Rewriting Ad Copy: Is It Worth It?
by Aden Andrus • December 6, 2016
Should you really bother rewriting ad copy? Advertising on AdWords is complex and difficult. Between all the keyword, bid and campaign optimization, is it worth it to spend time rewriting ad copy?
Just think about it. No matter how good your targeting is, if you’ve got the right audience but the wrong ad copy, is anyone really going to click on your ads?
Fortunately, if you’re willing to take the time to rewrite your ad copy, you can see some pretty significant improvements in clickthrough rate, conversion rate and cost per conversion.
Recently, we started managing a new client’s AdWords campaigns. When we started, the client was getting acceptable—but not great—results.
This client operates in a very competitive (and lucrative) industry, so they could afford suboptimal results, but after looking at their ad copy, we were certain we could knock it out of the park for them.
We jumped into their account and rewrote all of their ad copy. We beefed up their CTAs, added capitalization and special characters and pointed their traffic to landing pages that matched the messaging of the ad copy.
And that’s it.
We didn’t change their keywords or campaign settings. We just fixed their ad copy. It was a fairly small change, but the results were remarkable:
Can you guess which ads we rewrote?
The new ads were so effective that our new conversion rate (not clickthrough rate, mind you) was almost 5x higher! (10.17% vs 2.25%). More importantly, cost-per-conversion dropped from over $2,000 to less than $60.
That’s a 97.3% drop!
Now just think, what could these sorts of results do for your business? Of course, not every business will get these sorts of results (especially on the first try), but clearly, rewriting ad copy can have a huge impact on your online marketing.
Rewriting Ad Copy
So, hopefully I’ve sold you on the idea that rewriting ad copy is a critically important part of paid search management.
Now the question is, what’s the best way to get great results from rewriting your ad copy? There are a lot of different tactics you can try, but essentially, they all boil down to the following 3 ideas:
1. Appeal to Their Emotions
90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. As a result, successful ad copy evokes the right emotions in your target audience.
With that in mind, here are a couple of ways to create emotionally compelling ad copy.
Speak to the Pain Point
Ideally, you want your ad to speak to the problem that led someone to search for a solution online. For example, look at the ads that show up if you search for “renew passport”:
Odds are, if you are looking to renew your passport, you either have upcoming travel plans or you’re looking for a way to avoid the line at the passport office.
Look at that! These ads clearly target both of those problems.
The other great advantage of writing ad copy that speaks to your target audience’s pain points is the fact that people care about how your company can solve their problems—not how great your company is.
When rewriting your ad copy, ask yourself, “Why would someone type in this keyword?” If your ad copy doesn’t address the underlying need behind the search query, try again!
So, if you want to improve the effectiveness of your ad copy, focus on your target audience’s pain points.
Play Off of Entitlement
We all feel like we deserve things. In fact, in America, we believe in that idea so strongly that we have a Bill of Rights dedicated to all the things Americans deserve.
We deserve to be happy. We deserve to be comfortable. We deserve to be treated well. We deserve to have our needs met…and to have them met now!
Good or bad, this sense of entitlement is a powerful force in our lives and it’s one you can put to work in your ad copy.
For example, here’s what you get if you search for “divorce attorney” (not searching for one, but divorce is a situation where everyone feels like they deserve something):
You can call it “rights”, “needs” or “what you deserve”—it doesn’t matter. If your target audience feels entitled to something, that’s an emotion you can play off of.
When rewriting ad copy, ask yourself, “What do my customers feel like they deserve?” Then, see if there is a way you can make your audience feel like they deserve what your business is selling.
So, if you want people to feel an emotional connection to your company, use your ad copy to make them feel like they deserve your product or offer. And really, who wants to deny themselves something they deserve?
2. Appeal to Logic
Although emotion is certainly the biggest factor in the decision-making process, logic and reasoning still have a significant effect on whether or not people choose to click, convert and buy.
In fact, an appeal to logic and reasoning is almost an emotional appeal. After all, if people feel like their decision is based in facts and rational thought, they will feel like they are making the right decision.
Answer Their Unasked Questions
A good paid search ad will address potential concerns before your target audience can mentally object to your ad. Once someone starts to pick apart your ad, business or offer, you’re stuck fighting an uphill battle.
On the other hand, if you can premptively address their points of concern, you can keep your potential customers in a receptive state. If you do it right, your audience will feel incredibly comfortable and understood, which will make them much more likely to buy.
