How to Use the Ad Effectiveness Index (AEI) to Improve PPC Click Through Rates

The Ad Effectiveness Index (AEI) is an exclusive algorithm available only through iSpionage that rates the efficacy of a company’s ads based on several factors including:

  1. How long the ad has been used
  2. Whether or not the ad is still being used
  3. The average position of the ad

These variables are combined to come up with an AEI score that ranks the effectiveness of the ads a company is running.

Ad Effectiveness Index

The rankings are based on the following theories:

  1. The longer an ad has been used, the more effective it should be since if it wasn’t effective, the company would stop using it.
  2. If someone uses an ad for a period of time and then stops using it, they must have found other ads that are more effective or maybe the ad stopped converting as well for one reason or another.
  3. The higher the average position, the more successful the ad is.

We’ve found these factors offer a good indication of how well an ad is performing for a business. If it’s been bid on for a long period of time, then it must be working, and if it’s still being used, then it must be getting results.

Thus, by looking at the AEI score for each ad and also sorting by the AEI score, you can quickly see which ads are performing the best for a particular business, and then deduce what you can learn from those ads.

How to Use the Ad Effectiveness Index Score to Improve PPC Ad Copy

The first thing to keep in mind is that the higher the score, the more effective an ad is. As such, it’s safe to say that an ad with an AEI score of 100 is more effective than an ad with a score of 70.

Keeping that in mind, the goal of your research is to find the ads with the highest AEI score. We’ll explain this more by using GoDaddy as an example campaign.


After doing a domain search in iSpionage for, we’re going to look at the top keywords in Google. These results show GoDaddy’s top 10 keywords (although we’re only showing the top four in the screenshot below).


From here, we’ll click on the “+” icon next to the keyword to learn more about the ad copy used for that keyword. For our example we’re going to use the second keyword, “create your own website,” as an example.

When we click on the “+” icon, 15 ads are shown. These are the 15 ads that have been used for this particular keyword. The top seven can be seen below.

Ad Copy

The top ad has an Ad Effectiveness Index score of 72.62. The next ad as an AEI score of 43.81, etc. Based on these AEI scores, we’re going to pay the most attention to the top two ads to see what we can learn.


You may have noticed that the top ad matches the keyword the most closely by using the phrase “create your own website” in the headline for the ad. This ad also has an average position of 2 compared to the number two ad that has an average position of 8.

Based on this information, you should consider using the keyword in the headline for this particular ad. You don’t want to copy your competitors 100%, of course, but working the keyword into the headline for the ad is usually a good idea which is confirmed in this case by the effectiveness of this ad as shown by the AEI score it receives.

Using this information, you could come up with the following ad to test for your site. It uses the keyword as the headline, similar to GoDaddy’s ad, but it has different ad copy below the headline.

Google ad


Something else you could test is an ad that’s different than GoDaddy’s. Since they use the keyword as a headline, you could try something slightly different that might help your ad stand out, like the one below.


Both of these ads provide great opportunities for testing. On the one hand, researching your competitors’ ads will give you ideas about what you can do similarly to get better results; on the other hand, knowing what ads your competitors are running help you to write ads that are different and stand out. Both variations can be tested to see what gets the best results.

Conducting a Keyword Search

Additionally, you can search iSpionage by keyword to find the top ads for each keyword. In this case, we’ll run a query for “create your own website.”


After the search completes, we can review the top ads for this particular keyword as seen below.

Top Google Keywords

Once again, you can review these ads to see what you can learn. Once you’ve done so, you can click on “VIEW MORE” to see even more ads and also sort the list by their average rank or days seen to see which ads rank the highest, have been seen the longest, etc.


The list above shows which ads have the highest average rank, a good indication about how effective they are, and provides a good starting point for coming up with winning ad copy for your campaigns.

Wrapping It Up

Competitive keyword research for the sake of improving ad copy serves two purposes:

  1. It helps you find out what’s working for your competition so you can test something similar to see if it improves your results.
  2. It reveals what ads your competitors’ are running so you can figure out how to do something different and stand out from the crowd.

Go ahead and get started now. Do some competitive keyword research by URL or keyword, review the top performing ads, make some notes, and then test new ad copy variations to see if you can improve your click through and conversion rates.


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