Building Successful Low Budget PPC: Crafting Engaging Ads

TImothy Johnson, Small Business Solutions / PPC Team Lead

In charge of building your first PPC account? Don’t have a lot of time or money to spend within AdWords? Well you came to the right place. We’re in week four of our six-part blog series in which Portent PPC Strategists Chad Kearns and Tim Johnson lay down the knowledge on best practices for achieving PPC success. Follow along to pick up tips on how to build your first PPC account like a PPC superstar.

Post #1: Building Successful Low Budget PPC: Account Structure

Post #2: Building Successful Low Budget PPC: Understanding your Campaign Settings

Post #3: Building Successful Low Budget PPC: Keywords

Stock photo of apples in line

Crafting engaging ads is vital to the success of your AdWords campaign. Ads need to be informative, eye catching, and relevant to what a customer is searching for. Ads that are bland are easily overlooked, while ads with irrelevant ad copy can result in wasteful clicks from unqualified customers.

In this post, we will dissect an AdWords search network text ad, while providing some best practices that could make you a ton of money.

Ad structure

Text ads are broken up into five main sections, each with their own rules and restrictions. Every ad has a headline, two separate description lines, a display URL, and a destination URL.

Sample Ad Main

Headlines are the most prominent part of your ad and are the part that a customer will actually be clicking on. This means headlines for each ad should include important keywords that are relevant to search queries. You have limited space to get the attention of a customer as Google only allows for 25 characters in the headline.

Description lines are a little longer than headlines, allowing for 35 characters per line. These two lines give you an opportunity to sell your product or service to a customer. These lines are comparable to an elevator pitch. You may only have the attention of a potential customer for a second, so you need to make that second count by using strong calls to action, convincing them to click your ad instead of the one right above or below.

Display and destination URLs

Each text ad has two separate URLs, the display and the destination URL. The display URL is what a customer will see when viewing your ad. Display URLs can be customized to further explain where exactly the ad is sending the customer. They must be 35 characters or less and contain the same domain as the destination URL. By making clear and descriptive display URLs you can reduce wasteful clicks from unqualified customers.

Sample Ad display URL

The destination URL is the actual URL where your customers will be sent when they click your ad. They are behind the scenes of your ad, as customers do not see them. It is important to select a destination URL that will serve as a strong landing page, enticing customers to convert. There are many factors that contribute to strong landing pages. Here are a few tips for making your landing page more successful.

Best practices

When crafting your ads, it is important to follow a few best practices that will help your ads look clean and clickable.

Always use title case and proper punctuation. AdWords allows you to use question marks and exclamation points, but not in excess (one exclamation point per ad – use it wisely). In most cases, use punctuation at the end of each description line to ensure that your ads will flow the way you intended, no matter how they get formatted.

There are many different ways to go about crafting great ad content. You can make your ad edgy, playful, direct, informative, etc… To decide which approach works best for your business, you should run A/B ad tests. Create about four ads for every ad group that utilize different calls to action and highlight different aspects of your product or service. Allow them to run at the same time so you can get a feel for what is working and what isn’t.

After you have crafted strong and engaging ads, it is time to start digging a little deeper into more advanced settings by setting up ad extensions.

Watch out next Friday for our next post on setting up and utilizing ad extensions!

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments.

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  1. Love the string of posts on this topic.
    Ads are one of my favourite topics. I refer to them as “the haiku” of marketing. So important.
    Two quick questions:
    1. You included the www. in your display url. That’s 4 extra characters for little gain. Have you tested if that improves performance?
    2. You can use special characters to reduce space such as the ampersand “&” instead of “and”. BOOM! Buy yourself two more characters. Have you tested use of “&”, “+” and “and” as alternatives?
    Would be keen to hear your results if you have.
    Keep up the always fantastically good work.
    Cheers. Alex

    1. Hi Alex,
      Thanks for the comment and questions.
      Regarding the display URLs, I have not performed a test on which gets better results. I have used both styles in the past though. My usual strategy is to go ahead and include the www. only if I had the extra characters to spare. Let me know if you have seen better success one way or the other.
      I agree with the use of “&” instead of “and”. In most cases I definitely suggest using the & to save characters. For the example I used I think my strategy was similar to what I mentioned for display URLs. I had the extra room so I went ahead with “and”. Best practice would suggest the use of & though.
      Thanks again for the well thought out comment.

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