When writing text ads for your search marketing campaign, we get to wear the hat of professional copywriter. It can be the most creative and fun part of managing a campaign. Crafting a winning search ad that produces results involves part creativity and part science. Google takes into account the quality of your ads when your keywords are assigned a numeric quality score. This score can determine your ad delivery, and what you end up paying per click. Avoiding the following pitfalls in your ads can help contribute to a better quality score for your keywords. The goal is to ensure that Google finds your ad relevant and compelling...which can mean better ad delivery and lower costs for you!
Pitfall One: In all of your creative glory, you fail to highlight at least one thing that makes your offering truly unique. Your ads will be shown among several others who also offer something similar. If you have a discount, free trial, special offer, unique feature, special amenities or services, now's the time to mention it. This will help your ad stand out and get noticed.
Pitfall Two: Not mentioning prices in your ads, if they are competitive prices, and you are targeting users where price may be a factor. Through the 18 years that I have been managing search campaigns, when price is mentioned in the ad, click rate goes up considerably. This can also help weed out some ad clicks from people that would not be interested in that price point. This can be true for products and services like commodities, car rentals, or hotels, just to name a few.
Pitfall Three: Not including a call to action. There is a huge amount of varied intent from people conducting searches - even for very specific searches. If you want someone to sign up, download something, call you, play something, or buy something, use that as the call to action in your ad. This sets expectations for what they'll see on the landing page once they click on your ad, helping to reduce bounce rates and increase conversions.
Pitfall Four: Not being thoughtful about the landing pages you are linking your ads to. Ask yourself if it is the most relevant page on your website that relates to the keyword phrase that ad will display for. For example, if you are a dentist advertising your invisible aligner treatment, it would be beneficial for you to create a page that covers this specific treatment, instead of sending people to the homepage or a more generic page about straightening services. Google can tell when a landing page isn't as relevant to the keyword phrase, which can affect your keyword quality scores. It pays to invest in customized landing pages if you plan to spend a significant portion of your paid search budget advertising a particular product or service.
Pitfall Five: Not including the keyword or keyword phrase in the clickable headline text. Try to do this even if it means sacrificing a clever or witty headline. Google considers keywords in the headline of an ad as a more relevant ad, which will boost your quality scores. Chances are, when you do this you will get a better click through rate even without the witty headline you previously considered. The keywords will be displayed in bold letters in your headline, helping your ad stand out, and drawing the eye of the person who is looking for relevancy between listings and what they just searched. Bonus
Tip: Always try to use a period, question mark, or exclamation point at the end of your description one line of text. This will create an extendable clickable headline when your ad is displayed in the top positions. This helps your ad to stand out, increasing your click rates.
Pitfall Six: Not using mobile specific ads. People who search on mobile devices are more likely searching for a phone number or location. Using mobile specific ads will give you a great opportunity to customize ad text, ad extensions and offers.
Pitfall Seven: Not testing out at least two ads for each ad group. Testing various offers, landing pages, or different benefits are just a few examples of what you can test in your ads. Personally, I've found that the landing pages are the most compelling variables that lead to the biggest shift in performance.
...and last but not least, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the Google AdWords editorial policies and requirements before you begin writing your ads. Knowing the standards in which ads will be held to can help avoid any delays in getting your ads approved through Google's editorial process once they are submitted.
By avoiding some pitfalls above, you can better ensure your ads are more relevant and of higher quality than the competition. The investment in creating highly targeted landing pages and ad copy will pay for itself over time!
What are some of your favorite elements that you have tested in your ads?