PPC Chat Streamcap – Text Ad Tips and Analysis for PPC

This week James Svoboda (@Realicity) guest hosts with a delightful set of questions titled “Text Ad Tips and Analysis for PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What do you consider your best practice(s) for creating Text Ads? Formatting, Call-To-Actions, & Others?

  • Making sure the ads reflect the goals. Both to entice and filter unwanted clicks. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • Using keywords in the ad’s headline, having a clear CTA, matching landing page content in your text ad. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
  • Capitalize main words. Does make a difference. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • Call to action should reflect the desired conversion. Include KWs in ads as much as possible. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Initially I like to include 1 or more Benefits & Features, a Strong Call-to-Action, and Keyword Relevant Text. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Use exclamations! helps get attention. – Melissa Mackey
  • Proper spelling, punctuation, location details, & calls to action along with relative details in display url. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Keywords in headline, unique value prop(s), CTA matches landing page conv., test, test, test – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Value proposition, keywords in ad and CTA. – Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
  • Formatting varies depending on expected Top vs. Side Average positioning, but Extended Headlines & DKI play big roles. – James Svoboda
  • Also make sure we take advantage of the ad extension. – Mark Kennedy
  • All ads ready for extension (just in case). Keywords in headline, body, & sometimes end of URL. CTA should be mirrored on the LP. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • Don’t forget your USP (unique selling proposition). – Jeremy Brown
  • Make sure ad copy meshes with all ad extensions. SiteLinks which make no sense based on the ad throw searchers off. – Harris Neifield
  • Keywords in the description so that they appear bolded and draw attention! – Brittany Baeslack (@BaeslaBr)
  • Don’t use DKI would be my first suggestion. And Do Use First Letter Capitals. – Dennis Petretti (@Denetti)
  • Punctuation in line 1 for if ad may appear in top 3. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Google AdWords has been forcing the WWW back in the front of Display URLs recently. – James Svoboda
    • Interesting. Any particular reason why they are putting WWW back into Display URL? – Chris Smeda (@ChrisAlanSmeda)
      • My theory is to remain consistent more with organic listings. – James Svoboda
    • Have you seen disapprovals based on this? I also tend to remove the WWW from the display URL. – Brittany Baeslack
      • No Disapprovals, they are just adding the WWW to live ads automatically… Unless your Display URL Uses a Sub-Domain. – James Svoboda
  • By far using the KW in the Title, and adding a benefit in the Description line 1 and a feature on the Description line 2. – Lawrence Aaron (@CrazyFingers)
  • Keywords and proper grammar and punctuation will gain attention! – Gina Lalli (@MortgageGina)
    • Agreed, but if your competitors are doing the same you need something else to set you apart. – Alma Smith

Q2: Do you regularly use DKI? If so, in Headlines, Description, both? And have you noticed a positive or negative impact on Conversion Rates and/or Cost-Per-Conversion compared to non-DKI ads?

  • I usually don’t DKI because people be crazy. I find it easier to manage when I keep adgs/ad messages tightly themed on my own. – Michelle Morgan
    • DKI is dynamic keyword insertion (not queries) so it don’t matter how crazy people is. – Jeremy Brown
  • Regularly using DKI in Headlines and testing in Desc. Line #1. Really helps CTR for Long keywords (26+ char.) and Location KWs. – James Svoboda
  • DKI should be used in moderation. Better to write appropriate ad copy. – Jeremy Brown
  • Definitely case by case and controlled testing. If you use DKI you need a TON of negatives. – Mark Kennedy
  • DKI always depends on the KW topic. It’s always good to test! – Lawrence Aaron
  • Have had some success with DKI, but as Lawrence just said, must test! – Melissa Mackey
  • Does seem to work well with location-focused keywords. "DKI" Plumber as an example. – Mark Kennedy
  • I feel like more often than not that DKI ads dont read correctly, so I stay away from them. – John Lavin (@Johnnyjetfan)
  • I use DKI only very rarely.. prefer to create Ad groups where DKI is entirely unnecessary. – Rick Galan (@RickGalan)
  • To clarify, DKI is great for longer keywords w/ more precise meaning. Not great for 1 word Broad or Phrase match Keywords. – James Svoboda
  • Love using DKI in my acquisition campaigns, but not in brand campaigns as I like to control the brand headline. – Brittany Baeslack
  • Personally not a fan of DKI, but still use it in the mix. – Chris Kostecki
  • They work best maybe 10% of the time. 95% of the time I’m using them in the headline. – Luke Alley
  • Have seen both ends of spectrum w/DKI on competitor terms. Huge success and epic fails both. – Melissa Mackey
  • Ok, sorry, in all seriousness I’m not sure DKI provides much of an advantage doing PPC in 2012. Feel like it was better 4 years ago. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
    • DKI, I know some agencies feel the same way. They have their pros and cons. – Lawrence Aaron
  • Sorry for the blah answer but I’ve seen DKI work and not work – very much depends on the client and campaign. – Harris Neifield
  • Don’t use DKI as a substitute for good ad copy. Have seen it used purely in laziness. Not good. – Melissa Mackey
  • If your ad groups are tightly themed and keywords carefully constructed I’m not sure there is a need for DKI. – Neil Sorenson
  • I use DKI only for product variations with low search volume. If a KW gets good imp I then make a new ad group. – Shaun Causer (@SEMantiks)

