5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing PPC Ads

November 18, 2014

Anyone involved in online marketing knows that the true bread and butter of any search engine is pay-per-click advertising, or PPC for short. If you aren’t sure, these ads show up on top and down the right side of any search results page. The advertiser pays for every click and subsequent visitor to his website or landing page.

PPC is a great way to send highly targeted traffic to your website almost instantly. Once you’re set up and your ads start showing, you can start getting new visitors right away.

Many variables go into a successful PPC campaign, including budgeting, selecting relevant keywords and adgroups, creating landing pages, ad scheduling and location selection.

Of course, the content in your ads is what will ultimately get people to click through to your site, so it’s extremely important that you get it right. It’s true that you don’t pay unless someone clicks, but getting clicks is the whole reason you’re doing PPC in the first place. 

Writing a successful PPC ad combines marketing know-how and writing skill with a dash of psychology. It’s a balancing act, for sure. Here are 5 mistakes you should try to avoid when writing your PPC ads.

1) Botching the Headline

Every ad you’ve ever written has relied heavily on the headline to attract attention. The same is true for PPC ads. If your headline doesn’t stand out from the crowd as your prospect is scanning through ads, she will pass you by and your competitor will get the click.

One useful technique is to include benefits or relevant keywords in your headline. Some advertisers just put the name of their business in there, but that falls into “nobody cares about you” territory.

Keep in mind that people are searching for a solution to their problems and likely found your ad through a specific keyword search. Since that thought is already in their head, try to include those keywords in your headline and see how it goes.

2) No Benefits

Copywriters and marketers have been saying this since marketing began, and it’s still true. People buy things because of the benefits it brings them. Yes, that’s true for you too. If it didn’t benefit you in some way, you wouldn’t do it.

That is why it’s always a good idea to sell the benefits of a product or service and not just the features. Anti-lock brakes are a feature. Being a better parent and preventing an accident is a benefit. That’s not to say you should avoid features completely in your PPC ads. Just remember that the person reading it wants to know how it benefits them; so include some benefits in your ad copy. 

3) Poor Formatting

Formatting sounds pretty boring, but it can make a big difference in your click-through-rate. PPC ad formatting refers to things like proper spelling and grammar, as well as capitalizing the first letter of each word in the ad.

When the first letter of each word is capitalized, your ad will stand out and look more polished and professional.

Words such as ‘and,’ ‘the’ or ‘a’ don’t usually require capitalization. Another formatting mistake advertisers make is to leave a lot of white space at the end of the ad. You don’t have a lot of space to begin with, so fill it up.

4) Not Tailoring Your Ad

It’s important to tailor your PPC ads to the target audience if you want optimum engagement. If you are doing your homework and following the marketing process correctly, you will already know who your target audience is before you begin.

From there, use words that your target audience would use, and make sure you highlight benefits and offers that are relevant to that audience. As an example, if you are selling luxury holidays to the Caribbean, include benefits that speak to that audience, such as all the luxury amenities available at the resort.

5) Not Being Specific

Specificity is a critical element for successful PPC campaigns. This is why you create adgroups with keywords that are specific to each group. If you own a flower shop you might want to break the adgroups into different types of flowers, such as ‘roses,’ ‘hydrangeas,’ ‘tulips,’ etc.

Then, you write specific ads focusing on the type of flower featured in each adgroup. That means ads for roses, ads for hydrangeas and ads for tulips. It’s more time consuming, but when the searcher sees the name of the flower they wanted in the ad, the likelihood of them clicking on your ad will be much higher.

Some categories on this list tend to blend into others, and in the end, they all must come together to create a winning ad. If you can avoid these mistakes when writing your PPC ads, you’ll see a lot more qualified leads clicking through to your site.

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