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June 3, 2008

Winning From The Start: Getting Ad Copy Right

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And suddenly I’m in PPC land and totally bitter about it. I had such a sweet seat on the Organic side and had to give it up. I’m knocking people over to reclaim it later. Huzzah!

Jeffrey K. Rohrs is moderating this morning’s panel of speakers that includes Benu Aggarwal (Milestone Internet Marketing), Jason Dorn (Yahoo, Inc.), Mona Elesseily (Page Zero Media), Brian Kaminski (iProspect) and David Szetela (Clix Marketing).

Up first is Jason Dorn.

When it comes to creating compelling ads there are three things to focus on.

  1. Ad Group Structure: Poor ad group structure and keyword selection make up about 90 percent of the failed creatives. The keywords have to match what’s being said. Don’t target the term [mothers day] when your ad is about dog poop removal. The more numerous and dissonant the keywords in a given ad group, the more difficult it will be to write compelling creative or to receive meaningful dialogue.
  2. Thinking about your engagement as a dialogue with the searcher: A searcher does a query and asks a question. You have two seconds to make an impression. It is crucial that your creative looks like you spent time and energy creating it. It should be clear, relevant and call out a competitive edge. Most clarity issues stem from carelessness. Even simple errors can cripple your ability to compete. Consider the lawyer who spelled it as “lawer” in his creative. What message does that send?
  3. Tactical Stuffs: Be as specific as your searcher about your offer – match the scope of their interest. Only narrow scope to qualify clicks. Make it relevant to their query. Use Alt Text to smooth over areas where including the keyword is not feasible.

Call out a competitive edge. Your competitive edge isn’t always what you think it is. Determine what it is by looking at the competition. If everybody is talking about the same “edge”, than it’s not an edge. A differentiator is only important when it’s important to the searcher. What “bonus” is in it for them?

Use all the tools at your disposal to win.

Mona Elesselly is up to look at the agency side. She asks if people are enjoying the Seattle rain. Actually, Mona, yes, yes I am.

Understanding Your Market

Go in the search engines and search for the terms that you’re bidding on. Look at the ads actually coming up. You want to differentiate yourself. Do they all have free shipping offers? Play with your wording and see if it makes a difference. Testing is key and you really want to set yourself apart from your competition.

Some tools to use:

  • MSN Labs Search Funnel Tool: Allows users to see the terms that were searched before or after a query. If someone looks for “sofa”, you may find that after they searched for “furniture”, “chair”, etc. It tells you what other terms to include in your creatives
  • MSN Labs Seasonality Tool: Get a gauge as to when consumers are most tuned in to getting marketing messages.
  • SpyFu.com: Find out how much competitors are spending on advertising. The tool provides a lot of information.

Tip 1: Cater Ads to Different Buyer Needs — Try testing price, information that reassures buyers, and time-sensitive offers.

Tip 2: Ad copy should be appropriate “in feel” to the industry category.

Tip 3: Consider the “buy cycle”

Bonus Section: Multivariate Ad Testing

Multivariate testing tests many variables at one time. She uses A/B testing to get a feel for tone and positioning.

Things to Test:

  • URL with www vs URL with no www
  • URL with sub domain vs URL with no subdomain
  • Headlines
  • Offers
  • Bug words like “try”, “get”, etc.

Free MT ad testing tool: www.adcomparator.com

Brian Kaminski is next.

If you think about it, in the world of competitive athletics the difference between winning or losing is a very small margin. Given the overall competitiveness of that landscape, it’s not surprising that athletes go so far to get any advantage they can. He’s not suggesting that you cross the line, but do take advantage of every opportunity that’s out there to make things work for yourself.

Why does it matter?

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Cluttered Marketplace
  • Campaign Performance
  • Quality Score
  • Competitive Advantage

Look at improving avoid the herd mentality. It’s like watching a group of small children play soccer. If you keep an eye on the ball, you can see every kid on both teams. You want to look at the big picture. Driving awareness, the conversion funnel, the landing experience, etc, all play a part in your direct goal. Avoid the herd mentality of changing everything.

Things to think about: Testing, integration and understanding your competition.

Testing: Practices makes perfect. Understand WHY people choose you. What is your UVP that resonates with them? Test for desired outcomes. Don’t become too concerned with your click through rate. You’re there to get conversions. Test your ad copy towards the ultimate conversion.

Integration: Capture the demand generated. Make sure it’s consistent with what you’re doing in other channels. That doesn’t mean using the same exact copy.

Competition: Always keep an eye on your competition. Understand what keywords they’re using, what kind of ads they’re writing, what they’re emphasizing, etc.

Next up is Benu Aggarwal. She’s going to show us some case studies.

First she shares her process for ad copywriting:

  1. Research: Set up internet strategy. Focused choice of keywords
  2. Ad Copy: Custom copy for each engine. A/B testing
  3. Ad Set-up: Set-up ad on search engines
  4. Manage ROI

They use DSM, do A/B testing, take out all the negative keyword phrases, try different URLs, etc.

Word Quest Orlando – Case Study

When they were setting up campaigns they focused on brand-related keyword groups and terms focused on [Disneyland]. They created ad copy with a unique selling point, included a definite time-sensitive offer and disabled content networks.

They did A/B Testing with or without Display URL. They saw a higher CTR with the display URL.

Broad Match and Negative Keyword Phrases: Included keywords related to resort and destination while setting up keywords. They negated all the keywords related to cheap and any competitor key word phrase.

The initial bid amount was very high to secure high CTR. High CTR, High quality score result in lower CPC eventually.

In the end, they found ad groups to drop (or pause) in order to save money to place elsewhere.

David Szetela will wrap things up for us.

Content ads are different than search ads. Content ads are trying to steal the attention away from the content. Ads need to stand out. Yell, don’t whisper. Be more competitive. Test, test, test.

The number one job of content ads is to distract the attention away from the page. You can afford a lot more latitude in your advertisements. They don’t have to relate to your keyword lists. Keywords do not and should not describe your product or service.

Content Ads Need To Say

  • “This ads for me” – usually via a connection to the site or pages subject matter
  • There’s a reason for me to look closely at the ad
  • Pre-qualification – make sure the wrong people aren’t persuaded to click
  • Pre-sale: Describe the action you want them to take on the landing page
  • Call to action

Content Quality Score is CTR-Centric

  • Keyword targeted and Placement-targeted Text: – CTR, theme, bid, landing page
  • Keyword-targeted non-text: CTR, theme, bid, landing pages
  • Placement-targeted Non-Test: CTR, bed
  • Best Bidding Strategy: Start High, Go Low?

David shares some banner ad examples.

Shows ads that have nothing to do with the keywords, but that are good of distracting people away from the content. He shows a mortgage calculator ad that has a funny video attached. There’s a clear benefit and then a call-to-action is placed at the bottom. It doesn’t even matter that the video has nothing to do with the ad because its job was to distract the user.

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