When rewriting ad copy, ask yourself, “What keeps my customers from buying?” Then, try preemptively addressing those concerns in your ad copy.
So, if you want to improve your ad copy, try looking at why people might not want to click or convert and address that in your copy.
People love numbers and statistics. There’s something so concrete and reliable about a good solid number—regardless of how relevant that number actually is (I have a soap box to get on here, but I’ll forbear).
As a result, using numbers and statistics in your ad copy is a great way to address potential concerns. For example, here are the results you get when you type in “project management software”:
What do you think is a common customer objection in this industry? Price? Or user base?
The first ad talks about their 1.5 million users. Ad #2 states that they’ve been used for over 15 years. The third headline mentions that 7 million people have tried their product.
Price isn’t mentioned once.
Clearly, these companies are in a fight to establish their credibility. If you think about it, that makes sense. The SaaS space is full of startups with buggy software. Somebody has to take a chance on these startups, but most people don’t want to be that somebody. They want something that has a proven track record.
With that in mind, is it any wonder that these companies have chosen to write ad copy that addresses these concerns?
When rewriting ad copy, ask yourself, “Do I have any numbers or statistics that would make my text more compelling?” If you do, try adding them to your copy!
So, if you want to make your claims more compelling, look for ways to add numbers or statistics to your ad copy. This can be as simple as pricing or a complex as results from a study you’ve conducted—just give people something solid to hold onto!
3. Grab Their Attention
No matter how emotionally and logically appealing your ad copy is, if people don’t read your ad, they’re not going click. Fortunately, making your text ads more eye-catching is one of the easiest ways to improve ad performance.
Here are a few ways to improve the visibility of your ads:
Use Your Target Keywords in Your Copy and URL
Ever buy a new car and suddenly everyone seems to be driving that car? In psychology, they refer to this as “selective attention“—we only notice something when it means something to us.
To handle all of the stimuli in the world, our brains have to filter things down to what really matters. It’s why you don’t constantly notice the clothes you are wearing or the chatter in the office.
But, if someone says your name in the other room, you notice. Why? Because your brain has identified your name as a high priority stimulus and brings it to your attention.
The same principle comes into play with paid search advertising.
As soon as someone types a phrase into a search engine, the words in that phrase (along with some other key, related words) become a high priority to their brain. Essentially, the brain is using selective attention to identify relevant search results.
If a search result includes those high priority words or phrases in the copy or URL, the brain says, “Hey, look at this! It seems to be relevant.” If not, the search result gets filtered.
Guess which category you want your ad to be in?
Google understands the importance of selective perception, which is why Google bolds your keywords in your search result. They want to make sure you know that you found what you’re looking for (which is, after all, an important part of how Google stays in business).
For example, here’s what you get if you search for “travel to india”:
See how obvious the keywords are? Google’s doing their best to say, “Hey, this ad is relevant to your search!” Between selective attention and Google’s keyword highlighting, including your targeted keywords in your ad copy and URL is practically a necessity.
When rewriting ad copy, ask yourself, “Does my copy include the keywords and/or common phrases that trigger my ad?” If the answer is “no,” you’ve got some work to do!
So, if you want people to notice your ads, your ad copy needs to show up on their radar—you need selective attention to filter for you!
Use All the Characters!
With the recent release of Google’s Expanded Text ads, advertisers have access to more 47% characters than ever. This is good news, because more characters = more visibility.
Of course, if your ad copy isn’t particularly compelling, all those characters won’t do you a lot of good. But, if you haven’t started taking advantage of Expanded Text ads, now is the time to start.
When rewriting ad copy, use the extra 45 characters provided by Expanded Text ads to increase visibility, address more pain points and resolve potential concerns.
So, if you want to get the most out of your ad copy, take full advantage of the increased size of Expanded Text ads. It’s as simple as that.
Rewriting ad copy may seem like a hassle at times, but the results are well worth the effort. Even if you feel like your ad copy is performing fairly well, testing out new ad copy on a regular basis can help you realize untold potential in your paid search campaigns.
Just remember, great ad copy appeals to your target audience’s emotion, resonates with their logical side and is eye-catching enough to get on their radar.
By the way, if you’d like me to take a look at your ad copy and give you some suggestions, let me know here or in the comments. I’d love to help!
Do you agree? Is rewriting content worth the effort? What tactics do you use to get the most out of your paid search ads?