PPC for SMBs #8: How to write great ads

Continuing our series of guest posts from Microsoft Advertising adCenter .

Our imaginary account for ‘Shah’s Cars’ is now complete with campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Next, we need to write some awesome ads. Writing effective ads that target the right customers can help increase your click-through-rate (CTR) and increase the campaign’s return on investment (ROI).

Top 8 Tips for Writing Effective Ad Copy

1. Know your limits

The limit for ad titles is 25 characters. For descriptions it’s 70 characters. Ads that exceed this unfortunately won’t go live. And although you can have up to 20 ads per ad group, we recommend having between 3 and 5. This amount means your message won’t get diluted but it’s enough to test what works for you by focusing on a different best practice in each one.

2. Be professional

If your ad looks a bit messy, searchers will assume that your website and business are too. Make sure your ad represents your brand perfectly by using the right grammar, punctuation, capitalisation and spelling. ‘2nd-hand carz V. V. V. cheap at Shahz Carz’ is how not to do it!

3. Include the keyword

Probably the most effective way to increase CTR is to repeat the keyword back to the searcher in your ad. Using adCenter insertion functions such as {keyword} insertion and dynamic text insertion (sometimes known as {param2} or {param3}) are an effective way to easily produce targeted, specific ads which is certain to get you more clicks.

4. Include unique selling points

Differentiate your ads from your competitors by including your unique selling points and special offers. Examples include low prices and discounts, free delivery or in the case of Shah’s Cars, a free MOT when you purchase a car. Woo hoo!

5. Be relevant

Make sure your landing page features the product that you reference in your ad. If the searcher gets to what they’re looking for quickly on your site, they are much more likely to convert.

6. Call searchers to action

Compel searchers to click by using calls to action. Good ones include ‘order now’, ‘book today’ or ‘save’.

7. Be seasonal

Use seasonality in your ads to inspire your customers to click. For our Shah’s Cars account we’re going to write an ad specifically for the time of year that new English (UK) licence plates come out in February and September. Having topical, time-relevant ads will make your business really stand out from the crowd.

8. Get creative

Don’t let your ads be plain Jane's. Make them into exciting Emma’s with a bit of creative flair! For example, instead of talking about ‘miles per gallon’, write about ‘a nippy number that doesn’t guzzle the gas’.

You can write your new ads straight into adCenter or the adCenter desktop tool, or into an Excel spreadsheet and then upload this.

I hope you’ve found this helpful and good luck with the writing. Thank you for reading.

Read previous posts on this series:

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #1: Paid and organic search

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #2: An introduction to Bing

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #3: An introduction to adCenter

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #4: Introducing adCenter Desktop

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #5: The Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Tool

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #6: How to set up a new Microsoft Advertising adCenter account

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #7: How to find keywords