Writing effective PPC ads is part art and part science. There are formulas and best practices that you can follow, but sometimes, not following best practices can work even better. The trick is to gain insight into why certain things work or don’t work. In marketing, we call these marketing insights and they tend to be unique for each industry niche and change over time.
Having said that there are some things that generally work well and are transferable to different markets. That is where science comes in, it is important to test every hypothesis, and retest to confirm the validity of your conclusions. Writing effective ads is about 20% creative and 80% science. I used to think it was 99% formulas and science, but have seen certain creative ideas that just blew away the traditional formulaic best practice approach, of course, confirmed through testing and re-testing.
So for my agency I have settled on an approach that works well for me that involves a collaborative process where a small team of writers researches the market, identify important value propositions, exchange, and compare notes, brainstorm creative ideas, then edit and re-edit each other’s ideas until we have great candidates for testing. Next, we test everything in an environment that is designed from the ground up as a marketing experimentation platform. Creative, out-of-the-box ideas are tested against best practice formulas, and we always let the results teach us what works for the market.
We also do something that some agencies never bother to do, in addition to tracking CTRs and conversions, we also track Quality Scores over time to see how we compare to our competitors. PPC is a highly competitive marketing platform that requires a superior strategy and constant monitoring. You cannot get by on just decent work, it must be better than the competition or else they will likely crush you in the end.
Here are some general guidelines and best practices for PPC ads.
- Attention-grabbing headlines.
- Search/Response – include highly relevant keywords
- Display/Branding ads need something unusual to catch the user’s attention.
- Include value propositions that resonate with your audience.
- Include a compelling Call-To-Action
- Try telling a story where possible
- Use quantifiable data wherever you can.
- Be as specific as possible, avoid general or ambiguous concepts.
- Test multiple concepts as well as small variations of similar concepts
- Never stop testing new ideas
These are just the most basic fundamentals and can get you going on the right track. There are many details to learn on how to implement these fundamentals properly, so think of these as basic in nature and you can learn more intermediate and advanced concepts after you have begun to master the basics.