“This is the fifth out of a five-part series trying to teach SME business owners on Google’s Adwords Advertising, understanding terms, processes and tips on how to efficiently do ad campaigns without blowing your entire budget. Find the other parts in the links at the end of the article.”
We’re in the culmination of our series on Google ads and the last and maybe one of the most important topics that you need to learn is writing ad copy. Taking advantage of the limitations of the platform, using effective copy and sufficient testing results to ads that work. Small tweaks here and there make all the work you put into it all the more valuable.
Search Ads and Their Parts
Let’s start with what every tutorial touches on: what does a search ad look like? The Expanded Text Ads (ETA) format has been implemented by Google on January 31, 2017, providing more flexibility to its customers.
The image above is one of the more complex ads around, but you will probably see this type a lot on the top of your search engine results pages. Here are the most basic parts that you will always need to have in your writeup.
Headline 1 (30 Characters)
The most important part of your ad copy. The first headline is a 30-character piece that is the eye catcher of your ad. It tells your audience that this is what you are looking for. It tells Google that this is relevant. The headline needs to be strong, extremely disruptive and pushes us to keep reading the entire ad.
You want this to be evocative, use your keywords and maximise your key selling point. This can play out on the clinical side – using relevant keyword phrases or go creative and ask a question that may resonate with your potential clients.
Headline 2 (30 characters)
The double down. Headline 2 is the second 30-character piece is there to amplify the initial message, catch people’s emotional value to assist in the general call to action. Much like how headlines work, this can be used to further expand on what headline 1 is trying to tell.
You would want this to contain discounts, your offers, price points, goals or any value proposition that you can try to angle yourself as the “product or service that your need.” Remember that when using a language like Japanese, Chinese or Korean, Google officially counts each character as a double length character.
The Description (80 Characters)
If the headlines are the eye catchers, the description is the meat of your offer. You need to be creative to market your products and provide the advantages that the customer will get if they get your offer. This is where talk to the audience and push them to act, click and go for the goal you have set them to do.
Limited to 80 characters, you would want to use this like a traditional advertisement – be creative, be artistic, communicate directly to their emotions and tell what rewards they get when they go with your business.
Our general advice for the description is to be straight-forward and frank whilst showing the reader that there’s benefit for them in what you give and what they need to know. Feature a clear call to action and a message that matches what they will see on your landing page.
Remember that your message here should be congruent to what they will see on your pages. What you sell here should reflect what they will find on your site.
URL Path (2 Paths, 15 characters each)
URL Paths are optional and are typically used for landing pages other than the home page. The thing is, you would want to use your ad in directing a potential reader to a landing page that contains specifically what they are looking for. This is not always possible with a home page, especially if you provide different products and services.
The two 15-character paths are great for a 3 level domain and remember to utilise high value and relevant keywords in this path.
Optional but Powerful Ad Extensions
Call extensions and sitelink extensions are part of the advanced parts of Google Adwords and are optional to an ad copy – but are equally important. Extensions provide a more dynamic way to make your advert more desirable. Through ad extensions, you can add your contact number, seller ratings, quick links to important parts of your site and even categories.
There’s a lot of advantages that these give and teaching how to maximise them warrants an entirely new article altogether.
There’s some of them that are essential to a lot of small businesses, like the call extension if you want to get calls immediately or the rating extension so you can show that the product has been rated by your customers.
Writing Your Advert Copy
There are crucial practices that you should do in order to get the most out of your ad copy – mostly testing what works and what does not. A lot of adverts tend to fluctuate in value depending on the demographic concerned and the target audience. Here’s a few of the basic best practices that you would want to use for your ads.
What is AB Testing?
A/B testing is basically creating two or more ad copies that use different elements, checking to see what works and what does not.
Since there is no way for you to know what your target audience truly values in ads, you would want to have two ads running parallel with opposite elements and different styles. This allows you to describe and isolate what works and what doesn’t work, leave the elements that do not work, try again with the elements that you think worked and try again.
