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5 Tips for Writing Effective PPC Ad Copy

google-adwordsThe main purpose of dedicating part of your marketing budget to paid search is to attract searchers that could potentially become customers. In other words, you want those people that are out looking to spend money to notice your ad, and click through to your website. There are many different tactics and strategies to make your ad stand out, but one of the most important aspects of constructing a quality PPC ad is to make sure you write effective, engaging, and noticeable ad copy. In fact, your ad copy may even be the most important part of your ad in delivering quality results. Pay attention to these simple ad copywriting tips, and you’ll be well on your way to converting clicks into customers.

1. Keep your keywords in the copy

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many advertisers forget to include their main and specific keywords in their copy. In order to make sure you reach the right audience, it’s important to write separate ads with customized keyword copy for every ad group in you account.

For example, I am currently in the business of buying a ski hat for my little girl. When I type, “Kids’ ski hats” in the search results, I see the following 2 ads in the 1st and 2nd sponsored positions—one ad is for, and the other is for

Ad 1 –

Ad 2 –

The ad that catches my attention is obviously Columbia’s ad, because I know they are advertising Kids’ ski hats, and not just ski hats in general. Furthermore, when I click through on the ad, I am automatically directed to the kids’ hat section of their website, and I can start searching immediately.
When I click on the second ad for, I am sent to a page with ski hats, but not necessarily kids ski hats. My reaction is to automatically bounce out of the site, and spend time on the site that makes searching for kids’ hats easy for me.

Another interesting factor is when I conduct some quick competitive keyword research on, I see that is spending anywhere from 1.72K-7.60K per day on PPC ads, and is spending 3.78K-11.88K per day on their PPC ads.

While it’s true that there are a number of different factors that contribute to a high ad spend including how many keywords a brand is targeting, what they are paying per bid, their impression share, etc., I can’t help but wonder how much this particular brand might end up saving per day if they were simply to write customized and specific ads including targeted keywords for each ad they run.

What’s the Lesson to Learn?
You may be tempted to just write one ad for each ad group and apply it to all of your ad groups, but this strategy isn’t as effective as if you are to write separate ad copy, and include targeted keywords, for each ad group in your account. If you make it clear that you offer exactly what searchers are looking for, you will outperform your competitors by leaps and bounds.

2. Include a Call to Action

Another common mistake online marketers often make is forgetting to include a call to action. When writing an ad, it’s important to tell searchers exactly what it is you want them to do. This can often make the difference in attracting the right kind of clicks. For example, consider the following calls to action:

    – Order now
    – Reserve your spot today
    – Learn more
    – Click to buy
    – Call today
    – Watch demo

Each one of these calls to action represents a very different type of landing page when someone clicks through. Including the right call to action can help ensure that you’ll receive the right types of clicks.

For example, if someone is interested in purchasing CRM Management Software, they may be in different phases of the purchasing process, and it’s your job to tell them exactly what they get with you.

Some people may just want to learn more, others may want a free quote, and others may want to actually try the software. Whatever it is you are offering, make sure you make it clear in your call to action, so people know what they will get when they click. This also saves you money by making sure you only attract clicks from people who are interested in what you are offering in your ad.

Here are three examples of ads that show up for the keyword “CRM software.”

Poor Call to Action


This first ad represents no call to action, and it’s confusing to know what you will get when you click.

In fact, when you click on the ad and get to the site, a profile for a personal relationship manager shows up, rather than information about a CRM. This ad is not only lacking a call to action, but is also lacking an effective negative keyword strategy.

Good Call to Action


This second ad is short and sweet and has a strong call to action. I know that when I click on this ad, I can get a free demo of the product they are offering.

One thing lacking in this ad is the addition of specific CRM related keywords. They could make this better by simply adding the keyword as follows, “Use our CRM Software to build stronger client loyalty….”

Great Call to Action

This final ad is an example of an effective call to action. The call to action is strong. I know that as soon as I click on this particular ad, I will be able to try this software for free, and then after my free trial, I will only have to pay $15/month.

Additionally, this copy includes the “CRM” keyword that I typed in the search box, so I know that when I click through to the site, I will actually get information on CRM software. When I clicked through to the site, I was automatically directed to a nice page where I could sign up for a free trial to use the software.

3. Use Numbers and Symbols in your Copy

When you use numbers and symbols in your ad copy, it can increase your click-through rate significantly.

Using Numbers

For numbers, consider using dates, pricing, and percentages when they apply. For example, if I type, “buy cheap books” into Google’s search bar, the following ads appear in the 1st and 2nd positions.

The first one jumps out at me, and makes me want to click, because I know that I can save as much as 90% on a textbook. The second one tells me I will save money, but I love the idea of saving a potential hard 90% rather than an arbitrary and undefined amount.

Using Symbols

Consider using symbols like the registered trademark symbol to show your brand’s authenticity, or an exclamation point in your call to action to show urgency.

Keep in mind that while symbols can be helpful, if you use too many, your ad will look like spam and/or may look too gimmicky. You definitely want to use symbols, but you also need to be tasteful. In fact, for more guidance about what is, and what is not appropriate, consult Google’s list of acceptable and prohibited symbols here.

4. Use punctuation properly

It’s true that grammar goes a long way, and this idea isn’t reserved simply for your social media posts, and college English papers. Grammar counts when it comes to paid search advertising as well.

Don’t believe, me? Take a look at the difference between these 2 ads. Example 1 has nice copy, but it’s a bit hard to read since there is no punctuation. Additionally, it’s difficult to understand the call to action.

The second ad, on the other hand, is clear, concise, and the call to action flows in a logical manner with accurate punctuation.

Example 1 – Humana Dental Insurance

Example 2 –

Not only is it important to use punctuation, but also it is also important to double and triple check for any spelling, or grammar errors. There is no better way to turn off a potential customer than spelling something incorrectly, or having a typo in your copy that could have been easily avoided. If you feel like you have spent too much time on the ad, then get a fresh set of eyes to look over your copy for you. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

5. You only have 35 characters, use them wisely

In a way, writing ad copy is a bit like writing poetry, meaning you want every word to count. You may be tempted to use generic copy like “cheap” or “free” or other words that people tend to gravitate towards, but only use words like these if it really enhances your campaign. And, avoid them like the plague if they don’t enhance your campaign. For example, if you sell high-end wine, you don’t want the words “free” or “cheap” anywhere in your ad, because it will be a turn-off to your target market.

If you make sure that you only use words that really describe your landing page, and also remember to insert your target keyword and a strong call to action, you can rest assured that you’ve written strong copy for your paid search advertisement.


These are just a few tips that will help you with writing your ad copy. When in doubt, hire a writer to help you.


Guest Author Ashley R. Cummings
Guest Author Ashley R. Cummings
Ashley R. Cummings is a freelance writer, specializing in online marketing, education, and travel. Connect with Ashley on Facebook or , and learn more about her on LinkedIn.