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April 8, 2009

SMX Sydney: Writing Killer Ad Copy

Live blogging of Writing Killer Ad Copy session by Lucas Ng of Fairfax Digital at SMX Sydney 2009.

Lucas starts by saying think about how you write. It doesn’t just apply to ad copy.

Google’s Guidelines for Writing Ad Copy

1) Use the keywords in your ads. Use of keywords give your ads 50% more clicks

Lucas then presented a case study showing an ad using a keyword and an ad without and the conversion rate difference.

2) Use prices and promotions

This sets a pricepoint for your users and lets them know what to expect.

3) Use a strong call to action e.g. get more information / buy now / subscribe today

That’s not all there is. Capitalize the first letter of each word in your ad, this apparently works. [I was really surprised to hear this.  I’d have thought AdWords editorial guidelines wouldn’t allow that and even if they did, I don’t think it’s the most effective strategy].

Understand Your Audience

Who else is influencing the searcher? e.g. does the wife have the final say in the purchasing decision? Write the ad for the purchaser, not necessarily the searcher. Think about age, gender, geolocation.

For example, the day that Steve Irwin died, people were searching for:

1) Crocodile Hunter’s Deadly Dive

2) Crocodile Hunter Dead

3) Crocodile Man Killed

4) Steve Irwin dead

Fairfax’s competitor used headline 4), with Steve Irwin in the title, while Fairfax didn’t consider search trends for persons who knew his name and used the more generic headlines. Result was that their competitor became the #1 news site in Australia for the first time in 2 years.

Killer ad copy differentiates in two ways:

1) it uses a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – is it faster? is it cheaper? was it first? etc.

2) it’s highly relevant to your landing page

Great ad copy:

1) appeals directly to the audience

2) uses a USP

3) uses one or more psychological triggers (there are 30 of them!) e.g. a sense of urgency, a desire to collect, a desire to belong (brand association), exclusivity, instant gratification etc. Type *psychological triggers* into Google to see more.

4) filters clicks (qualifies your leads automatically)

5) differentiates

6) is a continual process of testing and refining. Try changing slight things e.g. question mark, capitals, different URL etc.

Test,  refine and test some more. For best results, you must always be testing new ad copy. You’ll need to write new ads and gradually phase out the ones that don’t work. Ad constipation occurs when you just can’t write a new ad. Ask people and get new ideas. Look at your competitors and do the opposite. Steal from your sales team, use Twitter, look at magazine covers for inspiration.

* Photo courtesy of Andrew Ballard of ReBusiness