There's a lot more leverage in writing and testing great ads than a lot of the activities that PPC managers can spend their time on.  For those using AdWords, testing is the answer to almost everything.  But, testing works better if you're able to test things that matter. People get caught testing things like switching lines around or replacing colons with semicolons and they end up creating basically similar ads.

In this episode of PPC Rockstars, David and Howie explained the coined "Checkmate Method" to their listeners that focuses in on a more intense way to write and test your ads against your competition.  Here are some of the highlights...

The most important thing when we make decisions is the context in which we make them.  The decision to purchase is not made upon every possible decision available in the universe.  It's based on what's available in the prospect's environment.  If the prospect is standing in front of a store shelf looking at three options of the same product, they are going to choose the one that they perceive to be the best value for them.  So, a good technique is to present a good value or image for your ad in comparison to those around yours.

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A search results page is the ultimate context for people making decisions about where to go.  When people are searching, they are looking for the best match to solve their problem quickly; not every option available in the universe.  This is why people rarely move on to deeper pages of the search results without clicking at least one link.  People don't spend a bunch of time rationally thinking about all the options on the page and which is the absolute best way to go.  In fact, they spend less time deciding where to go than they would choosing which product to buy in a store because the cost of making a bad decision about where to go is pretty much zero. You can just hit the back button and try again.  Therefore, people typically find and click within a few seconds.

So, what happens in those one or two seconds inside of a searcher's brain that makes them choose one link over another?  The best research tells us that the brain is quickly scanning for relevance looking for the best deal.  Searchers compare everything on the page and decide on what the best ad is to get them to the information they're looking for.

The thing is...advertisers tend to talk about their products/offers while ignoring the context of all of the other options available.  It's a much better idea to write out your ads while looking at a search results page in order to gain the context of the environment your ad is going into.

Even better, it helps if you not only look at the environment your ad is going into, but really analyze it.  This is where the checkmate matrix comes in.  If you fill in this worksheet, you'll have a great organized snapshot of exactly the environment your new ad will be going into.  Also, you'll be able to better identify the holes that exist on the page when you combine it with what your ideal customer is looking for and then you can test ways to match that you see are missing.

For example, on this SERP, there are really no emotional benefits and no long-term benefits to what will be gained.  That may be a great place to start on your journey to dominating that keyword market...and then, of course, the world.


October 1, 2010





Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.

Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.






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Search Engine Guide > Mike Fleming > Testing What the Competition is Missing in Your PPC Ads