Q3: How have Extended Headlines affected your Call-to-Action placement & writing Description Line #1?

  • I’ve moved CTAs & USPs earlier in ad copy to get into extended headline. – Melissa Mackey
  • I have had a hard time shifting the mindset from D1&2 to HL&D1 when writing copy. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
    • An updated Ad display in @AdWords Editor would help. – James Svoboda
  • A decent amount actually. No new ads without ability for extended headlines. CTA is at the beginning of D1. Worked well so far. – Michelle Morgan
  • You now have to look at how the ad will look both ways – long or stacked and see if they still work. – Mark Kennedy
  • I’m with Melissa. I have started putting CTA at end of line 1 since it’s clickable. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Generally avoid run-on ad copy. Use that punctuation. – Jeremy Brown
  • As Melissa says, I’ve shifted my CTA/USP focus more to Line 1, when it used to be reserved more for Line 2. – Peter Gould (@PeterGould83)
  • Seeing higher clickthrough rates for ads forsure. – Lawrence Aaron
  • For high avg. pos campaigns, I’ve done more headline and line one ad tests rather than testing line two elements. – Harris Neifield
  • Sometimes you don’t want bumped up headline if large brand. Domain in headline can be huge. – Jeremy Brown
  • I’m currently testing CTA’s in Description Line #1 vs. my traditional "Closing" Line #2. Results are varying. It’s a Great test. – James Svoboda
  • Also, it also creates a better experience for users by highlighting more information in the ad. – Lawrence Aaron
  • I’ve generally seen success with putting punctuation somewhere within line 1 & wrapping a sentence between line 1 & 2. Also blending the headline and the first few words of line 1 works well. – Dennis Petretti
  • I’m also using more punctuation in D1, didn’t used to bother w/it. – Melissa Mackey
  • I’ve moved main USP to description line 1 and like to keep line two short and sweet. It helps extended headline stand out more. – Shaun Causer
  • Earlier CTA’s & USP’s are tricky. If extended headlines aren’t used L2 still has to be relevant. I like value add props in L2. – Harris Neifield
  • Agreed. Punctuation much more impt. Also CTA like Melissa in D1. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Would love an "if" option. If extended, this ad. If not, this ad. – Mark Kennedy
  • I think Google made the extended headline available just so we would use proper punctuation! – John Lavin
  • If you write the ad directly within the interface you can see what the extended headline looks like. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • I only use DKI for small ad groups. Mostly exact match kws only. – Bart Schuijt (@BartSchuijt)
  • Extended headline makes it look more like organic. Been Google’s mantra recently. – Jeremy Brown
  • I find it more difficult to test adverts, because layout is changing continuously. – Bart Schuijt

Q4: What is your current Display URL strategy? Keyword Rich? Call-to-Action/Benefit? And what’s working for your CTR & CRO?

  • Someone gave a good tip a few #ppcchat ‘s ago. Been messing with CTA in the display URL (example: www.yoursite.com/FreeShipping) – Mark Kennedy
  • Varies, but don’t forget about Display URL history component of QS. Can be good to stay consistent. – Jeremy Brown
  • Keyword Rich Display URL has been extremely successful for me, utilizing the back slash and following with keywords. – Brittany Baeslack
  • I test various sub domains, kws after the slash or DKI. – Bart Schuijt
  • I’m at about 50/50 success with keyword in the display URL. – Michelle Morgan
  • For a/b testing(analyzing an adgroup, pausing, then writing variation of winner) interface is easiest. – Luke Alley
  • I try to only use words that appear in the page’s actual URL. That’s a style choice not a performance one. – Dennis Petretti
  • Mixed results w/KWs & CTAs in display URLs. Not sure I like adding stuff besides actual web addr. – Melissa Mackey
  • In my current role, the winning tests have bore out just the www.domain.com – Chris Kostecki
  • One of those areas that I don’t find any format consistently works. What does work is consistent testing. – David Fothergill (@fothergilld)

Q5: If Top and Side Ads had the same CTR & Click Volume, and you could choose 1 consistent format, which would you choose and why?

