ADWORDS AD COPY TESTS · 6-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux on September 25, 2017.

We marketers are busy. We are often pulled in a myriad of directions on a daily basis, meaning that we frequently don’t have time to really focus on the nuts and bolts of our many campaigns. This can result in a mentality of “set it and forget it”, especially when it comes to our ad copy.

Yet, the success of your campaigns often relies on your messaging. Taking the time to experiment with different ad copy could signify the difference between positive and negative return on ad spend (ROAS).

With and Without Pricing

Pricing does two things in the mind of consumers: It lets them know immediately how much something is going to cost them. It also, however, reminds them that what they’re looking at will cost them.

Sure, “only $9.99” for a new dress sounds like a good deal, but that might also be a turn-off. If you had, however, pulled them into your site, provided the value props for the item, and then given them the “only $9.99” deal, it might have resulted in the sale.

To determine what your consumers prefer, try running ads with and without the cost. Run a few tests with various products and pricing, and see how your potential consumers respond.

Experiment with Different Promotion Language (50% versus Half Price)

Numbers take up less real estate than written out promotions. Therefore, we often resort to them. Yet, changing from “50% Off” to “Half Price” or “Save $20” might improve your current click-through rates. Create two or three variations of the ad, and then monitor response.

Test CTA

Sometimes, we get stuck with CTAs. We’ve used so many of them that we again and again return to the tried and true. And, we sometimes get the same response because we’re not feeding the users anything different.

Yet, different CTAs can lead to different reactions. Search Engine Journal recommends trying new CTAs, including:

  • Buy
  • Book
  • Order
  • Purchase
  • Join
  • Make Reservation
  • Download
  • Take, etc.

When testing the CTA, only change the CTA on the ad, and limit yourself to two or three. Don’t change anything else in the ad. If you try to test too many CTAs at the same time, you’ll limit the number of impressions per ad.

To Have or Have No Punctuation

WordStream recently analyzed over 600 of the best-performing ads and discovered that only 42% of ads used exclamation points, and less than a quarter used commas, question marks, percentage signs or dollar signs. This means that punctuation is an underutilized item in ads. Yet, exclamation points can actually be beneficial to your ads.

Again, don’t go crazy with punctuation. If you want to test whether a dollar sign on a particular ad will make a difference, only add a dollar sign to the ad you want to test. Don’t add a dollar sign and exclamation point to the test ad. You won’t know which punctuation made the difference.

Experiment with Emotional Pulls

Most ads are very informative. They tell us what we will get if we click on this ad, i.e. discounts on airfare or a free trial for the latest software program. What they lack, however, is any emotional tug. Think of some of the best TV ads that you’ve seen during the Super Bowl. They made us laugh or tear up or just gave us some warm fuzzy feeling.

Online ads come across instead as very functional, but they don’t have to be that way. Think about your audience. What are their wants and needs? What do they truly enjoy or hate? What problems do they face, and how can your product or service solve it? Creating ads that appeal to these emotions can vastly improve relatability and in return clicks.

Test Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic Keyword Insertion is not a new concept, but it’s amazing how few people have actually attempted to use it in their ads. Dynamic Keyword Insertion lets you customize an ad based on how people are searching. It all starts with your Ad Group and your list of keywords. If your client is a dental office, then you might have keywords like:

  • Orthodontist
  • Dentist
  • Dental Office, etc.

To extend this example, let’s say that you have an ad with a headline “$500 Off Dental Visit”. Now, if someone is searching for orthodontist office, your ad may change to “$500 Off Orthodontist”.

The goal of Dynamic Keyword Insertion is to make your ads more relevant to users to encourage them to click on the ad.

To create a headline that uses this, you need to add the following snippet of code into your headline {KeyWord:Dentist}. There are two things going on here. One, a keyword from your Ad Group will be inserted if someone searches for a word similar to ones in your ad group – as indicated in the example above. If the headline winds up being too long because of the user-generated keyword (i.e. $500 Off Dental Office Visit Tampa), then the word after the colon will be inserted instead: $500 Off Dentist.

You must follow the instructions carefully to ensure that your ad is running properly.

Tracking the Success

If you’re running ads side-by-side, you might consider doing A/B split testing, and then compare the results, looking at everything from clicks to CPC to CPA to conversions. Evenly dividing the impressions among the multiple ads will help you determine which had the most success.

If you decide to shut off ads and run the new test ads by themselves, create a baseline report of the old ads. Let the new ads run for at least 6 weeks, and then compare them to the previous set. Ads need time to build up impressions and clicks so don’t say the ads aren’t working after a few days.

Also, don’t test everything at once. Experiment bit-by-bit. Change ONE thing on an ad at a time. If you’re testing both the pricing and CTA, you may not know which change actually resulted in the positive results. Be a scientist. Test only one hypothesis at a time.

While creating new ads takes time, it’s well worth the effort. We must constantly be experimenting and testing to improve our results. If not, then our ads become stagnant, our clicks decrease, and our quality score suffers. If you create new ads which your audiences truly embrace, then you’re continuing to move the ROI needle forward.

Consider using Supermetrics for Google Sheets AdWords connector to easily pull all the advertising data you need into a single spreadsheet. You can compare pre- and post- change metrics of your copy to instantly see the effect of your experiment and schedule automatic report emailing directly to your mailbox.

About Misty Faucheux


Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Flickr.


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