The importance of ad copy: Test your online ads

It’s no surprise that ad copy is an integral part of an online campaign. We are given only a limited number of characters to share our message and get the right users to our clients’ Web sites. The rule of thumb is to make ad copy “snappy” or even “catchy.” But is that really the best approach? In search engine marketing, an online ad is a door sign on a busy street full of competitors. Knowing this, what would you want your sign to say?

Due to the enormous share of businesses participating in SEM, each Web site is faced with many hurdles in maximizing campaigns. With ads stacked on top of others, it’s not easy getting a shopper’s undivided attention online, compared to a print catalog.

Knowing what your competition is utilizing to communicate its message is a critical factor in creating ad copy. For example, if you knew a competitor was advertising a lower price for the same product, would you adjust your price?

Another glaring issue facing marketers is how to track ad copy performance. Many marketers find they don’t have a way to determine new copy success. A fundamental part of building a campaign includes using content for specific keywords or ad groups. Not all keywords should provide the same message to searchers.

If your product or service requires pre-qualification, it’s vital you incorporate this into the ad copy. Let the searcher know if, for example, there is an approval process in place in order to purchase. This method usually brings in more qualified traffic. Here’s a systematic process to find the best online message.

Set goals. Determine the goal of each campaign. Establish if you are branding a new product, raising click-through rates or increasing conversions.

Do research. Use keywords to search and see what messages your competition is using. Create ad copy that stacks up against them.

Decide the copies to test. Use baseline existing copy and mix in new ads for the same campaigns based on your research.

Launch your campaign. Make sure that ads are set to rotate as evenly as possible so they show equally over time. This is a non-default option within search engine interfaces.

Let it go. It is important to allow for enough time to pass in order to get the most accurate results. We usually recommend a minimum of one month of traffic.

Evaluate data. Don’t just look at one parameter. Evaluate based on your goals. By combining Google Adwords to view each ad copy’s click-through rate and Google Analytics (Content Parameter) to view each ad copy’s conversions, it is possible to determine the success of your test.

Remove failing ad copy. After enough time has elapsed, you can remove the outliers from the campaign.

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