5 Tips for Writing Winning PPC Ads

charlie-sheen-winningAsk me about PPC tips and I’ll talk your ear off 'til tomorrow. But as busy marketers, you want some quick, high-impact, winning tips that you can apply today.

So here’s a handful to get you started:

  1. Use clear, easy to understand language.
  2. Use vivid, emotional language.
  3. Focus on both the keywords and, more importantly, the intent behind them.
  4. Have a clear, compelling offer and call-to-action.
  5. Don’t go overboard with abbreviations and truncated phrasings.

Whereas each one of these tips deserves a column on its own, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be tested or applied separately.

When combined in the test below, it’s no surprise that they produced a whopping 313 percent increase in the ad’s CTR.


So what are the key differences between ads?

  • The winning ad uses the clearer, more vivid, and un-abbreviated “Do It Yourself SEO” instead of the losing ad’s jargon-y, abbreviation-happy “SEO for SMB” or even worse “DIY SEO”
  • Notice the difference in saying “Our SEO Tutor is Easy & Affordable” versus “SEO Tutor is an east, affordable tool.” The first phrase gives a more personified touch to the tool, as if it were a real live tutor. Check out my last column if you want to learn more about using personification in PPC ads
  • The winning ad makes a clear, compelling call-to-action with “Begin Your Free Trial Online Now,” while the losing ad makes no offer and has no call-to-action whatsoever. Not to undermine the intelligence of searchers, but it’s important not to assume that they will take your intended action once they reach the landing page. Let them know in advance what you want them to do.
  • The winning ad uses the keyword phrase in the URL whereas the losing ad doesn’t, a simple practice proven to increase the relevance of your ads and give searchers a glimpse of what to expect on the landing page before they click your ad.

So there you have it – five simple tips that can all be easily incorporated in one ad. If it increased CTR by 313 percent for an SEO tool, imagine what it could do for your ads!

And if that doesn’t produce winning ads for you, feel free to try Charlie Sheen’s tips instead:


About the author

Named one of the top 20 most influential PPC experts by PPC Hero, Noran is a digital marketing consultant, columnist, speaker and instructor. She is a board member of the local Los Angeles chapter of SEMPO, as well as an Associate Instructor of the Master Certification in Conversion Optimization Course at Market Motive.

She specializes in analyzing the PPC customer journey, creating buyer momentum and optimizing their experience from click to conversion. Her passion for understanding today's customer is a key driver to her analysis of industry trends and keeping up with the latest in PPC, voice of customer, analytics, and conversion optimization.

In addition to writing for publications such as SES Magazine and ClickZ, Noran is also a frequent speaker at the SES conferences, the Internet Marketing Conference and the Online Marketing Summit.

When Noran is not online, she is either traveling or diving with sharks in the Red Sea.