Winning From The Start: Getting Ad Copy Right

Jun 3, 2008 - 3:03 pm 5 by

Moderator: Jeffrey K. Rohrs, Vice President, Marketing, ExactTarger

Speakers: Jason Doran, Yahoo! Benu Aggarwal, CEO, Milestone Internet Marketing Mona Elesseily, Director of Marketing Strategy, Page Zero Media Brian Kaminski, Managing Director, iProspect San Francisco, iProspect David Szetela, Owner and CEO, Clix Marketing

Jason: Ad Group structure is foundation of success

Poor Ad Group structure and keyword selection make up about 90% of failing ads we see.

You're in a dialogue with potential customer how will you respond

Your creative is a 2 second dialogue with searches. Be clear, relevant and call out your competitive edge.

Most clarity issues stem from carelessness. Take some time to review how your creative's will scan. Even simple errors can cripple your ability to compete, think about a lawyer who is spelled "lawer" in his creative. What message does that send to the user?

Be relevant. Be as specific as your search about your offer – match the scope of their interest. Only narrow scope to qualify clicks.

Make it relevant to their query – include when possible

Use alt text to smooth over areas where including the keywords isn't possible.

Determine your competitive edge by looking at the competition. What aren't others saying that you could say to differentiate yourself? Ex: How long you have been in business.

Alternative/Default Text to solve common problems and drive performance

Identify keywords that you think may benefit it may not be your entire ad group.


Understand your market

Search for terms your bidding on. "Free Shipping" Example 3 of the top 5 ads in that example offer Free Shipping. What can you put to differentiate yourself such as "Ship Same Day" Testing is the key and you must differentiate between your competitors and yourself.

MSN Labs offers search funnel tool which allows users to see the terms that are searched before or after a particular query. It gives you an idea about what searches are thinking about and that you can include in your ad copy.

MSN Labs seasonality tool forecasts seasonality patterns and helps you determine when searches are most tuned in to particular messaging. offers a glimpse into your competitors and what their up to.

Create compelling ad copy

Try testing the following:

- Price

- Information that reassures buyers i.e. official site or 24/7 phone support (if applicable)

- Time sensitivity like a deal or offer ending soon

Ad copy should be appropriate "in feel" to the industry category.

Need Thermal Oxidizers? vs. Get Thermal Oxidizers. "Get" worked much better in this case.

Consider the "Buy Cycle"

Are they researching or ready to take a particular action.

Multivariate ad testing

Headlines Offers

Buy words

Urls with www. vs. no www.

Use of sub directory and no using ( vs. is a Free Multivariate ad testing tool:


In sports a lot of times it comes down to the final minutes or even seconds in the game, to determine the winner. We must take advantage of everything in order to get the competitive edge.

Why it matters:

Time Cost

Cluttered Marketplace Campaign Performance Quality Score Competitive Advantage

Avoid the herd mentality where you change everything. Focus on what's working and what isn't.

Think about Testing, Integration and Competition


What makes you special as a company? Price, Service, Selection, Certification, Reputation etc. Emphasize what you do well. What causes clicks and conversions for 1 keyword may not work for another. Don't focus to much on CTR% your purpose is to drive conversions so test your ad copy toward the ultimate conversion.


67% of all searches were driven by an offline stimulus. Copy messaging from print, tv, radio, etc. It doesn't mean direct copy. It's important to be consistent especially when you rank well organically as well.


Always keep an eye on your competition. Just as college and pro teams have scouts in search you need to always keep an eye on your competitors. Think about keywords, Messaging, Deals.


1. Research 2. Ad copy

3. Ad Set-up

4. Manage Ad & ROI

Case Study with Travel:

Ad copy with good description and a compelling offer makes a big difference. They disabled their content network because of low budgets so that gave them more control over some of their other variables. Testing variations of DKI. Initial Bid amount was very high to secure high CTR. High CTR, High quality score resulted in lower CPC eventually.

Even with geo-targeted campaigns, very specific adgroups were used – one for the branded terms and one for non-branded terms. Use negative keywords.


Content Ads Are Different That Search Ads

Ads need to stand out on the content network

Yell, don't whisper

Be more competitive – e.g. free shipping

Test, test, test

Keywords on the content network should describe the kinds of pages where you want your ad to appear. If your selling tires, and you know your target is men who like to hunt, then that should be your focus.

Words in your ad don't have to relate to words in your keyword list.

Content Ads Need to Say..

"This ads for me" – connection to the site There's a reason for me to look closely at the ad Pre-Qualification (optional) – make sure the wrong people aren't persuaded to click Pre-Sale (optional) – describe the action you want them to take on the landing page Call to action (e.g. "Start Saving Now!)

On the content network, quality score is CTR centric. It's better to start your bidding a little higher and then lower over time.


How do you track the impact of the initial part of the buy cycle and then tie it back to the final sale?

One way is by monitoring the relationship between tail terms and the impact that has later on brand terms. The flaw there is that they aren't able to tie back to a specific person however. You can track quality visits which mean the user performs a few actions that are of value to you. It does require some effort.

How accurate are services like

A few of them seemed to like it while the others didn't comment. (Personally I'm not a fan. If you're curious as to how accurate it is, you could start by running a search on your own sites. From what I've seen th...

Contributed by Justin Davy.

NOTE: This coverage is live coverage, there will be typos, grammar issues and more. We try to post the coverage ASAP, which leaves issues.


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