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November 23, 2007

Top 10 PPC Ad Tricks to Boost Your Click-Through Rate

When it comes to Pay Per Click campaigns, there tends to be a lot of focus on the quality and content of landing pages in order to increase conversions.

That’s all well and good, but to get people to visit your landing page, you first have to convince them to click on your ad. This is often much more challenging because while your landing page generally has your visitor’s full attention, your ad is just one of several ads all vying for the same attention.

That tiny ad has just 2 or 3 seconds, a tiny headline and a very short amount of copy to convince the viewer your site is worth visiting. So how do you make your ad jump off the page and become a click magnet? The secret is *triggers*. Your ad headline and copy need to trigger a response within the viewer instantly.

Pretend for a moment that you own a florist business in Miami that specializes in bridal bouquets. Imagine you have set up a Google AdWords PPC campaign to attract customers to your web site where they can order their bouquets online.

Here are some of the triggers you could use in your ads:

1) Ask a Question

People are naturally curious and seeing a question addressed to them automatically triggers a reply in their minds, whether they intend it or not. By asking a question in your ad headline, you are taking advantage of this curiosity and making your ad appeal to them on a personal level. Here’s an ad example our fictional Miami florist could use:

Need Wedding Flowers?
Gorgeous wedding flowers
delivered free to your door

2) Use Humor

People like to laugh. If your ad headline or copy makes them chuckle they are already associating your ad with positive emotions and are more likely to be receptive to your message. Here’s a humorous ad example our Miami florist could use:

In the Dog House Again?
Sweeten her up with a dozen roses.
Free delivery to your door!

3) Use: Colons

Using a colon after a word indicates you are about to sum up or define an idea. This creates an automatic trigger in readers to pay attention to the content following the colon. Our Miami florist could take advantage of this with:

Bridal Bouquets: Stunning
Browse our unique and stunning
bridal bouquets. Free delivery.

4) Get Regional

Depending on how you’ve set your ad campaign’s regional/demographic settings, it often pays to use regional triggers in your ads such as city or state names. Persons from the mentioned areas will automatically recognize that your ad is relevant to them and be more inspired to click on it. Our florist in Miami could use:

Need Flowers in Miami?
Floral bouquets for every occasion.
Free delivery throughout Miami.

5) Use Power Words

There are a number of keywords known as “power words” that are proven to attract attention and sales. They include words like “secret”, “free”, “super”, “now”, “limited”, “exclusive”, “must”, “save”, “expert” and so on. Our florist in Miami could tailor his ads to use some of these. For example:

Free: Roses
Order a dozen roses and receive
half a dozen free! Limited time.

6) Use Catch Phrases

People recognize popular catch phrases used by major brands. Provided you are careful not to directly infringe on their trademarks or copyright status, you can use them in your ads. For example, our Miami florist could use:

Got Flowers?
Floral bouquets for every occasion.
Free delivery throughout Miami.

7) Use Personalization

Just like ads asking a question, ads that specifically address the audience are much more likely to gain attention. Our fictional florist could use this to his advantage with ads like:

Your Bouquet is Ready
Your wedding bouquet can be ready
within 24 hrs if you order online.

8) Tell a Story

Internet searchers are good at recognizing advertising and blocking it out. So your ads can sometimes be more effective if they have a storyline and appear less like advertisements. Stories create empathy and parallels with the reader’s own life. For example our florist could try an ad like this one:

Your Perfect Wedding Day
Dress dirty. Veil torn. Rings lost.
At least your bouquet was gorgeous!

9) Use Emotion & Senses

As well as personalization, your ads can appeal to the five senses of readers: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Our Miami florist could achieve this with:

Stop to Smell the Roses
Nothing beats the heady fragrance
of a bouquet of lush red roses.

and finally…

10) Use Calls to Action

In my experience, ads that achieve the highest click through rate (CTR) are ones that use a call to action within them, for example “download now”, “read our e-book”, “sign up now” and “call us toll free”. Our fictional florist could achieve this with:

Gorgeous Wedding Bouquets
Order your wedding bouquet online
and receive free wedding-toss posy!

Apply a few of these triggers to your current PPC ads and I guarantee your click-through rate will improve dramatically.

Author:  Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College – an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.