It’s common to get a little writer’s block when tackling seemingly straightforward pay-per-click ad copy. Many of the ads look the same, and character and other limitations seem to stifle creativity. Remember that PPC advertising is one of the fastest methods to increase brand awareness and revenue, making it crucial to have clear and compelling ad copy.

Balance science with art and stretch your creative muscles to save ad budget dollars and boost conversions by following these best practices for writing engaging pay-per-click advertising copy. With over 15 years of experience helping clients with all the pieces of paid media strategy, including ad copy, we’ve put together actionable advice for writing ad copy that performs. Read on for tips on how to:
  • Know what type of ad you’re writing
  • Know the value you provide your customers
  • Conduct market research
  • Consider the decision-making process
  • Use value propositions with emotive words and phrases
  • Have a catchy, but direct, headline
  • Write a killer call-to-action, and 
  • Implement other best practices

How to Write Compelling PPC Ad Copy

Tip 1: Know What Type of Ad You’re Writing

Ad Copy vs. PPC Ad Copy

Ad copy, as a general term, is a piece of textual information within an advertisement that promotes a product or service to prospective customers on a marketing platform (such as Google). The intent is to let consumers learn more about a business or purchase a product or service.

The primary difference between PPC and traditional advertising is that with PPC ads the advertiser pays the publisher when the ad is clicked. This makes it easier to know who is responding to your ad, how exactly each ad is performing, and make adjustments to improve ad performance over time. Each digital marketing platform has its own set of rules and regulations for types and copy length of ads, so before getting started, understand each channel’s ad types and character and other limitations. This article’s tips apply to the most-used marketing platforms: Facebook, Google Ads, and LinkedIn.

For example; the screenshots below show a 30 character limit for Google Responsive Search Ad headlines, and a 600 character limit for LinkedIn Introductory Text for a Sponsored Content Ad.

sample headline in google with character count and limits circled in red

sample linkedin intro text with character count and limits circled in red

Long-Form or Short-Form Ad Copy

In paid social media, long-form ad copy is often used to incorporate more information into ads. This allows more opportunity to include additional company or offer information, value propositions, and customer testimonials. Search ads on Google and similar platforms use short-form ad copy, which has a limited number of characters and usually consists of a headline, limited space for value propositions, and a call-to-action (CTA).

Between headlines, descriptions, landing pages, buttons, forms, intro texts, and more, it can be confusing to understand what you need and where to start. Each part of ad copy serves a distinct purpose. Understanding these components and writing for them accordingly will improve the ad copywriting process and deliver better results.

TIP 2: Know The Value You Provide To Your Customers

The most crucial step in creating authentic and effective ad copy is crafting a message that emphasizes value to the user and speaks to their needs. Consumers are motivated by ads that answer what we call “WIIFM” or “What’s In It For Me?” Providing value and solutions upfront converts users into customers.

One trick to finding this value is combing your product or service reviews, case studies, or testimonials, looking for your happiest customers to tell you why they purchased and how the product has helped them solve their problems. After finding these, pull out the most compelling responses and use them to guide your ad copy.

Additionally, avoiding words like “we” and “us” and focusing instead on the customer by using “you” helps the viewer insert themselves into the ad and then take the desired action.

Tip 3: Conduct Market Research

Check out the competition to analyze and learn what they’re doing well and what makes you different. Take time to research trends in the digital ad market space. When conducting this market research, take notes and utilize your business sector knowledge to begin to craft what the ideal ad copy might look like. Doing this will make writing ad copy easier by providing context to what’s already out in the market. You’ll be able to create differentiation to help consumers understand why your product or services are preferable.
Some questions to ask:

  • What value do you deliver that your competitors don’t?
  • Are you running any special promotions or offers?
  • Are certain words or phrases associated with my product or service essential to include?

Incorporate unique selling points, differentiators, and industry language into your ads to show customers why they should choose you over your competitors.

TIP 4: Consider the Decision-Making Process

Just like the language you would use to introduce yourself to a stranger is much different than how you would converse with a friend or coworker, it is wise to consider the stage and familiarity your potential customer has with your product or brand when they are viewing your ad. Catering to various consumers by creating different ads to reach audiences within the different levels of the buyer’s funnel fosters a relationship, removes friction and confusion for users, and allows you to present various value propositions.