A/B testing has a lot of variables and even nuances to it – from target demographic, type of copy, ad style, what elements are present, what elements are not, time period when the copy was done and so on.
Whilst there are no tried and tested formulae, there are elements that you want as benchmarks to see if your adverts work.
Keyword Relevance vs Creative Writing
The first element of A/B testing is to see if creative writing is preferred by your audience over solid keywords. Keyword relevant headlines are typically used for relevancy rather than selling the copy – and a lot of people like this style. People would typically click on the first one that they see or the first advertisement that shows the words that they think fits in their head.
There is, however, an audience that are very discerning with their copy – typically people who are still early into their buying cycle or just a very creative approach that grabs your attention. Testing both is important in your discovery.
Pricing vs No Pricing in Your Text
You would also want to see if your audience will react to adding prices in your copy – specifically when trying to filter your audience. The effect of prices varies depending on the value of the product you’re marketing.
If you are selling luxury items, the prices are effective to remove the possibility of any tyre kicker. Since you would want to have only the qualified people clicking your ad, this gets you the right audience that you want.
The price value can also be used, however, to provide an affordability aspect to your product – especially for products where people typically have misconceptions about pricing options like jewellery, solar panels and the like.
Making A/B Testing Worth It
There are more types of A/B testing that you can do – but to generalise, you would want to mix and match different elements and see what clicks with your audience. Run each one of them for a month and see the data that you get.
Measure the conversions, sales and visits each ad generates and look at what works. Eliminate what doesn’t work and from there, try to redo the success of your previous ad. Combine successful elements in each ad and keep testing.
If you want to be safe, use the first headline to add the relevant phrase that people are looking for within your industry, then use the second headline as a creative call to action or a branded CTA.
Quick Tips for an Effective Ad Copy
Now that you know how to do some cursory A/B testing, there are a few quick and easy tips that you would need to write an effective copy. We will go into detail about these on another article, but here are some helpful ones.
Show What Makes You Unique
It’s important that you always talk about what makes you unique from the rest. Your unique selling proposition or USP should put you above everybody else. Just like TV ads, nobody cares for an advert that is just like the others.
You need to tell what you offer that benefits them. Tell them how you solve their troubles. Show them that you are the right business for the job by using a description that rouses action and clicks.
Add Your Discounts, Offers and Pricing Options
Whilst we just talked about testing if there is a need for prices to be added on your copy, providing offers, discounts, coupons and qualifiers are good to help people who are into the middle parts of their buying cycle.
People tend to check Google for purchase decisions and if you have a limited time offer, you might as well tell so you can use it to your advantage.
Cater to Your Mobile Audience
Mobile customers are amongst the fastest growing audience on Google – which is especially important because, unlike desktops, there’s only limited ways they can block off ads. This means that you have the opportunity to get their attention that is put on their small screens.
Make yourself easy to contact by providing your NAP (name, address, phone number) through location and call extensions. Offer specials that are exclusive or well suited to mobile users. Always make sure that your site is mobile friendly.
Create Consistent Messages in Ad Copy and Landing Page
Your landing page is an important website component that tries to funnel the customer towards a conversion or a purchase, so it’s important that your ad copy is consistent with the message that you provide in your pages.
This does not only reflect professionalism but also the ability to stay consistent and have a unified front with your audience. What you need to keep in mind is that if the reader clicks your ad, they’re expecting a message similar to what they clicked.
There’s so much more nuance to Google Adwords than what we just discussed, but those are the basics that you need to understand. Next week, we will provide a how-to guide on how to navigate your Adwords account and how to start your first ad.
Why did the five part series come before the how-to? That’s because we want to equip you with the right information before we even get started. There’s no point in learning how to set up an ad if you don’t know how to write an ad copy in the first place.
Knowing the terms, the budgeting and the risks involved in Google Adwords empowers you to start on the right foot, rather than go in uninformed.