Pay-per-click ads serve two masters


ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — When you write pay-per-click ads you are trying to serve two masters. The search engines, as you are at the mercy of their quality scoring mechanism for your placement and also the customer, whose attention you are trying to attract.

But it’s not just any customer – ideally you are trying to attract a qualified customer, who is interested in your product or service, and that should always be your primary objective.

Click-through rates should play a secondary role to conversions, as conversions pay the bills, but many advertisers get so caught up in lowering their cost per click and increasing their CTR that they lose sight of the end goal; getting folks to come to your site who are willing and able to buy. It doesn’t matter how many visitors come to your site if they don’t become customers. By writing an attractive ad you are trying to show your customers what is in your store and entice them to come inside.

The first thing to do is search for terms that you are bidding on and see what the top paid ads look like. In many cases, there’s just not going to be too much you can do (in 95 characters) to improve on what has most likely already been tested. You should take some of the same techniques as the best ads and apply them to your ad copy while adding in what differentiates your company – lowest price, higher quality, greater selection, etc. Then of course… test everything.

For your pay-per-click ads to get a good CTR, it is very important to include your keywords in the copy, especially the title. But also try to use keywords in the descriptions as the search engines highlight the keywords and this grabs the customer’s attention. Tests show that this makes consumers more likely to click on your ads as they perceive them as more relevant to their search. Remember to capitalize all your important words as well as the words in your display url so they have even more impact. You can use dynamic keyword insertion where appropriate in titles, descriptions and/or display urls, but make sure your ads still make grammatical sense when the keywords are inserted.

Try using action verbs in the copy like “explore”, “buy”, “save”, “find” etc. Think about your unique selling proposition. Do you sell bulk, luxury, wholesale, quantity, etc? You want people who are ready to buy NOW, so make this clear in your ad copy. No need to waste time and $$ on window shoppers.

Don’t be afraid to try something different from your competitors to catch the customer’s attention. Give a special offer like “25% discount”, “buy 2 get 1 free”, “free shipping”, “free estimate” etc. People love deals and giveaways. Just make sure it matches your product or service.

What info do your customers need to make a purchase decision on this product or service? Put as much of it as you can into your copy. The old adage “the more you tell, the more you sell” definitely applies to pay-per-click ads.

Make your ad groups very specific and mirror the keywords in your ad copy. If you have 1000+ items for sale, it would be tough to have a specific ad group for each one. But you shouldn’t have one generic ad using keyword insertion for your entire product line either. If you want a way to really differentiate yourself from your large competitors this is a good way to do it. Many of your larger competitors may be working with 50,000+ keywords and it’s impossible for them to focus on creating individualized ad copy. A smaller advertiser can really benefit from customizing their ads to make their products or services shine. Structure your campaigns so that keywords are grouped into ad groups that can specifically target the product or service being searched for while keeping them at a manageable level.

Here’s a checklist to keep in mind when writing pay-per-click ad copy:

Focus on your most important benefits and your unique selling proposition. Free shipping, same-day shipping, wide selection, excellent customer service, industry-leading expertise in your field, discount prices, free information, hard-to-find items, awards you have won, etc.

Decide what is most important to your customers and what differentiates you from your competitors and highlight these benefits in your ad copy. If you are creative you may be able to fit more than one benefit in your ad (one in the title and one in the description). Make sure the benefits you highlight in your ad copy, are also featured prominently on your landing page.

Present yourself as the answer to your customer’s problems. When a potential customer types in a query they are looking for an answer to a problem. The solution could be a specific service, product or piece of information. Think about the problems your prospects have, how you can solve those problems, and then determine how you can present the best solution in 95 characters or less. Show the user that you are relevant to their problem by highlighting the correct keywords, and solve their problem by conveying the benefits you have to offer.

Get the keyword in there at least once if possible. Different ad copy will pull customers at different phase of the buying cycle so you MUST split test. If you are not already doing this start now! Set your campaign to show ads evenly and create 2 ads for each ad group. Monitor their performance and delete the ad that has a lower CTR. Then create a new ad and test it against the last round’s winner. Before you delete the bad ones, make sure you test the CTR at

Never lose sight of the primary objective – to convert clicks into conversions, and you’ll be on the right track to creating effective pay-per-click campaigns.

— Express your opinion, comment below.


  1. Mary, my compliments for the article which is written in very clear, understandable way.I would just to add that to reach yor goal with PPC you have to have apropriate tolls too, otherwise you will risk to waste your money, so I recommend Clickmeter which helps me to save my time, money and prevents clikc fraud.

  2. Hi Mary,

    The power of a USP is undeniable. It makes every dollar spent on attracting clicks after you develop it return more than before. You are completely correct in saying that it needs to be present on the landing page and in the ad variation in order to convince the prospect to convert into a client.

    But how do you arrive at one?

    My company has developed a unique process which we call USP Derivation. You can read more about it at our site:

  3. Great post, you may want to consider CPA (cost per action) as well. you said “Never lose sight of the primary objective – to convert clicks into conversions, and you’ll be on the right track to creating effective pay-per-click campaigns.”

    Why not ONLY pay for the conversions?
    Clients who use CPA affiliate marketing models pay ONLY for the clients they actually acquire, generating true ROI on every marketing dollar invested. It’s highly-targeted, low-risk and high-performance marketing at its best.


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