With all of the innovations and changes introduced by Google on a daily basis, ad copy remains one of the most important factors of a successful AdWords campaign. Potential customers judge you by your ads, and if you don’t pass this filter, all the beauty of your landing pages and product descriptions will remain unseen.
Are there any surefire tactics to help you write powerful ads? We at SEMrush believe it’s data. This is why we analyzed over 8000 major ecommerce websites to define which trends are important in ad copywriting in various industries and how you should tweak your ad copy according to them.
1. Use guarantees and benefits instead of trivial CTAs
We’ve all heard that using a CTA in an ad is mandatory, but then discovered that this was not always the case. Looks like “CTA blindness” is as widespread these days as “banner blindness”. The fact is, even big ecommerce players are switching from stuffing their ads with calls-to-action to providing value to users. Only 3 out of the 10 most-used phrases are CTAs; the other 7 speak about guarantees and benefits.
Action: Many online users have already built up a tolerance to endless CTAs, but real value is what will always trigger attention (and clicks). Focus on the benefits you provide like free shipping or money back guarantee. Mention local references like a city name or CAP to demonstrate the relevance of your offer. Make your ad stand out by using facts and numbers: “1-hour delivery” will persuade your audience more than the cliched “Order now!”
2. Don’t get obsessed with big discounts
Discounts are one of the most powerful triggers in ad copy. It’s quite common to think that the bigger the discount offered, the better. In fact, aggregated data from 13 different industries shows that the 50 percent discount (which is quite substantial) is really the most popular one.
However, if we look at each industry individually, the situation is completely different. In the Books niche, 90% is the most popular discount used in ads, while the Health industry is much more moderate, with 5 percent and 10 percent discounts being the most frequently offered.
And there is a reason for this. In medical services, quality is much more important than price. Would you trust a whole-body MRI offered with a 90 percent discount?
Action: When using discounts in your ad copy, make sure you don’t devalue your product or service. When it comes to health, real estate and other “fundamental” aspects, a huge discount is not what would make you take up an offer. Massive discounts are much more common (and effective) in niches like Books, Music, Furniture or Clothing.
3. Adapt to local language variations
Of course, after you have written 500 ads for your US campaigns, the last thing you want to do is to localize them for your British users. But the experience of major ecommerce websites proves that it’s important. And it's not as easy as just replacing “Z” with “S” in verbs or adding a “U” to words like color or behavior.
Action: Stick to local vocabulary. ‘Shipping’ vs. ‘delivery’ is important. Explore which benefits and guarantees trigger your overseas audience more (this chart shows how important the delivery aspect is for the UK - 4 out of the 10 most-used phrases emphasize it):
Also remember that even the discounts you use might be different (in the UK a 50 percent discount is far more popular than in the US).
Split testing is still fundamental
Doing PPC for an ecommerce website is amazing. You can literally see how every dollar spent on AdWords is being transformed into real conversions and sales. But sometimes things go wrong, and you watch your money being poured down the drain. This is why it’s important to test every new idea with caution. Most of the ads you see in search results have already “survived” the A/B testing and proved to be more efficient for the target audience, however, they’re not perfect. And, most importantly, there’s no guarantee they are perfect for your audience. Harnessing the power of big data is incredibly useful, but every single combination of product and audience is unique, so every best practice needs to be tested.
Best of luck with your ad adventures!