  • I’d choose Side format. I’m old school like that. – Melissa Mackey
  • Top. Headline bump is more visible and takes up more space. – Jeremy Brown
  • You can’t have the Google haiku with 2 lines! – Chris Kostecki
  • Top. I’m a fan of the extended headlines. Keeps me on my toes when writing copy too. Have to hit another requirement. – Michelle Morgan
  • Whichever has the best ROI/Conv. Rate. – Luke Alley
  • Then I’d choose whichever had a lower CPC. Hypothetically. – Dennis Petretti
  • Top because it looks like an organic listing (doesn’t get discounted as an "ad" or ignored as often). – Robert Brady
  • If same, I’d choose Top format. – Lisa Sanner

Q6: What is your process for determining Text Ad winners and losers?

  • Easy answer is Conv rate and cost per conv. But does anyone get tempted by a worse conv ad w/ a MUCH higher CTR? Just curious. – Neil Sorenson
    • YES. Depends how much worse & if both meeting targets. – Lisa Sanner
    • All the time. I just keep thinking: What am I giving up in quality score? – Alma Smith
  • For CTR, I look for good Separation in click-through-rate % for Top impressions as I know that at least those are being seen. – James Svoboda
  • Controlled testing of course, but the Conversion rate is the number one metric for me. – Mark Kennedy
  • Think like the consumer. get attention! Then test test test. – Chris Smeda
  • I’m a big fan of the CTRxCR method. Which ever ad has the biggest number will yield the most conversions overall. – Michelle Morgan
    • Getting a little technical here, but do you think CR or CTR should be weighted more? One may be more important. – Luke Alley
  • Ideally Net Profit per Impression.. but more likely Rev/Impression or overall Rev Contribution. – Rick Galan
  • Not sure I would be… lower CPCs from higher CTR would b nice, but generally Conv all the way. Sure there are exceptions! – Arianne Donoghue (@ArianneDonoghue)
  • I use a tool to check the statistical significant of CTR and conversions. There are loads but I use Web Share Design‘s. – Ravi Sodha (@ravisodha)
    • This one isn’t bad. Have used it also. – Melissa Mackey
  • Data + intuition. Great to have statistically relevant data, but sometimes must make gut decisions. – Jeremy Brown
  • For Conversions I have to have enough data and usually look at a larger historical scope. – James Svoboda
  • I used to love SuperSplitTester, until its untimely death a couple weeks ago. – Melissa Mackey
  • ROI as always (but taking into account CTR & CVR to gauge competitiveness & traffic quality – respectively). – Chris Kostecki
  • You have to balance statistical accuracy with the time it takes to analyze; can determine method as well. – Melissa Mackey
  • If QS is just CTR (I think it mostly is) then Michelle’s CTR x CR method will take into account lower QS I think. – Richard Fergie

Q7: How do Conversion Rates of Text Ads play into your overall management of a PPC campaign when LPs can vary or are being tested?

  • Ad copy and LPs can both have strong impact on conv. rates. Better to test those separately. – Jeremy Brown
  • Landing Page Testing can play havoc on Conversion Rates. You have to do manual gut checks some times when data is in flux. – James Svoboda
  • I have test segments around: Message, LP, and Message/LP mix to see how they impact one another. – Chris Kostecki
  • Segment on device, click type and hour/day. Then determine a winner. – Bart Schuijt

Q8: Do you have a different process for analyzing and creating Text Ads for @adCenter that is different from @AdWords?

  • Not usually but I probably should. – Melissa Mackey
    • Just said the EXACT same thing to my colleague. – Neil Sorenson
  • I usually start an ad group with the same set of 3, but let the test results decide where I go from there. Each is different. – Michelle Morgan
  • No, messaging is consistent across all engines. – Chris Kostecki
  • Test on Adwords then roll out to Bing. Much faster to see results due to volume. – Jeremy Brown
  • For me comes down to search volume and @adCenter often does not provide enough data to test different ad copy in tight Ad Groups. – James Svoboda
  • Not at this time. AdWords gets the tests, adCenter gets the results. – Dennis Petretti
    • Good strategy when there’s low volume. – Michelle Morgan
  • Of course– especially because testing on @adcenter will take 20x as long to garner statistically significant data! – Emily Las (@emlas)


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About the Streamcapping Guy

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; Search Engine Marketing Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcaptographer, Internet Marketing Blog Writerr. Google Plus with me.

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