Once a PPC account is set up and running, a good account manager is always looking for ways to improve results to better reach the account's marketing goals. One such way is to test different types of ad messages to gain insights into what attracts your industry's customers to your products/services so that you can better understand and communicate with them. Testing Wheel.png Some of these message types include:

  • Numbers/Prices/Discounts - If price is a benefit of what you're offering compared to your competitors, then it could give you an advantage for those users looking for cheaper items. If you have discounts, users may be looking more for value than just the lowest price.
  • Informational - Some users know exactly what they want and are just looking for the best match. Communicate exactly what you're offering so that there can be no mistake and filter out irrelevant visitors while attracting highly relevant ones.
  • Questions - Make them think about what it is they are looking for.
  • Testimonials and Reviews - establish trust in the user, especially for items where trust is important.
  • Negative Messages - use fear to attract the click - "If you don't click here, you will be really sorry because..."
  • Different Display URLs - this tells the user where they'll end up if they click and they want to know that they are going to the right place.
  • Location-Based - Users may be looking for a specific geographic area in which to do business and would be more comfortable with a company that is operating there.
  • Dynamic Keyword Insertion - this is a function in AdWords that allows you to insert the user's exact keyword query into an ad at a specific point. It can be important to users to see their exact query. It can tell them that you are offering exactly what they're looking for.
  • Shipping - Free shipping can be important to many people and may be a big benefit for your specific product.
  • Features - Communicate what your product/service will enable the customer to do that meets and/or exceeds their expectations.
  • Benefits - Tell the user ways in which their life will improve and how this value is greater than the cost to obtain it.
  • Unique Selling Propositions - Communicate how your product, service, or company is uniquely distinct and offers something important that no one else does or can offer.
  • Guarantees - Assure them there is no possible way they could be hurt by doing business with you.
  • Symbols - Substitute "&" for "and" or "+" for "plus," etc. to help your ad stand out uniquely on the page.
  • One-line vs. Two-line copy - Make your ad read like a sentence or break it up into distinct thoughts.
All of these are used in an attempt to find what resonates with your customers the best. What is it they are looking for from their online shopping experience? Find out and then service them with exactly that.

There are two main ways to test your ads:

1. Exclusive - You test different ad types against each other. You might test a "Features Only" ad against a "Benefits Only" ad.
2. Mix and Match - You take elements that have performed well in other ads and mix and match them to try and find the best-performing combination.

No matter what ad message you are using, always make sure the ad resonates the same message as the landing page. This is because the ad sets the expectations for what will be found after the click. If this is different than is communicated in the ad, you are likely to very high bounce rates and low conversion rates. This landing page match lets the user know they're in the right place after they click on the ad.

As you test, you will find messages that work better for your customers and you should more easily reach your marketing goals for your PPC account. In my next post, we'll talk about how to measure your ad test results.
June 16, 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 > Use Ad Testing to Help Reach Your PPC Marketing Goals