TIP 5: Use Original Value Propositions with Emotive Words and Phrases

Relating to and expressing emotion is what makes us human. Nothing motivates quite like an emotional connection. Making someone feel something while also demonstrating value improves ad conversions.

TIP 6: Have a Catchy, But Direct Headline

The headline is usually the first element of an advertisement to be noticed and read, so making every word count is essential. A great tactic is to align the text in the headline with industry-related keywords that users will be searching in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). Consumers are more likely to interact with ads that appear most relevant to their search.

Headlines are short by design, so keep them brief and direct and use “|” to separate phrases to make reading easier. It’s helpful to think of headlines like bumper stickers: ideally, keep them short enough to stand out and be understood. Similar to bumper stickers, people viewing headlines are busy and moving quickly. Character length can vary like speed limits; on Google, headlines are short allowing only 30 characters for RSA (responsive search ad) headlines, Facebook ads allow 40, and LinkedIn allows for longer-form headlines at 200 characters.

If applicable, test adding prices, statistics, and percentages to stand out and provide specifics to attract customers.

TIP 7: Write a Killer Call-To-Action

The most common mistake we see in ad copywriting is that the ads lack a great CTA. Often, changing or testing this element improves performance almost immediately. The CTA is one of those elements that’s usually the last thing writers think about but directly influences conversion rates. The best calls-to-action motivate audiences to act (click) right away, are concise, and indicate the reader can get something concrete and helpful by clicking, whether that’s “Talk To An Expert,” “Register Today,” or “Buy.” Once you’ve caught a potential customer’s curiosity, it’s essential to lead them directly to a product/service page to deliver on the value you’ve demonstrated throughout the rest of the ad. Be sure those landing pages have CTAs, also, for maximum performance.

(un)Common Extras for Ad Copy Best Performance

Achieve uncommon results by going the extra mile after you’ve written your ad copy by taking these additional actions.

Activate Ad Extensions 

In Search ads, ad extensions give consumers more information and allow them to act right from the search results. Ad extensions enable additional visibility and provide consumers with information and the opportunity to get precisely what they’re looking for. There are many types of ad extensions so choose which one(s) make the most sense for your business. Below is an example of some sitelinks that take the user to additional information after they have searched for “eyeglasses” as a way to move them down the buying funnel: 

Experiment with Different PPC Ad Copies

While there are winners and losers, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for ads. Test different ad copies to discover what connects and what doesn’t with customers. Using different language and variations can connect with different types of users.

How to Create an Ad Copy Test?

A/B testing is one of the best approaches to evaluating pay-per-click ads and how to maximize their effectiveness. A/B testing is done by comparing the performance of two or more ads inside the same ad group, with one variable altered each time. The variables in an ad copy test are the text variations, whether those variations are in the headlines, descriptions, or CTAs. A/B testing enables marketers/businesses to develop hypotheses and learn which specific aspects of their ads are performing well or are not with customers. For example, during an ad copy test we did recently, it was clear from the results shown below that ad copy B was more effective than ad copy A, so we stopped using ad copy A for that client and moved to ad copy B. We continue to test other elements of the copy for this client’s ads to find additional improvements for better performance. 
chart showing results of an ad copy test

How (Un)Common Logic Can Help Businesses Create Successful Ad Copy

Users respond to ads tailored to their specific interests; therefore, it’s critical to craft a message within the ad copy that connects with your target audience. To make ads that connect, demonstrate your product value, know where you stand in the market, meet the user where they are, be human, be direct, and motivate action.

Ad copy is just one piece of the digital marketing puzzle and the best ad copy is most successful when it is part of a well-thought out paid search or paid social strategy. (un)Common Logic has extensive experience with the ins and outs of PPC marketing and the know-how to deliver excellent results to clients.

Contact us to learn more about the (un)Common Logic approach to digital marketing, including paid media best practices, and more! 

Enjoyed reading about these PPC ad copy tips? Read more about our approach to Facebook ads for B2B and B2C, automated bidding for paid media, and how we doubled a client’s revenue by expanding their ad types (among other things).