PPC ads need compelling copy. How do you write it?

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads have evolved to become one of the most popular digital marketing strategies in the world. You can start with minimal training, take advantage of some of the most popular platforms on the internet, and see an ROI that exceeds the ROI of most other digital marketing strategies.

PPC ads need compelling copy. So how do you spell it?

People have built lucrative careers by targeting the right audiences and putting together the best advertising offering strategies. But one of the most critical factors for success is the quality of your copy. Your ad copy needs to be persuasive and compelling if you want your strategy to be successful.

So what does it take to create that compelling copy?

Why copy is so important

You probably have an intuition why ad copy is so essential for PPC ads. But let’s examine the subject in more detail, because there are many facets to the function of the PPC ad copy.

  • Standing out. Millions of online stores and other businesses actively compete for consumer attention. These companies are competing for ad space, and almost every SERP is loaded with at least some obvious ads. If your ad is too similar to these competitors, your prospects will hardly notice. Compelling copy is your best tool to stand out and get your attention right away.
  • Persuade an audience. More obviously, copying is necessary to persuade your audience to act, and on multiple levels. How do you convince them that you are a trustworthy brand and that you are going to be true to your word? How do you convince them to take the next step, which is usually to click on the ad? Finally, once they get to your website, how do you convince them that your product is worth buying?
  • Maintain your level of quality. Don’t forget that Google and other PPC ad platforms keep a backend “quality score” so they can notice when an advertiser is spamming or trying to scam an audience (and remove them appropriately). Writing good copy isn’t just about making your audience happy; it’s also about appeasing these platforms and keeping your quality score as high as possible. This will give you more consistent access to the platform and potentially help you in your bidding strategies.

Elements of a compelling copy

So what is that makes PPC copy persuasive?

  • Appropriate orientation to the audience. If you write an ad that is meant to attract literally everyone, I can personally guarantee you that it is going to fail. This is because these broadly targeted ads should be relevant to any particular audience. Instead, it’s better to focus on a specific target audience and write your message specifically for them. You will inevitably alienate a part of your audience that might be interested in your product, but the benefit of being highly relevant to that audience far outweighs the costs.
  • Uniqueness. Remember, there are literally millions of companies competing with you. On top of that, I have seen literally millions of advertisements in your time for most internet users. So if you say the same thing as everyone else, or if it seems like you just copied and pasted someone else’s work, people will ignore your ad and move on.
  • Specificity Don’t be vague with your ad. This is a trap that many new copywriters fall into; They think that being evasive and intentionally lazy draws people to the ad. But in reality, this is disorienting and alienating. Instead, be as specific as possible. Instead of saying something like “Improve your life by starting right now. You will never look back! Instead, say something like, “Sleep better with this 10-minute nightly routine.” Phrases like “improve your life” can mean almost anything.
  • Simplicity and conciseness. Your ad can become bloated and unmanageable in your effort to add more detail. Usually it is best to focus on clarity and conciseness. Simple ads are more likely to persuade people into concise ads that are much faster to process. Write down a few variations of the ad copy and then start clipping them. What elements are most important to include and which ones can be dropped? You will most likely have to cut out a lot of lint.
  • A reasonable promise. We have all seen sensational advertisements promising the world. They claim that they can help us earn millions of dollars or get a job working from home for just two hours a week for a full-time salary. Most people see an offer like this and know instantly that it is not real. Even if your offer is really that good, you will somehow turn people away by describing it. Instead, focus on a reasonable promise that you can offer and keep.
  • Honesty and transparency. You don’t want to sound like a robot. So inject more honesty and transparency into your PPC ads; Only make statements that you can verify and realistically show your own personality.
  • Emphasis on low risk. The internet is home to countless legitimate and ethical businesses, but it’s also home to a ton of scams, despite Google’s best mitigation efforts. If you want to persuade more people to click on your ad, emphasize your low risk. You can do this in a number of ways, like mentioning a money back guarantee or offering a free trial for a specific number of days.
  • A sense of urgency. Procrastination is deeply ingrained in human DNA. If you give people a reason to delay their decision, they will make it and possibly delay their action indefinitely. Don’t take this risk; instead, convey some kind of urgency. Stating that the offer is for a limited time or implying that there are limited quantities of product available will often motivate people to take action.

Writing copy

Now for the actual “writing” part. What does it take to write this persuasive copy?

  • The solopreneur approach. You’ve already learned some of the basics just by reading this guide. If you have prior copywriting experience or any type of writing or communication experience, you may be able to manage a small account on your own. As your brand scales and more issues arise, this will become increasingly difficult.
  • Internal workshop. If you have a team of marketers or creative minded people, you can work internally with some of the ads you are planning. It is worth having a diverse collection of minds working on this problem; This way you can find some genuinely original angles.
  • Self-employed. Working with freelancers is easier than ever, thanks to the prevalence of remote workers. With a simple search, or using an independent platform, you can find thousands of copywriters and PPC experts willing to write ad copy on your behalf for a small fee.
  • A PPC agency. If you have a massive campaign to manage or if you just want to make sure you get the best value for your money, a PPC agency is probably your best option. PPC agencies are packed with digital marketers from different backgrounds and with other specialties, so you will always have amazing people on your team.

The importance of experimentation

Here’s another important note on PPC ad writing: It takes experimentation. You can read about the best PPC ad campaigns ever or study the best work of the best copywriters, but there is no guarantee that their lessons will translate into effective strategy. Consumers are too unpredictable and markets are too fickle for a single ad writing strategy. Instead, it is essential to test many different variants of the ad text you are writing.

Only through experimentation will you be able to determine the most relevant and persuasive copy elements for your audience. Measure and analyze your results consistently and you’ll be in a much better position to optimize your copy.

Image credit: RODNAE Productions; Pexels; Thanks!

Timothy carter

Revenue Director

Timothy Carter is the chief revenue officer for the Seattle digital marketing agency. SEO.co, DEV.co AND PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, developing and expanding sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive the growth of websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach, preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee. Follow him on Twitter @TimothyCarter


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