeting attention of the consumer while competing with the noise of other ads and organic listings on the SERP.
Since ad relevance is a component of keyword quality score, it’s important to write ads that are tailored to a user’s search. By ensuring our clients’ ads include the keywords we are targeting and match landing page copy and search intent, we boost the quality score.
Google rewards high quality scores with lower costs-per-click (CPCs) for those keywords, saving our clients money each time their ads are clicked.
First and foremost, it’s best practice to use the keywords you are targeting in a headline, preferably the first. This signifies to the user that you have an answer to what they are searching for right off the bat. However, refrain from stuffing your ads full of keywords – you’ll want to save space for a unique value proposition and call-to-action (CTA).
We also recommend using different variations of the target keyword so your ad doesn’t become stale to your audience.
Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Next, there’s no time to waste in telling consumers about your unique value proposition (UVP). This should set your business/product apart from the competition and give a compelling reason for someone shopping for your product/service to click on your ad.
If you can personalize the ad by calling out that you have the solution to a particular problem a consumer is having, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Call To Action (CTA)
A CTA is an equally important element to include in ad copy because it nudges consumers into taking a particular action, which helps drive them down the sales funnel. “Learn more!” “Get free pizza!” “Win a vacation far, far away from your kids!” I bet at least one of those resonates with you personally.
Think about what the next step for a consumer would be on their journey to conversion, and guide them towards engaging in that behavior.
The final touch consists of personalizing your ads based on your audience, geo-targeting, or another aspect unique to your campaign. Disclaimer: this requires a degree of creativity to be most effective.
As an example, our ads for one of our clients joke about USPS employees letting their retirement plans get lost in the mail. Click-through rate (CTR) is currently at 12% for those ads, and the numbers speak for themselves.
For display ads, personalize the images to closely resonate with your target audience. We are very visual creatures, with images being more powerful than text alone, so take advantage!
Another effective tactic is choosing an image that stimulates the senses. For example, a skier going off a gnarly jump would be divine for a ski season pass ad. Speaking of season passes, is it ski season yet???
Don’t discount the power of ad extensions. These bits of additional information not only offer more value to users scanning the SERP but also claim more digital real estate, driving other ads and organic listings down the page.
Creating compelling extensions can earn the click just as much as ad copy can. Whenever we add extensions to campaigns to optimize the existing accounts of new clients, CTRs rise significantly. There are many useful extensions to choose from, but here are a few of our favorites.
Sitelink extensions are links under the ad that offers users a shortcut to a specific webpage. Kill two birds with one stone and turn a CTA into a sitelink extension, such as “Request A Free Quote.” For one of our clients, ads with sitelink extensions alone have an average click-through rate (CTR) of over 10%. The kicker? Conversion rates for these extensions are even higher.
Promotion extensions are a newer extension offered by Google Ads that give brands the opportunity to highlight a specific offer or special they are running. These extensions tend to fare even better, not surprisingly, since we all love discounts and free stuff. We’ve seen conversion rates at 50%+ for these extensions. Try putting a special promotion in a headline of an ad as well to see how that affects CTR.
Setting up a location extension will enable local search ads to show for your campaign, which means your ad will be featured as a local business when nearby users search for your services. Local ads are valuable because they show at the very top of the SERP and include information like your business’s address and phone number for consumers to easily access. For instance, one of our clients focuses only on a specific set of zip codes, so it’s even more vital to show up prominently for local searches.
A staple for us is the call extension, which shows your business’s phone number under every ad. What’s more, we have the ability to set up enhanced call tracking for all of our clients. This feature records all calls that come through our ads and can get as granular as showing which keyword drove each call.
Pay-per-click ads are most powerful when all of their elements are thoughtfully optimized. The outcomes don’t always look the same for every campaign, so it’s important to do the testing and review the data yourself to get the best results. You will be pleasantly surprised to find you can learn just as much from campaigns that fail as the ones that succeed!
From ad format and structure, keyword usage, and copy verbiage to UVP, CTA, and extensions, these best practices will help guide you in figuring out the right recipe so you don’t overcook your noodles. I promise you it’s worth the work, but if you do overcook your noodles and need a little bit of help, contact the team over at Ten26 Media! We know how to cook pasta (and write fantastic ads)!