Write PPC Ads Like Sherlock Holmes

by Stirling Ruuth May 21, 2014

If you want to improve your PPC advertising, ask yourself these questions as if you were Sherlock himself:

Who is seeing my PPC ads?

Are you actually targeting your target market?  It is ok to get visitors and conversions from people who are not exactly in your target market. Intent is not discriminatory.

You can monitor your leads and ask specific questions on your landing pages to qualify your leads a bit, but you may find that you get leads from the adult children of the market you serve, or people not quite in your target market. I often see businesses with very defined target markets that sometimes shoot themselves in the foot and refuse business because they get leads they do not understand or want to understand.

Don’t Do That, Or Sherlock Will Insult You 

What are my PPC ads saying, what makes them different?

There are many ways to convey the same message. Do your ads use the same headline and description lines as your competitors? What sets you apart? Use beneficial calls to action to appeal to emotion and stand out from the crowd. Some of the best performing ads are the ones that ask questions and create doubt in people’s minds so they will click to find out more and get their questions answered. Obviously test as many questions and action statements as you can as you will see very different reactions and optimize the winner.

When you write ppc ads, consider the headline your most important message you want to share. The description lines support the headline and can create a sense of urgency for the person to click on your ad and get them to do what you want them to do on your site.

When are my PPC ads showing?

Your ads should show at the most profitable times of the day. How do you find this out?

Well to start, try running them at the times when most people would be awake. After you have gathered enough data and by enough data I mean at least 1000 clicks, adjust and use bid modifier rules to actively adjust bids during those hours to get the most out of those times which are the most profitable for your business.

Where are my PPC ads showing?

One of the most important metrics to focus on is the position of your ads. Having PPC ads in the top 3 slots is the best position based on traffic trends.

Another factor to keep in mind is the actual location you are targeting. If you are only a local car wash, don’t let your ads show to the whole country. That is an easy way to burn through loads of budget.

Are you targeting other languages then the language your business operates in? Checking your setting and making those tweaks is an easy way to save money and be more effective.

Why PPC ads?

I often feel like David Duchovny on Zoolander after he explains to Ben Stiller why male models are the targets for the fashion industry and political assassinations.

PPC ads are so much more than an advertisement for a business. They show us trends, they show us consumer behaviors and the psychology of the human brain.

When you write PPC ads, think as if you were the consumer or person who is going to click on the ad.

Does your ad makes sense? Does the messaging flow well and is it enticing enough and qualifying enough to get the click. Understanding your customer is where you will see the most benefit in writing new ads and ads that speak to them.

How can I get the best performance out of my ads?

Well that is a loaded question isn’t it? I hear this question daily. The best answer is to Always Be Testing!

You can only make educated guesses for so long. Testing your ads with all kinds of variations in the headlines, description lines and the display urls.

Testing and gathering data allows you to find out what works and what doesn’t work in your industry. It allows you to find out what people are sensitive to and the kind of behaviors and temperaments your target markets actually have.

Choosing winning ads isn’t always clear cut. Don’t be tempted to make the mistake of ending split tests too early. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Sherlock himself:

‘It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’
Sherlock Holmes Quote
-A Scandal in Bohemia

When you write PPC ads, it can be pretty challenging but it can also be a blast. Get creative and have fun. They are an extension of your business and should show your business in the best light possible.

Don’t leave doubt in people’s minds as to who you are, what you have to offer, and why they should choose you. Now get out there and have some fun testing!

PPC or Pay-Per-Click is very fun. It is rewarding to be able to get near real time results and be able to gather data about websites. The fun comes when you can focus on messaging and getting the best bang for your buck.

We here at Disruptive Advertising focus on providing ROI-based results for our clients through PPC marketing.

  • PPC

Stirling Ruuth

Stirling Ruuth

Stirling is an account strategist team lead at Disruptive Advertising. When he's not catching the latest episode of Duck Dynasty, you can find him chopping wood, smoking meats, and growing beards.

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