Are Your PPC Ads Lame? 3 Tips to Get Them Dancing Again

by Chad de Lisle February 24, 2016

Is your PPC ad copy boring? Are your click-through-rates suffering? Too often, advertisers forget that effective ad copy creation is just as important as a well structured campaign.

Here are a few simple tips to get your ads popping again:

1) Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI)

Please, please, please, please take advantage of dynamic keyword insertion when creating your PPC ad headlines.

Study after study has shown that internet searchers are much more likely to click on an ad that uses their search term—so don’t forget it!

Not sure how to take advantage of this feature? It’s simple. Let’s say that you’re a Dentist in Cheyenne.

When creating your headline in Google AdWords, simply write:

{KeyWord: Dentist in Cheyenne}

Now, when your ad is triggered by one of your keywords, the keyword that triggered the ad will appear as the headline.

Note the capitalization we used in “KeyWord”—this will ensure that the dynamically inserted keyword phrase will appear in “camel case” (with the first letter of each word being capitalized).

Of course, if you’re going to use DKI, you need to make sure that you have great targeting in place and that your dynamically inserted keywords are grammatically accurate.

Otherwise, you might end up with ads like this:

Example of a bad Google Adwords Search Ad - Disruptive Advertising

If you have ads that seem to be lacking that je ne sais quoi, DKI is sure to inject some excitement.

2) Value Proposition

Why should someone click on your ad? You have to remember, searchers don’t usually know very much about your business, but they do know what they want.

If you want them to click on your ad, you need to make it clear that clicking on your ad will get them what they want (or at least put them on the path to getting what they want).

To do this effectively, consider how your business delivers what a searcher is looking for and include that value proposition in your ad. Ask yourself, why would someone want to click on your ad?


If you can answer that question in 35 characters or less, you’re golden.

Lets continue with our Dentist example. You remember, the one in Cheyenne.

She has thought about her value proposition quite a bit and—knowing that she’s in a highly competitive area—she knows that she’s the only dentist around Cheyenne that offers free x-rays and hygiene appointments.

Free x-rays and hygiene appointments are something her potential clientele really values, so here is the first descriptive line beneath her headline:

Free X-Rays & Hygiene Appointments.

(Count it up, isn’t it beautiful when it’s a perfect 35 character line?)

Now her searchers have a compelling reason to click on her ad—they understand her value proposition clearly.

3) Call to Action

Now it’s time to seal the deal. You’ve set them up, now it’s time to knock them down.

Getting the attention of a searcher is not enough, you have to get them to do something.

Too often, advertisers use the call to action “Get More Info.” Every time I see this in an ad my heart breaks for the missed opportunity.

Don’t squander your call to action!

You have to tell your potential visitor exactly what you want them to do. If you only want them to “get more info,” then by all means, make that your CTA.

But, if you want your potential client to schedule an appointment, then by golly tell them to.

Keep Calm and Do All the Things I Want You to Do | Disruptive Advertising

This dentist in Cheyenne isn’t taking this lightly, she knows what she wants her potential client to do. Thus she crafts the final description line:

Schedule A Check-up. Call Us Today!

(Another 35 character miracle, by the way)

Now she has created an ad that has a much higher probability of success– she is going to stand out among her competitors, and she is going to get the types of clicks and conversions she’s looking for.

Bonus Tips

Don’t forget to use “camel case” for everything (capitalize the first letter of each word in the ad). It looks better and will get more clicks.

Don’t forget to take advantage of your display URL. These should also reflect the keywords being searched—your click-throughs and quality scores will thank you later.

And finally, make every character count. You’ve got 35 characters per description line—use them.


If you feel like your ads aren’t reaching their full potential, you’re probably right.

Most ad copy could use a little jazz-up (and some testing to find the ideal copy). Try tweaking one or more of these aspects of your ads and see if your click-through-rate and conversions improve!

By the way, if you’d like me to take a look at your ads and give you some suggestions, let me know here or in the comments! I’d love to help.

Are there any other easy ad changes you’d add to this list? What sorts of changes have taken your ads from lame to awesome?

  • PPC

Chad de Lisle

Chad de Lisle

Chad is a passionate people-lover who is always down for a silly-goose time. He's been doing digital marketing since 2007 (don't let the baby-face fool you) where he's excelled specifically in driving results and growth for lead generation organizations of all sizes. He's been winning Dungeons & Dragons since 1997, he's hit a grand slam in a state championship baseball game, and he won't stop hoarding books. When he's not busy running a successful division at Disruptive Advertising, you will find him in the mountains with his dog Rusty or swinging in his hammock with his 3 kids. Beware: guilty of contagious optimism!

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