6 tips for better PPC ad copy

Investing time and effort into crafting PPC ad copy that effectively reaches and resonates with your target audience is essential.

This is your opportunity to impress and persuade potential customers to visit their site, opening the door to a potential lead or sale. If the ad copy is lacking, they may be deterred from further engaging with your business.

Here are six things advertisers can do in 2024 to write more effective ad copy for their Search campaigns.

1. Ensure it flows in any order

Following Google Ads’ recent shake-up to how Responsive Search Ad assets can appear in results, ensuring your copy flows in any order is more important than ever.

While we typically expect to see 2-3 headlines and 1-2 descriptions appear as ads, now, if the systems predict that performance will be boosted by deviating away from this structure, then only one headline will appear. The system may also include headlines at the beginning of description lines instead of featuring them at the top line of the ad.

Below is an example of ads for the same advertiser which appeared differently between each search:

  • This result included only one headline and what appears to be another headline, “Food, Bedding, Toys & More,” at the beginning of the description line.
An example of a Search ad featuring only one Headline in the ‘traditional’ Headline space 
An example of a Search ad featuring only one Headline in the ‘traditional’ Headline space 
  • A subsequent search showed an ad with the headline and descriptions used in the same way we’ve come to expect.
An example of a Search ad featuring two headlines An example of a Search ad featuring two headlines 
An example of a Search ad featuring two headlines

What this means is to avoid writing ad copy that requires assets to appear in particular positions or relies on accompanying assets to make sense. For example, writing a single sentence across two headlines requires both to appear and for the full sentence to be clear. 

Similarly, don’t rely on your ads showing 2-3 headlines and 1-2 descriptions in every result to get your key message across, as these many assets are no longer guaranteed to appear. 

Assets can still be pinned to specific positions, but this may impact the system’s ability to combine the most effective assets together into the ad. 

2. Don’t just speak to your target audience, speak like them

Ensuring that the language, terminology and tone of an ad resonates with its target audience is a great way to build rapport and confidence.

For example, you’re promoting a very advanced piece of machinery. In that case, your target audience will be familiar with technical jargon and specifications and actively look for this in the type of ads they engage with.

The target audience will look for trust signals that your company has the product they want and that you know what you’re talking about. Simplified terminology would not be needed, as the target audience speaks and resonates with more technical language.

The example below is for Club L London, an online fashion store that produces garments designed for young women. Their ad copy uses phrases such as “Keeps You Looking Fierce” and “Maximize Your Attitude,” the type of aspirational language that will resonate with their target audience. 

A young woman seeing this ad may feel inspired by the tone of this ad and intrigued to engage with a brand that is “speaking their language,” especially when compared to more generic ads in search results.

A search ad for A search ad for
A search ad for “Club L London” which uses a specific tone of voice to resonate with its young, female target audience

For inspiration, look at reviews across forums and social platforms to see how your target audience speaks and look for ways to interpret that into your ad copy. 

3. Don’t go overboard with your keywords

While your ad copy should be relevant to the theme of the keywords you are bidding on, you should not compromise the quality of the ad by keyword stuffing.

When the same keyword or phrase is repeatedly used in the headlines, descriptions, display URLs and across assets, an ad can appear spammy. People want to see ads that speak to them in a natural tone, not ones written solely to satisfy the system.

For example, the ad below uses “Compare” heavily across its headlines, descriptions and assets. The business name and URL also include “Compare,” resulting in the word appearing eight times in a single ad.

An example of an ad which heavily uses the same keyword across its copyAn example of an ad which heavily uses the same keyword across its copy
An example of an ad which heavily uses the same keyword across its copy

Use keywords/phrases in moderation, and only include them if they fit the message and tone of their ad.

Remember, when using Broad Match terms, it will be almost impossible to identify exactly what search term the ad will be showing for, so the focus should instead be on writing ad copy related to the topic of the ad group and less on the individual keywords themselves. 

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4. Help people to ‘self-qualify’

With ever-increasing CPCs, do what you can to make every click count. One way to do this is by helping people self-qualify through your ad copy.

By outlining criteria such as who the product or service is designed for or price point/spend requirements, you can deter those who aren’t relevant or suitable from clicking on the ad.

Let’s say you’re promoting a piece of software that is only suitable for marketing agencies. This needs to be made clear in the ad copy with messaging such as: 

  • “Inspired By and Created for Marketing Agencies” 
  • “Essential Software for Marketing Agencies” 
  • “Exclusively Available to Marketing Agencies”

This way, searchers can see exactly who the product is designed for and qualify themselves as potential customers.

The example below is for a laser eye surgery clinic, which includes a starting price per eye. This small but subtle inclusion of a price helps potential customers gauge whether this option will be affordable for them.

An ad for a laser eye clinic, which includes a starting priceAn ad for a laser eye clinic, which includes a starting price
An ad for a laser eye clinic, which includes a starting price

Including a price point may deter many users from engaging with the brand any further. Still, the price will be a barrier for them further down the line when they’ve had a consultation. As such, no value has been lost from not having them visit the site in the first place.

5. Focus on what makes you different

With the surge in AI, automatically created assets and conversational experience, most advertisers are getting better at writing ad copy, but unfortunately, it can all end up being very generic.

With the basics covered, you should also think about what would make someone click on your ad instead of another one.

Consider differentiators to include in your content, such as: 

  • Years of experience: “Serving the Local Community for Over 25 Years”
  • Awards: “Voted Nottingham’s Small Business of the Year in 2024” 
  • Customer base: “We’re Proud to Have a 95% Customer Retention Rate” 
  • Accreditations: “Your Local Gas Safe Engineer”
  • Product size: “Over 20,000 Books in Stock”
  • Offer: “Free Delivery on All Orders”
  • Service: “24/7 Live Chat Support” 

Review your competitors’ ads to see what unique selling points (USPs) they mention in their ad copy and if there are any on which you can outperform them.

For example, suppose a competitor offers free delivery on orders over $50. In that case, consider mentioning your offer of free delivery on orders over $25 to help entice potential customers with more appealing delivery options. 

6. Don’t neglect assets

Ad copy doesn’t end with headlines and descriptions. Pay attention to your other assets, such as sitelinks and callouts.

It is easy to “set and forget” when it comes to assets. Still, they play a valuable role in increasing the size of an ad in search results and providing more information about the product or service. Monitor and manage assets alongside your ad copy to ensure they are optimized for efficiency.

Also, ensure the tone and style are consistent throughout your ad and its assets. Otherwise, the messaging can appear clunky, which may deter some searchers. 

Creating search ads that resonate

Crafting compelling ad copy is essential for capturing user attention and driving valuable clicks. Following the tips outlined above, you can create more resonant and effective search ads. With thoughtful ad copy as a foundation, you have a greater opportunity to make a powerful first impression and convert prospects into customers.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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