Steve’s Top 4 PPC Ad Writing Tips

May 23

Steve’s Top 4 PPC Ad Writing Tips

In PPC campaigns, click through rate is LIFE!  It determines the clicks you get and the cost of them.  Doesn’t get any more important than that.  However, most people don’t pay too much attention to really working at optimizing it.  The key, of course, is to write GREAT ads.  Here are my top tips for doing just that

Tip #1 – Don’t get crazy with stuffing the keyword phrase into the ad! That’s not the way to drastically increase your CTR.

Take a look at the ads for your keyword phrases. Let’s say you’re bidding on “red widgets”, you’ll likely see 80% or more of the ads with headlines that say “red widgets” and then repeat “red widgets” in the ad copy. This used to be the golden rule of PPC advertising, repeat the keyword phrase and when in doubt….repeat it again and again! It’s true that it does appear in BOLD and it does get clicks. You’ll likely get a “so so” ctr and fight everyone else with the same ad copy for all the crumbs.  How about doing something different though? Don’t worry about the keyword phrase. If it makes sense to put it in there, great…if it flows, doesn’t seem forced etc. But, instead focus on the things that WILL get serious clicks.

You should look at every search as a person trying to solve a problem. That’s why they’re searching. They need the product or service they’re trying to find, in order to fix something or to make something better etc. So focus on that and write an ad that answers one of these questions:

What’s the most unique feature of what you’re selling…and how does that relate back to the “problem” people are trying to solve?

What would happen if they DON’T solve their problem?

What mistakes do people make when trying to solve this problem on their own?

What mistakes do people make when trying to choose a product that solves their problem?

Think about these things instead of just repeating the keyword phrase.

Tip #2 – Be BOLD! Go negative!

Some of the best click through rates I have ever gotten were when I went “negative”. There are two ways to do that. First, you could bid on a competitor term and write and ad that says why you shouldn’t go with them. For example, years ago I was marketing a diet program. I noticed that I could get TONS of clicks by bidding on the term weight watchers. So, I wrote an ad that said “don’t just count points”. It did AMAZINGLY well.

Another way to go negative is to bid on the keyword phrases you want to directly target, but go with a “Don’t…” kind of ad. For example, if you’re selling red widgets and you’re bidding on “cheap red widgets”, write an ad that says “Don’t Buy Red Widgets” and then in the ad, say something like “until you see our price and selection”. Many variations on that, but hopefully you get the idea.

Tip #3 – Adgroups – You must pay attention to this.

This is an oldy but a goody…if you’re not getting the click through rate you want, make certain the keyword phrase is broken out into its own adgroup. Only in this way will you be able to write the most targeted ad that will result in the best results.  Break out the keyword phrase into its own adgroup and use tip #1 and Tip #4 to write great ads and test them against each other.

Tip #4 – Don’t just blindly test

I have to confess that I’m guilty of this one at times. The idea here is to not just test for the sake of testing. Don’t just change a comma, or a number etc. but have some kind of logic behind what you’re testing. The best way to do this is to focus on 2 categories: the “type” of ad, the individual features and benefits of your product and service.

The type of ad could be broken down into:

keyword phrase stuffed ad – like we discussed in tip #1
Unique feature ad – What’s a differentiator for your product or service?
Avoiding mistakes ad – Focusing on the mistakes that buyers make when solving the problem on their own or selecting a product or service.
Worst case scenario ad – What happens if they DON’T buy your product or service

As for the individual features and benefits keep track of the options you have when doing each ad type. For example focus on different unique features each ad, or different mistakes people make, or a different worst case scenario.

in this way, you can build up a whole testing matrix with different types of ads and then different variations on each of these types. From there, your testing will be a whole lot “smarter”

If you can master and actually use wach of these tips, you’ll likely double your click through rate.


  1. Jon /


    As always thank you for the useful the useful tips!

    As I start my new adwords campaign this week I will definitely use this page as a reference guide.

    It is bookmarked!

  2. Thanks, Steve – great information as always.

  3. Going negative is really against my natural instincts – but the more I do marketing the more I realise that it is true that people do much more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure.

  4. sheldon /

    Gotcha let’s see If I can do some damage…

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