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I've found when managing Pay Per Click (PPC), that it's a channel, much like SEO, in that it attracts intelligent people to manage accounts and it can quickly become extremely complex. Alternatively, it's easy to experiment in an
No doubt you will have seen this with your own PPC accounts, it quickly gets to a point where someone says, "we will have to restructure the account". It is inevitable in an environment with so much technology, data and ability to easily / quickly test. The motto for effectiveness in messaging though is, "Keep It Simple, Stupid" and I think this applies to PPC ad. The 5 tips below do not get into the intricacies of technology or copywriting, but instead aim to remove the blocks and limitations of technology and give you a process for a more creative approach to text-ads. Technology can come in afterwards. As my First 10 & Smart Insights colleague Dan Bosomworth would say at this point, "the tail should not wag the dog".
Test the points below on your top 3-5 ad-groups or campaigns, depending on your account size and see how your adverts perform, it should force a different kind of approach / thinking to your adverts.
Remember your prospects typically have a problem, a question, they are hunting for something. You are a potential brand / business that can help answer problems and questions, provide solutions and aid in making the right choice. But your advert has to firstly be considered from that customer's world view. For your main keywords write down their pain points, questions, motivations, feelings, demographics before starting the copywriting.
Action point: List per AdGroup / campaign (depending on the size of your account) the pain points, questions, motivations of your potential customers.
To get the click! That's it, pure and simple. If you're not getting the clicks you can't convert on the site, you're going to harm your quality score and so pay more. Your advert doesn't and cannot say everything.
So getting across what's important and having confidence in your landing page (with point one in mind) to be able to do the rest and engage that user is an absolute must. This is a difficult ask, as you want to make sure you say enough and yet as already mentioned it cannot get everything across, you have to prioritise and commit to a primary message.
Action point: Separate the objective of your ad-text & landing page. List them both out to aid discussion about what best fits in a text-ad.
PPC adverts are restrictive and challenging. 25 character titles, 35 character descriptions, display URLS and you have 10 things you want to say, 5 ways of saying it and who knows which one will be the best?! It can be mind-boggling. But, with point one and two well and truly understood you should focus on writing long hand what message you believe you need to get across. In fact, write 3 alternative ways of saying the same message.
Action point: Write in bullets or short sentences the message you wish to get across in your advert, ideally write several versions per ad-group.
Reflect back on your actions up until this point, it is very easy, especially if this is a PPC account you spend a lot of time in to start to include features of your product / service in the adverts. If you think back to point one, features don't relate to pain points or questions. Benefits do however!
Action point: Check back through your adverts and adjust with benefits not features in mind. If you are not clear write two lists, features and benefits. Then refine your adverts.
PPC adverts are not a one person job. It requires different skills and world views to get them right. After you have finished with points 1 > 4 you should pass to a colleague to take a pass through and evolve them forwards. At this point you would then, either between you or using a copywriter, aim to get your work so far working in the practical constraints of a Google text ad (good luck we are all counting on you).
Action point: Pass your work to press to another team member and refine into text ads you are going to trial either between you or with a copy writer.
In a future blog post I will look at a more technical and practical guide for PPC adverts bringing in how to make best use of dynamic keyword insertion and the like. In the mean Expert members can check section 5 of the 7 Steps guide to Google Adwords that can be found here
It is a process. Just like the direct marketing of old, PPC is a channel focussed on data, it is refined based on data, tested based on data, turned up, down, on or off based on data... It is never done or complete, always testing based on priorities, never ending!
By Chris Soames
Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.
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