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    • conference
    • PPC
    • SMX Create

    SMX Create: Ad Copywriting from A Copywriter’s Perspective

    Earlier this week, Peak Ace’s new PPC Manager Charlie Byrne delivered a talk on ‘Ad Copywriting from A Copywriter’s Perspective’ as part of SMX Create, a brand-new Search Engine Land event.

    The SMX Create speakers shared actionable tactics for crafting compelling content that will boost both organic rankings and improve paid search ROI.

    As part of the PPC track, Charlie’s session focused on ad copy writing for paid search, and highlighted how search marketers can:

    • Punch up ad copy in a way that will grab the attention of the audience
    • Write copy that compels the target audience to take a specific action
    • Deliver a consistent experience from ad to landing page

    Although there are potentially hundreds of ways to develop and test ad copy, Charlie’s session focused on 5 proven techniques to create copy that converts:

    1. Consider the user journey

    In the first section of her talk, Charlie explained that ad copy (and landing pages) should be tailored to stages of the user journey.

    Here’s how Charlie defined the key stages of the user journey:

    A diagram depicting the stages of the user journey: Unaware, problem-aware, solution-aware, product-aware and most aware.

    Charlie explained that top-of-funnel ads – that deliver to users who have never heard of a brand before – should have different messaging compared to ads that deliver to users who already know exactly which product they want to buy.

    In practice, this involves strategically writing headlines and calls-to-action depending on the keywords/search queries that are likely to trigger any given ad. For example, an appropriate CTA for someone who is ‘problem aware’ would be ‘Learn More’, but for someone at the product or most aware stage, a more sales focused CTA (e.g ‘Buy Now’) would be appropriate.

    1. Capture the voice of your customer

    Charlie’s top tips for capturing the voice of your customer were to:

    • Review search query data
    • Speak to your (client’s) customer service team
    • Analyse customer review data

    And then use insights to test different psychological approaches in ad copy. Examples of these approaches may involve highlighting how your business:

    • Can offer a solution to the user’s problem
    • Will benefit the user (not to be confused with simply listing features!)
    • Has been reviewed by other customers

    RSAs are a powerful tool to help you test out all the above approaches within a single ad, whilst also incorporating keywords and search queries into copy. While performance reporting for this ad type is still limited, Charlie advised using impression data to infer what the top performing assets and combinations are, as well as using RSAs to create new ETAs (and vice versa).

    1. Size up the competition

    Charlie emphasised the importance of monitoring the market and keeping an eye on competitor activity. Here she suggested that search marketers:

    • Do some quick Google searches (or use a paid tool) to check out the SERPs for their industry
    • Review competitor USPs & differentiate themselves based on this
    • Follow top competitors on all social media platforms & sign up to their email newsletters
    • Capitalise on reactive opportunities and don’t be afraid to stand out

    She then walked through an example of how a fashion e-commerce brand recently capitalised on the closure of one of their high street competitors with a clever paid search ad.

    A screenshot of a Google search for "topshop" bringing up a PPC advert from fashion e-commerce brand Pretty Little Thing, with the title "Well this is awks - we'd never leave you".

    Here, Charlie also noted the importance of checking that competitor bidding is appropriate for your industry and brand and ensuring that a bold ad copy strategy – like this one – fits the tone of the landing page.

    1. Keep up with the times

    Next, Charlie encouraged search marketers to regularly review and update ad messaging, highlighting that many brands are failing to adapt their ads in line with changing rules and restrictions (for example, continuing to use ‘Visit Our Store’ CTAs during periods when all shops are closed).

    She then showcased examples of brands who have adapted their copy well, like the below example from Apple:

    A screenshot of a PPC advert for Apple in Google, with meta description highlighted "Everything you love about our stores is online".

    This example is particularly smart as it seeks to reassure a user demographic who may not be as comfortable with online shopping, but have been forced to do so during the pandemic.

    1. Leverage dynamic ad features

    Finally, Charlie discussed the benefits of ad customisers (highly personalised, scalable, do not reset ad reporting), and suggested that advertisers go beyond the standard uses, like inserting the user’s location into ad copy text.

    Some of Charlie’s creative use cases for customisers included:

    • Keep prices/sale prices up to date
    • Show the quantity of inventory remaining
    • Highlight the number of happy customers to date
    • Show the current temperature (e.g. at a holiday destination)

    Following a jam-packed agenda, Charlie participated in a Q&A alongside the other PPC track speakers. During this session, she shared how advertisers can address quality score in ad copy writing, the best ways to create ad group specific ETAs and RSAs, and how some of her clients adapted their paid media strategy as a result of the pandemic.

    If you’re interested in super-charging your ad copy strategy with the help Peak Ace’s PPC & Paid Social teams, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our sales team here. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Emily Wilson

    is a Marketing and Communications Manager at Peak Ace. She joined the company in 2021 and works in the Berlin office. When she isn’t writing for our blog, Emily enjoys travelling, writing, and working on craft projects.