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What is The Goldilocks Principle of AdWords Ad Writing?

Over the Thanksgiving break  I had a chance to re-read some of my classic Google Adwords materials. I thought I share a few interesting points, as writing them actually refreshes my mind.

Perry Marshall, a leading internet marketing expert put together a must-read book for anyone running a Google AdWords PPC campaign.  The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords lives up to its name and is one of the most useful references for internet marketers looking to improve their AdWords conversions. 

Marshall cites the technique of another Google AdWords expert, Andrew Goodman.  Goodman’s principle of successful ad writing is the “Goldilocks Principle.”  You do not want to bore people with your ad.  On the other hand, you do not want to go so far over the top that you sound like a bogus company.  Goodman recommends a happy medium between hot (over the top) and cold (boring and uninteresting), hence the name “Goldilocks Principle.”  Marshall includes two examples from his campaigns, one that worked well and one that was over the top and did not result in clicks. 

The successful ad is the top ad, and the unsuccessful ad is the bottom ad.  (Image from The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords) 

ad copy sample

Additional Ad Tips from the Experts

The successful ad has another thing going for it, according to Marshall.  He cites the expertise of top-notch copy writers Dan Kennedy and Jon Carlton that recommend extreme specificity in your ads.  Being specific helps searchers understand exactly what you offer.  The headline “D.I.Y. Sales Leads” is much more specific than “Escape Voicemail Jail,” which is both vague and sensationalistic.  It is unlikely that someone is going to search for “voicemail jail,” but very likely that people will search for “sales leads.”  D.I.Y. Sales Leads is a specific headline that tells people what they will get when they click through the ad.  (The key to conversions is making sure that your landing page and your ad work together.)  The specificity of your ad will help with this connection.  “Voice Mail Jail” doesn’t really describe any tangible product.

The key to a successful AdWords ad is to be specific, attention grabbing and legitimate.  That will result in high click rates and conversions.