Killer PPC Ads: The Fundamentals

ppc-fundamentalsYour ad is the PPC face to the world that shows who you are, what you sell, and how you want to engage prospects.

The competition isn’t kind. There are likely thousands of advertisers in your industry looking to fill that ad space with clever copy and irresistible offers.

You can stand out! The following best practices and tips can help you begin crafting your own killer PPC ads or improve your current campaigns.

1. Compelling Copy

Ad texts should be written in a compelling way that gets the searcher’s attention. Remember this isn’t just a listing – it’s an advertisement meant to elicit a response.

  • Look at the key messaging in competitor’s ads and determine a way to differentiate.
  • Messaging should be consistent with your campaign goals, for example, branding or sales focus.
  • Messaging should be consistent with offline advertising efforts for credibility and trust. You want prospects to recognize you again in other channels.
  • If a brand is well-known, use the brand in the PPC ad copy. If not, those characters may be better used in communicating other key messages.
  • The headline of an ad is slightly larger font than the body copy, so consider using your strongest selling points there.
  • Include unique features, benefits, and/or offer in the body copy.
    • Free delivery (offer)
    • 30 percent off product (offer)
    • Process paperwork in less time (benefit)
  • If price is a competitive selling point, it can help to include this in the ad. If the price point is higher, consider focusing on quality or uniqueness.
  • A call-to-action (CTA) statement helps to communicate the next step you want searchers to take. Usually this concept is connected with a sense of urgency and timeliness. Since searchers are seeing your ad at the exact moment they express interest (by keyword search), urgency is a powerful concept to utilize with the CTA.
  • Buy Now
  • Sign Up Today
  • Register Now
  • 30% Off Today Only
  • Free 30 Day Trial

2. Formatting

PPC ads can be served in the top and side ad positions, with different formatting. These formatting differences can be critical in the way your ad appears and is understood. For the top ad position, line 1 can be combined with the headline, so its necessary to include punctuation after line 1.


3. Relevancy

Your ad is shown on a page crowded with all types of information, so the more relevant it is to the searchers query, the more likely they are to click. The rate at which they click on your ad, based on how many times it is shown, is the click-through rate (CTR). You want to ensure your CTR is minimally above 1 percent.

A few tips to make the ads more relevant:

  • Keywords in ads to make them more relevant, they will appear in bold.
  • DKI (dynamic keyword insertion) is an advanced tactics that automatically inserts the keyword into the ad. Read up on this to determine if its right for you.
  • Custom URL allows you to add a bit of messaging beyond the primary domain, after the slash, for example This isn’t a real page, but think of it as more of an alias.
  • Landing page and messaging should be consistent and deliver what was promised in the ad. The world’s most perfect PPC ad will fall on its face with a poor landing page.


Ad extensions there is no easier way to pump up the impact of the PPC ad than utilizing ad extensions available in AdWords. There are several types of ad extensions such as location, call, product, but one of the easiest is the sitelinks extensions. This allows additional links in the ads, making the ads more viable and relevant with well crafted links.


4. Read the Editorial Guidelines

After creating great ads, you don’t want to get bogged down with ad disapprovals. Following the rules is an important fundamental of PPC advertising.

Here are a few common guidelines that are easy to miss:

  1. Improper punctuation. Google allows only one exclamation mark in the ad text and it must not appear in the title.
  2. Display URL not matching destination URL with unique landing pages, multi business units and shopping sites. Sometimes the landing page is little different from the primary domain. For example, is not acceptable as the display URL for, although its perfectly fine to use only the part.
  3. Superlatives such as “best” or “#1” are a no-no and not allowed in ad text unless there’s verification by a third party clearly displayed on the ad’s website.

The strategy behind creating a killer PPC ad is complex. Incorporating best practices and testing various elements will give you a better chance of success in today’s competitive marketplace.

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